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ADV ProductsADV Bike AccessoriesGiant Loop Siskiyou: Rugged, Roomy & Rackless Soft Panniers

Giant Loop Siskiyou: Rugged, Roomy & Rackless Soft Panniers

 The convenience of hard boxes with the off-road durability of soft luggage.

Published on 08.09.2017
Giant Loop Siskiyou Panniers Review

When you’re living on your Adventure Bike day in and day out, having a convenient luggage system is all the more important. That’s one reason many long-distance travelers choose to ride with hard panniers. Their combination of carrying capacity and ease of use make them ideal for longer trips. However, hard boxes aren’t always preferred when the journey includes significant off-road travel.

Now Giant Loop has a new option for long-distance off-road travelers — the Siskiyou Panniers. These ‘soft’ side bags are designed to offer the convenience and capacity (70 liters total) of hard panniers but with the rugged durability we’ve come to expect from the pioneering soft luggage company.

giant loop siskiyou panniers front pocket

Siskiyou Panniers look and operate much like a traditional set of hard panniers with tops that flip open from the side. They are also loaded with convenience features like mesh storage panels under each flip-open top, big front pockets and inner water-proof bags. But what really sets them apart is their universal mount design. The Siskiyou Panniers fit a variety of different Adventure Motorcycles, even those without pannier racks.

Tough construction is also key for off-road travel and like many of Giant Loop’s soft bags, the Siskiyou Panniers are built super rugged using multiple layers of vinyl fabric with reinforced stitching and Military-Spec Ballistic Nylon on outer panels. Heavy-duty mounting and tension straps are solidly attached to help ensure years of trouble free use. And for the street, reflective piping runs along the sides for improved nighttime visibility.

Getting Them Installed

Installation isn’t much different than Giant Loop’s other soft luggage systems, but there are more attachment points and adjustment options. Each bag is joined together by large Velcro-covered panels in the center and reinforced with two cross straps for a very strong attachment. Throw the joined bags over the rear of the bike and adjust the distance and angle between each bag for the dimensions of the bike.

giant loop siskiyou dust covers
Each bag is joined in the middle with overlapping velcro panels and two cross straps to provide a strong attachment and loads of adjustability for different sized bikes.

Next secure the bags with two front mounting straps attached to the passenger peg mounts, then the rear is attached with included Velcro strips that are cut to size. The underside of each bag is lined with daisy-chain loops that offer a variety of attachment points for securing it to the side of the bike (e.g. grab handles, luggage racks, frame rail, etc.). And two heat shields are included to ensure the bags are protected from coming in contact with a hot exhaust.

Giant Loop Siskiyou panniers flying high

How They Performed

We installed the Siskiyou Panniers on several different adventure bike models, including the BMW R1200GS Adventure (with racks), KTM 1290 Super Adventure (no racks), KTM 990 Adventure R (with racks) and Suzuki V-Strom 1000XT (no racks). We got a secure fit on all four applications, but we did notice on rough technical trails that the rear Velcro straps have the potential to slip. Replacing the Velcro straps with a set of locking Pronghorn Straps solves the problem.

Riding with the siskiyou panniers off-road

Also when installing the Siskiyou Panniers on bikes without racks, it’s important to remove any excess slack in the top Velcro panel to help ensure the bags do not sag and come in contact with the rear wheel on the non-exhaust side. Getting a perfectly symmetric alignment of right and left bags is not always possible on single-exhaust bikes without racks, but that did not affect secure fitment.

giant loop siskiyou panniers pronghorn straps
Optional Pronghorn Straps (left) provide a more secure attachment than Velcro (right).

Getting into a bag requires opening two snap buckles that hold the top closed. Flip up the top and a dust liner with a set of snap buckles and a zipper must be opened to gain access to the interior. Waterproof inner bags with a roll-top design completely seal out water and offer a handy carrying case to transport your gear into a hotel or tent. And if you’re worried about leaving your empty bags out in the open, they can be locked onto the bike using a cable lock and handy pass-thru channels under the bag. Getting everything properly positioned and strapped on does take roughly 5-10 minutes depending on the bike, so you probably won’t want to remove the Siskiyous during a trip unless absolutely necessary.

Hard panniers may be faster to get into, but the Siskiyou’s top-loading design does make it convenient to sift through your gear and find what you are looking for. For faster access, you can also keep the dust liner open if you aren’t worried about getting your inner waterproof bags a bit dirty. Alternatively, you can keep the waterproof liners open and close the dust liner (when it’s not raining) to reduce the number of steps required to gain access to your belongings.

Giant Loop Siskiyou Panniers Dust Cover

giant loop siskiyou dust covers
You can bypass the dust cover by keeping it unzipped and pushing it down for quick access to the inner dry bag.

One advantage of riding off-road with the Siskiyou Panniers is that they are large enough that you can often forgo a top bag on shorter trips. In this configuration, you can position your body far back on the bike when you encounter difficult off-road terrain. At the same time, there is plenty of leg room and the bags keep the weight down low on the bike for better slow speed maneuverability. Durability has also been very good. During thousands of miles of testing, we had more than a few mishaps in the dirt and the Siskyous still show no signs of stress or duress, only a few faint brush marks.

KTM 1290 Super Adventure with Siskiyou Panniers
Testing the rackless setup on the KTM 1290 Adventure out in the Mojave Desert.

When you need more capacity for longer trips, the top panel that joins the two bags includes multiple lash points for attaching extra gear. Tension straps on the pannier tops can also be used to secure additional items (e.g. tripod, firewood, camp chairs, etc.) or you can over stuff the bags and use the tension straps to keep everything in place. And with the bags positioned as far back as possible, there is ample room for both a passenger and a top bag, as long as the bike has a decent-sized top rack.

Giant Loop put a lot of nice touches on the Siskiyou Panniers like the mesh storage panels on the inside of each top. We found this pocket to be a convenient place to keep maps or other paperwork. It’s also a good spot to store damp garments that need to dry out while you ride. On the front of each pannier, there is also a large pocket with a drawstring closure that is perfectly sized for carrying water, fuel, oil bottles, or anything else you need quick access to (snacks, tools, first aid kit, etc.).

Who Are They For

Adventure Bike Riders that spend significant time in the dirt and want the convenience of large-capacity, top-loading panniers with the durability and lighter weight of a rackless soft luggage system.

BMW R1200GS with Giant Loop Siskiyou Panniers

Our Verdict

A $700 soft luggage system may seem a bit pricey but when you compare the Siskiyou Panniers to a set of high-end hard boxes, the price starts to sound more reasonable. Especially, if you consider that waterproof liners, front bottle holders and inner mesh pockets are all included (not accessory add-ons), and no rack purchase is required. What’s more, they are made in USA and have a lifetime warranty against defects. The Siskyous are also tougher than a $3 steak, so you can be confident they’ll endure many years of rough use. A wide range of soft bag options exist on the market but the Siskiyou Panniers are some of the most convenient to get in and out of, and it’s unusual for panniers in this capacity range to not require racks.

Going the distance with the siskiyou panniers

What We Liked

  • Bulletproof construction.
  • Large capacity bags with no racks required.
  • External pockets are nice for things you need quick access to.
  • Freedom of movement for aggressive off-road riding.

What Could Be Improved

  • Include a set of Pronghorn Straps.

Specifications

Capacity: 70 Liters (total for both bags)
Dimensions: 6″ (15.2 cm) W X 12″ (30.5 cm) H X 16″ (40.6 cm) L
Price: $700.00

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Shopping Options

Rocky Mountain ATV/MC
Photos by Stephen Gregory and Alfonse Palaima

Author: Rob Dabney

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One thought on “Giant Loop Siskiyou: Rugged, Roomy & Rackless Soft Panniers

  1. This look absolutely perfect for my needs. I have a set of hard bags but prefer off-roading so much that soft bags are probably a better fit for me. the price is steep for material bags.

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