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ADV ProductsTested: Giant Loop ‘Quick-Release’ Round The World Panniers

Tested: Giant Loop ‘Quick-Release’ Round The World Panniers

 Quick-release panniers with room to carry all your gear around the globe.

Published on 02.25.2020

If you are planning to ride the world or just a world traveler in training, you need a good set of luggage that is durable, waterproof, spacious, and convenient for day-to-day use. That’s exactly what Giant Loop’s Round the World Panniers, matched with their Quick-Release Pannier Mounts, strive to achieve. 

Made with a vinyl-coated polyester body, they are designed to be rugged enough for long-range off-road travel. A main roll-top closure keeps out water from your typical rain storms while inner waterproof ‘Dry Pod’ bags ensure even a quick dip in the river will keep you gear protected from moisture. With a combined capacity of 90 liters, they can swallow all your camping gear, tools and personal items for a long-distance journey. Yet they are lightweight at 15 pounds for the whole system including the quick-release pannier mounting plates. 

Giant Loop ‘Quick-Release’ Round The World Panniers
Compression wing pouch is a good place to store items you aren’t worried about getting dusty and wet but need quick access to.

While their construction looks fairly simple, there are many convenience features incorporated into the design. A sheet of ballistic nylon material goes over the top of the roll-top closure, which connects to a lower pouch called a compression wing. These help secure the load and you can store items like shoes, a hat or other things you aren’t worried about getting dusty and wet but need quick access to. Each bag also comes with two exterior pockets: a roll-top pocket on one side for things you want to keep clean; and a draw-cord pocket on the other end for quick access to things like water bottles or a first aid kit. What’s more, each bag has internal side pockets which make it easier to organize your gear.

Giant Loop ‘Quick-Release’ Round The World Panniers
The 5-liter Roll-top pockets on each bag give quick access to items while storing them in a clean environment (not fully waterproof).

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Getting the bags mounted does require a set of pannier racks. You can use any bolt-on system from various pannier manufacturers to mount the Round the World Panniers on your racks by drilling holes into the provided heavy-duty plastic frame sheets. We chose to use Giant Loop’s Quick-Release Pannier Mount system for this test. The Pannier Mounts are made with aircraft aluminum and are now in their second edition with improvements that provide even more strength and stability.  They are compatible with most popular pannier racks (16-18mm round tube racks) and there is even an adapter for BMW’s odd-shaped racks that wrap around the exhaust racks. Two adjustable bottom hooks fit onto the bottom of the racks and top clip mechanism secures the pannier to the rack in a simple, intuitive motion. Pannier Mounts are locked on to the racks with a hand-tightened screw on one of the bottom hooks, plus a key lock on the clasp.

Getting Them Installed

Giant Loop Pannier Mounts

Installing the Quick-Release Pannier Mounts onto the Round the World Panniers is fairly easy to do, even if you aren’t an expert mechanic. The included plastic backing plates come pre-drilled to line up with the 6 holes in the Pannier Mounts. But you still need to punch holes through the material on the back of the bags for the mounting screws.

We started by putting all six screws through the backing plate and hand tightening the nuts so they stay in place. Then slide the plastic backing plate into the small interior pocket behind the velcro strip at the bottom of the bag and pull the velcro flap over the top of the plate to secure it in place. You should be able to feel the screws poking through the material on the back of the bag. Mark each of the six screws with a pen and then use a soldering iron to burn holes through the bag just big enough to fit the screws through. Either a soldering iron or hot tipped screwdriver is preferred because it cauterizes the hole in the material.

Giant Loop Pannier Mounts

Next you want to align the mounting hooks on the Pannier Mounts with your luggage racks after eyeing where you want your bags positioned. Then you can run your screws through and attach the Pannier Mounts to the backs of the bags. Make sure your hooks are aligned correctly and provide a snug fit, while making sure the bags still go on and off easily. 

Giant Loop Pannier Mounts
Once you’ve got your Pannier Mounts installed, attaching or removing the bags from the pannier racks is dead simple using the two lower hooks and top clip mechanism.

We put the bags on two different bikes, a KTM 790 Adventure R with Hepco & Becker racks (16mm tubing) and a Royal Enfield Himalayan with factory racks (18mm tubing). The thinner gauge tubing on the Hepco & Becker racks did have a small amount of freeplay but securing the locking nut on the bottom clamp ensured they don’t float around.

How They Performed

Giant Loop ‘Quick-Release’ Round The World Panniers

Loading up the Round The World Panniers for our first test, we quickly noticed that they are much larger than they look. Typically, we pack pretty light and can get away with 60 liters of space using smaller panniers and a top bag. With these bags, we could fit all our gear into just the panniers and still have room to spare for a few extra convenience items. And without a top bag, there was a lot more seating area to use for getting your weight back on the bike during trail riding.

The side pockets on the bags are also really convenient, offering about 5 liters of space each. We put a large water bag in one front pocket and a fuel bag in the other. They remained secure and in place using the drawstring, even with fluctuating fluid levels. The side pocket (one on each bag) with roll-top closure is ideal for packing your first aid kit, tools or tire repair kit. Everything is still easy to access but the roll top keeps out moisture.

Giant Loop ‘Quick-Release’ Round The World Panniers
Giant Loop ‘Quick-Release’ Round The World Panniers
The 5-liter draw-string pockets on each bag are a perfect place to store water or fuel containers.

Each bag has a compression wing pocket with two adjustable side straps and three top straps that go over the bags. These make it easy to throw a map inside or other loose items when you are in a hurry. The long top straps also allow you to cinch down odd-shaped items like firewood, beer or that plastic bodywork that fell off your bike in a fall. Speaking of falls, we did have a couple get offs with the bags and they looked none the worse for wear afterward, except one of the side straps on the compression wings did tear loose from its stitching. Structurally, everything still worked because there were still four other straps holding things together, but some reinforced stitching would be appreciated on this area of the bags where damage is more likely to occur.

One thing is for sure, if they had been aluminum panniers we would have been beating out the dents for hours and they’d never look the same. A quick trip to the upholstery shop will get our strap sewn back on. Another noticeable advantage is the lower weight of these bags compared to hard panniers. The dead-simple Pannier Mounts also don’t add much to the overall weight. In addition, other quick-release pannier mounting systems typically leave a large, base plate on the racks when the bags are removed from the bike. The Giant Loop Pannier Mounts detach completely, which offers a cleaner look and makes it easier to swap between hard boxes and soft bags for different types of trips.

Giant Loop ‘Quick-Release’ Round The World Panniers
Giant Loop ‘Quick-Release’ Round The World Panniers
One of the side straps for the compression webbing pulled loose from its stitching after a fall. But it should be a quick fix for any upholstery shop.

While contents of your bags are not secure from thieves, the lock mechanism on the Pannier Mounts does ensure an opportunistic thief won’t easily run off with your bags. Keeping them locked while you ride can also help ensure they don’t pop off inadvertently if something were to accidently press on the clamp handle. With the bags locked on the bike, you can just pull out the inner waterproof liners when you get to your destination at the end of the day, then the bags themselves stay locked on the bike. Or just remove the bags from the bike completely and use the grab handles to take everything with you to a tent or hotel room.

Giant Loop ‘Panniers waterproof bags
Inner waterproof bags ensure your clothing or electronics stay moisture free and they are convenient for carrying your gear into a tent or hotel.

As far as waterproofing, we did have some heavy overnight rains on one trip. The bags got thoroughly dowsed but all their contents remained dry. Giant Loop recommends three rolls of the roll-top opening for a waterproof seal, but you can probably get away with two if you need to overstuff the bags.

Who Are They For

Adventure riders who are traveling longer distances will appreciate the ample storage available with the RTW panniers. Also, off-road riders who don’t like to ride with a top bag. Pretty much anyone looking for a set of convenient, spacious soft bags will appreciate the Giant Loop RTW Panniers.

Our Verdict

The RTW Panniers give you many of the conveniences of hard boxes, with the safety and durability of soft panniers. They offer a ton of storage space, yet they maintain a slimmer profile than most hard pannier systems, and are less expensive than most too. Plus their rack mount design means you won’t worry about scratching your graphics or burning your bags on a hot exhaust like you might with a rackless soft luggage system, and with the Pannier Mounts they can be quickly removed or mounted. The bags are packed with convenience features as well, giving you quick access to all your essential items and making it easier to organize your gear. 

Giant Loop ‘Quick-Release’ Round The World Panniers

What We Liked

  • Lots of room for your gear with room to over stuff.
  • Convenient pockets for quick access and staying organized.
  • Fast to remove or mount with the quick-release pannier mounts installed.
  • No mounting plate left behind on racks when bags are removed.

What Could Be Improved

  • Heavier stitching or Velcro closure on compression wing side straps.
  • Ship bags with pre-punched holes for Pannier Mounts.

Round The World Panniers Specs

CONSTRUCTION: vinyl-coated polyester and ballistic nylon
CAPACITY: 90+ Liters (total for both bags)
DIMENSIONS: 21″ tall x 15″ wide x 7.5″ deep
WEIGHT (per pair): 10.5 pounds (4.8 kg), 15 pounds (6.8 kg) w/ Pannier Mounts
MSRP: $675 Bags Only; $831 W/ Pannier Mounts

Shopping Options

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Author: Rob Dabney

Rob Dabney started a lifelong obsession with motorcycles at the age of 15 when he purchased his first bike – a 1982 Honda MB5. Through his 20’s and 30’s he competed in off-road desert races, including the Baja 250, 500 and 1000. Eventually, his proclivity for exploration led him to dual sport and adventure riding. Rob’s never-ending quest to discover what’s around the next bend has taken him on Adventures in Mexico, North Africa, Europe, and throughout the American West. As a moto journalist, he enjoys inspiring others to seek adventure across horizons both near and far.

Author: Rob Dabney
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