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Discussion Starter #1
I'm trying to make a set of hard bags for my XS650-based adventure touring/street scrambler/dual-sport/whatever bike. I like the look of the simple, rectangular boxes that you see used on modern dual-sport bikes, but I don't want to pay the hundreds of dollars that they cost.
Ammo cans, specifically the 20mm can (17"L 14"T 8"W) would work well other than the fact that they weigh more than 20 lbs. each. I found some plastic ammo cans call Sport Utility Boxes that would work well but they don't make them large enough.
Does anyone know of any source for a relatively inexepensive light weight, water-tight box of approx. the above dimensions? Plastic, fiberglass, aluminum would all be okay.
 

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Surprisingly you can source real hard bags on ebay for dirt cheap prices. I picked up a pair for 75 bucks a while ago. You can also pickup soft type bags for cheap money (under 150) at any dealer or online. I like the idea that soft bags can be thrown on the bike at a moments notice and are really light weight. Depending on the hardbag, they have to be hard mounted on the bike. (Some can be removed with the mounting brackets remaining on the bike.) Can you make your own hard bags - sure - will they look like an old ammo case - depends what you start with and your fabrication skills....

I have a 1/4 fairing w/bag set up I can mount on my CB750 when I take the bike on a road trip. Could this be the year of the bag'ger look??? Maybe...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Maximum Suzuki is telling me that thread's "off limits" to me. I don't realy want to sign up just to look at one thread. Is there another way to view it?
 

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the idea of the hard luggage that actually is squared off and looks like ammo cans

is that they are more efficient storage than irregularly shaped rounded corner stuff

Ammo cans of 7075, 3 or 6 series ti

well they would be perfect

less than 8ish pounds, no wasted space, water tight, rust proof and will outlast several bikes
 

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I don't know what ammo cans you are buying but most of the ones I buy at swap meets are maybe 10lbs tops. Some of the older ammo cans used by the army air corps and later the airforce were aluminum. I bought a shit load of these in the 1990s at a vintage airplane swap meet. they are still around if you look.

so let me get this straight, you want a box, made out of sheet aluminum that you can use as a saddle bag. I hate to be this dude but really - is a box too complicated a shape for you to make out of sheet alloy? I may sound like a douche but I am pretty sure you can make these yourself to whatever size you need with some pop rivets, sheet aluminum, window caulk (to make them water proof) and other things you find at the hardware store. If you are wondering how to bend alloy without a metal brake, you can just put it over and edge and hit it slowly with a hammer (a shrinking hammer would work here but I imagine if you are careful enough you could do this with a claw hammer). If you ever wanted to learn metal working this is an excellent first project.
 

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A buddy of mine used a 2 foot long piece of 18" poly irrigation drain pipe(tube?), wrapped it in black vinyl and made the ends out of a couple black bucket lids, the kind that you get at the gardening center at Walmart that make it like a stool. While not anything overly cool to look at, it held lots of his stuff, strapped to the back of his cruiser something or other. I think empty it might have weighed 3 pounds max.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I considered making my own and it is within my skills to do so. However, I don't really like rivets unless they're the "Cherry Max" type aviation spec rivets which I don't have. I'm not set up to weld aluminum, either.
I might look into the aluminum ammo cans. I found a few resources that list the 20mm steel ones that I was considering as weighing 22 or so pounds each.
 

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Idle question: when you need lots of carrying capacity (as shown in the photo above), would you be better off with a small trailer? At what point are the hard bags too unwieldy, and you're better off towing the weight behind you? I can't answer the question since I've never ridden a fully loaded tourer, and I've never used a bike trailer either.
 

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I've seen them made from jerry cans, (plastic steel and aluminium), some better made than others.
Cheapest, flimsy, would be couple of 5 gal plastic gas cans, tops cut off and re-fitted with hinge/hasp and staple (looks like shite, leaks, carries lot of stuff, pretty unbreakable)
There was a jerry can shaped tool box on 'Trucks' a couple of weeks ago but it's going to be way more than you want to pay.
Could get a couple of aluminium tool boxes from harbor freight
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=35777
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=39196
 

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I'm with Steve, hang a small trailer on it when you need.....
 

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quote:Originally posted by crazypj

Could get a couple of aluminium tool boxes from harbor freight
No, don't do that! I picked one of those up on sale, they wouldn't cut it for road duty. Plywood wrapped in aluminum foil and not a bit rigid.

Check out Pelican, I think those are on the 'zuki above. Very sturdy glass-filled nylon (I think) with gaskets and such. Each case will be about $70-80 but they're nearly bullet-proof.
 

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zero halliburton cases w/ custom ti brackets. possible second mortgage to finance the project but it would be cool. geeto's thoughts +1, sheet alum, some angle, caulk and rivets. make it work. cheers, bcr
 

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Here's my V-Strom with Pelican 1550 bags. Lots of storage and nearly indestructible. If I remember right they were about $80 each.

 

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Discussion Starter #17
I looked into the Pelican cases and they seem like a pretty good idea. I like the ones that open on top (like an ammo can).
I think I'd sooner paint my motorcycle pink than pull a trailer with it. There are certain motorcycling lines that I won't cross, and motorcycle trailers are over the line.
 
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