Soft Motorcycle Pannier Review – The Dual Sport Solution?

Soft Motorcycle Pannier Review

You want to do an Adventure Motorcycle Camping trip with your riding buddies, but your Dual Sport bike has no mounting for luggage racks?

The solution: Rackless Soft Motorcycle Panniers.
I had this problem with my KTM 525EXC enduro bike which has no steel frame whatsoever behind the back of the seat!

So I started researching Motorcycle Luggage Systems looking for what was available in soft motorcycle panniers that don’t require rack mounting.

After many hours of searching, I have come up with what I consider the best quality and value for money available on the market.

This must be a common problem for everyone with a Dual Sport or Enduro bike with limited fixing for luggage systems, so I thought I’d share this in the hope it is of some assistance if you are in the market for a soft luggage system.

In this post, I will give you all the options out there to help you make an informed decision.

Here are the saddle bags I am looking at, from smallest to largest:

  • Giant Loop MoJavi 13.5 – Liter
  • Wolfman E-12 – 25 Liter
  • Kriega US-30 Drypack – 30 Liter
  • Wolfman Enduro – 36 Liter
  • Giant Loop Coyote – 39 Liter
  • Small Optional Extras: Wolfman Tank Pannier 16 Liter, Wolfman Enduro Fender Bag 1.25 Liter, Wolfman Enduro Tank Bag 6.0 Liter.

Quick Summary:

If you’re doing a one day ride, the Giant Loop MoJavi is great for any extras you can’t fit in your backpack or Bumbag.

If you’re doing a weekend camping trip, the Wolfman Enduro Dry Saddlebag is 36 liters, big enough for gear you’ll need. You can always add a third top bag.

For longer adventure rides, a week or more, the Giant Loop Coyote at 39 liters carries that bit more, and when combined with a Tank Bag and Fender Bag, you’re prepared for anything.

Sidenote:

Adam Riemann of Motology Films used the Giant loop Coyote when he and his mate traveled 7000 km from Austria to Egypt on two KTM500EXC enduro bikes, carrying everything they needed on their bikes, including the camera gear for the movie trilogy MOTONOMAD, and then MOTONOMAD II and III.

Check out the trailer for the movies in my post Adventure Motorcycle Travel DVDs

You have the option of 3 configurations:

1. A single ‘Drybag’ mounted directly across or along the top of the rear of your seat.

Kriega US-20 Drybag

2. Two separate Saddle Bags suspended with straps each side of the bike.

This option also gives you the opportunity to add a third top bag if required.

Soft motorcycle panniers

3. A ‘Horseshoe’ shaped one-piece bag which straddles the bike at the rear of the seat.

Giant Loop Saddlebag

 

There’s also the additional locations available to add smaller Tank Bag and front Fender Bag.

Soft panniers can be used on or off-road, but generally are more suitable if you want to do some serious off-road riding because of their narrower width and lighter weight, and when you don’t need to carry as much gear.

They are usually constructed from waterproof PVC or canvas.
If you are looking for PVC panniers, you should look for bags with a fabric thickness of between 300-500 gsm. With canvas look for at least 16oz.

While the fabric is highly durable, you need to be aware that if you fall off the bike, there is a higher likelihood of damaging the contents of your bag, and the bag itself.

The waterproofing capacity can also be reduced in the event of a fall.
Sometimes the most durable panniers may not be the most waterproof, and visa-versa.

Giant Loop and Wolfman are two of the most popular brands. Both names have become synonymous with building durable and rugged products for use off-road.

Soft vs Hard Luggage systems

This is an age-old debate, and it seems everyone has an opinion. Really what it comes down to is what is best for the type of riding you will spend most of your time doing.

If your dual sport bike has no provision for rack mounting, the decision is made for you, but if you can mount some racks, you have a much wider selection to choose from.

Soft Luggage Pros:

  • Cost: You can get a good soft luggage system for under $400. A Hard luggage system will set you back $1000 and more. As a rule of thumb, soft panniers are less than half the price of hard panniers.
  • Weight: Lighter is always better if you’re into the more serious off-road riding. Most rackless soft systems weigh under 10 pounds.
  • Ease of Removal: No tools are required to remove the bags. It is simply a matter of unhooking the fixing straps.
  • Safer for off-road riding: If you fall and get your foot caught under the pannier, a soft bag will hurt a lot less than hard aluminum panniers.
  • Less Bulk: Soft bags allow you to compress your load with straps, making them less bulky when not completely full. This is a big bonus when navigating tight trail obstacles like trees and rocks. You will be able to squeeze through where a square aluminum pannier will stop you in your tracks. Items also tend to not move around as much in soft bags.
  • Weatherproof: Today’s high-tech materials mean soft bags are very waterproof. Some come with waterproof inner liners which can be easily removed and carried into a tent or motel without unstrapping the entire system from the bike.

Soft Luggage Cons:

  • Security: Soft bags aren’t usually lockable, and even with locks they can easily be slashed open by a determined thief.
  • Stability: Soft bags may move around on very rough off-road trails.
  • Durability: As with any fabric, seams can tear, zippers can break, mounting straps may contact a hot exhaust pipe and melt. They are also less resistant to abrasion in the event of a fall.
  • Ease of Access: Loosening straps, opening zippers and roll tops is a bit more time consuming than popping open a hard case.

Hard Luggage Sytems:

Hard luggage systems are really more suited to longer road riding trips with less technical off-road sections.

Hard Luggage Pros:

  • Security: Can be locked safely.
  • Durability: More damage protection to your gear in case of a fall, multi-use at a campsite.
  • Easy Access: Can just pop open the case.

Hard Luggage Cons:

  • extra weight: A major factor in off-road riding.
  • extra width and bulk: Can be cumbersome when navigating tight trail obstacles like trees and rocks.
  • Higher cost: Usually about twice the price of soft bags.
  • Potential injury: to feet in the event of a fall.

Here is my recommendation: in order of small to large capacity.

Giant Loop MoJavi Saddle Bag

Specifications

  • Product: Giant Loop MoJavi Saddle Bag
  • Weight: 3.0 pounds
  • Capacity: 13.5 Liters total (2 x 6L side pockets + 1.5L tool pocket)
  • Waterproof: Water Resistant (100% with Dry Pod liners)
  • Construction: Ballistic Vinyl
  • Warranty: Limited Lifetime
  • Also Included: ‘Hot Springs’ Heat Shield (value $30)

 

 

Giant Loop Mojave saddlebag

 

sort motorcycle pannier

The Giant Loop MoJavi is specially designed for Dual Sport and Enduro bikes to carry just the essentials for a one-day trail ride. It comes with a removable center tool pouch, which is great for a tool roll.

Like all Giant Loop gear, it is built tough to handle all that you can throw at it.

The small size forces you to be efficient in your packing, and the compression straps allow you to pack a slim profile, only protruding 4″, which is ideal for squeezing through tight terrain.

A nice touch is the ‘Hot Springs’ heat shield, which is included and helps prevent melting your bags if they contact the hot exhaust pipe.

If you want to carry a few extras, and still be able to get aggressive in your riding without compromising the handling of your bike, The MoJavi is an ideal size.

For a full review on the Giant Loop MoJavi, check out my post: Giant Loop MoJavi Saddlebag Review

Wolfman E-12 Saddle Bag

Specifications

  • Product: Wolfman E-12 Saddle Bag
  • Weight: 2.55 pounds
  • Capacity: 25 Liters per pair
  • Waterproof: Water Resistant
  • Construction: 1680 Denier Ballistic Vinyl
  • Warranty: Limited on Manufacturing defects

 

 

Wolfman E12 saddle bags

 

 

Wolfman E-12 saddlebag

The Wolfman E-12 will fit almost any Dual Sport or Enduro bike and can be installed in minutes.

Wolfman luggage is well known for its rugged construction throughout their whole range of luggage products.

Like the MoJavi, but slightly bigger, the Wolfman E12 is designed for the rider that wants to pack light and still be able to ride aggressively without affecting the bike’s handling.

The ‘V’ compressions straps allow you to pack your gear in nice and slim against the bike. The last thing you want is for your gear to be moving around inside the bags when you’re riding off-road.

The bags have fixing loops at the top edge, which allows you to fit a top bag if required, for a bit extra storage.

Wolfman highly recommends using the Kiowa Heat Shield to protect the bags from the hot exhaust pipe. It doesn’t come included in the price like the MoJavi, and is available for $40.

Kriega US-30 Drypack

Specifications

  • Product: Kriega US-30 Drypack KUSB30
  • Weight: 2.65 pounds
  • Capacity: 30 Liters
  • Waterproof: 100% guaranteed
  • Construction: Rhinotek
  • Warranty: 10 years

 

 

Kriega US-30 Drybag

Kriega US-30 Drybag

The Kriega US-30 Drypack fits onto the bike as a tailpack. The US-30 is the largest in a range which includes the US-5, 10, 20 & 30.

The bags come with fixing loops which allow you to strap additional bags to the sides and top of your main bag, creating a series of combo options like the combo 40 (30 liter plus 10 liter on top) or combo 50 (30 liter plus 20 liter on top, or 2 x 10 liter on sides).

A roll down top opening to the main bag allows complete 100% waterproofing, and a compression strap over the top lets you pack it in snugly so nothing moves around.

A nice feature is the white contrasting internal liner, which makes finding items at the bottom of the bag a lot easier. You can remove it for washing also.

There is a water-resistant top pocket, and a mesh bottom pocket, which is ideal for wet or dirty laundry that you don’t want in the main bag.

It also comes with a shoulder and waist strap so it can be removed carried off the bike courier style.

Wolfman Enduro Dry Saddle Bag

Specifications

  • Product: Wolfman Enduro Dry Saddle Bag
  • Weight: 5.45 pounds
  • Capacity: 36 Liters per pair
  • Waterproof: Moderately
  • Construction: 1680 Denier Ballistic Vinyl
  • Warranty: Limited on Manufacturing defects

 

 

Wolfman Enduro Dry saddle bag

Wolfman Enduro Dry saddle bag

The Wolfman Enduro Dry Saddle Bag is designed for the rider who wants to do multi-day adventure camping trips.

They have been redesigned in 2017  for larger capacity, an increase in size of 23%. The sizes have increased proportionately in every direction. They still fit perfectly on lightweight dual-sport bikes and still stay out of the way of the rider on tighter trails where you need to move around on the bike a bit more.

The roll-top closures have been beefed up, and there is now 7 compression straps to the top and sides to keep your load from moving around.

Wolfman also highly recommends using the Kiowa Heat Shield to protect the bag from the hot exhaust pipe.

For a full review on the Wolfman Enduro Dry Saddle Bag, check out my post: Wolfman Enduro Dry Saddlebag Review

Giant Loop Coyote Saddle Bag Roll Top

Specifications

  • Product: Giant Loop Coyote Saddle Bag
  • Weight: 5.6 pounds
  • Capacity: 39 Liters
  • Waterproof: Water Resistant (100% with Dry Pods)
  • Construction: ‘Military Spec’ vinyl coated polyester
  • Warranty: Limited Lifetime
  • Also Included: ‘Hot Springs’ Heat Shield (value $30), Dry Pods

 

 

Giant Loop Coyote Roll Top

 

Giant Loop is a name that is synonymous with building durable and rugged luggage products designed to get you off-road.

The Coyote Saddlebag is a roll-top luggage system designed for dual sports and lightweight adventure bikes that are looking to hit the trails on multi-day adventure rides.

It is a horseshoe-shaped bag designed to fit over the rear of the bike, without hindering rider movement or significantly affecting the bike’s handling.

The Coyote is the smaller brother to the 50 Liter Great Basin which is similar in design. The main difference being the width of the U-shaped opening. The Coyote is smaller to suit Dual Sport and Enduro bikes like a KTM500EXC, and the Great Basin is designed for the larger adventure bikes like the Honda Africa Twin or KTM1190R. Both have the same features.

The main construction is 22-ounce vinyl coated polyester, with extra tough ballistic coated polyester to the bottom of the bag where it is more likely to get damaged.

The Roll Top is a convenient closure system that seals out water and dust while maintaining the packable volume of 39 liters, and still has all the features of the zipper closure Coyote Saddlebag.

Compression straps run around the sides of the bag and there are also two over the top to keep your load compact. The side compression straps also feature grab handles and can be moved to a lower position on the bag, to better suit the load you have stored in there.

Also included are removable 100% waterproof Coyote Dry Pods which easily slip inside your main bag. They are in a set of 3, one for each side, and one for the top, and have roll top openings which ensure waterproofing.

There are drains in the bottoms of the ‘legs’ that allow water to escape if it happens to get inside the water-resistant outer shell.

The Hot Springs Heat Shield should be installed first, to protect your bag from melting if coming into contact with the hot exhaust pipe.

Features

  • 39-liter capacity
  • Heavy-duty 22 ounce Bomb Shell vinyl coated polyester reinforced with ballistic nylon
  • Reinforced roll-top closure for a quick easy waterproof seal
  • Cinch ring and side-release buckled compression straps for lashing additional gear
  • Reflective accents for enhanced visibility
  • includes one laser-cut aluminum Hot Springs Heat Shield
  • Includes ballistic webbing for the rear mounting option, in addition to fender hooks
  • Made in the USA

For a full review on the Giant Loop Coyote, check out my post:  Giant Loop Coyote Saddlebag Review

Smaller Luggage Options

Wolfman Tank Panniers

Specifications

  • Product: Wolfman Tank Panniers M4103
  • Weight: 1.35 pounds
  • Capacity: 14 Liters/854 cu.in. per pair
  • Waterproof: Moderately
  • Construction: 1680 Denier Ballistic Nylon
  • Warranty: Limited on Manufacturing defects

WolfmanTank Pannier

Features

  • Heavy Duty Ballistic Nylon construction with YKK zippers, so you know its durable enough to take the knocks
  • Non-Skid/Non-Scratch backing so you don’t damage your tank
  • Reflex accents which ensure you are seen at night
  • Dimensions: Length 10″/25cm, Width 4″/100cm, Height 11″/28cm
  • Made in the USA

Will fit just about any bike tank, ATV or snowmobile. Built with the same rugged construction as with all Wolfman luggage.

These make an excellent alternative to a tank bag or can be used in addition to a tank bag if you want to keep the weight towards the front of your bike.

Wolfman Enduro Fender Bag

Specifications

  • Product: Wolfman Enduro Fender Bag V-1.7
  • Weight: 10.9 ounces
  • Capacity: 1.25 Liters/80 cu.in.
  • Waterproof: Moderately
  • Construction: 1680 Denier Ballistic Nylon
  • Warranty: Limited on Manufacturing defects

 

 

Wolfman Enduro Fender Bag

Features

  • Non-Skid/Non-Scratch bottom so you don’t scratch your fender
  • Heavy Duty Ballistic Nylon construction
  • Heavy duty adjustable buckles to secure your bag firmly
  • 1″ Vinyl coated metal hooks to secure the bag to the fender
  • Dimensions: Length 12″/30cm, Width 6 1/2″/17cm, Height 11″/28cm
  • Made in USA

These are a great place for carrying a spare inner tube, and maybe some tire change levers and a few tools. Tip: You need only carry a front tube. You can use a front tube in the back wheel if necessary to get you back home.

Tank Bags

A tank bag is a convenient place to carry things you want quick access to, like phone, wallet, camera, light clothing etc.
They have been used on road bikes for years, and have recently made their appearance in the dirt bike and adventure bike scene.

One of the key features to look for is a clear map pocket on the top. They are quickly detachable if you need to for refueling.

While some of them are waterproof, the only way to be completely waterproof is to use a cover that goes over the whole bag.
Price generally $120 to $450.

Wolfman Enduro Tank Bag

Specifications

  • Product: Wolfman Enduro Tank Bag V-1.7
  • Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Capacity: 6.0 Liters/366 cu.in.
  • Waterproof: Water Resistant (rain cover & internal liner available)
  • Construction: 1680 Denier Ballistic Nylon
  • Warranty: Limited on Manufacturing defects

Wolfman Enduro Tank bag

The Wolfman Enduro Tank Bag is a universal bag geared towards Dual Sport bikes, and smaller adventure bikes. It is small in size, but big in functionality.

It has the same rugged construction as all of Wolfman’s other products, built to handle some aggressive riding without hindering the rider.

It features the removable map pouch which is also ideal for slipping in your mobile phone or GPS unit.

For a full review on the Wolfman Enduro Tank Bag, check out my post: Wolfman Enduro Tank Bag Review

Summary

I hope the information provided here will help you when choosing the best soft motorcycle pannier system for you.

My Pick:  If you’re doing a weekend camping trip, the Wolfman Enduro Dry Saddlebag enough storage for the gear you’ll need. You can always add a third top bag.

If you’re doing a one day ride, the Giant Loop MoJavi is great for any extras you can’t fit in your backpack or Bumbag.

For longer adventure rides, a week or more, the Giant Loop Coyote at 39 liters carries that bit more, and when combined with a Tank Bag and Fender Bag, you’re prepared for anything.

For a full review on the Giant Loop Coyote, check out my post:  Giant Loop Coyote Saddlebag Review

For the Dual Sport and Enduro bike rider, these are accessories that will allow you to do that overnight motorcycle camping trip with your adventure riding buddies.

Related Posts:

See how the Giant Loop Coyote soft panniers were used on two KTM500EXC enduro bikes by Adam Riemann to travel from Austria to Egypt in the MOTONOMAD trilogy films in my post:  Adventure Motorcycle Travel DVDs

Adam Riemann MOTONOMAD
Adam Riemann of MOTOLOGY films

 

An In-depth review of the top 7 Best Soft Panniers for Lightweight Adventure Bikes Best Soft Panniers For Lightweight Adventure Bikes

 

 

Dirt Bike Tool KitWhat to carry in your Bumbag Toolkit: Dirt Bike Tool Kits

 

 

Camelbak RogueHow to select the right Hydration pack for you: 10 Best Hydration Packs For Dirt Bikes

 

 

Fox Racing 2019 Podium 180 Gear Bag Cota An essential part of your Dirt Bike arsenal is your gear bag: 10 Best Gear Bags For Dirt Bikes 2018

 

 

Please feel free to comment if you have found a great soft luggage system that works for you. Help future readers out and share your thoughts below.

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10 thoughts on “Soft Motorcycle Pannier Review – The Dual Sport Solution?

  1. Thanks for the review and the information on these saddle bags. I had never really thought about soft saddle bags for my sport bike in fact I didn’t even know they made them.
    Are any of these available through any brick and mortar stores or are they only available on line?

    I usually prefer to see items like this in person before I decide to make a big purchase like this.

    1. Hi Doug. Thanks for you comments. 

      I’m not sure about the local availability. Where are you living? I can do some checking for you. 

      If you are in the USA I’d say almost certainly you would be able to check them out at a local motorcycle dealership to satisfy yourself on quality, then compare price to the online price. 

      If you are in Australia like me, there will be limited local suppliers. Which of the saddle bags were you interested in?

      Greg

  2. Very good that I read this article about saddlebags.
    I have also a dirt bike riders, but I have a problems of carrying my things when I go outside.
    Finally I saw your post and got some idea to carry all my things up. I can’t wait to have one saddlebag.
    Good context.

    1. Hi Joel. Yes, there are some good saddlebag options available now for dirt bikes. If you don’t have the fixing brackets for hard panniers, then soft panniers are the way to go, especially for a dirt bike where you want to keep it light and compact. Let me know if I can be of any assistance, thanks for your comments.

      Greg

  3. I could really do with a dry bag version of these Panniers, but motorcycle shops in my area seem to be a little bit threadbare when it comes to choice (and overall knowledge) on these items. 

    Would you recommend sticking to online stores to find the correct Pannier for your journey? I only ask as they seem to have a lot more choice AND knowledge on the subject/product?

    1. Hi Chris. Yes with soft motorcycle panniers I have never found much at the local dealer. It is something that you can easily buy online because you don’t have to worry about sizing so much, just pick the capacity you want.

      As with most things, you can generally find a better price online also, plus you get the review and comparisons.

      I’ve done individual reviews on three of the saddlebags in my Soft Motorcycle Pannier review, the links are after each item. There may be something there for you, I’ve covered all sizes and types.

      If I can be of any more help, please just let me know. Thanks for your comments.

      Greg

  4. You gave me an amazing idea with these saddle bags as a friend of mine has a motorcycle and I wanted to make him a gift for his birthday that is coming soon. So many times in the past I was making jokes at him that he couldn’t carry almost anything as I was talking everything with my car. I like you give us many options to choose from. Now I only have to find one that will be good for him. Hmmm…

    1. Hi Stratos. Great idea, I think these would make a great gift for a rider. They will fit almost any bike, just decide on a size, depending on what sort of bike he has, and what type of riding he does.

      I did an earlier post: Gift Ideas for Dirt Bike Riders. You might get some ideas from there also.

      It’s such a good idea I think I might add a saddlebag to that gift idea post.

      Thanks for your comments. Hope it helps.

      Greg

  5. This is something I need for my bike. I have been using a backpack with bungy strap and when riding it always came loose. Do they make them for smaller bikes. My son has a honda crf50. 

    When we go to the mountaing theis sadle bag would be a huge help for saftey and tools. Thank you for the great review. If you can help with information on if they have saddle bags for smaller bikes i would really appreciate it. Thanks

    1. Hi Bill. I did some searching and the smallest bags I found are tail packs, which sit behind the seat. I think the saddlebags that straddle the bike may be too big for a CRF50. 

      The best I have found are the small Wolfman Rolie bag which is 4.5 liter capacity 

      The other is the Giant Loop Klamath tail rack pack which is 4 liter capacity.

      Both of these brands are top notch for quality. I have put links on them so you can check them out.

      Thanks for your comments. If I can be of any more help just let me know.

      Greg

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