Last time I wrote, I mentioned I had purchased some SW-Motech Trax panniers. They arrive and are surely are a sweet piece of kit. I had to purchase some adapter plates for the existing Hepco and Becker pannier frames however these were easy to install and very well made. I have to hand it to the Germans, they know how to engineer. When I initially was researching on the web, I had read about issues with leaking, but so far they have been completely drip free inside.
So how are they on the road? To get the negative out of the way, there are two things that bug me a little. Firstly, the locks must have the keys in them when they are unlocked. I guess it’s some sort of safety feature, but to be honest, who needs locks out in the desert? I have retained the frame mounting locks, but when touring I remove the lid locks. It's an easy process to remove the lock barrels, almost too easy! I have spoken with a Locksmith about this and he thinks I may need to replace the locks. Hmmm…. Also the lids catches could easily be opened with a screwdriver. I guess one day I will have to update the catches. No rush.
Second negative is the width. I opted for the 45L cases and they are just over a metre wide on the bike. I have learnt to be very conscience of their width already. On one occasion I brushed another vehicle because I simply forgot the width at the back of the bike. No damage, but a scare to say the least.
Also with this width, you do notice the wind resistance at high speed. I have also learnt that a safe speed is the legal limit, so I stick to it. I have ridden a faster, but the fuel consumption degrades accordingly.
Now for the Positives! They mount very easily. Locate the lugs on the frame and they simply slip on. Flick the frame lock and the cases are completely secure. My panniers came with high grade carry bags that have a Velcro seal. These make life dead easy when you want to remove the contents of the case. The lids seal very well, the hinges are solid and overall I have been very impressed. I must say in closing the SW Motech cases are great general usage cases. I would never suggest that you would do a trans-global trip with them, however there is no reason why you couldn't.