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Fern- 05-17-2012 08:46 AM

Adventure Spec Magadan Panniers
I've bitten the bullet and bought the new Adventure Spec Magadan panniers, developed by Walter Colebatch.

'" Most of you know the idea ... Hard boxes are clearly not suited to the type of travel I am doing. The more off road your travels are, the more you need soft luggage rather than hard luggage.

But existing soft luggage doesnt do the job. No-one in the soft luggage business seems to know what adventure travellers actually need when it comes to transcontinental or RTW journeys. In my experience, the bags of canvas (AndyStrapz, Steel Ponys) are not water resistant, nor are they abrasion resistant, and they have no security. Plastic roll bags (Wolfman, Ortlieb, Endurostan) are too small, not low enough, have little to no abrasion resistance and no security.

Having tried pretty much everything out there and still frustrated by the shortage of features, I decided to build a set for myself. I wanted bags that were capable of carrying a good 35 litres of stuff. The bigger the bags are, the more weight you can get down low, and the smaller your back bag needs to be. I wanted bags that could keep your stuff dry. In the end I decided a removeable waterproof dry bag liner was the best solution as you can take your dry stuff out in a 5 second grab - and take it into your tent - or accommodation - without having to rummage thru the bag in the rain, or take a wet muddy outer bag into a tent or hotel.

Then the bags had to be lockable - a few ideas came and went before I decided to use PacSafe WrapSafe cables. The advantage of these cables is that you can not only lock the bags shut, but you can lock the bags to your luggage rack - by routing the cable through it. The bags have loops front and back for routing the cable and holding it to the bag. So by doing that we had the first motorcycle soft bags that actually offer some sort of security and lockability.

But to complete the security picture we wanted to make the bags slash proof. Not much point locking the bags shut if someone can just slice them open in 2 seconds. Again everything including internal wire mesh was considered, before deciding to sandwich a layer of Kevlar / Twaron in the bag construction. Its extremely difficult to cut and is used in stab proof and bullet proof vests. This puncture restance further adds to the durability of the bags.

Finally the outer material ... Cordura has earned a very good reputation as an extremely abrasion resistant fabric. Many riding pants and jackets are made from 600 denier Cordura. To imagine the durability difference between Cordura and canvas, imagine wearing canvas jeans and sliding down an asphalt road on them - as compared to the same with normal Cordura riding jacket and pants. To make sure of the durability and ruggedness of the product, we decided to pass on the 600 denier Cordura and go straight for 1000 denier Cordura - almost twice as thick and many times as strong. With a outer bag sandwich of 1000D Cordura AND Kevlar / Twaron fabric, the bag is much much much tougher than anything on the market in terms of durability and survivability.

So thats the idea, to make the toughest, most durable RTW soft bags that are waterproof, slashproof, abrasion resistant and lockable - since they are the shortcomings I have experienced in existing soft bags on the market. "

So far, really impressed, although the fabric seems soft, it seems a lot tougher than my previous Ortlieb motorbike panniers, which sadly had an interface with the notorious DRZ400 hole/exhaust (I've now got a exhaust heat shield made from a Walls Ice cream sign!). Repairing was not a good option, maybe fine for occasional use, but I'm about to ride from UK to NZ, so a patch, on the inside is not going to cope

So back to the panniers.

The waterproof liners are a great idea, as I end up putting everything in a big sack just like it anyway. The back pocket fits two 1 litre bottles of oil, or my Army mess tins. The front bottle holder makes a perfect home for my MSR stove bottle, note to self to keep it on the non-exhaust side just in case it gets hot. Might pick up a thermal sigg bottle holder from Decathlon for 5 for it.

The straps have velcro on both sides, minimizing any risk of them coming apart, and are much longer than the ones on the Ortliebs. There is plenty of play left in them, so these would work great on wider racks.

Inside on the back (the side against the rack) is a zipped compartment with plastic sheet, to re-enforce the shape. I've popped a plastic kitchen chopping board in, to beef this up, on one side where my rack loop is not big enough to support this. I might ask my metal fabricator to make the rack larger. I will store my paperwork on the other zip compartment.

My pacsafe locks arrived from Amazon today, wasn't sure if I needed one or two, but now I've looked at them, it seems each pannier needs its own lock. I'll try these out later today. I've added a couple of carabinas to the back velcro onto my rack, just to stop it dragging down, not that they have yet.

Here are some photos...

bigdon 05-17-2012 12:04 PM

They look quite big on the DRZ.
I bet they will work well for your intended use!

Fern- 05-17-2012 02:41 PM

its so I can fit all my shoes and makeup....

bigdon 05-17-2012 04:21 PM


Originally Posted by Fern- (Post 18710424)
its so I can fit all my shoes and makeup....

I could not tell from the name but now I understand why the big bags.:D
You know that they make a Dual Sport Trailer don't you? :rofl

Sounds like quite a trip you have planned. Please post a RR for us!
Enjoy your trip and as DR Rock says, take lots of pichers! :freaky

rockydog 05-20-2012 07:36 AM

hey fern, been on the colebatch post and followed you over here. Could you please measure the bags as they are on your bike? I have my order in and am waiting on the next shipment, and thx for the pics and post.

i have a friend who took his new girlfriend on her first moto trip and at the first campground he opened the pannier to discover the tent had been replaced by a plastic case of haircurlers and huge blowdryer ....priorities ya know.

Fern- 05-20-2012 12:05 PM

What dims do you need ?

rockydog 05-20-2012 01:43 PM

on colebatch's adventurization thread an inmate, jedimaster, has posted some smaller dimensions for his bags. I'm curious what your real world bags measure out to, width, height and depth. thx

Adventure -spec updated their site with dimensions and next shipment date

_cy_ 05-21-2012 07:51 AM

what anchors the bags to the rack?

rockydog 05-21-2012 10:08 AM

this page and previous posts have a lot of info...

Fern- 09-01-2012 08:45 AM

my bags have done 12000kms, and doing well.

managed to scrape a wall in Italy (on the stelvio pass) and the cordura has a little hole in it.

Got clipped by a VW Golf in Kyrgyzstan, bigger tear in the cordura, and grazing on the yellow kevlar, but not pierced it. Only problem was my DEET spray exploded and melted a few things. I hope the panniers and lock left a massive long scrape and dent in his car.

Everything has softened up but not saggy.

The water bottle pouches are great and hold most brands of 1.5 ltr water bottles sold in Central Asia.

The bags are so stuffable. The pacsafe locks are working fine too. My other combination locks are suffering in the dust but these are not.

With hindsight, i'd have my metal work chap make bigger support loops as the bags bend, and are a little to close to my swingarm for comfort.




don't leave your MSR fuel bottle and pump in the bottle pocket, when your bike is parked in the foyer of the Hotel Ararat, Dogubayazit, Turkey. It will be stolen.

rockydog 09-02-2012 08:51 AM

Fern, thanks for the post., i have the bags now and have bashed them around some, tough suckers. Going to redo the rack I built, sort of a jiffypop quickie, and I'll be good to go. They do need lower support. like these from hot rod welding

safe travels

ScottyD 09-07-2012 02:36 AM

Thanks for the feedback on these. It all confirms that they're definitely going to be the go for my Tenere (when I've got the cash together).

Helpful observations with the racks too. Starting to think the ones for Wolfman panniers would be good, with the metal plate to support the back of the Magadans.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

mcgarrett 01-14-2013 07:22 AM

US import fees/taxes
For anyone in the US who has bought these bags, I was wondering what the import fees/taxes were and any feedback on the ordering and delivery process. Thanks.


bigdon 01-14-2013 07:30 AM

I have had my bags for a year or so. I far as I know I did not pay any import fees. I paid the quoted price from Adventure Specs.
I had to wait about Six Weeks for AS to get a shipment. I knew this upfront so was OK with it. They shipped my Panniers as soon as they received them and I had them post haste. :clap

Great bags and pain free buying experience! :freaky

mcgarrett 01-19-2013 09:59 AM


Originally Posted by bigdon (Post 20479761)
I have had my bags for a year or so. I far as I know I did not pay any import fees. I paid the quoted price from Adventure Specs.
I had to wait about Six Weeks for AS to get a shipment. I knew this upfront so was OK with it. They shipped my Panniers as soon as they received them and I had them post haste. :clap

Great bags and pain free buying experience! :freaky

Thanks bigdon. They appear to be back in stock, so I'm likely going to order them before they're out of stock again.

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