Originally Posted by whistler110
Is the plastic spine and clips just screwed onto the frame of those bags? You might be able to make a stronger mounting system. I have done some mountain bike touring and have broken plastic tabs. I just took the plastic off, bolted on some aluminum channel and added a bungy cord to get me home.
Yep ... the plastic spine is just screwed into the fabric. I ended modding both bags by putting in a 2mm steel spine, effectively doubling and reinforcing the plastic spine ... the stock bolts were just long enough for that. That solved one problem - snapping spine. But the other problem was harder to solve in the field ... the plastic quick release clips that attach to 15 or 16 mm tube. In the end I just attached the steel spine of the bags to the steel rack with hose clamps (Aus) / jubilee clips (GB) ... not sure what they call them in the states.
The third problem was the bags are not as durable as motorcycle luggage. They were fine for the first 20,000 km ... then started showing their limitations. By 30,000 km they were letting in a lot of water and had holes in them. They were tearing where the bolts holding the fabric to the spine penetrated the fabric. Too mush stress for too long.
For shorter trips of up to 3 months, I think its very feasible to use them - with a couple of mods. For longer trips, there are too many things you will eventually need to fix and might as well start somewhere else in the beginning.