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Old 08-30-2010, 01:38 PM   #1
Moab OP
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Question Wolfman Expedition or Giant Loop soft luggage

Hey all,

I have decided that soft bags are the way to go for me, compared a bunch, priced a bunch, read all the reviews I could etc etc etc.....

For me, the decision comes down to the wolfman expedition or the Giant Loop great basin. *Here are the pros and cons of those 2 bags ( IMHO)

Racks: giant loop needs none, wolfman requires racks, preferably the one specially built for them. * The racks from wolfman are $289.99. *I'd say advantage GL, not just for price alone, but I'm not a big fan of riding around with panniers all the time and just riding around with bare racks (w/o panniers) isn't a good look. However if a rack could protect the plastic in a fall it might be well worth it......thoughts?

Cost: GL - $399. Wolfman + racks - $503.99. *(214 for bags, 289.99 for the rack)*

Everyday use: hard cases are probably best for the trip to the grocery store ( that's an adventure isn't it ??) , the daily commute...etc... the Wolfman bags "could" work, the GL seems to be built predominantly for longer trips, not everyday use. *Advantage Wolfman.

Ease of use: *Both come on and off easily and can be carried over the shoulder. *Neither have exterior pockets for quick grab items (as far as I can tell)

Security - both are unsecured, don't leave the bike out of site :)

Overall toughness - both very high quality, both waterproof, the GL rides high and tight and adds no width to the bike, which is nice for hard riding when having bags hanging off the side can add difficulty in some circumstances. *The Wolfman easily attaches to the racks and appear very rugged, and the compression straps are a great addition to get the most room out of the available space. **

Both made in the U.S. ......And for all I've read, both companies stand by their product and offer good customer service.

Volume - the GL boasts 50 liters, the Wolfman 38. *Both have plenty of locations to strap on additional packs.

Did I miss something? *Fact is I haven't decided on one over the other, as both are quite good, but I decided to share my thinking to date for others that may be thinking the same thing. Any input appreciated.
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Old 08-30-2010, 01:49 PM   #2
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Nice review. How about waterproofness (is that a word?).
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Old 08-30-2010, 02:09 PM   #3
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I was facing the same decision as you, Moab. I went for the Wolfman bags, and gave them a trial by fire (and rain) last weekend. You can read my mini-review here.



Bottom line for me was that: A) I wanted to keep my small top case on the bike, and the Great Basin would have forced me to sit too far forward. B) I already had some removable SW-Motech racks for my Caribou cases, and Wolfman supplies straps that work with my racks (as well as some others). C) With the addition of Wolfman's double-ended duffel bag, which at 9" diameter is narrow enough to keep the top case mounted, I get more combined capacity than the Great Basin has.

I think the Great Basin is a great design. But the Wolfman option works better for me. YMMV, etc., etc. But with removable racks like the SW-Motech, you're not riding around with them when they're not needed. And should you want to get some hard bags for commuting or whatever, you'll already have the racks. And you're right, the racks do protect the plastic in a crash. DAMHIK

David
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Old 08-30-2010, 02:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moab
... I'm not a big fan of riding around with panniers all the time and just riding around with bare racks (w/o panniers) isn't a good look. However if a rack could protect the plastic in a fall it might be well worth it........Neither have exterior pockets for quick grab items (as far as I can tell)... the compression straps are a great addition to get the most room out of the available space. ...Both have plenty of locations to strap on additional packs.
Here's what I can contribute based predominantly on experience.

Having hard panniers that you can lock isn't just about getting to the grocery store. You can carry far more to the camp-site or whatever your base camp will be, then shoot off for day/multi-day trips with your soft bags if you please. With all the slagging hard bags get when going off-piste, most of them are very resilient. Sure, they can break legs in the right situation but that can be minimized by wearing proper boots and keeping your feet on the pegs. There will be many 'strong' opinions on this one for sure. Also, not having to undo a bunch of straps whenever you want to access the cargo hold and being able to carry a bit more is nice.

Having racks that are solid is a huge bonus. Experienced first hand they protect the bike, they make it way easier for you and your friends to lift, drag or rescue the bike, they allow luggage options such as the Wolfman/Andy Strapz softies or hard luggage which is unbeatable for touring that doesn't become too technical. I would even go as far as saying they strengthen the subframe by bracing it against the frame - but I'm no engineer.

Exterior pockets are handy and hard to come by in waterproof soft luggage. If you go 'weather-resistant' you'll find more pockets available. The Wolfman gear has plenty of straps to attach stuff and they make fuel bottle carriers meant to mount to the Expedition softies. They probably make more, I'm not sure on that one.

Compression straps are great to keep the gear tight to the bike. Very annoying to have a shifting load with every bump.

Wolfman bags carry the weight lower - a bonus when in tight spaces or picking up the bike.

The reason I went with the Wolfman Expedition Dry Bags mounted to an existing rack versus the GL bags is that I can't stand to have a load which is behind me and potentially approaching pillon real-estate on the seat. I need all the space I can get on the seat for manoeuvring the bike, shifting my weight, stretching out, getting on/off and/or carrying the occasional box of beer. I don't mind using the rear rack for a tailbag or whatever but I try and keep the seat as empty as possible.

As usual, my experience is probably different from others so YMMV.
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Old 08-30-2010, 02:29 PM   #5
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I agree with the analysis above. I am about to purchase the Wolfman with SW-Moto racks. Both the Wolfman and GL are well made and bullet proof, so there's no issue with quality between the two.

I tried out the GL bag for a couple days and I had a couple of issues with it, mainly for what I want the bags for. First issue I had with the GL bag was you can't get into it easily. Straps have to come off, zippers opened, etc. Not a deal breaker, but not easy if you are in and out of the bag several times a day.

Second issue was that with anything in the top portion of the bag, I couldn't swing my leg over the seat. I have a KTM 640 and I had to lean back and shoot my leg straight over the seat. I had to do that about 8 times one day around town and that was 7 too many.

Finally, the GL bag is not advertised as waterproof. It is suggested you seal the seams and the zipper does not seal where the two zipper heads come together. My buddy with the GL swears he never gets water in there and my experience riding with him seems to bear this out, but I am still worried about water getting in.

Wolfman allows me to access one bag at a time, which is better for me than having all my gear in one bag. I am going for the SW-Moto racks because they can be removed in about a minute, leaving only a couple small brackets on the bike. I called Wolfman and they said the SW-Moto racks work just fine with the bags.

Finally, with the racks on the bike, I can always add hard cases if I ever desire that option.

my 2 cents...
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Old 08-30-2010, 03:16 PM   #6
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i went with the wolfman racks and bags. The bags are very heavy duty and completely air tight it would seem. I paid 194 for the bags and 269 for the rack + 10% off for ordering on line. Even though i went into the store to grab them, they hooked me up.

see the link here: http://www.sierraexpeditions.com/

the owner is Will. Give him a call, super cool. Also very cool is Berg. Berg makes the racks specific for the wolfman stuff. If you go that route rest assured you'll get good service.
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:13 PM   #7
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Wicked

Quote:
Originally Posted by gregneedham

Wolfman allows me to access one bag at a time, which is better for me than having all my gear in one bag. I am going for the SW-Moto racks because they can be removed in about a minute, leaving only a couple small brackets on the bike. I called Wolfman and they said the SW-Moto racks work just fine with the bags.

Finally, with the racks on the bike, I can always add hard cases if I ever desire that option.

my 2 cents...

Greg,
Doesn't the sw moto racks require that you modify your rear turn signals? Seems like a deal breaker
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Old 08-31-2010, 06:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moab
Greg,
Doesn't the sw moto racks require that you modify your rear turn signals? Seems like a deal breaker
It sounds like Greg doesn't have the racks yet, so I'll answer your question, Moab. No, you don't have to modify the turn signals. The modification kit is included, but it's only "required" in Germany. There's no need to do anything to your turn signals anywhere else.

When I'm running with the Caribous, the unmodified signals are slightly obscured from the side. But as you can see in this picture (and my other picture above), that's not a problem with the Wolfman bags.



David
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Old 08-31-2010, 06:56 AM   #9
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Thanks WoodWorks. I don't have the bags yet. My only real world experience is with the Giant Loop and with Jesse hard bags.

WoodWorks, that last picture is one that I was going to ask if you had. Excellent view. If you have any others specifically of the bags and racks, I would love to see them posted. I would love to see the bags open on the bike and get some sense of the size.

I took a paper sack from the grocery store, which is close to the Wolfman bag size and taped it to my bike for an approximation, but photos would be great. Thanks.
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Old 08-31-2010, 07:00 AM   #10
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I've been pondering the same question. One of the things that worries me, and I didn't see mentioned here, is that if the bike goes over you could damage your stuff that is in the side bags. Not a big deal if you're only carrying clothes and stuff but I like to carry camera equipment with me as well. So that would require me to also carry a top case for anything fragile.

For those using the Wolfmans. How are they when empty? Can the straps be pulled tight enough to keep the empty bags from flapping in the breeze on the highway?
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Old 08-31-2010, 07:05 AM   #11
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I don't have any pictures other than the ones I posted in my mini review. But I'll get the bike out today and shoot a bunch, including some with the empty bags cinched up tight.

David
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Old 08-31-2010, 07:13 AM   #12
gregneedham
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WoodWorks
I don't have any pictures other than the ones I posted in my mini review. But I'll get the bike out today and shoot a bunch, including some with the empty bags cinched up tight.

David
Fantastic. Thanks for taking the time. Could you take a shot with the bags open on the bike and something in the bags for size reference, like a glove or book or something? Thanks.
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Old 08-31-2010, 08:12 AM   #13
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I have both brands, albeit, not the ones you are comparing. I like them both for different reasons. Both brands are built for abuse.

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Old 08-31-2010, 08:30 AM   #14
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here are the bags with the wolfman rack. If this helps you guys out.




This was pretty much after install so the bags weren't stuff and sorta slapped on there. They're full of air, and they do hold air too. Kinda interesting actually. If go over, it'd be like falling on a nice big cushion shock absorber.

I can if need be snap pics for yff's but remember these are the wolfman rack, not the motech.
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Old 08-31-2010, 02:05 PM   #15
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As promised, here are some more photos of the Wolfman Expedition Dry Saddle Bags in combo with the SW-Motech EVO racks.

The rackless bike, showing the four quarter-turn attachment points for the rack.:



With the racks (and velcro straps with D-rings). As I mentioned earlier, the straps don't have to be removed when I mount my Caribou 36-L hard cases:



With the bags attached via the straps. The rubber coated fabric of the bag is thick and stiff, and there's an internal plastic stiffener. There are no worries about it flopping around at speed, even when empty:



The roll top is tall, and gives you plenty of spare room when you need to pack extra stuff. My guess is that you can easily fit an extra 4 liters into each bag without compromising waterproof integrity:



Looking down into the open bag. That's a standard size paperback book. You may also be able to see the plastic stiffener on the sides and bottom that help the bag maintain its shape:



Hope this helps.

David
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