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How to harden your Aluminum Panniers

Aluminum panniers of any manufacturer will deform in a crash. These instructions explain how you can harden your panniers to minimize damage during a crash or tip-over

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Motorcycle Aluminum Pannier Hardening
Even during a tip-over your aluminum panniers can be damaged/deformed.  The reason for most deformations is that the rack usually is smaller than the pannier and mounts on the weakest part of the pannier, the large, flat backside
Disregard the small black box, it's a battery pack for LED's.
Here is how to harden your panniers with a few, easy steps:
Mark the outside of the pannier rack on your pannier. If you have ridden with you panniers for a while ths may not be needed, as the rack will show on the pannier. Remove your panniers from your racks and remove the mounting kit.

Motorcycle Aluminum Pannier Hardening
 
For hardening the panniers I use two steel bars, 2.5" x 1/8", as long as the pannier. These bars are available for relatively cheap from many online metal shops. Yes steel bars add a little weight, but aluminum bars would need to be at least twice as thick to have the same strength, and that comes out to about the same weight.
The bars have to go from one pannier edge to the other edge to work properly.They can be a little longer, but not shorter. The edges are the strong parts of your panniers and need to be included in this design.

Lay the bars on your pannier, so that they cover where your rack goes, as well as the mounting kit.

Motorcycle Aluminum Pannier Hardening
 
From the inside of the pannier mark the holes of the mounting kit. Drill the same size holes that are in your pannier into the bars in the positions you marked. Take care in marking and drilling to get a good fit.
Lay the bars back onto the pannier and check the hole position.
If needed drill the holes a little bigger or file the holes into a slot.


 
Motorcycle Aluminum Pannier Hardening
 
Mark, drill, and tap 5 or 6 more holes into each bar. Two holes close to each edge of the pannier and one or two in the middle between the mounting kit. I used M4 screws, which are plenty strong for this.
Mark these holes onto the pannier and drill thru-holes in these positions into the pannier.

 
Motorcycle Aluminum Pannier Hardening
 
Clean the bars and paint them to prevent them from rusting.
From the inside of the pannier use button-head screws with fender washers to attache the bars.

Re-attach the mounting kit and you are ready for your next adventure trip.

This will not prevent the pannier from deforming if you go down hard, but a tip-over or a slow down on sand or gravel should not damage the pannier. This has worked for me a few times already, but your experience may be different. Sorry, I'm not taking any responsibility for it.