My whole reason for wanting an adventure bike is for exploration. Not every interesting ride or destination is close enough to get home for dinner. Sometimes, it isn’t the distance but exhaustion that has or should keep me from riding back home the same day. For some, desirable destinations require several days, weeks, months, or years on the road. Giant Loop has a motorcycle packing system for every adventure.
Before Giant Loop opened its doors in 2008, I did a 300-mile, three-day off-road ride in Colorado using a fully loaded backpack as my only storage system. I vowed to never do that again! Giant Loop has designed storage units to securely and safely store our cargo, so we don’t have to carry dead weight on our shoulders or around our waists.
Now that I know that the Ultimate Motorcycling Yamaha Ténéré 700 Project Bike is fully suited for me as a long-tour motorcycle, I needed storage for my bucket list ride to the Arctic Circle (or Glacier or Yellowstone). The Giant Loop Round the World Panniers with lockable, quick-release mounts looked like they would fit the bill.
The aluminum Giant Loop GL Pannier Mounts ($202) took some time to assemble. Because the panniers can be used with various mounting systems, they are shipped ready for the owner to do the final assembly. The Ultimate Motorcycling Yamaha Ténéré 700 Project Bike has the Yamaha Side Case Mounts ($428), so I carefully melted six bolt-holes into the sides of the new $699 panniers to bolt the quick-release mounting system to the internal HDPE frame board. Measure twice and melt once!
The assembly instructions are clear with descriptive sentences, excellent illustrations, and a guided video link on the Giant Loop website. I had one question about the positioning of the internal frame board and got a quick answer by calling Giant Loop’s main number in Bend, Oregon.
The two Round the World Panniers are 12 pounds lighter than the two Yamaha Parts & Accessories Aluminum Side Cases. The OEM cases have 72 liters of storage space, while the Giant Loop Round the World Panniers have a combined 70L of waterproof storage space in their center compartments. Each bag includes one five-liter drawstring exterior pocket and one five-liter waterproof top pocket roll, for a total of 90 liters of storage. That is a five-gallon gas can’s worth of extra storage over the OEM hard cases.
Unless you are taking a road trip, you probably won’t be filling them up. To keep all contents secure, the gazillion buckles (okay, 10) and straps on each pannier cinch down as tight as necessary.
The quick-release mounts use a barrel lock to secure each bag to the bike. Turn the barrel lock with its unique key and lift off the bag with the heavy-duty handle. While the locks keep the bags on the mounts, the contents are still accessible without a key.
To assure your gear stays dry, Giant Loop provides a dry bag insert with many of its units. The Giant Loop Round the World Panniers include full-size dry bags, which I appreciate because I am a belt-and-suspenders type of person. The added benefit of the panniers’ dry bags, like luggage liners, is that you can simply lift your pannier’s contents out and take it with you without removing the panniers from the motorcycle.
I have not taken a full-on road trip with all the Giant Loop bags yet, especially because I just completed my 1120-mile delivery ride. I have, however, ridden over 200 miles and 15 hours of varied off-road terrain with the soft panniers fully loaded. Unless I was admiring the look of the Giant Loop Round the World Panniers from afar, I didn’t notice they were there, except when getting on and off the Ténéré.
The top of the Round the World Pannier is 34 inches high when the Project Ténéré 700 is on the shorter Camel ADV Products Camel Toe Side Stand. The top of the Yamaha side case is 38 inches above the group. With the Yamaha cases on, I can’t get my 30-inch inseam’ knees high enough to get it over the hard bag when mounting.
The forest roads and trails are dusty this time of year due to lack of rain, so I have been returning home with a very dirty motorcycle. I have been hosing down the Ultimate Motorcycling Yamaha Ténéré 700 Project Bike and checking for any sign of leaks into Giant Loop Round the World Panniers. Just as they are advertised, they stay dry on the inside and keep the dust out too.
Giant Loop soft luggage systems are real-world-tested, having been dropped, crashed, immersed, and otherwise tortured all over the world. Giant Loop packing systems have survived globetrotting trips, and I certainly won’t be any harder on them than that in my own riding future. What you are buying now is 13 years of advancements in design and materials that are purpose-built for the rigors of off-roading, knowing what they will be subjected to. There is also a safety factor to soft luggage. If you happen to find yourself with the bike on top of you, soft bags have a better chance of molding mold to your body parts instead of crunching them.
I am fortunate to have a choice of bags to ride with and, unless I specifically need lockable security for my cargo, I am riding with the Giant Loop Round The World panniers.
Giant Loop Round The World Panniers Fast Facts
- Cargo capacity: 90 liters
- Weight: 10.4 pounds (w/out mounting hardware)
- Pannier body dimensions: 21 x 15 x 7.5 inches
- Front drawstring pocket dimensions: 7.5 x 11 x 3.5 inches
- Rear roll-top pocket dimensions: 7.5 x 11 x 3.5 inches
- Colors: Black; Limited Edition Gray/Black; Limited Edition Orange/Black
Giant Loop Round The World Panniers Price: $699/pair