Givi GRT 709 Soft Panniers

When I fitted the Tusk rack to my CRF250 Rally I had already decided to try out the Lomo soft panniers as they were cheap and seemed to get good reviews.

At £50.00 the Lomo soft panniers really are very cheap and on first inspection appear to be well made.

So for the Thetford Safari event I loaded them up, strapped them to the bike and headed off.

The first problem I had was that no matter how tightly I strapped the bags on they moved around a lot. I used the straps that they came with and two Rok straps on each side but still the bags would move around. This movement resulted in the back of the bags getting worn, which eventually would lead to a hole and water ingress so it was time to have a rethink.

Looking at the market place there are quite a few options for soft panniers available with many costing more than metal panniers.

After much research I decided to purchase the new Givi GRT709 Soft panniers. They’re some £200.00 cheaper than other manufacturers offerings but provide the same storage capacity and water proof solution.

The Givi GRT709 Panniers come with the mounting plate included for the total price of £400.00. This is £200.00 less than the Kriega soft panniers that don’t come with their mounting plate which then costs another £130.00 on top of the £600.00 pannier price tag making them extremely expensive.

The Givi mounting plate fits perfectly onto the Tusk frame and the panniers then lock to the plate using a key lock, something the Kriega offering doesn’t have.

Water proofing is a two part system. Firstly there is the outer pannier which has a solid back and attaches to the mounting plate secondly, there is the inner dry bag that can be removed from the outer shell with ease and comes complete with a shoulder strap to make it easy to carry.

Givi GRT709 Soft Pannier on Honda CRF250 Rally

The panniers provide 35L of storage each (5L more than the Kriega bags) and also have a waterproof bottle storage pod on the rear of each bag. This extra storage is great for carrying a water bottle or fuel for the camping stove.

I’ve used the bags now in all weather conditions including very heavy rain and everything has stayed completely dry.

This is a much better solution than the Lomo soft panniers as the bags don’t move around at all, are securely attached to the bike by key lock and provide more storage.

With a cost of £400.00 I think this is the best pannier solution for the CRF250 Rally, albeit not the cheapest.

Fitting auxiliary fuel tank to the CRF250 Rally

The standard Honda CRF250 Rally has a 10.2L tank which gives a range in the region of 200 miles, depending how you ride. For my trip I need to be able to cover 300 miles without needing to refuel and so I need to carry at least another 5L of fuel.

Fortunately there are a number of solutions to this problem, some more expensive than others.

I investigated replacing the tank with a larger unit to give me the extra capacity however, the cost was prohibitive.

After much searching I settled on an inexpensive solution available on Amazon. A simple 5L mountable fuel tank that is a copy of the extremely expensive Rotopax system.

The tank itself is pretty solid, in fact it’s strong enough to stand on. The two U bolts that it comes with don’t really lend themselves to mounting on a flat plate and so I replaced these with ordinary bolts with nylock nuts.

Using electrical tape to hold the mount into the centre of the rack plate I used a centre punch to mark the spot for each hole to be drilled. Using a good quality drill bit I drilled the four mounting holes in the aluminium plate and mounted the tank bracket using four short bolts with washers and nylock nuts. Once tight, I mounted the rack plate on the bike and fitted the tank.

As you can see in the photos it’s a nice addition to the bike and isn’t too big or intrusive. Importantly it leaves plenty of room for my dry bag to sit across the back of the seat to carry the camping gear.

Total cost of this little project was £25.08 and about 40mins of my time.

Next project is new handle bars and bar risers, stay tuned!