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 the Tusk Pannier Frame to the CRF 250 Rally

The fitting of the Tusk pannier frame got off to a bit of a bad start.

When it arrived from the USA the box was a dreadful mess and it was obvious that bits were going to be missing!

Not quite what I had in mind!

So after carefully unpacking it I found that the frame itself was actually all still there, a huge plus! The same couldn’t be said for the fixings though.

I knew straight away that I was going to have to contact the seller in the USA and get some replacement fixings sent. Not wanting to be perturbed I got on with the mounting of the frame to the bike to see how it matched up.

Initial lineup looked good and with the use of some spare bolts and fixings I had in the workshop I started to get the frame onto the bike.

Generally the frame itself is very well put together and pretty solid however, some of the holes for fixing it to the bike and for attaching the rear rack weren’t in the right places and so some extra drilling and fiddling was required to get the frame to fit the bike with ease and without stressing all the components to make it line up.

Hole alignment was not the best!

Another issue was with the spacers that fit either side of the seat, as supplied they were some 4mm to 6mm too long which meant if they were persuaded to fit the seat would no longer fit. This resulted in taking it apart again and cutting and refinishing the spacers to get the frame to fit such that the seat would also fit at the same time. This alone took most of one evening to achieve to ensure I didn’t cut too much off the spacers.

It’s clear that some of the fixings are off the shelf items and not specifically manufactured for the frame. Fortunately I’ve got a fairly well equipped workshop and this kind of thing is fairly easy to do but for someone who doesn’t have the same facilities this is going to be an issue.

It’s also interesting to note that the two spacers end up being different lengths to fit, something I need to remember the next time I want to take the seat off.

After much time was spent re-drilling holes and cutting down spacers I finally got the frame to mount with ease and without everything being stressed to line up. This means that should I have the need to remove the frame in the future it should come off easily and more importantly, go back on easily.

It’s a nice looking bit of kit and I hope it proves to be as good as it looks as it wasn’t cheap. Total cost including shipping and import taxes took the price to a whopping £291.25 UK Pounds.

I’ve now ordered the Lomo soft panniers to go onto the frame and so will put together some information about how they look, fit and feel once they arrive.