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Offline ncroadtoad

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Tusk Highland Panniers - Might Be a Winner
« on: March 20, 2020, 12:29:51 AM »
I decided to switch from my hard panniers to soft and after countless reviews, videos and sales pitches decided to try the brand new Tusk Highlanders. 
I've gone from this:


To this:


I just got them put together, a little more difficult than the video would have you believe, but my initial impression is that they are high quality, durable and will suit my needs very well.

I was considering the Giant Loop Coyote, but wanted a bit more storage capacity 39L vs 50L and I like the way these bags drape over the bike with the allowance of adding a third bag if you want. And the price is very reasonable.


Assembled and ready to mount


The main thing I like about these is the flexibility. I could have ordered a dry bag from Tusk for the top in a couple different sizes, but I have a bunch of them. In this picture, go light and don't use one at all.


One Ortlieb medium bag
That high spot in the front middle is due to the hump of the pillion rise. It does not affect stability.


One Ortlieb medium and a Sealline 20L


Two Sealline 20L


And them off the bike.

A few final thoughts.
Fitment is good, not great as the CB5X might be a bit small.
You will need some type of rear rack

You might have noticed that wart of a mount on my rear rack. It's for this ugly little box to use around town and day riding. Practical I suppose.

Back to final thoughts
If your travels require you to remove/install the system every day, plan on 10 minutes to install. You may be faster with practice.
The included dry bags are form fitted, slick surfaced and should slide in with minimal  trouble - I hope.

If you are in the market for soft panniers, maybe this will be useful.

Cheers

Just damn happy to be here...

Offline VA-CB500X

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Re: Tusk Highland Panniers - Might Be a Winner
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2020, 01:05:50 PM »
 Looking good.  Thanks for the detailed write up. 

Why did you decide to switch over from hard cases to a soft bag set-up?

What were the determining factors that led you to this particular Tusk set-up, verses some of their other offerings?

.

Offline richardbd

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Re: Tusk Highland Panniers - Might Be a Winner
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2020, 02:25:07 PM »
Looking good RoadToad.

Do they work ok without any kind of side rack?

And what about heat from the exhaust?

Offline ncroadtoad

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Re: Tusk Highland Panniers - Might Be a Winner
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2020, 11:01:27 PM »
*Originally Posted by richardbd [+]
Looking good RoadToad.

Do they work ok without any kind of side rack?

And what about heat from the exhaust?

Hello richardbd..  No side rack needed and ambient heat from the exhaust effect is unknown, but I don't think it will be an issue. I'll let y'all know if otherwise.

Not a great shot of it, but you can sorta see the heat shield provided.
Hope that helps

*Originally Posted by VA-CB500X [+]
Looking good.  Thanks for the detailed write up. 

Why did you decide to switch over from hard cases to a soft bag set-up?

What were the determining factors that led you to this particular Tusk set-up, verses some of their other offerings?

CB-VA.., howdy.
Thanks, I like them as well.
Hard to soft panniers - tough sell. I've used hard panniers for years, no complaints, didn't think I'd ever want soft.  But with my desire to take the CBX further off pavement, BDR's and worse, I know I'm going to drop it, perhaps many times.  I just felt the risk of leg damage was too great at my advanced age  :161: with those rigid boxes. I think it will work best for me.  Actually I've logged around 400 miles with my goofy top box now and it works quite well to carry my "always have" stuff (my moto man-purse) .

The Highlands appealed to me more than the rest of the Tusk soft stuff. I really like the way they drape over the bike and the expansion potential in them. You can go from minimal luggage to the entire kitchen sink and everything in-between.

Have a good weekend and practice that social distancing  :001:
Just damn happy to be here...

Offline VA-CB500X

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Re: Tusk Highland Panniers - Might Be a Winner
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2020, 10:58:06 AM »
Thanks for the additional feedback/insights. All makes sense.

After you rack-up a few miles with the new system, it would be great to hear a follow-up report on how they are performing in the real world.

Stay safe.

Offline hilldweller

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Re: Tusk Highland Panniers - Might Be a Winner
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2020, 11:05:24 AM »
Nah, you've got it totally wrong there.

You're not an adventure rider unless you have tin boxes on your bike.
Brian.

Offline richardbd

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Re: Tusk Highland Panniers - Might Be a Winner
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2020, 11:15:03 AM »
*Originally Posted by hilldweller [+]
Nah, you've got it totally wrong there.

You're not an adventure rider unless you have tin boxes on your bike.

Especially if you're going to the grocery store...

 :152:

Offline ncroadtoad

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Re: Tusk Highland Panniers - Might Be a Winner
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2020, 11:56:36 AM »
*Originally Posted by richardbd [+]
Especially if you're going to the grocery store...

 :152:

Yes, that way I can lock up my beer...   Or maybe these days, my toilet paper  :008:
Just damn happy to be here...

Offline VA-CB500X

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Re: Tusk Highland Panniers - Might Be a Winner
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2020, 12:47:19 PM »
I see advantages to the soft bags, but I also see where the hard cases have advantages too.  Its not, as some of the comments imply, simply to look the part.

If you are camping in North America, having lockable hard cases is very advantageous.  We have loads of wildlife that would think nothing of shredding the soft bags if they are left on the bike.  Yes you can remove them, but youll need to suspend them from a tree (if a tree can be found) if there has been any food stored in them. 

Same is true for urban/suburban riding.  Having lockable storage is a must.  Something like a coyote bag is an awkward and poor substitute for a hard case on a grocery run.

Some folks just ride long distances from hotel to hotel and dont need to worry about wildlife considerations or more mundane daily chores/errands.  Thankfully we can choose from many different solutions to fit our respective needs.

Offline ncroadtoad

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Re: Tusk Highland Panniers - Might Be a Winner
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2020, 08:18:36 PM »
*Originally Posted by VA-CB500X [+]
I see advantages to the soft bags, but I also see where the hard cases have advantages too.  Its not, as some of the comments imply, simply to look the part
Ease up VA-CB  :001: it's just humor..  You know sorta like the GS/KTM guys standing on the pegs as they pull into the Starbucks, I'm sure you've heard them.  But in truth, I go the NC mountains regularly (pre-Apocalypse days) and see all these huge around the world machines everywhere - so long as it's paved. Rarely, as in practically never, do I see one on the gravel roads, FS road or trails. So there is that..

*Originally Posted by VA-CB500X [+]
If you are camping in North America, having lockable hard cases is very advantageous.  We have loads of wildlife that would think nothing of shredding the soft bags if they are left on the bike.  Yes you can remove them, but youll need to suspend them from a tree (if a tree can be found) if there has been any food stored in them. 

Same is true for urban/suburban riding.  Having lockable storage is a must.  Something like a coyote bag is an awkward and poor substitute for a hard case on a grocery run.
In my camping experience, I would never leave any trace of food in a pannier in bear country, metal or otherwise. It might invite a visitor to camp, and they will certainly destroy some equipment trying to get at it. Food should be in a bag and hung from a tree away from the camp. The most careful don't even cook in camp. That may be a bit extreme for me, but then again our bears are black, not brown or grizzly.

You do have a point though about the grocery run, coffee run or just day tripping. That's part of the "tough sell" comment I made. There is just no way around it, hard panniers take the win here every time. My accommodation was that top box. I wanted a small one, but you could easily put a 45+L box on the back for just such stuff and then leave it at home when you travel - or not.

*Originally Posted by VA-CB500X [+]
Thankfully we can choose from many different solutions to fit our respective needs.
   

Yes indeed..
You can make fun of my top box, it's OK  :008:

Cheers, stay healthy
Just damn happy to be here...

 


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