I recently purchased a set of Wolfman Luggage dirt bike panniers from Ben Dragoo in Norman. These panniers were designed for use with a “rack-less” dirt bike. They drape over the seat, wrap around the rear taillight, and strap to the frame. I have never liked having luggage rub against my bike’s paint or plastic, so I decided to build a set of panniers shaped just for my bike and these panniers.
I already had some round tubing I had used for other pannier rack projects, so I brought my Suzuki DRZ-400 into the shop, made a few measurements, laid out the rack design, and started cutting, bending and welding. I don’t have a pipe bender so instead used an acetylene torch to heat the metal and bend it over a hammer head. This worked just fine, although I would prefer a pipe bender, but sometimes you just have to work with what you have.
Luckily I have a nice TIG welder that I can use to make small welds. I was a bit rusty with my TIG skills. It took my a while to get into a grove and quit dipping my tungsten into the molten weld pool, but eventually after having to resharpen the tungsten a few dozen times, I got the hang of it again
I wanted the racks designed so they are small, hug the bike really tight, hold the bags securely, yet are easy to remove. Luckily the DRZ has a nice subframe to bolt the racks to – unlike many modern dirt bikes with plastic subframes.
Once completed, I painted the racks, installed them on the bike, then strapped on the racks. I was very pleased with the result. The bags are easily removed and carried away, which is handy if you are staying at a hotel for the night or need to take your bags into your tent. The system is easily expandable since it was designed so that additional bags can be strapped to the harness. Overall I am very pleased with the new system. Now to get out on some fire roads in the forests of southeast Oklahoma to see if everything stays attached.
Below is a video showing how easy it is to remove the luggage from my DRZ-400.