Mountain Sun Tank Panniers

Thursday, Jan 2 2014 [5949 miles]

Tank Pannier Abuse on my '05 GS

Tank Pannier Abuse on my ‘05 GS

Tank Pannier Abuse on my ‘05 GS
'06 panniers on my '13 GS

‘06 panniers on my ‘13 GS

‘06 panniers on my ‘13 GS

I’ve had my Mountain Sun Tank Paniers since 2006. They’ve been great on both my ‘05 and my new ‘13 GS. I haven’t exactly been easy on them, either. I’ve had to pound out dents that occured to items stored in the bags yet the bags are still in fine condition. Even low sides on pavement haven’t damaged the bags.

I’ve written a web page on mounting the bags to my ‘05 GS and another page where I modified the bags to mount then on my ‘05 exactly the way I wanted. The folks at Mountain Sun Touring Company noticed and linked to my pages. I let them know when I’d moved the bags to the ‘13 water cooled GS that replaced my ‘05. They linked to that page, too.

Imagine my surprise when they called me just before Christmas offering to send me a new set of bags to say thanks. Sure, I’ll take them. Although, I don’t really need them. The ‘06 model is still doing quite fine.

Since I have both sets I thought I’d use this page to compare any changes that have occurred in the last 8 years.

Front: new left, old right

Front: new left, old right

Front: new left, old right
Side: new bottom, old top

Side: new bottom, old top

Side: new bottom, old top
Back: new left, old right

Back: new left, old right

Back: new left, old right

The design of the tank panniers has not changes as far as I can tell. same size, features, mounting straps, etc. The material feels the same, but as you can tell in the pictures the netting looks slightly different. Also, when comparing old and new the webbing used for the straps is ever so slightly thinner on the new bags. Without the old bags in hand I don’t think you’d ever notice. The biggest difference in looks is that the ‘06 bags have faded in color a little bit over the years.

Zipper: new left, old right

Zipper: new left, old right

Zipper: new left, old right
Top straps: new left, old right

Top straps: new left, old right

Top straps: new left, old right

Both bags use YKK zippers, but the ‘06 model is a different zipper that is much harder to operate. I suspect it might be slightly better in keeping water out, but there will always be a gap where the zippers meet. I don’t store anything in the bags that can’t get wet unless wrapped in a zip-lick bag for extra protection. That said, I’ve never had anything get more than slight damp, even when in pretty wet weather.

The top straps seem to be pretty much the same save the thickness difference noted above.

Opening for hydration hose

Opening for hydration hose

Opening for hydration hose
Hydration bladder pocket

Hydration bladder pocket

Hydration bladder pocket

The inside of the bag still has a pocket for a hydration bladder on both sides and a slot to feed the hydration hose out of the bag. That shiney “dot” in the images is on the old bag. My hydration hose has a magnetic clip near the bite valve that clips to the “dot” when not in use. That makes the hose always in reach, easy to grap, and easy to store without needing to look.

Rear bottom strap

Rear bottom strap

Rear bottom strap
Position on bike

Position on bike

Position on bike
Front bottom strap

Front bottom strap

Front bottom strap

These three pictures show the tank panniers tossed over my ‘13 GS. No change, as far as I can tell, with respect to mounting. The rings mounted to the bike in the first picture came with my ‘06 panniers. I keep them on the bike at all times. I did notice that the new rings were of a slightly different shape. It doesn’t look like they’d mount any different, though.

So now the big decision… keep using the old paniers or switch to the new? One if these days I’m going to drop the bike in a way that will catch the netting or rub a friction hole through the material. It will be nice to have a backup when that day arrives.