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AltRider Hemisphere Waterproof Soft Panniers Reviews

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Eric Hall

  • 5
   2 of 2 members found this review helpful 2 / 2 members

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At 125 liters they have a capacity matching or exceeding hard panniers.  This is best in class as far as I’m aware and runs counter to the perception that going to soft panniers will have you sacrificing payload size.

 

This is my first try at soft panniers so I don't have much to compare them to but after talking about another brand's drawbacks, I can tell you that they are NOT too heavy nor do they risk coming off the bike when you put it down.

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Installation and removal are a breeze.  They really stay secure and are durable.  My rear shock bolt busted so you know I wasn’t riding easy trails.  I’ve put about 2,000 miles on them in Death Valley and Baja and they’ve stood up to all that was thrown at them.

 

Size can be deceiving though, as one still must fit each dry bag back into the compartments/holsters.  They’re easy to over-stuff and then find you can’t fit into the lower holster.  Over-stuff the top bags all you want but you will experience what I'm calling "muffin top."   :lol:

 

The padded harness means you can ride a pillion rather comfortably, as Eric Lane discovered when his bike broke down in Baja 45 miles from Bahia de los Angeles.  He said “your bike is more comfortable to ride as a pillion than my bike!”

 

Probably the coolest feature is the “next-generation” lower compartments designed to carry your heavier items (tools, tubes, irons, compressor, camp stove) or items you don’t want mixed w/your clothes/food like a 1.5 liter gas bottle or bug spray.  It’s subtle, but I have found it truly does make handling the bike easier than with my heavier (and higher) hard panniers.

 

Without the removable top kit, the system makes carrying other large loads like a pillion, larger duffle bag, case of beer or bundle of wood extremely easy and stable.

 

Only improvements:

 

  • Some kind of reflective logo or piping on rear side of bags like they have on the sides to aid in rear visibility
  • Tie down loops on top are hard to get standard buckle type straps under.  Carabiners may be your best bet here.

 

I feel much more secure now that I’m not riding off road with hard panniers.  These are the perfect size and allow me to keep that weight down low for optimal handling.  They are also truly dust and waterproof!

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GeoMoto

· Edited by GeoMoto

  • 4
   1 of 1 member found this review helpful 1 / 1 member

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I have been using AltRider  Hemisphere Soft Panniers for 3 months now and it is time for a quick review.

I have always been a fan of soft luggage for off road use for the simple facts that it holds gear more securely on rough roads and is more forgiving and less painful when its laying on top of me when I run out of talent.  My first impression of the Hemisphere Soft Panniers was that they were a very simple design.  They don't have a dozen straps dangling from all sides of the luggage which is great when loading and unloading my gear. 

One requirement for the Hemisphere Soft Panniers is a hard rack, so I decided to install a Tusk  Rack which worked perfectly with the Hemisphere Soft Panniers. The hook and loop attachment is about as simple and easy as it gets to attach the bags to the rack.

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The second point of attachment is from the front of the panniers to the foot pegs.

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The third point of attachment is to the back of the tail rack.

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These three points of attachment hold the bags securely and at no point during my riding did I feel things shifting or bouncing around on the bike.

The roll top waterproof main compartments, separate, lower rear loading compartments, and the included top mount dry bag provide plenty of room to carry all of my camp gear on multi day adventures and compresses down small enough to hold less gear for day trips. 

Here is a photo of the left side with the removable dry bag.

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The dry bag is seam taped and kept all of my gear dry during my last trip to Death Valley.  I decided to ride Death Valley on what was the wettest weekend of the year.

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Warm Springs in the Rain

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The two lower compartments include roll top dry bags to carry heavier items low for a better center of gravity.  I used the right side for tools and used the left side for water and camera gear.

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This is a photo of the included dry bag for the top of the rack. 

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Many of my rides are well over 200 miles between gas stations and I carry a RotoPax.   I was concerned that the RotoPax would not work and was pleasantly surprised to see that the RotoPax was held  securely with one of the provided tie downs. No shifting at all! There are two tie downs included to securely hold the dry bag or any other gear you will want to carry.

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One issue with the Hemisphere Soft Panniers is that the design covers the pillion/passenger area including the passengers handles. I would guess that half of my rides are spent with my wife, Brandy, on the back of my bike so I had to make one modification and add handles to the luggage.  I don't necessarily want to recommend this to other 2Up riders, however it worked out great for Brandy and my riding style.  Brandy wraps her arms around my waist in all technical or fast sections of trail and she uses the handles while on the highway or flat non technical sections of road and trail.  I used four screw links and two "dog bones" that are used for rock climbing quick draws to build the handles.

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Please click on this link to be directed to AltRiders website for all the technical specifications and AltRider videos on the Hemispere Soft Panniers:

 

 

I hope that you enjoyed my review!

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Brandy and Jesse "GeoMoto" Kimball are avid adventure riders and organize the Flying Monkey Adventure Rally every October in Southern Utah. 

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