So, since there is a huge snow storm here in Sweden, I figured it was time to think about Spring instead of the cold!
I’m planning a trip down to Prague, Czech Republic where I have many friends, and I will be taking my Honda Transalp XL600 with me. Since I will be gone for a month, this means I need some side luggage. I’m short and not that strong, so I will be opting for the lighter soft luggage carriers. However, I need to have luggage racks so the exhaust doesn’t burn a hole in my borrowed luggage.
Honda Transalp Side Luggage Rack Options
Today I’ve been researching the options, which aren’t as many as I would hope. Here is what I have found.
Happy Trail Side Rack
For $200 USD or 152 Euro I could get these side racks that are specifically for soft luggage. It is a 3 point mount, the tubing is 5/8 inch around. Unfortunately the image shows it on a KLR650, not a Transalp, and it doesn’t show the 3rd mount point. They claim the racks are made specifically for each bike but there is no reinforcement in the back, so when I fall those bars will probably bend very easily. And I know I will fall. Happy Trails is a good brand, they get lots of good reviews but I’m still not sure this is the best option for me.
Hepco & Becker Side Rack
Here is another very popular option in Europe, from the Germany company Hepco & Becker. These side racks are meant for their hard luggage. Costs are 204 Euros, not including shipping (about $268 USD). No idea how many mount points it has, but there is the rear reinforcement bar. They claim it comes with easy to install instructions, but on the web site the instructions were in German, which isn’t so useful to me. I’m sure I could figure out how to mount it eventually, but for 204 Euros I really don’t want to waste extra time finding time. And it is a lot of money. I could eventually mount the hard luggage though, if I grow a few inches that could be an option!
Polo Soft Luggage Side Racks
So somewhere in Google I found a page that recommended these. I was searching for “Cheap Soft Luggage Rack Transalp”. They are cheap, at only 50 Euros or $66 USD, not including shipping. However the system looks really weak, and again, no rear reinforcement bar. However these are something I think we would need to add to, but it could be a good start if we are building our own. Also, another bad note, it isn’t for my XL 600 Transalp but for the newer 650 Transalp model, so I’m sure there will be even more worked involved in this.
Build Your Own Side Luggage Rack
Building my own side luggage rack is an option, sort of. It would involve Johan and his father doing the building, and me standing there and watching (because according to Johan, that is a requirement if he does work on my bike). I wouldn’t mind wasting my time physically building my own, but wasting my time watching others do it I’m not so interested in. I would save some money but you never know how much up front, or how many hours it will take of your time and other peoples time. I think at this point this is not an option.
Oh, so what is a girl to do? Do I go cheap and have them break half way through the trip? Do I spend the money for the more expensive ones and hope to hell they never break so I don’t have to ever replace them? If we have any readers out there, any advice would be well appreciated!!