6 years after I first tried the Great Basin dual sport soft luggage bag by Giant Loop, I am amazed at how well-made these things are, and frankly, how convenient they are for a variety of moto situations. The one I have was sent to me when Giant Loop had just launched this model, and I did a tour through the San Juan mountains of Colorado on my 2009 BMW F800 GS. Since then, I have used it, abused it, loaned it to friends, and most recently ignored it, thinking it was too big and burly for my svelte KTM 690 Enduro R, but on a recent weekend trip to Baker, NV, and the Great Basin National Park (of all places), I thought it would be worth revisiting this fine piece of dual sport essential equipment.
Darth and I were not well-prepared for this trip. Darth usually has our GPS routes mapped out, the boxes on his BMW F800 stuffed and strapped with everything you can imagine. This trip came up very last minute. We winged it, old school. We were both on 690s, his all Rally Raided out to the max, mine not yet broken in. Carrying extra fuel was our main concern, since my bike only had the stock tank. I had previously added the Rally Raid soft luggage racks to my bike with Rotopax mounts (all available from KTMTwins.com), and was carrying a 1 gallon Rotopax fuel tank, and a 1 gallon water tank. Neither one of us had any plans to carry anything other than what we could fit in our pockets or in small tail bags (like my Kriega 20 liter). When we realized we had no room for even a bag of trail mix or the Utah Gazetteer that we needed since we were going sans-GPS, I remembered the dusty old Great Basin in the corner…
Sometimes the more room you have, the more you bring. Sometimes, if you didn’t bring it, you don’t need it. Sometimes it’s just nice t have a little extra room. The Great Basin was perfect for this trip because it was very cold in the mornings, but warmed up to desert temps in the afternoon. We had a place to stuff mid layers as the days warmed. The Great Basin draped nicely over the RR rack and Rotopax, and I hardly knew it was there while riding.
I went back to the Giant Loop site thinking I might get one of their smaller bag set-ups like the Coyote, and I still might. But for now, the 6 year old, beat up but still clean and dry inside original Great Basin bag does a lot to make my 690 a viable dual sport. If you were thinking about buying one and wondered how well they hold up, quit your worrying and just get one.
“I am a child of the winds.”
I recently said Adieu to my 2009 BMW F800 GS. I can’t exactly say I replaced the BMW with a 2014 KTM 690 Enduro R, because it was never supposed to be an either/or proposition, it just sort of happened that way. Ever since the Morocco trip, I’ve had my eyes on one. As they say, good things come to those who know when to pull the trigger. So now I cautiously embark on a journey of making the 690 just right for the riding I currently do. For the time being, that means making it a little more functional for the pavement. Out of the crate, the 690 Enduro R is a big giant dirt bike. The KTM Hardparts Touring Windscreen (or Windschild as the Austrians call it) caught my attention. I bought mine from KTM Twins in San Francisco. Nice folks, very helpful, fast shipping, all that fun stuff, and I’m not being paid to say this. The part itself is about $70 and easy to install.
Step 1: take headlight and mask assembly off by loosening 2 torx bolts. Here is a helpful tip: put a towel or clean rag on top of your front fender so you have a place to rest the headlight after you take the bolts out and proceed to step 2.
Step 2: unplug the wiring from the headlight.
Step 3: unscrew headlight from the mask. 4 torx screws.
Step 4: use the provided template to drill 4 small pilot holes in the mask. Or clamp the windscreen to the mask approximately where you want it by eyeballing it. I used a couple of welding spring clips. The template seemed a little “off” when I checked it before drilling, so I used the template as a rough guide, then clamped everything together and drilled pilot holes using the windscreen holes to be precise.
Step 5: after you feel good about your pilot holes, you are going to drill pretty big holes, 9mm in diameter, according to the installation instructions. This is so the provided bushings press in nice and tight.
Step 6: Bolt that shit together.
And here is the finished result…
I’ve always wanted to make a Holiday Gift Guide here on IAATB, and never seem to have the time to do it right. So this year, I am going to do it half-assed, but do it nonetheless. Between now and the last night that you can reasonably expect something to arrive in time for Christmas whilst paying through the nose for overnight shipping, I’ll give you a few suggestions. First up is the Giant Loop Zigzag Handlebar Bag. It’s made with the super heavy tarp material that Giant Loop uses in their other waterproof bags like the Great Basin saddlebag, and a hook-and-loop mounting system that should fit just about any bike. I bought one for myself because I’ve been looking for a small “glove compartment” type bag for my BMW F800 GS, since I’m really getting sick of the whole big tank bag thing. This is big enough to hold some documents like your registration papers, maybe some keys, and maybe a pair of shades. I’ll be honest, when I got it, I thought it was going to be a little bigger. Maybe that is the point? I haven’t ridden with it yet, but I can speak to the quality of Giant Loop from previous experiences. There is a nice little zippered mesh pocket on the inside, a nice touch. For $50 plus shipping, this would put a smile on any Motard’s face. I consider it a Grade A stocking stuffer.
Words I’ve Heard
"I'm not a businessman. I'm a business, man." --Jay-Z
"The only thing keeping us from going is leaving." --Ewan Mcgregor
"Adventures suck, when you're having them." -- Anonymous Rally Car Driver
"It is, absolutely, without question, unequivocally, about the bike. Anyone who says otherwise is obviously a twatwaffle."--RULE #4, Velominati.com
"Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake."--W.C. Fields
Deal O’ The Day