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Making Inserts for Panniers

Many people love the idea of having soft panniers but still having some form to them… Semi-hard panniers.

Naz always had cut down jerry cans in hers when she was travelling. They had rope handles

From the kitchen pannier

and one side was the kitchen which she could simply lift out at camp. This idea works well for our Big Fella Panniers. You can get 20L plastic jerry cans cheaply then you simply cut the tops off, drill or burn holes for handles and attach rope handles.

For smaller panniers such as our standard size motorcycle panniers or small saddlebags another idea is to construct boxes from coreflute sheets. The sides can either be taped or you can use the angle joiners that are used for sheeting in bathrooms (see the picture in the gallery).





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Postie Bike

A new addition to the Honda collection has arrived today.. a CT110 postie bike. This is going to be Naz’s new adventure bike. There is a lot to be done.. other than great bike luggage. Hopefully she remembers to update it all on here!

We now have Postie Top bags and Naz is developing another size in the panniers more perfectly suited to the postie bike.


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Custom Panniers on a Quick Mount System

These panniers were developed with an initial enquiry via email about a set of Big Fella panniers without straps. Over a number of emails a design evolved that allowed a sheet of ply to slip inside the back of the panniers and a sheet of pvc on the outside. Mounted to these are the fittings of a quick mount system as many have on hard panniers.

The flap was shaped differently to cover the rolldown more than our standard panniers and there is a pocket inside the front for a piece of corflute for stiffening.

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New Custom Canvas

I have been very busy lately and some of it has been custom motorcycle gear and bags.

There were the tank covers for Ty and Sarah, who are about to travel the world on their BMW Gs650’s. You can follow their trip here at The Ride of Our Life. The covers were to fit two purposes: to hide the nice looking beemers a bit and to provide some extra storage via the molle webbing system. This was the first I had seen this webbing system that is used by the military. A wide range of pouches, water bottle holders etc can strap to the webbing.


I have also made a satchel for school books that is based on the panniers. The customer came up with the idea and I love how it has turned out. It is basically the same as one pannier with a shorter roll-down and a shoulder strap. This is made in pink and purple ripstop canvas.

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More Custom Tool Rolls

Custom Canvas Tool Roll
Custom Canvas Tool Roll

This is a pair of custom tool rolls to store special furniture assembly tools. The customer sent a picture of the tools laid out with a ruler down one end and side so that I could work out the pockets. It has eyelets in the top flap so that it could be hung while using the tools.

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Adventure Riders

I am not doing well with the blog posts but I have been busy-ish. This week I have had two Advrider inmates visit the workshop. I am starting to think Adventure bikes will be my biggest market as the guys often know of me from my time on the forum and following my big ride around the place.

One that came out today took this awesome shot of me and I look forward to taking all of my range in sometime to his studio to be photographed.

I really miss having an adv bike. Lately I have been thinking about the Royal Enfield Himalayan. It would be similiar to a dr650 but its a 410cc single. But for now I will just keep riding my cafe racer and watch everyone else’s adventures.

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Custom Canvas Panniers

This last week has been custom and new product week. Often a custom order turns into a new product that I have been considering for a while. One I have finished today is the second set of our new Big Fella Panniers. This set has pockets for water bottle on the back of each and has one side narrower than the other. They also called for a longer throw-over strap which I will keep in future sets. It will now cover a 600mm distance between bags. The finalised template for these large 25 – 35 litre panniers is now done, which mean it won’t feel like reinventing the wheel every time.

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Canvas Care

Canvas care notes below.


  • If there are complementary zip ties included in your order they are removable ones to assist in securing your item, if needed.

  • Please ensure that you secure your luggage well. The panniers have tie down points to use. Because they are called throw-over panniers does not mean they don’t need securing.

  • Canvas is not heat proof so please be careful of where you place your luggage in relation to your exhaust system.

Canvas Care Instructions

To help maximise the durability and life of your defab® Canvas, please follow the following instructions

thoroughly – this will allow you to enjoy many years of excellent service and satisfaction from your defab®


Prior to using your defab® canvas we recommend that you thoroughly wet your canvas with a domestic hose

and let it dry fully in the sun. This is necessary to allow the fabric to settle after transport and packaging.

Failure to do this may cause leakage in initial exposure to rain.

Store, pack or roll up only when clean and dry.

To remove dirt, brush dry fabric with soft brush. (An occasional hosing may remove dust and some

ingrained dirt)

Never scrub the fabric.

Do not expose to petrol or oil.

Immediately remove deposits of organic matter (such as soil, grass cuttings, leaf litter, bird droppings,

vehicle exhaust, pollutants, etc)

Remove any mildew, as it appears, first by brushing, then by treating with diluted chlorine bleach (typically

1 part White King to 4 parts water to achieve 1% available chlorine) Allow to dry in full sun, then hose well to

remove any residue.

Do not use strong bleaches such as ‘pool chlorine’.

Do not use soaps, detergents, solvents, or other liquid cleaners.

Exposure to the elements and excessive cleaning may affect the water proofness and appearance of the

canvas. Occasional rejuvenation of your canvas is recommended. Additional proofing may help re-invigorate

the canvas. Only use one type of proofing agent on your canvas. Fluoro-chemicals like Scotch guard may be

used on all fabrics. Only reproof® by defab® is recommended to be used on defab® canvas.

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Adventure Bike Panniers

Our panniers  have been designed as throw-overs that should fit almost any adventure bike or road bike. They are very adjustable with hook and loop tape on strong webbing that can go over or under the seat. There are also tabs at the rear base that can attach to various spots via straps or zip-ties and a loop on the end of the front buckle straps that could have a strap ran through it.

So far we have sold them to a KLR owner (with custom pockets) and a KTM690 rider. Both are very happy with the fit and adjust-ability.

The panniers are suitable for adventure bikes as they are made from 11oz ripstop canvas with a water resistance rating of >200 mbar. We both use them and have never had anything wet inside. This is probably due to the roll-down top (sealed with hook and loop tape) and flap over the top.

The panniers are about an 18L capacity.