R1200GS: Mountain Sun Tank Panniers

I’ve been thinking of adding tank panniers for a while, and had narrowed my choices down to the Aerostich and the Mountain Sun bags. I got a chance to see the Mountain Sun bags on another riders bike during a gas stop at Olancha on the way back from the SMBC Death Valley ride. I was sold. I had some minor problems trying to order on-line so called Mountain Sun where I talked with Jim and placed my order. Two or three days later UPS dropped a box off at my doorstep.

As you can see I went with basic black on black. I figure black will work with any bike, will hide dirt well, and will look good on my R69S should I desire to try them out on that bike, too. The size seems right for the GS; not too big and not too small.

These two pictures show the bags on the GS, looking at the top straps and the strap across the front. The top straps were adjusted to give the desired 1 1/2 - 2 inches of clearance between the bottom of the bags and the cylinder head fins.

Here are details of the rear mounting. I threaded the straps around the frame to make sure they aren’t in the way of my knees. Don’t know if that would have been an issue or not. I got on the bike to check with the straps mounted this way: no problems.

This is what it looks like from the riding position with the tank bag installed. The panniers are empty, thus thinner than they’d be on a ride. In any case I expect I’ll hardly know they are there.

The following images better show how the bags look on the bike. I haven’t taken a test ride with them, yet. I’ll update this page once I’ve done so with loaded bags. I can report that it only takes 30 seconds or to remove the bags. I doubt that it’d take more than a minute to throw them on the bike.

They’re great!

I put the panniers on the bike and loaded them as if I were going on a camping trip for a test run. The breakfast club ride this Sunday was to Watsonville. After breakfast three of us continued down the coast to Carmel, took Carmel Valley Road to Metz road and King City where we took Bitterwater to SR 25, then north on 25 to Hollister. At Hollister I said good-bye to the others and jumped on the freeway. By the time I got home I’d put about 300 miles on the bike with the bags.

The verdict: I barely knew they were on the bike. I think that there is less wind in my lap with the bags on the bike. All-in-all I am quite satisfied and can’t wait to use them for real.


I’ve changed the way I mount the bags on the front and moved the side/rear straps, too. More information here