Published On: April 15, 2024Tags: , , ,

Home > Stories > Working everywhere: Sicily with Outback Motortek

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Chasing Dreams, Not Paychecks

Honestly, is there a better feeling while working? I don’t have that dreaded feeling of going to the office anymore since I started freelancing on two wheels. I have found fulfilment in blending my passion with my profession. Riding endless kilometers to start a job isn’t a chore, it’s a thrill (well ok, maybe not for days in freezing temps..). And best of all, it leads me to places where stunning views await. I’m living life on my own terms, one kilometer at a time. I refuse to be bound by office walls and I can surely say I’ve found my calling on the open road. This time in Sicily with Outback Motortek for their new Aluminium Panniers

Pictured riders: Lorry Gombos, Leonoor Fischer, Killian Moreno and Alex Morgado
** Photos: Leonoor Fischer and Killian Moreno

WHEN IN SICILY

Do as the Sicilians do. The island has 4.8 million inhabitants and the capital city is Palermo, which we also briefly visited. The rich and unique culture shows in many ways and most definitely in its landscapes, cuisine and kind inhabitants. We’ve ridden round the entire island, had our taste buds explode with flavors and might have even made some new friends. After a week of pizza and pasta it was time for some serious food-rehab on my way home. Of course these factors are all adding to the adventure, but the main reason to be on Sicily in the first place was shooting new content of Outback Motortek’s latest product.

before THAT finished product

Lorry (founder of Outback Motortek) tells me the idea to make aluminium panniers originated from a trip across Central Asia 11 years ago with his partner Kelli. He noticed soft panniers were not a “thing” back then. He continues: “The market was dominated by hard cases. Fast forward a decade we’re introducing our aluminum panniers for multiple reasons. The most important is convenience on pavement trips, security for valuable items and one thing that’s dear to our heart is the cooperation with Mosko Moto. Our aluminum panniers are equipped with their Backcountry Pannier mounting system.”

Having tested the panniers myself this trip on my DesertX I can confirm that this could very well become the best of both worlds for lots of riders. Having the possibility to use soft and hard luggage, without having to switch a complete pannier rack every time you want a different setup for different purposes is a game changer.

5 reasons why

The following information comes from Outback Motortek’s website directly and indicates why their pannier kit sets them apart from the competition.

Lightweight Aluminum Structure – Our aluminum panniers are designed to be light (enough) in order to easily mount and dismount. We do not promote the use of our aluminum panniers for off-road rides, hence we didn’t design overweight, tank-like hard cases. There’s Mosko Moto’s Backcountry soft panniers for off-road rides and Outback Motortek’s aluminum panniers for pavement or gravel rides.

Welded From One Piece – As stated above, our panniers are light, but thanks to the single sheet welded structure they’re stronger than aluminum panniers riveted from multiple pieces.

Mosko Moto Mounting System – One of the most exciting features is the trusted and proven mounting system from Mosko Moto. They’re secured on pannier racks via four pucks per side. Because they are built tough they do add some extra weight. However, they are compatible with a large variety of OEM and aftermarket pannier racks, not just Outback Motortek pannier racks.

Narrow & Deep, not wide & shallow – Narrow panniers can be easier to navigate with in traffic or tight spaces. It’s also a safer feature to have panniers mounted, which are not wider (or just barely) than your motorcycle’s handlebar. Deeper panniers have the advantage to offer a lower centre of gravity.

Fully Lockable – Our panniers come with friction hinges on the back side and large stainless steel latches (manufactured by us) on the front side. The latches come with cam locks integrated. The Mosko Moto mounting system comes with speed pins, but we upgrade the speed pins in order to make them lockable.”

A SHORT QUESTIONNAIRE TO LORRY

When you’re working together for a while, naturally you start talking about businesses and the product you’re creating content for. Outback Motortek being mainly a protective parts company for motorcycles, my interest was piqued into what got Lorry into making alu panniers. Some questions later I had my answers.

I asked him if it was a personal need or that maybe clients had expressed their desire for alu panniers. “A bit of both” Lorry replied. Although he doesn’t ride all that much on pavement, the alu panniers are very convenient and are loved by most pavement riders. “We also work with metal and have been for decades, so naturally we are attracted to making products out of metal.”

A very logical next step indeed. But that process doesn’t happen overnight. Or even in weeks or months. There’s a long and sometimes tedious process ahead of holding any finished product. And after that a lot of tests, feedback rounds and some tweaking is required. “It took a long time. Pretty much four years since the idea came up. There were setbacks due to design changes, a global pandemic and even manufacturing challenges. It’s all past us now though!”

As you can see on social media channels and their own website, Lorry’s very open about the design process of all their products. I asked him if it was the same with this ‘new’ range to which he replied: “Yes, we’ve documented the whole journey. We even presented a set of panniers 3D printed out of plastic! There’s still a publicly available questionnaire that we posted about two years ago. It’s good to know what people like and dislike, even if we can’t please everyone.”

After having already mentioned five very good reasons I wondered if there maybe was a sixth as to why any rider should purchase the alu panniers. Lorry smiles and says: “That would (once again) be the Mosko Moto mounting system. After crashing with the aluminum panniers on Sicily we noticed that the pannier didn’t dent or warp. The reason being that Mosko’s wedge system is mounted on pannier racks via four pucks per side. The pucks tend to shift under impact, thus absorbing energy. We’re now making plans to design add-ons, such as MOLLE panels, which we tested last year, internal divider walls integrated inside the soon-to-be available inner bags and most likely we’ll introduce our top cases too.” I’d say that’s a pretty solid extra reason.

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