We’ve been using Givi’s GRT718 panniers for a few months now on our CRF250L Rally. Are they up to the task of adventure travel? Here’s our full review.
When it comes to picking a set of panniers for your bike your first have to choose between soft-luggage or hard-luggage. What works best for for particular make and model, and more importantly will it work for your needs?
There are pros and cons to both hard and soft panniers, but when it came to finding a set of bags to strap onto our CRF250L Rally, the Givi GRT718 from Eurobike Wholesale fit the bill perfectly.
Priced at an attainable $369 the simple throw-over panniers we’re something I couldn't ignore when it came to fitting out the Honda for adventure touring New Zealand.
With an already porky wet weight of 157kg pushed along by a mere 24hp adding extra weight with hard luggage brackets to the CRF250L Rally wasn't an option in my mind. I also wanted something that would look purposeful as well as function well with built-in waterproofing, as messing about with waterproof covers is an extra step that slows you down at either end of the ride.
The GRT718 panniers from Givi do all of this and, with 15-litres of capacity in each bag, have plenty of space for a long weekend ride down the country.
Givi says they've designed the GRT718s with enduro-style bikes specifically in mind, and as such, they have adjustable velcro straps to help situate the bags on the bike. Simply pop off the seat, adjust the Velcro straps so the bags sit nicely, replace the seat and away you go.
The only issue I have with the system relates to my bike and not the bags themselves. My problem relates to how Honda designed the CRF250L seat in place, which uses two large bolts that need to be physically removed before the bags can be fitted or removed – so it’s not a quick affair in my particular case to throw them on or off but at least I know they are quite secure once fitted.
With that said, however, the GRT718s definitely are up to the task of carting around a fair amount of kit when called upon.
Taking part in the 2020 NZ GS Rallye in Martinborough, I packed for the long weekend away with just the panniers and hit the road. Not only did I have room to spare with everything from shoes, to camera gear and of course, undies for the trip, but when the weather turned completely feral on the return leg none of my gear got wet.
Inside the black bags is a bright yellow lining which makes rummaging around for that missing GoPro mount a lot easier and with a simple Velcro and roll closure system you don’t need to worry about breaking zips.
In terms of durability, the GRT718 panniers are surprisingly rugged. On our ride through the upper South Island’s iconic adventure routes we had a low speed drop at the top of Jollies Pass above Hamner Springs.
The bike went down at about 15-20kph on gravel on the left hand side. The pannier had what looked like some muddy scratches, but on further inspection were still in perfect condition. The panniers are definitely tougher than they look.
Add to this the modular design which allows you to strap other Givi GRT luggage to the bags and the system is a real winner.
They’re affordable, functional, and versatile. It’s just what you need and nothing that you don’t.