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Acmemoto2 Panniers tested in Australia

Acmemoto2 Panniers tested in Australia

As a founder of a motorcycle accessories company, I am very critical of products I purchase. I required a set of practical and strong lockable panniers with a universal fit for an upcoming 5,000 kilometer (3100 mile) Black Dog Ride starting from my home on the Coal Coast in New South Wales and finishing in Darwin in the Northern Territory. We would be riding some long days in remote areas with the potential for weather ranging from four seasons in one day to tropical, ten buckets of water over you per minute rain.

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Goodbye, Tamale Carts: Acme Moto 2 Top-Loading Panniers

Goodbye, Tamale Carts: Acme Moto 2 Top-Loading Panniers

I’m a utility rider (and sometime-tourer when I can get away from World Headquarters and the “real work” that pays the bills) so luggage is a pivotal part of motorcycling for me. I often schlep significant amounts of photo gear for CityBike, and I commute to “real work” by motorcycle and need a place to stuff my ‘Stich when I arrive at a client’s office, so I can walk in looking as professional as possible—which is admittedly not very professional at all. Oh well. Motorcycle luggage, unfortunately, is a morass of mediocrity, between fiddly latches, pain-in-the-ass locks, waterproof seals that are anything but… I could go on, but my point is that there’s a lot of “barely ok” on-bike carrying capacity available, and the more I try to improve my luggage situation, the worse it seems to get. I shoulda stuck with my once-trusty R1200R—the factory bags on that thing were bliss, and I’ve been trying to get back to that level of functional simplicity since I sold that thing. But everyone’s riding adventure bikes now, and the go-to solution is to bolt on a pair of what Fish calls tamale carts: massive, expensive aluminum boxes. There are roughly 14,000 companies making basically the exact same boxes, though each one would have you believe theirs is the toughest and best. “Check out this picture of our boxes on a bike crossing Africa!” And that’s just hard luggage—I won’t even go into the world of soft and semi-hard luggage, and the associated fear-inducing claims: “You’ll surely break your leg if you crash with anyone’s luggage but ours!” Acme Moto 2, a small company based in North Carolina, has taken a refreshingly clean-sheet approach to hard luggage, with new materials and functional changes applied to the archetypal rectangular sidecase. Acme’s panniers are black, top-loading, long-rectangle sidecases with dual aluminum rods along the top. They have the familiar look of Pelican-type cases, and are made of Polypropylene Impact Copolymer, which Scott Olofson, one of Acme’s founders, tells me was chosen for its toughness and resistance to deformation on impact. This “toughness” theme is apparent in many aspects of the panniers’ design. The ¾” solid aluminum tie-down bars that run the length of the lids—silicone-bedded and held in place by stainless steel screws—add rigidity to the lid and box. A single stainless steel pin runs through all three hinges on the outside edge of each box, for enhanced strength. My first impression upon unpacking them was, “Damn. These things are beefy!” That beefiness come with a weight penalty similar to typical aluminum cases—Acme says each case weighs 11.11 pounds. Using the best technology we have here at World Headquarters—a funky old bathroom scale—I compared the 33 liter Acme to a 45 liter Bumot case. The Acme weighed in at 12.4 pounds, and the bigger Bumot was 15.4 pounds—a useful relative comparison even if the numbers aren’t exactly the same as Acme’s. The Acme boxes mount to almost any existing tubular rack by way of a 5mm, powder-coated aluminum plate. Installation of the plate on my 2009 Buell Ulysses was trivially easy, literally a few minutes of work. The plates are extensively slotted to allow for custom placement, so after testing several positions I mounted them as far forward as possible without interfering with my legs. This required removal of the passenger pegs, but no one else wants to ride on that thing anyway. The interface between the box and the plate is simple and solid: three Delrin pucks slip into keyholes, and a single hand-bolt snugs everything up. I haven’t crash-tested the panniers (yet) but the whole affair seems as bombproof as any, and better than most. The cases are long and narrow (10.5” wide x 21.8” long x 11.6” tall), unlike many square-ish aluminum boxes. That may not matter on the road to Fairbanks, but here in the Lane Splitting State, I’m glad for the narrower profile of the cases. Day-to-day use of the Acmes is a real pleasure. The cases haven’t seen extensive rain duty, but Acme’s knife-edged silicone-rubber gaskets have kept the contents of the cases dry in what passes for rain ‘round here these days. The rubber hold-down straps that secure the lids are easy to use and function independent of the locks, meaning you can leave the cases unlocked and just use the straps, unless you need security—a welcome difference from cases that must be unlocked to open, like the OEM Super Ténéré cases. Internal width at the top is 8.1” and 7.3” at the bottom, and the shape of the cases is good for a backpack or messenger bag. Acme also offers nice-looking waxed cotton bags that are sized to fit in their panniers, along with some other sizes and shapes. The lids sit almost perfectly horizontally when open, meaning I have a place to rest my junk while loading up. Well, not my junk, but you know what I mean. The tie-down bars on the lids make good carrying handles and even better tie-down points, for example if you want to strap a drybag on the seat behind you. Also, they look extra-hardcore, you know, like real adventure. Complaints? Of course! But they’re minor, especially considering the early-stage status of the company behind this excellent luggage. First, the mounting plate and its attachment hardware is well thought out, but the bolt arrangement used on the lower part of the plates seems a little “v1,” primarily because of the exposed threads facing outward. It’s not noticeable with the cases on, but when removed, it’s a potential “ouch” waiting to happen, and less importantly, doesn’t look as refined as the rest of the system. I mentioned this to Scott, and he told me they’ve just finished v2 of the mounting system which resolves this issue and will ship with all new orders. He’s sending us the new setup to check out—we’ll report back once we’ve received it. Second… hmm… that’s it, I guess. Sure, I could complain about how a full-face helmet doesn’t fit, but that’s a “problem” most sidecases suffer from, and anyway, that’s what topcases are for, right? The whole setup is $883, shipped to the lower 48, including panniers, plates, all the mounting hardware and a one year crash damage warranty. Yes, you have to provide the racks, but that’s still a good deal. So what we’ve got here is functionally innovative, handsome new hard luggage from a new American company at a fair price.  If the price—and conformism—of tamale carts has got you down, Acme’s panniers are worth a look. $883. Learn more and grab a pair of your own at…

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Acmemoto2 launches ‘adventure-worthy’ tough case motorcycle luggage with a warranty to back it up

Acmemoto2 launches ‘adventure-worthy’ tough case motorcycle luggage with a warranty to back it up

Acmemoto2 brings innovation to the motorcycle-accessory market with panniers and soft luggage that impress with functionality and style. The luggage system includes the innovative 33-liter Impact Polypropylene Copolymer Top Loading Panniers, Universal Mounting System and Waxed Canvas soft luggage. The Acmemoto2 team, Scott Olofson and Suzanne Boehm, have jumped into the luggage market with an entirely new category of products. “We have developed a well-thought-out and high-quality group of products,” Olofson said. “We believe we are the first to build a top-loading pannier specifically designed for motorcycles using Impact Polypropylene Copolymer, a material known for its resilience, high impact strength, resistance to fatigue, elasticity and toughness.” “We believe it’s a better material choice,” Olofson added, “because, in dramatic contrast to aluminum, Impact Polypropylene Copolymer retains its shape even after a lot of torsion, bending, and flexing.” Acmemoto2 Tough Cases’ molded construction offers other benefits as well. The molds were designed to give the pannier’s corners and edges a smooth rounded profile that increases the overall strength of the box and makes them safer. When he owned and operated a motorcycle shop, Olofson found aluminum panniers lacking. “Customers would come to the shop and complain that their aluminum panniers were no longer waterproof after a tip-over,” he observed. “Once aluminum panniers are bent, they are nearly impossible to repair properly. As a good friend said, everyone likes aluminum panniers until they drop the bike.” Unlike other manufacturers, Acmemoto 2 also offers replacement parts. “If you find a way to break or bend anything, all of the individual parts are available,” Olofson said. “We like the idea of fixing something instead of replacing it.” “Our panniers come complete, including locks and mounting hardware,” Olofson said. “We could price the parts individually to make the price look better but that not the way we want to sell them. It only works as promised when complete.” A warranty and return policy to back the product “If you call something tough you need to back it up,” Olofson says. “That’s why we offer a limited one-year crash damage warranty and a 15-day no questions asked return. We want our Panniers to be a long-term investment.” Olofson explained. “We will either repair the boxes, or send the customer repair parts, or replace them completely.” Quick and easy and uniquely versatile mounting The versatile Acmemoto2 Universal Mounting System includes a simple and secure mounting plate and high-strength hardware that is easily installed on a number of side luggage racks. “Our plate is universal in many ways,” Olofson notes. The Brown Bag Collection To accompany the hard luggage, Suzanne Boehm, Acmemoto2’s Co-Founder, has worked with a local North Carolina company to design a group of soft luggage. The results are impressive. “We have produced a rugged, functional and attractive collection that can be to used beyond power sports applications,” said Boehm. Now this exciting reality is ready to roll. Available on Acmemoto2.com and at local motorcycle dealers. “Being a former motorcycle shop owner, we choose to supply and support dealers,” Olofson said. “We understand the importance and vital role of dealers in the motorcycle community.” Specifics Designed and built to last – The Copolymer Polypropylene is extremely impact resistant and does not dent like aluminum cases. There are no rivets to loosen, leak or rattle. Reinforced rounded corners offer increased strength.  Reducing sharp corners and edges make the luggage safer. Designed and built to last – The Copolymer Polypropylene is extremely impact resistant and does not dent like aluminum cases. There are no rivets to loosen, leak or rattle. Rubber hold-down straps used to secure the lid are easy to use and provide a firm closure when not locked with the two keyed alike automotive style locks. This design choice avoids common the problems with metal or plastic latches that wear with age, loosen and rattle. The lid is connected to the tub with three molded in hinges and a single full width stainless steel hinge pin for added strength The 3/4″ solid aluminum tie down bars/handles bedded in silicone and held in place by stainless steel screws add rigidity to the lid and the box. Our silicone-rubber gaskets mate with a “knife edge” in the lid for a complete seal and stiffen the entire box. When opened, the lid locks in near-horizontal position, providing a secure and handy surface for organizing as you load and unload. All parts are available and easily…

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AdvMoto Review

AdvMoto Review

I first came across an early prototype of the AcmeMoto2 panniers back in 2015 while working on a story about Cogent Dynamics suspension in North Carolina. My immediate impression was that the concept of using Impact Polypropylene Copolymer boxes was brilliant—likely far more durable and waterproof than aluminum or sheet metal, and capable of handling a low-speed crash or tip-over without slowing me down. Then I happened to meet the company’s “Chief Cook and Bottle Washer” Scott Olofson at Overland Expo East last year. He was kind enough to send us a set for review. Scott’s company, AcmeMoto2, is located in Fairview, North Carolina. The AcmeMoto2 panniers are simply a well-thought out solution for the ADVer. You’ll need existing racks to attach them to as well as Scott’s universal mounting plates and hardware (which also allow for a little forward or backward positioning on the racks of your bike). The process takes all of about 10 minutes and you’re good to go. I mounted them on our ADVMoto project DR650, where the components allow for a relatively easy swap between the AcmeMoto2 panniers and the Wolfman soft pannier system. The point is that sometimes hard bags are preferable, while other times it’s soft—swapping only takes about 15 minutes. The AcmeMoto2 panniers are 33 liters each, a practical size that keeps the bike at a reasonable overall width. Both are identical—there’s no “right” or “left” side. If any part should become damaged, Scott sells replacements, and that’s yet another benefit. Most manufacturers don’t think this through and getting replacement parts from them is, at best, a hassle. The lid seals to the base with a silicon-rubber gasket that screams “waterproof”! And each pannier has a double key lock for extra security. If that’s not enough, there’s a passthrough from the lid to the base that could be used for an additional padlock or lockable cable should you need to fasten the panniers to an object off the bike. Yet another unique feature of the panniers are the latching handles. I’ve only seen them elsewhere on high-end Yeti coolers— they’re big rubber grips that are easy to grab with riding gloves and provide a solid seal when closing the lids. And, all metal components are stainless steel, so rust or corrosion won’t be an issue. Removing the panniers is as simple as loosening a bolt with a large-grip plastic head. Getting the panniers on or off requires about 15 seconds. Two large aluminum tube handles (or tie-downs for lashing gear on top of the cases) make carrying the panniers effortless. And I couldn’t help noticing the lack of leg bruises thanks to the rounded corners and the relative softness of the panniers’ composition material. Our review set also came with waxed canvas luggage, one of which attaches to the inner side of the lid, and the other a removable satchel (the “Traveler”) made specifically for an optimized fit. The luggage is optional, but don’t overlook it. They’re top quality products and I ended up putting the “Traveler” into daily use even when I’m off the bike. After several months of use, about the only possible issue I have is the single bolt that fastens the panniers to plates. The mechanism is robust and is not likely to allow the panniers to fall off in case of bolt failure, but I’d prefer two bolts for added insurance. AcmeMoto2 is a solid alternative to aluminum or metal panniers, as well as a hybrid alternative for those who might otherwise side with soft luggage. It’s great to see American innovation like this; if you’re in the market for panniers, take a hard look at this option. Considering all the various products that have passed through me for review over the years, the AcmeMoto2 panniers are definitely keepers. MSRP: Panniers—$833 | Mounting plates and hardware—$109 | Optional Medium Waxed Canvas Traveler satchel—$139 AcmeMoto2.com ADVMoto Sep 2018 – Product Review – Paul H Smith – AcmeMoto2…

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Colombia! A review of our AcmeMoto2 Panniers

Colombia! A review of our AcmeMoto2 Panniers

A recent review by Pikes Peak and Isle of Man racer Daniel Fernandez for my friends at Mastech. Mastech is a manufacturer and dealer for parts and accessories located in Colombia, S.A Colombia is a country of motorcycles. Its where riding is more than a passion, its basic transportation. At the end of 2017 there were 13 million vehicles in Colombia, according to data from the Ministry of Transportation and the automotive association Andemos. Of those, 912,142 were registered for transportation (freight and passenger) and 7.4 million were motorcycles (57%).Aug 16, 2018 Its also a great dual-sport destination. [video width=”848″ height=”480″…

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Seen at KTM Demo Ride

Seen at KTM Demo Ride

Eurosport Asheville organized a busy KTM Demo ride. The group rides followed a set of Acmemoto2 Panniers mounted on the leaders KTM. #KTM #toploadingpanniers #advrider…

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The CB160

The CB160

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