I am gauging interest in a simple luggage system to fit any Caterham. It is not compatible with a full hood but would be OK with a SBFS half hood.
As some of you know I have done some very long trips in my Seven including the GOME events (Across USA, London to Athens to name a few) and one of the least enjoyable aspects of the trip is the loading and unloading of the boot each day, not to mention the issue of parking up in odd places and leaving bags tied to a roll cage or whatever. Consequently I designed a simple system for myself that would take two off the shelf motorbike panniers and make the process a short, simple and secure one.
The design I came up with allows for what I think are the largest Givi Monokey panniers. They are 41 litres each and have proven more than adequate for lengthy trips. They click in to position with a nice positive feel and then come off with the use of a key. You can gain access to contents at the top of the boxes I have used through a small access panel locked with a combo lock. This means I can keep my wallet there for example and lift it out when refuelling really easily.
My own frame has now been on the car for two years (continuously) and has been subjected to some of the roughest roads that Europe has to offer (I burst a Nitron shock on one such road). Also, although it depends on which panniers you choose to fit, the ones I have used have been remarkably waterproof - Givi sell an extra waterproof bag which I have not used. I carry my laptop / iPad etc in my case and they've survived long and absolutely torrential days on the road. I have seen some relatively trivial ingress of water and the panniers are not marketed as being waterproof but they’re not bad even without the inner liners.
As you can see from the image below, there is a rack between the boxes which can be used for additional storage. My own setup has two helmet cases (Head case) strapped on as well as a tow rope, car cover, emergency triangle and first aid kit all easily to hand.
I have looked at having a short run of these made by a local fabricator and he is now copying my original. When that is done I will test the copy on a variety of cars to ensure it fits different styles of roll hoop / bar and cage.
My intent would be to supply the frame ready to fit, complete with the clamps and Givi mounting plates. After fitting it would simply need the selected panniers to be fitted to complete the setup. The panniers I have tested are the Givi E41 N 41 litre Monokey and keyless as seen here. I bought my panniers off ebay used for 140 pounds for the pair. Other types will certainly fit, but I have not tested them to see if they do!
I have yet to negotiate a deal on the Givi mounting plates which is the Givi M3 Monorack (1 each side of the car) 35 pounds each! or the clamps themselves but I am hoping that the complete frame with these items ready to accept panniers will cost around £180 plus P&P.
I am not looking for 100% commitment at this point but would like to get a sense of interest / feedback / comments…..
Frequently asked questions:
What is the benefit over alternative solutions such as the E bags or dry bags?
The panniers are fitted in pairs and are very much like suitcases and therefore:
- Easy to carry, stand on the floor when removed, generally much easier to move from car to hotel room.
- Driver and passenger get one each - no more arguments about who has too many shoes!
- More security as they use proper locks to secure to the car and cannot be opened without a key or combination
- Easier access to the boot as they can be removed and replaced in less than five seconds! No more lost tempers tying dry bags to the roll cage
- High level rack provides additional storage for more items without obscuring rear vision
- As and when you choose to sell your car they will either add value for the buyer or you can sell the panniers on eBay into the huge motorcycle market
Will it fit my car?
The rack has been tested on a full cage but will soon be tested on all variants from standard hoops, FIA bars, Roadsport cage and so forth. If there is sufficient interest, an SV version can be made too. Essentially the only thing that changes is the diameter of the back stays and the angle, neither of which should be a problem.
Will it impair my rearward vision?
Not at all! In fact when you fit them you might initially worry that they have fallen off as they almost disappear behind your head. Your central rear view mirror will in most cases look through the centre of the roll cage (between the rear stays) and the door / side mirrors look over the rear wings - the space behind your head isn’t used for rearward vision.
Will it affect the car’s handling?
When you embark on a long trip, as opposed to a Sunday blat, you will inevitably alter the weight distribution of the car by adding weight in the boot, carrying a passenger perhaps and sometimes strapping bags to the cage above the boot. In that sense this system doesn’t change things much. There is a modest difference but it can for example be dialled out by adjusting the suspension (front to rear rake). The prototype has been extensively tested on some of the most demanding roads in Europe without incident. Each of the panniers contained clothes, as well as a laptop, iPad and the usual paraphernalia of a road trip.
Do they compromise access to the boot?
Not really! Access to the boot at the centre between the stays is not impacted at all. Access to the corners is achieved by removing the pannier box, but this takes seconds. Indeed if you are used to having a dry bag or some such tied to the roll cage this setup simplifies access immeasurably.
Will it leave a mark on the car at all?
The clamps used to secure the rack to the roll cage are very firm and can cause some cosmetic damage to the powder coating or paint on the rear stays. To mitigate this it’s advised that the tubes are first covered in a tape before fixing the clamps to help protect the surface finish.