Wolfman Pikes Peak Rapid Release System
Winter is, at best, a questionable time for an adventure ride up north. It’s snowing and the sun set two hours ago. I’ve ridden over 800 miles today from my home in central Oklahoma, trying to come within striking distance of my friends for an off-pavement ride in Utah. With temperatures now well below freezing I am chilled to the bone. My fingers are numb as I fumble with the buckles and loops on my soft luggage. I give up and snatch the liner from the pannier and carry it inside the motel lobby, leaving the shells to soak up whatever falls on them overnight. Through a half-fog of delirium I question my sanity for being so far from home on my BMW R1200GS this time of year.
How many times has this scenario been repeated as an increasing number of riders who prefer soft luggage for off-road riding sacrifice convenience for the benefits of this more forgiving luggage system?
Problem solved. Wolfman Motorcycle Luggage which, coincidentally also makes great waterproof duffles for four-wheel vehicle overlanding, canoeing and moto-to-air travel, has developed a Rapid Release System which fits all of their past and current production panniers. Eric Hougen, owner of Wolfman, is a fanatic for quality and it shows in all of his products. Everything is made in the U.S. and his iconic wolf stamp is a reliable indicator that the stuff will last.
I was fortunate enough to receive one of the first Pikes Peak Rapid Release Systems for testing. My first impression was that this is a beautiful piece of work. Made from 3/16-inch aircraft-grade aluminum plate, laser-cut and CNC-machined to perfection, the two-piece per side system fits together like a fine Swiss watch. A small fixed plate attaches to a wide variety of pannier frames with four simple clamps and high quality stainless steel screws. As an added precaution, I used felt padding between the clamps and pannier frames to protect them from chafing… probably overkill. A drop of blue Loctite on each screw is advisable.
Next, I removed the two-inch web seat straps from my Rocky Mountain Panniers and pushed them through the back side of the larger plate, then flipped over the whole affair to tighten the web straps before securing the four ¾-inch buckle-and-loop straps to the plate. The whole process takes less than 10 minutes per side and the result is a snug fit between the Rapid Release System and pannier. No more saggy panniers.
Three sacrificial (against impact to the pannier) Delrin thermoplastic spools mounted to the removable plate engage corresponding keyhole slots cut into the fixed plate, easing installation and offering some damping against vibration. A tough but simple thumb twist latch pulls the outer plate down tight and can be padlocked to discourage the casual thief. Mounting holes are also provided to carry a RotopaX fuel or water container between the plate and pannier.
The Rapid Release System weighs less than seven pounds and the entire set-up, including Rocky Mountain Panniers and four Wolfman bottle holsters, weighs just under 18 lbs., some four pounds lighter than a similar system.
Without experiencing a strike, I can’t vouch for the crashworthiness of the Delrin thimbles. Hopefully they will do their job and pull through when needed. A spare set would also be nice and Wolfman is considering this addition to the kit.
Although my Wolfman panniers can still be affixed to the pannier frame as before, I can’t imagine using them without the Pikes Peak Rapid Release System. It’s just too good a solution not to take on every ride. WolfmanLuggage.com MSRP: $324.99
|▲ Solves the issue of fussy pannier removal and installation||▼ I would like to see spare Delrin thimbles included in the kit|
|▲ Beautiful machining|
|▲ Made in the U.S.|