Simple Atacama Bags Locking Mechanism
(Deterring the casual thief)

[ Sunday - August 20, 2017 ]

Yes I know...  I'm wasting money.  I purchased the Wolfman soft luggage system only to find out that it's good but not great.  The BMW Atacama soft luggage system is expensive, but is pretty awesome.  The funny thing is, the service manager at Brown Motor Works in Pomona told me that one of his RawHide instructor friends did the same thing as yours truly, purchase the Wolfman bags to only later switch to the Atacama bags.  Great minds think alike?  Or perhaps we're just glutton for punishment when we pay attention to the $'s instead of functionality.  Novice mistake made... now the instructor and I have one thing in common, we reneged and switched to the Atacama bags.

When I tested out the Wolfman bags, they actually caused a bit more drag on the bike vs. the Atacama.  The Wolfman causes a slight impact to the mileage (45-46 MPG).  For some odd reason, the Atacama bags exert no noticeable drag on the GSW and actually does the opposite.  I'm getting anywhere between 48-49 MPG for the commute.  In some cases the MPG would go as high as 50.1mpg.  No, I'm not riding with a tail wind on a 6%+ downhill grade.  Using the BMW Vario trunk had me between 46-47mpg.  I now ride around with the Atacama bags only.  Along that note, the Touratech panniers have the bike around 41-42 MPG.

MPG being good and all, but I have a concern.  One of the most obvious problem is that anybody who spends a little bit of time with the Atacama bags will notice that the bags aren't locked to the luggage rack.  Within milliseconds, the bags are off the bike sprouting legs and walking off into the sunset.  The only saving grace for me is the work place is full of security officers.  Plus people know to leave each other's stuff alone.  Still, there's nothing that says the bags won't start walking.  I looked at Mosko's website and found they have a lock strap for the luggage, but it's not the same as just locking the luggage to the bike.  There are characteristics of the bags that lend itself to lock-age.

Note that little hole can be used for something.  Perhaps a pad lock?

After a close examination, I came up with a simple mechanism to deter the casual thief.  It's as simple as a strip of stock aluminum or steel.  In my case, I chose aluminum for rust reasons.  Plus I already have aluminum on hand.

The target is the upper-right bolt.

Look at the nice gap between the bolt and the mounting block.

The idea is to put something in place that prevents the release latch from both being flipped and rotated.  The strip of aluminum will prevent these actions from being taken.  This also helps to prevent the latch from being inadvertently releasing itself.

The simple answer to locking the Atacama bags: left-hole = pad lock, right-hole = mounting bolt.

The mounting bolt hole is bigger to allow for a level of twist and rotation of the lock plate.  Now it's a matter of taking the one bolt off, sliding the aluminum plate between the Atacama luggage rack hard mount-plate / mounting-block, and tightening everything back up.

Loosening the upper-right bolt.

Put the plate in and tighten the bolt back on.

Now a simple pad lock can be used to lock the bag to the rack.

Now the release latch can't be actuated.

Simplicity at its best... It's not the prettiest thing in the world but it's effective enough.

Of course this only deters the theft of the bags and not it's content.  That's a different matter altogether, but there's an answer for that also.

[ Tuesday - August 29, 2017 ]

Just for the fun of it, here's proof of what I'm talking about regarding the fuel economy when using the Atacama bags.  I still don't have an explanation for it other than they're really efficient for some reason.

Check out the crazy "Fuel Economy 1"

The "Fuel Economy 2" is an accumulation of more than 6K miles where most of those miles (95%+) are before getting the Atacama bags.  A small contributing factor might be related with me running 43 PSI on the rear and 36.5 PSI on the front.  I doubt this is the whole reason for the fuel economy.

In terms of the image being extremely yellow... that's because I put the amber light filters on my Erica lights.  People kept on flashing me when I didn't have the yellow filter on.  Nowadays, most don't flash.  Hey!  It's a sunset in my garage... NOT!

Written on: August 20, 2017
Last modified: August 29, 2017