Rackless pannier bags are becoming very popular. Few years ago there were only few basic models on the market. Now there is whole range of products - Wolfman E-12, Daytripper, Enduro Dry, Enduro Ultra-lite, Kriega Overlander 30, Altrider Hemisphere, Giant Loop Great basin, Coyote, Mosko moto 'Reckless' 40L System, 'Reckless' 80L System...
All these bags are great for dual sport and adventure riding - no racks needed, low weight, variable size. Also, all of these bags share one design feature - front mounting straps. One of issues people have with these bags is where to attach front mounting straps. If bike has passenger foot pegs, that is not an issue. But if passenger foot pegs are removed, all that is left is to search for proper spot to attach straps directly to the frame.
Recently, fellow rider from New Zealand (cheers David!) pointed me to Advrider post about custom made heel guards with strapping point for rackless bags.
I really liked that idea, so I made few prototypes myself. Here is final design.
Since I like shape and design lines of this bike, I tend to keep it looking as stock as possible. So, I copied shape of OEM heel guards.
5 mm aluminum is used, AlMg3. In order to protect boots and straps, all edges are deburred and rounded by machine. Heel guards are powder coated to black. Powder coat will not last forever, but anodizing would cost more and would last just a little longer. Anyway, part is made of aluminum, so wont rust or anything. Also, button head bolts are used, so there are no sharp bolt edges to rub against boots.
I experimented with bend angles. I wanted to keep heel guards as close to the bike as possible, but with enough clearance between them and swing arm. I settled with following - right side heel guard has 6 degree bend, left side heel guard has 15 degree bend because of the silencer.
I guess everyone has different riding position, but these heel guards wont interfere with boots no matter how someone stands or sits on the bike. Several riders tested it, and no one had a problem.
There are two slots (40x8 mm), one ellipsoid slot (40x15 mm) and one 8 mm hole on each heel guard, enough to strap any rackless bag. That 8 mm hole is there so attachment tab (like Mosko moto or Kriega provides) can be attached, if needed. Slots are positioned towards position of front straps, so strapping is easy.
Since these heel guards will spend their service in mud, water and dirt, high quality mounting hardware must be used - zinc coated 10.9 grade bolts and zinc coated washers.
I am very happy with these. I don't use rackless bag my self, but I will soon buy one, to use it on one day enduro trips. That is how much I love these heel guards.