Craven luggage is manufactured using original moulds and is assembled in house, enabling us to monitor quality throughout the entire process. We sell the majority of our luggage and parts separately, this way you can order a single pannier, lock or bolt as suits your needs. All our luggage fits our kits so you can choose any combination. All our luggage is available in either black or white (custom colours can be ordered by request).
As all Craven luggage is handmade there can be some imperfections on occasion. Where these imperfections are noticeable the products are marked as ‘B‘ grade and are sold at a 15% discount. These 'B' grade products might have the odd scratch, scuff or bubble in the mould. While these are not major defects, we feel they do not meet our high standards and so are sold as such.
We can manufacture pieces in any RAL colour to order only. As this obviously takes extra time to produce please allow for a delay and order as soon as possible.
Instead of being painted our luggage has a thick gel coat, so minor scratches during use can be polished out, maintaining the glossy look for longer.
Our luggage system is adaptable too. All of our panniers have hinges mounted at the front as standard, but should you want to be able to lift off the lid entirely this modification can be made at any time. Should you wish to fit a top box at a later date, the mounting setup can be altered with no drilling required.
Please contact us with your requirements and we will be happy to advise.
Craven...the luggage equipment for British, European and Japanese motorcycles 1950-1980...and beyond.
Ken and Mollie Craven were inveterate motorcycle tourers who used to take like-minded souls on "Parti-tours" to Spain and other European destinations. At that time there was little, if any, luggage equipment available for motorcycles other than ex-WD panniers. Ken, an engineer, realised that there was a demand and came up with luggage equipment to do the job.
The first panniers were made from a compressed fibre board and had square corners with metal strapping or banding round them, a feature that remains to this day. The early efforts of other companies tend to disappear as the volumes sold do not tend to be great and as the product improves with time, early versions are disposed of to be replaced with 'new and improved' ones. It is a testament to the quality of the original design and manufacture that there are many of these really early panniers still around.
A manufacturing company called Craven Equipment was formed in 1952 based in Eden Grove, London and was to dominate the motorcycle luggage market for nigh on 30 years. Ken retired from the business and sold it to Stadium Ltd, known for their helmets and other motorcycle accessories and in the 1980's they in turn sold it to a firm based in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. This company was in the business of refurbishing petrol station forecourts and making various things from glass fibre. Not long before this company ceased trading (due to the death of the owner) the Craven part of the business was sold to Phil Primmer's company, West Country Sidecars, but after a few years he himself was to retire, hopefully to ride his Vincent to the furthest reaches of Europe and beyond.
In 2007 Draganfly Motorcycles bought Craven Equipment from Phil and began to run it as a sister company. After 3 years of slow progress, they re-furbished the machine tools, jigs and moulds in order to start production in 2011. A lot of the equipment was in poor condition, although most of the moulds were pretty good. There was virtually no stock but there were a lot of drawings, however the part numbers on them did not match the samples that Draganfly acquired and further still, did not match the numbers on the instruction sheets! As the Craven system is made up of 5 standard racks and about 20 styles of panniers all held together by a unique set of brackets for each motorcycle, without a list of which bit was for which bike made providing fitting kits difficult!
In 2016 after several unproductive years working with outside companies to manufacture Craven’s fibreglass luggage, we made the big decision to take control of the entire process ourselves. We brought everything in house, from manufacture to assembly, quality control to dispatch. A large area was cleared in our workshop, with several bikes being moved for the first time in nearly 20 years, and production started. Our lad Harry was the first person to manufacture for us with Graham following shortly after. Not only did this enable us to control the entire process but also allowed us time to develop new pieces, which proved to be an exciting time after spending too long in the slow lane.
With production of the Snowdon, Concorde and Comet models taking priority initially, we also began production of the rest of the range. Unsurprisingly some pieces are much harder to produce than others. For example, the Rodark pannier was originally made in metal from Triumph mudguards and the Silver Arrow panniers were made from what only could be described has hardboard and pieces of wooden battening. Our team not only looked into the best methods to remanufacture these but also the best finish that could be achieved.
History of the parts
Silver Arrows :- The Silver Arrow panniers are one of the earliest style of panniers that we know of and are quite different from modern luggage. They are very popular for Vincent motorcycles especially, despite their rudimentary design. The side opening means the contents are easily accessible and two hook mounts support the top and enable to luggage to be easily removed. The only variation from the originals has been the material we used for construction (and the superior lock we fitted).
Snowdon :- The Snowdon was renamed when Craven Equipment was purchased by father and son team, Roger and Iain Gwynn. The Snowdon covered four different sizes of one style, they were renamed due to the confusing nature of the previous names. They used to be called Sportsman (small), Spaceman (medium), Superman (large) and Fairlie for the low, wide version. We felt that having one name and 3 sizes would be far more sensible! The small is the easiest to spot since it has no styling for the Craven sticker to be placed.
Dolomite :- The Dolomite was originally just one style and size of pannier. There was, however, it's smaller sister, Safari. We renamed this as the Dolomite small (see what we did there). This style has a lift off lid, which is not hinged or attached to the main box of the luggage, with a solid aluminium strap running the full length of the back of the luggage.
Rodark :- These panniers were originally made from Triumph mudguards converted into panniers. The mudguards were cut and a lock added to form a lid. They have been one of the hardest pieces of luggage to manufacture since fibreglass works best with shallow curves and plenty of room. The tight detail of the lids and also the manner in which the original moulds were constructed presented a big challenge for our team.
Golden Arrow :- These have not changed a great deal from when they were first introduced. The one main change we made was to use our modern locks rather than the original style ones. The original locks are available (only as a pair) but since they are quite expensive we are rather pleased to change them over.