The Tusk pannier rack has one nice flat top plate 👌
Tusk - USA
Cost - $250 USD
You get a lot of value for money with the Tusk Pannier Rack for the CRF250 Rally. I'm not 100% sold. They are heavy, the fit and finish isn't perfect and you loose the passenger foot-pegs. But, they are cheap (if you live in the USA), have a great flat top plate and simple quick release system.
The racks are made of steel. I'll take a guess and say it's 5kg all up. The top plate alone is around 1kg. A benefit would be that you could weld them back together if they're damaged. It would take a fair hit as they are fairly solid.
The fit and finish is my main concern. One of the welds on mine is slightly lower than it should be. This causes the whole rack to become tight and twisted as some of the holes don't meet with the screws. This makes it hard to take my seat on & off as the frame is slightly stressed to one side. It's not a huge deal but, judging by the welds, you get what you pay for.
The side-racks could be closer into the bike. There's about 1 inch between the standard exhaust and over 2 inches on the external fuel tank side. Cutting this closer would help the pannier tuck in for traffic and tight single trails.
You lose the passenger foot-pegs. The passenger can put their legs on the rack but, it's not as good. Other manufacturers have accomplished this without removing the pegs. Tusk only had to reduce the amount of steel they used to avoid it. It would save weight. I found out when they arrived from the USA. I was disappointed as I planned to have my partner ride pillion.
The main reason I bought this was for the quick release system. I spend 20-30 minutes taking panniers on/off. It's a huge pain in the ass by yourself with fully weighted bags. I just leave them on. Unfortunately, people steal stuff, bears and wildlife want to rip into them and sometimes you want panniers close to the tent when it rains. This trip would take me through the most populated places in the world. It will save me hours, save time/money from things being stolen and replaced and give me peace-of-mind. I spent $200 over a conventional system from Barret Australia, it's that important. Aussie manufacturers take note!
The rack comes with a great top plate. It's wide and flat. It's perfect for a top-bag, pelican case or rotopax. They usually come separate and for this price and rounds out a lot of the problems with the rack. It's great value despite its shortcomings.
Nice compost bin lol
The left hand side would have about 5 inches of empty space if it was installed as it should. It's in the middle using custom brackets. The rack should be brought in 2 inches from factory. See more here).
The right hand side has a similar 2 inch gap to the standard exhaust. You can close it more with an aftermarket exhaust.
The foot-pegs need to be removed for these stupid steel plates.