Luggage conundrum for commuting - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-30-2017, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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Luggage conundrum for commuting

Hi all,

I'm trying to figure out the best way to solve my particular cargo and storage needs. It's a bit convoluted of a tale, so I apologize if I leave anything out or explain poorly. For reasons I won't bore you with (executive summary: cranky and controlling old WASPs who hate motorcycles), I have to park across the street and up the hill from the building I live in. Obviously, I have my bike under a cover. It's about a five minute walk each way and a huge hassle to walk the cover back to my place. So far, I've been coordinating with my wife to put the bike cover in our car before I commute or head out on the weekends. This has worked as a temporary solution, but there will soon come times this doesn't work, e.g. she goes shopping after work on a night when rain is expected and we have to decide whose night gets torpedoed.

Secondly, I like to carry stuff. My daily load so far has been my laptop, RAM mounts for phone and GoPro, 12V outlet and charging cables, alternative gloves, waterproof liner, spare earplugs, various keys, notebooks, pens, and various other odds and ends. Tonight on the way back, I picked up some of those cinnamon buns that come in a tube for my wife because they're delicious. I expect little trips like that to become more common. I also expect to put more emergency/roadside repair type stuff in as I learn more. I have a PackJack on the way for chain maintenance, for instance, and will probably start carrying chain lube for when I hit 400 mile multiples on the road.

So far, I've been carrying this stuff in a backpack, but it kind of sucks and makes you look like a doofus. I am looking for a replacement that will carry my laptop (12.59 x 8.64 inches) and not look like a potato sack (e.g. Kriega US20), and I think I've settled on the Nelson Rigg CL-1060ST as my first choice. I decided on a tail bag because panniers seem like overkill for a daily commute and would make moving through traffic miserable, top racks seem like they require a lot of money that I'm not ready to spend yet and usually look too dorky for the city, and I couldn't find a tank bag that seemed like it could accommodate my daily expected loads. The CL-1060ST has the right mix of accessibility, volume, and attractiveness for my needs.

My big issue, and what I wanted to ask about, is how to carry both the cover and my daily items. The laptop is the only absolute must. I can carry the RAM mounts, cables, and earplugs in my helmet and do without the other stuff on a daily basis if need be. I figure a cinch bag and a cargo net would let me carry the bike cover with me to work and either put it on the bike for maybe-rainy days or just carry it into my workplace. My concern is that it would be unstable and/or inelegant to have both a tail bag and a giant sack strapped onto the back of the bike.

During any kind of overnight trip, I wouldn't care about how any of this looks, but there should be some attractive way to deal with this on a day-to-day basis. So, in short, these are my concerns and goals:

1) Carry bike cover and laptop at a minimum, ideally having room for more stuff
2) Figure out a luggage solution that carries these items and is attractive, or at least minimally goofy, for daily commuting (weekend luggage can be goofy)
3) Minimize spend in the near term, with the understanding that I will eventually put on a top case and/or panniers for weekending

I'm not wedded to any solution at this point, I'm curious about how you guys would approach the situation given your riding experience, knowledge of what solutions are out there, and understanding of the particulars of my situation. Am I missing something simple? Am I thinking about something the wrong way? Are there other ways of doing something that could negate a problem or two here? and so on.

Thanks for your input!
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post #2 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 04:59 AM
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Here's what I use

* Givi lockable top box with rear rack for attachment, most are 35-40L so hold a lot. Also function as passenger backrest
* 15x15 stretch cargo net just because they're cheap and easy to stow away under the seat as well as great for lashing large items to the rear seat
* for the rare camping trip I supplement with soft saddle bags that just attach via a strap that goes over the seat
* tank bag is handy to stow phone, pens, stuff you need quick access to, carry coffee to work, etc..

Rear tail bags are a pain because
* unless you have the flexibility of a teenage gymnast, you can't raise your right leg up high enough to mount a tall bike like the Versys, when you also have to get your leg high enough to swing over something strapped to the rear seat like a tail bag
* they are not lockable and easily removed from the bike by a thief, unlike a top box which requires a key to remove from rack or open box
* stuff stored in a tail bag is not as easy to get to as a tank bag, you have to get off the bike to retrieve stuff from a tail bag
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Last edited by twowheels; 05-31-2017 at 06:44 AM.
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post #3 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 07:01 AM
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Givi E21 side cases (if you can still find them) or the newer E22 cases are a GREAT bargain compared to any other side cases. The Kappa versions are usually even cheaper still. They are top-loading, waterproof and secure. They are also compact. So, for both your storage needs and your getting through traffic issues, they make excellent cases for commuting. My 2 cents.

I've been usung the E21s for years. The added bonus is that the same racks will hold other larger Givi/Kappa cases. So I use the E21s for all my daily run-abouts and switch Kappa K40s onto the racks for touring.
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post #4 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 07:10 AM
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I've been a more or less daily commuter for 20+ years. Like me, if you do it long enough, you'll eventually come around, let practicality win out over aesthetics, and get side cases...and probably a top case, too. :^) But until then, a tank bag is a must. And check out courier-style bags, particularly the m/c-specific bags. I have an Aerostich bag that carries a lot of stuff, is pretty much waterproof, and I hardly know the bag is on me when I'm riding. Plus, the bag makes it super easy and quick to walk in/out of the workplace with all your junk. If you've got a luggage rack or flat top-case mount plate, RKA makes some awesome rack bags that can carry loads of stuff, and connect/disconnect very quickly and easily. RideToWork.org may have some ideas, too.
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post #5 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 08:12 AM
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The Nelson-Rigg tail bag is excellent and I use one for my daily riding. I own the smaller version, the 1060S and like the fact that it can be strapped under the seat so you don't have straps everywhere. You can lock it with an additional accessory lock that latches the two zippers together. It's still a textile bag so someone with a knife could cut the underseat straps if they wanted the bag bad enough. However, I don't think a laptop will fit in the bag, even the larger ST version.

Also, if you have trouble swinging your leg over the tail bag simply hop one foot on the peg and step over the seat.

To me if you want to keep things on the cheap for now use a backpack and cargo net. Then save for those E22 cases, they are an excellent choice.

Good luck.
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post #6 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 11:04 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twowheels View Post
Here's what I use

* Givi lockable top box with rear rack for attachment, most are 35-40L so hold a lot. Also function as passenger backrest
* 15x15 stretch cargo net just because they're cheap and easy to stow away under the seat as well as great for lashing large items to the rear seat
* for the rare camping trip I supplement with soft saddle bags that just attach via a strap that goes over the seat
* tank bag is handy to stow phone, pens, stuff you need quick access to, carry coffee to work, etc..

Rear tail bags are a pain because
* unless you have the flexibility of a teenage gymnast, you can't raise your right leg up high enough to mount a tall bike like the Versys, when you also have to get your leg high enough to swing over something strapped to the rear seat like a tail bag
* they are not lockable and easily removed from the bike by a thief, unlike a top box which requires a key to remove from rack or open box
* stuff stored in a tail bag is not as easy to get to as a tank bag, you have to get off the bike to retrieve stuff from a tail bag
Thanks for the interesting insights on tail bags. I am not worried about them being stolen, since I would unstrap the bag and take it into work with me every day, basically like a backpack that's not on my back while I ride. It wouldn't be something I would permanently leave with the bike. Access is less of a problem, too, since I haven't really felt the need to pull stuff out when I'm underway, but it's something I might want to do with more experience. The height is probably the biggest issue for me, since my leg barely clears the rear seat when I mount. Turk's suggestion of stepping up on one of the pegs might be a good intermediate solution for that.
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post #7 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 11:21 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ATYC View Post
Givi E21 side cases (if you can still find them) or the newer E22 cases are a GREAT bargain compared to any other side cases. The Kappa versions are usually even cheaper still. They are top-loading, waterproof and secure. They are also compact. So, for both your storage needs and your getting through traffic issues, they make excellent cases for commuting. My 2 cents.

I've been usung the E21s for years. The added bonus is that the same racks will hold other larger Givi/Kappa cases. So I use the E21s for all my daily run-abouts and switch Kappa K40s onto the racks for touring.
Thanks, I'll keep the Givi recommendations in mind. Right now, I'm getting used to the profile of the bike in heavy traffic. I have pretty good coordination, but I'm not experienced enough yet to make the rear end any wider. I spend a lot of time as it is worrying about keeping the stock mirrors from banging into SUV and box truck mirrors. One day
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post #8 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 11:35 AM
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For me the best solution has always been. A large topcase. I've been using a Givi E-55 since 2010 on 3 different bikes. Its big enough to carry what i need when i get to where i need to be if i have to take stuff in with me just turn the key to the case pop out the carry handle and press a button to disconnect from the rack. Super easy i lane split so i don't like using side cases.


P1010657 by weljo2001, on Flickr
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post #9 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 11:38 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Doug Just Doug View Post
I've been a more or less daily commuter for 20+ years. Like me, if you do it long enough, you'll eventually come around, let practicality win out over aesthetics, and get side cases...and probably a top case, too. :^) But until then, a tank bag is a must. And check out courier-style bags, particularly the m/c-specific bags. I have an Aerostich bag that carries a lot of stuff, is pretty much waterproof, and I hardly know the bag is on me when I'm riding. Plus, the bag makes it super easy and quick to walk in/out of the workplace with all your junk. If you've got a luggage rack or flat top-case mount plate, RKA makes some awesome rack bags that can carry loads of stuff, and connect/disconnect very quickly and easily. RideToWork.org may have some ideas, too.
Thanks a lot! I'll check out RideToWork for sure. My worries with panniers at this point are safety and money. I'm not really experienced enough yet on the bike slick to be comfortable balancing the load properly and changing the profile in stop and go traffic. I'm thinking a lot about topcases, but the parts (and maybe labor) add up in a hurry. It doesn't look like there's any 100% perfect solution. Do you know of any tank bags that could fit a laptop?
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post #10 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Turk View Post
The Nelson-Rigg tail bag is excellent and I use one for my daily riding. I own the smaller version, the 1060S and like the fact that it can be strapped under the seat so you don't have straps everywhere. You can lock it with an additional accessory lock that latches the two zippers together. It's still a textile bag so someone with a knife could cut the underseat straps if they wanted the bag bad enough. However, I don't think a laptop will fit in the bag, even the larger ST version.

Also, if you have trouble swinging your leg over the tail bag simply hop one foot on the peg and step over the seat.

To me if you want to keep things on the cheap for now use a backpack and cargo net. Then save for those E22 cases, they are an excellent choice.

Good luck.
Thanks, I think it was your recommendation in an older post that initially pushed me in that direction. It looks really good on the bike. The Revzilla and Amazon reviews and questions seem to indicate that the 1060ST would fit my laptop (Revzilla question stated that it wouldn't take a 17 inch laptop, but mine is 12.6 inches, so no worries there). I'm less worried about security, since it will only be on the bike when I am.

Thanks for the second recommendation on the E21/E22 cases. It seems like I have some more research to do!
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post #11 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 12:03 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by weljo2001 View Post
For me the best solution has always been. A large topcase. I've been using a Givi E-55 since 2010 on 3 different bikes. Its big enough to carry what i need when i get to where i need to be if i have to take stuff in with me just turn the key to the case pop out the carry handle and press a button to disconnect from the rack. Super easy i lane split so i don't like using side cases.


P1010657 by weljo2001, on Flickr
I lane split while commuting, too, so side cases are probably best reserved for longer trips. I haven't researched topcases in depth yet, but it looks like most of them have low weight limits. My computer is 3 pounds and the cover is 5 pounds, so those two alone would almost max out the allowances I've seen (11 pounds IIRC). Are there different solutions that have higher limits? Anything less than 25 pounds doesn't seem worth it.
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post #12 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 12:55 PM
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I lane split while commuting, too, so side cases are probably best reserved for longer trips. I haven't researched topcases in depth yet, but it looks like most of them have low weight limits. My computer is 3 pounds and the cover is 5 pounds, so those two alone would almost max out the allowances I've seen (11 pounds IIRC). Are there different solutions that have higher limits? Anything less than 25 pounds doesn't seem worth it.


I had a 17 inch screen Mac Pro plus crammed in there also were lots of goodies that went way over the weight limit. Yesterday i had 2 gallons of orange juice and 2 gallons of tea in the top case...

IMG_0135 by weljo2001, on Flickr


I also have this bag which fits around the pillion section of the seat that would work for you..https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/...2XLxoCnZ_w_wcB

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Heres one thats more rigid....https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/...uiser-tail-bag

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post #14 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 01:10 PM
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* unless you have the flexibility of a teenage gymnast, you can't raise your right leg up high enough to mount a tall bike like the Versys, when you also have to get your leg high enough to swing over something strapped to the rear seat like a tail bag....
I USUALLY do something we used to call the "KLR Shuffle" to mount-up: stand on your left foot near the bike, extend your right leg towards your Versys (SOMETIMES I hold my pants-cuff w/ my right hand), then 'hop' towards it till your right foot is over the seat, then 'slide into place'. THAT way you don't scratch stuff...!

My ALTERNATE method is like Turk does, but I mount from the right-side: first grab and hold the front brakes ON w/ your right hand, then put your right foot onto the foot-peg, then transfer your left hand to the left grip as you stand up on the right 'peg and swing your left leg over.

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...Also, if you have trouble swinging your leg over the tail bag simply hop one foot on the peg and step over the seat....
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post #15 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 01:39 PM
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I have pretty good coordination, but I'm not experienced enough yet to make the rear end any wider.
The handlebars are wider than the E21s.

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post #16 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 02:06 PM
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Thanks a lot! I'll check out RideToWork for sure. My worries with panniers at this point are safety and money. I'm not really experienced enough yet on the bike slick to be comfortable balancing the load properly and changing the profile in stop and go traffic. I'm thinking a lot about topcases, but the parts (and maybe labor) add up in a hurry. It doesn't look like there's any 100% perfect solution. Do you know of any tank bags that could fit a laptop?
Yeah, tough to find a tank bag that fits the Versys that's big enough for a lap top without significantly limiting lock-to-lock bar movement. I have a very small tank bag, but I have side cases and sometimes a top case, too. I'll reiterate that Aerostich has lots of commuting solutions -- check out their site -- I know they have specific carriers for laptops, briefcases that mount to rear racks, messenger bags, etc. They also sell bike covers that pack down much smaller than some others out there as well. (FYI: you shouldn't need to pay anyone to mount hard luggage on your bike; I've put lots of Givi and SW-Motech racks on various bikes and it's pretty simple.)
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The handlebars are wider than the E21s.
Same for my E-22s mounted on SW-Motech racks.
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I would like to amend my previous post recommending a backpack and cargo net. Since some people don't like riding with a backpack I think to do this on the super cheap just get a duffel bag and cargo net. And a plastic bag to keep things dry in the rain. Then save for the those E21-22's.


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All the above works and now its your call. Get some permanent box - side or top and you will solve your problem.
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post #20 of 44 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 09:20 PM
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WRT tank bags I'm a big fan of the tank ring attachment system. They are secure and easy to get on and off and don't scratch the paint. A big improvement on strap mounting and magnet mounting. Givi makes a large and small model of this type that fit the Versys perfectly.

Givi 3D 601
Givi XS320

Too big a tank bag will interfere with your view to instruments as well as handle bar movement.

One caveat with tank bags is the pouch with a clear window many offer to store your phone, it does not allow you to use the touch screen in the pouch. It also may cause your phone to overheat and shut down in hot weather when the screen is always on displaying GPS maps as they prevent heat escape. There are better options for mounting a phone (for GPS use) on a bike like the RAM X-Mount IMO.
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