Hard Bags... Decisions, Decisions.... - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 48 (permalink) Old 08-10-2011, 09:11 PM Thread Starter
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Hard Bags... Decisions, Decisions....

For the past two weeks I've looking, searching, reading about hard bags for my 2011 Versys. The more I read the more difficult the deciding is becoming... I really don't want to compromise on a good system just to save a few bucks... I also don't want to buy a system that is overkill for my needs...

My primary uses are for daily commute & frequent adventure travel (2 days to 2 weeks at a time) self-contained. Maybe even a TAT journey. I am semi-retired (work 3 days per week) & have time to ride with a desire to do more long-term, long-distance adventure travel...

Personally, I don't want Givi or Kawi OEM hard bags & I already have a full compliment of Firstgear & River Road soft bags on my cruiser... all of which I could use on my Versys if I had to...

I want to put hard bags/boxes on my Versys... I want a good sturdy side carrier rack that fits my bike well, is secure & can be used for various brands of boxes/cases/panniers if my needs/wants change down the road... Here I'm leaning toward Hepco Becker or Happy Trail side racks. These both appear to be pretty sturdy & can be used by multiple case/box/pannier brands.

I have looked at Caribou, SW-Motech TraX, Happy-Trail, Jesse, Pelican, Storm, and Seahorse boxes/cases/panniers. The more I look the more I'm leaning toward an aluminum pannier system... The Pelican/Seahorse option looks good but I like the looks & lines of a metal box... & the inside vs. outside dimensions on the metal cases offer more storage capacity with the smallest outside dimensions (helpful since the Versys has a shorter length, wheelbase than other adventure touring bikes).

While cost is always a factor it is not the primary deciding factor. It seems that anyway I go its going to be between $600 & $1000 for a two pannier system... unless I go with plastic cases/boxes that do not have an seamless locking system installed other than adding my own padlocks.

I know that each of the systems has their pros/cons as far as strength. quality, useable storage capacity, security, ease of install, ease of uninstall, least modification to my bike/lights & cost...

Based on what I've seen & read I'm leaning toward a Happy-Trail system... but I'd sure like to have opinions on the pros & cons of all the systems...

Anyone else who has worked through this decision process care to share how they decided & whether or not they are happy or would do things differently...

Thanks,

KJ

2013 Suzuki V-Strom
2013 Honda CRF 250L
2012 Suzuki V-Strom 650-ADV
2011 Kawasaki Versys
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2009 Kawasaki Vulcan
1979 Suzuki GS425 (long gone)

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post #2 of 48 (permalink) Old 08-10-2011, 09:27 PM
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I can't help but promote the the Givi bags/racks. I have the tail trunk as well and the system is perfect. The racks fit great, seem very solid and the cases attach and remove quickly. Granted they're not waterproof but short of Pelican most designs wont be. I just really like how slick the system works with the Versys. Personally, I never liked soft bags, been forced to use them many times though. They just flop around too much and don't lock to anything. My $0.02.

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post #3 of 48 (permalink) Old 08-10-2011, 09:36 PM
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Just a question: are the v46s not waterproof? I would think that they are, with the exception that water could possibly get in along the seam. I've got an E55 and it seems fairly well constructed (as does the FZ447 mount), but have yet to test it in the rain. I know that an older E260 I have on my other bike keeps the rain out very well.
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post #4 of 48 (permalink) Old 08-10-2011, 10:10 PM
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[QUOTE=Versys514;165950]Just a question: are the v46s not waterproof?



I had the V-46 before i got my E-55 Have ridden with both in lots of downpours never had a issue with leaks at all.

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post #5 of 48 (permalink) Old 08-10-2011, 11:12 PM
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Hard Cases - As I see it

I recently (3-4 months ago) went through the same research process.

I know that some people may (will) disagree with the following... However this is from "My" experience.

From what I could find (from reputable sources) the only truly waterproof cases are the Pelican/Seahorse/Caribou style cases and the Gobi cases from Hepco & Becker.
The ability to remain waterproof was not a huge selling feature for me at the start but when I started thinking about it... "If I ever need to trust these things to be waterproof..." Let's say you throw your cell phone in what is supposed to be your waterproof case, only to find out it leaked at little??
That was not a risk I was willing to take.
The other feature that made me choose the cases I have was they were top loading... That limited me to only a few options.
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post #6 of 48 (permalink) Old 08-10-2011, 11:23 PM
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Here are a few choices on this link...
http://www.adventuremotorcycleparts.com/merchant2/

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post #7 of 48 (permalink) Old 08-10-2011, 11:51 PM
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Hey, Weljo, good to see you man.

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post #8 of 48 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 12:09 AM
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i've got the givi hard bags, side and top. i've ridden in lots of rain and never did anything get wet. and i like the way the side cases open out. when you have gear(dry bags with tent, sleeping bag, pad, etc.)tied across the passenger seat you can still open the side cases and get at things. i carry everything in them in nylon bags.
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post #9 of 48 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 12:14 AM
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I have the happy trails and love them water proof and very well built.
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post #10 of 48 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 07:23 AM
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i was looking for the same thing a couple weeks ago, i mostly commute to work. ended up goin with seahorse 720s and swm evo rack, very solid rack and the ablity to change to many differant cases
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post #11 of 48 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 07:38 AM
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Had opt for hardbags that open by the sides as have my workbag is on the back seat. That way it's easy for me to access them hardbags.

Using HB Junior bags which are waterproof. Because the box shape is boxy, there is not much broken stowage which is a plus. Using the 40L each left and right. There's also 30L ones.

http://www.hepco-becker.de/_eng/news.php

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post #12 of 48 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 07:56 AM
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I went with H-T 7.5" Tetons and have been very pleased with my decision. They are very well made, watertight, and have a very tight mounting system.

I chose the 7.5" version because it keeps the rear end of the bike within the width of the handlebars. FWIW, I also added the H-T pannier top bags and was quite surprised at how useful they became on a recent 3 week trip. Left bag carries my rain suit and the right one contains misc. stuff (e.g., sunscreen, water bottle, snacks, flashlight, spare gloves).

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post #13 of 48 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 08:10 AM
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I have full set of Trax boxes....been very happy with the SW Motech system super fast removal or installation. Great looks....best Customer Service with Twisted Throttle.

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post #14 of 48 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 09:53 AM
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Micatech V2

Have you seen Micatech V2 cases?

http://micatech.net/products/v2-cases
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post #15 of 48 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 01:24 PM
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I have installed the Trax top case mainly because of the adventure/rugged look it add to the bike and second, because I wanted to be at least capable of storing one helmet.

After a year of use, I do not regret it at all. It is most likely the only item I will keep to transfert to another bike if ever I sell the V.
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post #16 of 48 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 01:34 PM
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I really do like those Trax boxes. But, I went with the v46 and the v35 side cases. I have never had a water problem in any of my cases. In fact, almost everywhere I travel, I keep my laptop in my topcase. I've ridden for many hours through many downpours and have never had water in the cases. You do have to be careful when you close the case to ensure you don't have something sticking out which would break the seal of the case. As others have said, it is nice to have access to the side cases even when you have junk strapped across the passenger seat.
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post #17 of 48 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 02:52 PM
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Carribuo will install cylinder locks in Pelican, Storm, or SKB plastic cases.

Happy Trails has the strongest rack system and allows for use of any top rack/case.

Top loading is over rated. If you want something at the bottom you have to pull everything out. Well, you pretty much do for a side load as well.

Plastic cases have a wider size selection.

People that have bought the HT Tetons love them. The overall width of the larger ones is not that much more than the smaller ones and allows a lot more gear to fit into them, are easier to load.

Plastic cases are quite a bit lighter.

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post #18 of 48 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gossamer View Post
I can't help but promote the the Givi bags/racks. ... Granted they're not waterproof ...
No case is waterproof. Cases have different levels of water resistance

For reference to ingress protection levels (aka. waterproof claim) see:

http://www.ul.com/global/eng/pages/o...s/ref/ingress/
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post #19 of 48 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 07:21 PM
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I have the caribou system on my KLR 650. I really like the way they work and the way they lock, the way they carry, the construction, the waterproofness, etc. Wouldn't want them on a "Street" bike like the Versys though.
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post #20 of 48 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 07:27 PM
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Hmmm...I just have simple Givi E-21's. I have ridden through some serious downpours, sometimes for a couple of hours at a time. I've never seen a drop of water inside of them. Maybe because they're top closers, I'm guessing a side closing box might be a little more vulnerable to water intrusion.

Mike
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