Just registered but have been lurking a bit. I am in the process of purchasing a 2018 Versys 650 LT (just learned the bags are crap from lurking).
Ive got a 2015 LT with the OEM panniers and I beg to differ. I love the panniers. One key system, way to go. Locked up standalone or to the bike with the flick of a lever. The width design is integrated to the bike so you have room inside going in towards the tire instead of out. Can fit a helmut. So....26 litres each,maybe you want more. Maybe you want aluminium for strength off road. Maybe you want square for a big laptop or dont like the design at the rear which allows your rear lights to be seen from the side. Or maybe you want top loading instead of side. Personally,I like side. My left pannier is organized with all my road gear on the inside half so I dont have to dig from the top. But for me,they are on the bike always and work great for me. Each their own!
I can tell you I have had 3 friends, 2 with the Versys and 1 with a Ninja, with those bags, they all expressed frustration . The one with the Versys could not get his helmet in the case, the one with the Ninja showed up at my place with his service manual, minus the ring binder, because it wouldn't fit, a bit embarrassed as he almost dropped some pages. I owned a 07 Versys that had the Givi 35 cases, try opening the kick stand side without something falling out. I purchased the Trekker cases from Twisted Throttle , absolutely love them, they are tough enough that I have gone down at 20 KM/HR in deep gravel, just a few minor scratches, with the bike resting fully on the case, try that with the OEM cases, if in doubt have a look at Fasteddie post.
The second thing, the Trekker cases open suitcase style or top, absolutely love them.
Trekker cases take 15 seconds to remove
Notice the cross brace on the mounting, yes the opposite side helps to support should you crash, try that on the OEM
My case kickstand side with the prop stand in bubble wrap near the top,( opened using top opening instead of suitcase style, notice the anchor style latch inside, used to switch opening style) my left side is used for my tire repair & tools, chain lube, compressor , stop and go, wrenches, gloves and rags, fuses, owners manual,led extension light ( 10 feet long) with cigarette lighter plug, socket on left is live all the time and fused at 25 amp.
Prop stand is 15 inches of square aluminum tubing , I keep my 100 LB & 50 LB wire ties inside ( my 1/2 X 3.5 stainless bolt for front tire use) of the bubble wrap, , which also keeps the case inside from getting worn .
Prop stand in use on rear, am also able to use on the front right fork and get the tire off the ground for plugging, using a 1/2 X 3.5 ' stainless steel bolt with a stainless fender washer welded onto the inside head of the bolt.
One last thing, wait until you break a ignition key off in your OEM cases and see how happy you are with the system, trust me, been in the rain many times, went to open the one side and noticed the key was hard to turn, the Trekker keys are really beefy, just a bit of graphite and good to go again.
Like you said, each to their own, just thought I would throw my $0.02 in C/W photos.