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Old 08-09-2012, 06:56 AM   #1
Fast103 OP
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BMW Vario Panniers

I am planning a South American trip....riding from Canada. My F650GS twin came with these and Vario top box. Should I change them for Touratech or other aluminium panniers? Any advice would be appreciated.

Fast103 screwed with this post 02-13-2013 at 11:26 AM
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:42 AM   #2
dmaxr1
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I had a minor crash on a rental F650GS on asphalt this week and the vario sidecase ripped apart. The plastic tabs on the back were already bent and let the case flop around a little, personally, I don't like them...but I'm a noob too.

I ordered pelican kit from twisted throttle for my F800GS, but to be honest, if I already had the varios, I probably wouldn't replace them...

Trip sound like fun, good luck.
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Old 08-09-2012, 02:52 PM   #3
GH41
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I like the Vario top case over others. The fact that it is expandable and removes in 2 seconds is important to me. I went with 9 inch Jesse Safaries for the sides. I didn't want the wide ass look most of the others have but I don't travel heavy. I had no interest in side loading Pelicans. If your Vario sides are in good shape they would sell quick in the fea market here and probably fianance half of a good set of alumimum cases. GH

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Old 08-09-2012, 03:25 PM   #4
Dorito
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Well, you aren't going to get many tip overs with the Varios. Mine survived a less than a handful, but they were all mostly controlled drops than crashes. Even then, I had to disassemble them as they would "skip a tooth" on the expansion gear cog on crashing.

Then I bought a set of adventure cases, and those aren't really waterproof for long. Now I am seriously considering soft bags or Jesse's.
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Old 08-09-2012, 04:02 PM   #5
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I have the varios on mine, mainly because there was nothing else available as I got my bike when they were first coming off the boat. Once the others started coming in I thought I would not end up being happy with the varios.

Now that I've had them for over 4 years I have to say I quite like them. They've seen lots of off road drops including a few semi unpleasant ones.

Truth is they hold up quite well and the rack system is barely noticeable when the cases aren't on. Obviously they're not as durable and repairable as some of the metal cases but in any sort of crash most cases can be destroyed. Jesse's and Pelican are pretty hard core. Their are also lots of really cool new very light waterproof soft case systems available.

You will need to figure out how much space you need, how light you want them to be, how durable you want them to be and how much money you want to spend.

I seem to recall an awesome thread on ukgser.com where someone did a very comprehensive comparison of tons of different cases that were available for the 800. I'd troll around on their and see if you can find it.

cheers,
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Old 08-09-2012, 06:37 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by markymcd View Post
... I seem to recall an awesome thread on ukgser.com where someone did a very comprehensive comparison of tons of different cases that were available for the 800. I'd troll around on their and see if you can find it.

cheers,
Mark
He posted it here too, linked in the thread index: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showp...&postcount=288
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Old 08-10-2012, 07:06 AM   #7
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I have the Varios and find them durable when not expanded and somewhat less durable but acceptable when expanded.
Since I ride most of the time without the sidebags I do like the fact that the bike looks very "normal" with the panniers removed.

The Caribou panniers do have a mechanical "fuse" that allows the bags to break-away in a crash. I don't know of any of the others that have this feature. The lower mounting bracket on the Varios breaks away ... If I were going on a long trip I might pack an extra of that u-shaped mounting clip.

I have a spreadsheet of pannier dimensions, volumes, and estimated costs that I can share with anybody that wants it...
Just PM me... or if someone knows how I can post it to the forum that would be even better.
I don't guarantee it to be 100% accurate, but its a good start.
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Old 08-13-2012, 10:00 AM   #8
Fast103 OP
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Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast103 View Post
I am planning a South American trip....riding from Canada. My F650GS twin came with these and Vario top box. Should I change them for Touratech or other aluminium panniers? Any advice would be appreciated. I am a newbie to this.:

Thanks for all the advice! What are the thoughts on Touratech panniers?
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Old 08-13-2012, 04:38 PM   #9
GH41
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Originally Posted by Fast103 View Post
Thanks for all the advice! What are the thoughts on Touratech panniers?
I looked at them but I just didn't want to go that wide and they are in the same price bracket as the Jesee cases. My offroad riding consist of dirt roads. I can't imagine realy traveling offroad with 40" ++ cases. If I did have to load up I would keep my 9" cases and throw something like a Giant Loop bag over the hard cases. When you start adding weight to our 400+ pound bikes it adds up in a hurry! It is easy to pack 50 pounds of gear in panniers that weigh 40 pounds. You will suprised how much of a dog your 70hp bike becomes. GH
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Old 08-13-2012, 08:48 PM   #10
ki_ote
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GH41 View Post
I like the Vario top case over others. The fact that it is expandable and removes in 2 seconds is important to me. I went with 9 inch Jesse Safaries for the sides. I didn't want the wide ass look most of the others have but I don't travel heavy. I had no interest in side loading Pelicans. If your Vario sides are in good shape they would sell quick in the fea market here and probably fianance half of a good set of alumimum cases. GH

GH41, that's a nice look. I have just about decided on an f800gs and if I do I'm gonna steal your panniers setup. Thanks.
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Old 08-14-2012, 06:38 AM   #11
JRWooden
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If my memory is correct, the Jessies also are adjustable by a few inches front to rear, so if you are riding without a pillion you can slide the panniers forward for a better center-of-gravity.

The only reason I don't have the Vario top case is because it does NOT slide forward ...
I may have to make a custom mount ...
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Old 08-15-2012, 05:08 PM   #12
GH41
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JR, mine move fore and aft about 3 inches but the truth is I can't tell the difference in weight distribution. Remember that I am not an aggressive rider! What moving them forward does do is increase the dificulty level of mounting the bike. I am 6'1" ++ and my old crotch isn't limber enough to do anything other than poking my right leg through the slot between the bags and raised front of the seat. Moving the bags foward shortens the slot. GH
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Old 08-15-2012, 05:23 PM   #13
JRWooden
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GH41:

3" is not a whole lot ... I was under the impression it was more...
I had one trip where I was heavily loaded and had not cranked in quite enough pre-load on the reas shock and got a bit of a high speed weave ... I was thinking that being able to slide the bags forward would give a bit more "tolerance for error" there but maybe not...

I'm now more careful about setting the pre-load and I'm OK ...
THANKS!
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Old 08-21-2012, 05:48 PM   #14
Fast103 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast103 View Post
I am planning a South American trip....riding from Canada. My F650GS twin came with these and Vario top box. Should I change them for Touratech or other aluminium panniers? Any advice would be appreciated. I am a newbie to this.:
Ok so I just sold my Vario panniers, kept the Vario top box, and will get Touratech panniers as due to the low Euro they are not a bad deal.
Thanks everyone for the advice!
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Old 08-21-2012, 06:20 PM   #15
GH41
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Originally Posted by Fast103 View Post
Ok so I just sold my Vario panniers, kept the Vario top box, and will get Touratech panniers as due to the low Euro they are not a bad deal.
Thanks everyone for the advice!
You may want to drop a tooth on the front sprocket to pull the windage and weight of those panniers loaded. I am not trying to spoil your trip but these bikes are not over powered. 50-60 pounds doesn't sound like much of a load but your bike will feel like an overweight pig with the stock gearing. GH
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