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Old 08-22-2012, 06:05 AM   #16
Fast103 OP
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Joined: May 2012
Location: toronto, Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GH41 View Post
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
Thanks for the advice. I only weigh about 150lbs and will be travelling I guess with 50 lbs. Do you think It will still be necessary to drop a tooth? Of course there still will be the wind to deal with.
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Old 08-22-2012, 08:39 AM   #17
GH41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast103 View Post
Thanks for the advice. I only weigh about 150lbs and will be travelling I guess with 50 lbs. Do you think It will still be necessary to drop a tooth? Of course there still will be the wind to deal with.
Even with one less tooth in front you will still be geared higher than the F800GS and they do fine at internet speeds. It will only cost you $35 and a little labor to try it out. I don't have TT cases but I bet my Jesses with mounts weigh 35-40 pounds empty! The Vario top case with mount probably weighs another 15-20 pounds. Then there are the things you will be carrying loaded or not. My tool kit, air pump and tire repair stuff probably weighs another 10 pounds. Bug cleaner, chain lube yadayada. Do you see where I am going with this? You could easily add 100 pounds before you load up for the trip. GH
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Old 08-23-2012, 06:21 AM   #18
Fast103 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GH41 View Post
Even with one less tooth in front you will still be geared higher than the F800GS and they do fine at internet speeds. It will only cost you $35 and a little labor to try it out. I don't have TT cases but I bet my Jesses with mounts weigh 35-40 pounds empty! The Vario top case with mount probably weighs another 15-20 pounds. Then there are the things you will be carrying loaded or not. My tool kit, air pump and tire repair stuff probably weighs another 10 pounds. Bug cleaner, chain lube yadayada. Do you see where I am going with this? You could easily add 100 pounds before you load up for the trip. GH
Ok! Fully understand and will try it out. Thanks man!
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Old 08-23-2012, 03:05 PM   #19
Ceri JC
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Joined: Sep 2009
Location: All over, usually Wales or England
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Varios are much tougher than people give them credit for. A lot of people, usually those with aluminium cases or a penchant for soft bags, will claim authoritatively that "they'll shake themselves to bits" or "the extending box might be a nice feature to go to starbucks, but would break in 2 seconds of real adv riding". You don't, however, read a lot of instances of this actually happening to people who have them and put them through their paces.

Mine have been on the bike for about 40K miles, including plenty of offroad. The bike has lived outside in the rain for half its life. My Varios rattle a little now and I decided* to get a new attachment mechanism (available as a seperate part) after damaging one in a crash that wrote the bike off, where the box concerned hit a car at a closing speed of about 50mph. Otherwise though, they're like new. They're still waterproof and after a wipe down with a damp clock, they look in far better nick than any other hard luggage I've seen of equivalent age/mileage. They also have a very nice feature in terms of how they line up with the pillion seat to make for a large flat surface to tie large items to.

I have come very close to replacing them with 31L Metal Mules a couple of times, but have never quite been prepared to lose the expandability. Being able to have a pannier narrower than my mirrors, but when parked up, I can extend to accomodate a full face enduro lid, or a size 11 pair of Tech 3s is real boon.

*I didn't need to, it was just more stiff and slower to attach/detached than I'd have liked.
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Old 08-25-2012, 11:30 PM   #20
Kiwi Dave
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Location: Arrowtown, South Island, New Zealand
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Vario or not to vario? This is the question.

I have a couple of questions for the end user.
First, will you be traveling solo on the bike?
Second, Are you planning a RTW trip or just a lap around the proverbial block?
Third, is security bound to be an issue where your going to be traveling?

Without going into long stories of all my trials and tribulations with BMW Vario panniers I'll just share what I have found to work. At the end of the day, and at the end of the journey, this is what's important, to have something that just works the way it's meant to.

When riding solo I use soft luggage. Not I'm trying to endorse any particular brand here but it's a Giant Loop and it carrying as much are as little as I need and works full stop. I can mount it to the bike without the need of a special rack for it and its on and off the bike with just the simple cinch down straps that loop around the pillion pegs. Simple and very easy to use. When I get where I'm going, everything comes off the bike at one time and nothing is left behind to "grow legs".

Having said this, when traveling with my wife along, we use Touratech boxes along with the Bmw Top box that came with the bike. The top box locks so camera equipment and other valuables are kept in here. We use roll top stuff bags for clothing and other essentials and these just slip into the panniers and thus easy to grab out and and haul into the motel without removing the boxes. Our wet weather gear all goes into one stuff bag and gets lashed to the lid of one of the panniers for quick retrieval. The more we travel by bike the less we take and now have our luggage requirements down to a bare minimum science. We have gone away for a month at a time and never wanted for more room from our luggage containers.

Just quick word on the vario boxes. Yes they look good and have the "BMW Motorrad" written across them and have a cool handle and expand to fit half of Africa all that jazz. All this doesn't mean squat if they don't work really well. Take what you have read from these replies and don't waste your hard earned money. Get something that will work and continue to work for months and years to come.

I hope this helps. If you like, I'll post a very funny photo of yours truly, and my trusty steed, covered head to toe in mud and a vario pannier lashed to the pillion seat.

All the best,

Dave
New Zealand
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Old 08-26-2012, 08:15 AM   #21
JRWooden
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Location: The great state of confusion
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwi Dave View Post
... If you like, I'll post a very funny photo of yours truly, and my trusty steed, covered head to toe in mud and a vario pannier lashed to the pillion seat.

All the best,

Dave
New Zealand
Hell yeah we like!
Post picture!
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Old 08-28-2012, 09:19 PM   #22
gordo5
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
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I've had the vario panniers for 4 1/2 years now and I'm still happy with them. I like the fact that they provide such a slender profile, especially at the smaller setting which I use most of the time. The way they pop on and off in seconds is nice too. I've only dropped the bike once (I don't use this bike for trails) but it wasn't much of a test since I wasn't moving, just parking on a dirt hill. Bag is just fine and that was a couple of years ago. They have about 35K kms on them now with near daily use, except for the two months of winter we get these days. I don't have any reason to think they couldn't take a heavier hit, but that's untested and I'm not volunteering! I do think they are a little tougher than some people seem to think... mine are fairly scrapped up and still kicking.

Even if I'm touring and camping, I try to be minimalist so I can keep the bags in their narrow setting. That way, before we hit the camp site I can expand them and fill up on beer.

That said, it sounds like the OP might be doing a more aggessive adv tour. If he thinks his bike is going to take a beating then the aluminum ones might make more sense, especially if they're cheaper. I'd definitely want lockable bags for a trip like that too. Like everything, it depends upon how your going to use them.

Oh, one nut did fall out of one of the interior handles for the bag expansion a while back. I could still operate it but it was awkward. Found a replacement in my bin of mixed nuts and bolts.

Edit: I'd like to see the pic too!

gordo5 screwed with this post 08-28-2012 at 09:28 PM
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Old 09-04-2012, 03:31 PM   #23
Fast103 OP
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Joined: May 2012
Location: toronto, Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwi Dave View Post
I have a couple of questions for the end user.
First, will you be traveling solo on the bike?
Second, Are you planning a RTW trip or just a lap around the proverbial block?
Third, is security bound to be an issue where your going to be traveling?

Without going into long stories of all my trials and tribulations with BMW Vario panniers I'll just share what I have found to work. At the end of the day, and at the end of the journey, this is what's important, to have something that just works the way it's meant to.

When riding solo I use soft luggage. Not I'm trying to endorse any particular brand here but it's a Giant Loop and it carrying as much are as little as I need and works full stop. I can mount it to the bike without the need of a special rack for it and its on and off the bike with just the simple cinch down straps that loop around the pillion pegs. Simple and very easy to use. When I get where I'm going, everything comes off the bike at one time and nothing is left behind to "grow legs".

Having said this, when traveling with my wife along, we use Touratech boxes along with the Bmw Top box that came with the bike. The top box locks so camera equipment and other valuables are kept in here. We use roll top stuff bags for clothing and other essentials and these just slip into the panniers and thus easy to grab out and and haul into the motel without removing the boxes. Our wet weather gear all goes into one stuff bag and gets lashed to the lid of one of the panniers for quick retrieval. The more we travel by bike the less we take and now have our luggage requirements down to a bare minimum science. We have gone away for a month at a time and never wanted for more room from our luggage containers.

Just quick word on the vario boxes. Yes they look good and have the "BMW Motorrad" written across them and have a cool handle and expand to fit half of Africa all that jazz. All this doesn't mean squat if they don't work really well. Take what you have read from these replies and don't waste your hard earned money. Get something that will work and continue to work for months and years to come.

I hope this helps. If you like, I'll post a very funny photo of yours truly, and my trusty steed, covered head to toe in mud and a vario pannier lashed to the pillion seat.

All the best,

Dave
New Zealand
Thanks Dave,

Well I sold my Vario panniers and kept the top box. Then jumped on a plane in Toronto and went to Touratech in Niedreschach,Germany. Wow! What an outfit.They had every type of adventure bike it seems in their store...customer bikes that they use to develop/measure for making accessories etc. Presently they are prepping 80 BMWs for the BMW Challenge. Anyway I bought Touractech Zega Pro anodized aluminium panniers/stainless steel mounting brackets ( my bike is silver) including base and adapter plates to attach on the outside for carrying extra fuel/water. The cases are lighter than Varios and they look good right now. :) I also bought a bunch of other stuff...folding gear, brake leavers protective stuff should I drop my bike.
I agree with Gnarly that my weight will be in the 100lb range, but not higher.
By the way I have lifetime passes with Air Canada and the euro is low so this was not as expensive as it seems and motorcycle parts into Canada are duty free but you pay sales tax on anything over your allowance of $800.00. :)
Anyone who is in that part of the world should really try to drop into Touratech.
Clive
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Old 09-04-2012, 04:15 PM   #24
Fast103 OP
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Joined: May 2012
Location: toronto, Canada
Oddometer: 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwi Dave View Post
I have a couple of questions for the end user.
First, will you be traveling solo on the bike?
Second, Are you planning a RTW trip or just a lap around the proverbial block?
Third, is security bound to be an issue where your going to be traveling?

Without going into long stories of all my trials and tribulations with BMW Vario panniers I'll just share what I have found to work. At the end of the day, and at the end of the journey, this is what's important, to have something that just works the way it's meant to.

When riding solo I use soft luggage. Not I'm trying to endorse any particular brand here but it's a Giant Loop and it carrying as much are as little as I need and works full stop. I can mount it to the bike without the need of a special rack for it and its on and off the bike with just the simple cinch down straps that loop around the pillion pegs. Simple and very easy to use. When I get where I'm going, everything comes off the bike at one time and nothing is left behind to "grow legs".

Having said this, when traveling with my wife along, we use Touratech boxes along with the Bmw Top box that came with the bike. The top box locks so camera equipment and other valuables are kept in here. We use roll top stuff bags for clothing and other essentials and these just slip into the panniers and thus easy to grab out and and haul into the motel without removing the boxes. Our wet weather gear all goes into one stuff bag and gets lashed to the lid of one of the panniers for quick retrieval. The more we travel by bike the less we take and now have our luggage requirements down to a bare minimum science. We have gone away for a month at a time and never wanted for more room from our luggage containers.

Just quick word on the vario boxes. Yes they look good and have the "BMW Motorrad" written across them and have a cool handle and expand to fit half of Africa all that jazz. All this doesn't mean squat if they don't work really well. Take what you have read from these replies and don't waste your hard earned money. Get something that will work and continue to work for months and years to come.

I hope this helps. If you like, I'll post a very funny photo of yours truly, and my trusty steed, covered head to toe in mud and a vario pannier lashed to the pillion seat.

All the best,

Dave
New Zealand
Forgot I too want to see the photo!
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:16 PM   #25
Meritlane
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Location: LA,CA
Oddometer: 49
vario alignment

I dropped my F8 on the right side. the Vario on that side is now askew. I'm sure the impact forced it to jump a few teeth on the front gear. is there a link to show how to disassemble and correct this?
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Old 09-05-2012, 10:30 AM   #26
Meritlane
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not a difficult repair at all. six screws in the back and the two parts will separate leaving the mechanism attached to the door half. I did trial and error loosening up the screws that hold the gear on the out of whack side and moving that gear a little at a time. When I got it perfectly set, I realized that there are little hash marks to show the alignment. Getting the sandwich back together was a wee challenge but a good smack with the palm of my hand persuaded it to get in there. Good to go again.
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:07 PM   #27
PatrickM
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Joined: May 2012
Location: Zephyr Cove, NV
Oddometer: 326
Are there any other hard bags, any other mounts that can use the Vario mounts? With the 2013's apparently coming with the mounts, it would be interesting to see if someone would fashion up an alternative (and a bit potentially more sturdy) bag & mount combination.

Pelican cases to the Vario mounts would be GREAT!
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Old 09-07-2012, 06:45 AM   #28
JRWooden
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Joined: Jul 2008
Location: The great state of confusion
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Patrick:

It's been discussed in the forums but as far as any of us know there are no other bags that can use the Vario mounts,
and this is a shame since they are so unobtrusive when the panniers are not installed.

It appears that the Vario mounts are part of the "Luxury Package" option and not actually on the base motorcycle.

The "hangers" that the varios use for the lower attachment point is available as a separate replacement part, so if some clever person could create a latch for the "chrome mushroom" it might be possible.
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Old 09-07-2012, 10:30 AM   #29
PatrickM
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Location: Zephyr Cove, NV
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRWooden View Post
Patrick:

It's been discussed in the forums but as far as any of us know there are no other bags that can use the Vario mounts,
and this is a shame since they are so unobtrusive when the panniers are not installed.

It appears that the Vario mounts are part of the "Luxury Package" option and not actually on the base motorcycle.

The "hangers" that the varios use for the lower attachment point is available as a separate replacement part, so if some clever person could create a latch for the "chrome mushroom" it might be possible.
Thanks, I'm one of the newbies with a 2013 F800GS w/ the luxury package - and shopping for hard luggage. I have used pelicans in a myriad of other situations and they are completely bomb proof. The puck solution sold by Touratech would seem to be the answer for the bottom portion, but you're right - something simple for that mushroom bolt is necessary.

Max's has the parts diagram for the Vario cases (I don't have a set so can't look at them) but a clamp or hanger for the bolt seems easy enough to manufacture (lathe or drill press) out of aluminum, or possibly even a door latch for an automobile.

Ah well, cost is going to be a few bucks and at worst, a pelican case (velcro first, epoxy second, glue third) with some marks.
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Old 09-07-2012, 01:23 PM   #30
sturgeon
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Takes about 30 seconds to unbolt and remove the "mushroom". You're left with a nice threaded hole for whatever your imagination can conjure. No need to use the mushroom.
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