Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 16

Thread: A Hunt For Top and Side Cases '06 R1200GS

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Ada, Mi

    A Hunt For Top and Side Cases '06 R1200GS

    I posted earlier this week to find out your opinions on which side and/ or top cases are preferred for a a 2006 GS1200. I did not receive any input on this post so I revised it hoping for a few responses at least!
    I need a set of cases and perhaps a top case as well, and need advise about the
    cases as to which brand seems to most preferred. Jesse cases seem to come up frequently in the threads I read on the forum. What would your recommendation(s) be ?
    Perhaps someone has a used set of quality cases available or maybe information about the bump and dent sales sometimes offered by Jesse or other manufacturers?
    Thank you for your input.



  2. #2
    Intermediate Adventurer Newstar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Landenberg, PA
    We have a 2009 GS (mine) and a 2009 GSA (his) in the garage. We purchased them within two weeks of one another. He had his first and I had time to ponder his aluminum GSA bags. At the time, I thought they were too blocky and didn't like them, so I opted for the Vario cases.

    If I had to do it again, I'd have gone for the aluminum ones or something similar. I think Tourtech and Jesse both offer them as well. I am speaking from a packing and practical standpoint. The Vario bags, even when expanded, are still rather small. The left side in particular is fairly useless due to the cut out for the exhaust. Additionally, without the Linex coating, the aluminum on the Vario bags are easily dented.

    That's my two pence. Hope it helps.

  3. #3
    SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Big Sky Country
    Howdy Hoss,

    Can't say that I can swear that any case is most preferred; many cases have their ardent advocates.

    First it will be good to decide if you prefer top loading (Jesse, Touratech, BMW, Hepco Becker, Happy Trails) or side loaders (Caribu, Givi, Micatech). That can narrow the search.

    I much prefer top loaders as they seem more convenient and easier to use. We have three bikes with Jesse Bags and can attest to their high quality, good service and high-end cost. I see a great number of adventure bikes passing through my home town and Jesse's seem to be in the top three in popularity; the BMWs and Touratechs are also in the top tier. I also had a set of Happy Trails bags on a past bike. They were not as refined as the Jesse's, but seemed to be high quality and are much less expensive. My Hepcos are fairly new, but appear well made and hold a bunch of stuff (Jesse does not make cases for the bike the Hepcos are on).

    I see many bikes with BMW cases or Touratech cases; they appear to be well regarded and well made.

    My observations are that the Jesse's stand-up better to tip overs and accidents than the more cube shaped luggage made by others. Jesse's seem to be more water tight than most other luggage (certainly the Caribu's are equally water tight). I have nothing bad to say about any of the other cases, but if I were buying I would go with Jesse Bags.

    Kevin Huddy
    Silver City, Montana
    MOA# 24,790 Ambassador

  4. #4
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Spring Lake NJ, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by Hoss01 View Post
    I posted earlier this week to find out your opinions on which side and/ or top cases are preferred for a a 2006 GS1200. I did not receive any input on this post so I revised it
    Hoss - I added the year/model of your hexhead to the thread title. Cases for an R1200GS are going to be much different from an RT or ST or..

    Putting the year/model in the thread title is likely to get you more input since people with a GS might just open the thread and read it.

    Good luck!
    Don Eilenberger
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders
    '12 R1200R - I love this bike!

  5. #5
    Not a 1200, but I had Jesse luggage on my first F650. I liked them well enough that I put Jesse luggage - cases and top box on my R1150R.

    I am partial to top load cases, and stout cases for when I mess up and the bike falls over which happens every now and then - so far either while standing still or barely moving in a campground, for example.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by AKBeemer View Post
    First it will be good to decide if you prefer top loading (Jesse, Touratech, BMW, Hepco Becker, Happy Trails) or side loaders (Caribu, Givi, Micatech). That can narrow the search.
    Good advice. It eventually comes down to your priorities. I went with Touratech Zega [my install] because they were smaller than some of the others and they didn't hang down as low as the Jesse bags. You, on the other hand, might like the fact that the Jesse bags hold more for their width. And there's the cost factor... if buying bags today I might make a different choice.

    I do not use a top case. I do strap things to the top of my Zega panniers and use the GS luggage rack for water (if going to unimproved camp grounds) and my soft sided ice chest.

  7. #7
    Registered User bmweuro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Northern Cal
    For side bags I really like top loading. Especially the simpler looking aluminum bags. It is easier to get stuff in and out and when you open the lid your gear doesn't fall out. As well you can take them off and use them as a cooking surface or a table. If you are doing a lot of 2 up touring get a top case that holds 2 helmets. This way on your day trips you have a place to lock them up. If your off for a hike or shopping they will be there when you return.
    VBMWMO #7770, BMW MOA #48694, ABC #600
    Hi my name is Chris and I am a slash-five-o-holic.

  8. #8
    On the Road
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Santa Clara, CA
    I considered all the options, including going with a rack and soft bags, before deciding on the full Vario set. The choice comes down to how you plan to use the bike. For me, it is weekend trips, overnights and a lot of cage-replacing day to day riding. No hard core adventure riding, so I was willing to give up some robustness.

    The Vario top case stays on the bike all the time, and usually the collapsed position is large enough for whatever junk I need to carry. But it is really nice to be able to expand the thing to handle an unexpected load (e.g. beer on sale at the supermarket, or some sort of thing). Having a top case makes a bike so much more useful, and the Vario looks decent and does not have the "pizza delivery guy in Asia" look to it.

    The side cases are smallish, especially with the exhaust cut out. That being said, for a weekend camping trip (especially if you can procure food locally), they do fine. I did not want to lower my exhaust, nor ride around with a rack the 90% of the time I do not need the side cases.

    But for me, a weekend trip is about it. For a week of camping, the bigger the better I would imagine. However, if you were hoteling it, I cannot imagine these would not have enough space for a week or more ride.

  9. #9
    Registered User GSJimE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Columbia, SC
    I have an '05 GS, and have Jesse side cases, and a Mikatech top case. Love them both. When I don't travel with the top case, the platform provides a great mounting platform. The top case also works great as a backrest when we travel 2-up. Goodluck!

  10. #10

    You have entered the pannier twilight zone!

    There are many good choices for panniers and at the end of the day it comes down to budget, requirements, and selection.

    Budget - How much am I willing to spend?

    Requirements - What is the intended use for the panniers?
    Sounds simple enough until you think of camping (solo or with pillion), commuting (solo or with pillion), touring (solo or with pillion and camp/not camp), lane splitting options, and well, you get the idea.

    Then, what pannier system/s will fit my bike?

    Selection The tough part.

    When I purchased my 09 GS I was in a similar situation and ultimately went with the BMW ADV (made by Touratech) panniers. One lock set-up for ignition and panniers is very nice.

    At the time my wife and I commuted together on my bike and our laptop bags, liners, and work clothes overwhelmed my panniers. It was time for a top case.

    I decided to go with the BMW ADV top case. The case is also keyed for the ignition and like the panniers, is an easy on and easy off design. The case will fit one Large helmet (Arai XD3 and Nolan N-102), but not two helmets.

    The added benefit of the ADV top case is the rack, which is required to install the top case. The rack has pillion handholds, which are very useful when putting the bike on the centerstand and pillion/s appreciate the location of the handholds.

    I have spent hours in the rain and the contents of the panniers have remained dry. The cables used to attach the lids to the panniers do not get in the way when opening and closing and they detach easily if you wish to remove the lids for use elsewhere.

    We traveled to Redmond for the Rally and the top case came in handy for storage at stops. We also used the top case in our hotel room to secure our netbook and other devices when we were away.

    My wife stopped riding with me when she traded her V-Strom for a G 650 GS. Now we ride together, but on our own bikes. With the Strom went the Caribou cases so it was decision time to kit out her bike. She went with the Touratech Zega Pro system using the 38 litre panniers.

    She elected to go with the Touratech system after a demonstration and a few conversations with the knowledgeable staff at Touratech USA. The quality of the panniers is excellent, and the design lends itself to easy repairs due to the overall flat design of the panniers (excluding the rounded corners).

    Pannier locks are available. If you have other lockable Touratech products be sure to inform the Touratech staff what the lock number is when you place your order and they will send matching lock sets. This will allow you to use one key for all your lockable Touratech products.

    The Zega Pros use a metal seal and the BMW panniers use a plastic seal system. Both systems work well and have proven to be a great choice for us, and our applications. Both systems are spendy but they, like similar systems, are worth the investment.

    It is not my intention to ǣsell you on the systems we selected, but merely to offer you information we have gleaned in the hopes of making your selection, and subsequent decision, an easier one.

    Final note. We were searching for liners for our panniers and happened upon a very simple solution in the form of these totes. Not waterproof, but we use the Eagle Creek Packing Bags and together with the totes, work very well.

    Take care, and good luck with your decision.
    09 R1200GS

    See our Moto Photo's:

  11. #11
    Registered User mistercindy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    N. Dallas 'burb
    Please try the search function both here and in the GSpot and Equipment forums on There're been a lot of reviews and comments on every conceivable GS pannier.

    That said, I've had Varios on my '05 12GS for five years and over 65,000 miles. They work, but they aren't sturdy. You certainly shouldn't get them if a lot of your riding will be off pavement. I had a parking lot laydown a few years ago where I set my bike down very gently, and it still bent the inner hardware of my left Vario case so that its stuck in the "wide" position. Keep in mind that it was bent by the weight of the bike itself! It still works like that, but it annoys me all the same. For the money you spend on Varios they ought to be sturdier. But, if your riding is all pavement, and you're confident you'll never lay it down, then they're nice panniers. They're waterproof, the right bag holds a helmet, the locks key to your ignition key, easy on and off, etc...

    That said, if I ever have to replace the Varios, or if I were buying them all over again, I'd get Micatechs. Roomy, side opening, sturdy, not much more than Varios for a lot more quality. Check out their website for more details.

    And do try a search both here and at ADVrider. You'll find a lot of good information.

    Good luck, and let us know what you do!
    '05 R1200GS
    Former owner of an '03 R1150R
    BMWMOA #113847

  12. #12
    Rally Rat
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    Duane is right. Gonna spend some change either way, so depends on your goals. I did a lot of searching, and decided for most of my riding (city / sales calls with literature), the Varios are nice. Slide stuff in and out. The left is small, but keep the rain suit, tiedowns, flat fixer, tools and the misc - phone charger, gloves etc. The rt side has some nice volume. Most of my serious dirt days are local or one day rides, so it's nice to remove in about a minute.
    For the half dozen 4 day trips a year, they are sufficient also. Your gonna probably gonna need to load tent, ground pad on the rack anyway.
    If you're patient, you can find a used set, as that helps make the decision a little easier.

  13. #13
    Lookin' good, America! 68820's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Cary, NC
    +1 on the Jesse Bags. They are large enough for a 12 pack and a bag of groceries in each case. I went with them due to having a "lunch box" on the left side of my old K12RS. I wanted capacity. They are expensive, but I figure that everyday I own the GS, the cost of ownership drops.

    There are some cool options out there if you're willing to consider soft bags. Giant Loop offers bags that fit just behind you on the pillion. MotoFizz bags come in three sizes and look like they would hold a ton of stuff.

    If you can wait, good stuff comes up on the ADV Rider Flea Market all the time. I've seen nearly every type of bag available offered in the past 18 months.
    Robert Peterson | Cary, NC | 68820
    cat herder and pixel pusher

  14. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Southern Ontario
    As everyone says, you have a lot of choices. I bought the Caribou cases for my F650GS and then ordered new mounts so I could continue to use them when I moved to my 2005 R1200GS. They are waterproof and hold a fair amount. The side opening is a bit of a pain. No problem for clothing etc which I put in a backpack that fits just right but anything loose tends to move around a lot. The bike has been down a couple of times while playing at low speeds and the bags still look new. I do find them a bit heavy but I don't know how they compare weight wise to the aluminum cases. I haven't gone to a topcase but while touring BC for a couple of weeks this year I threw a drybag over the back seat and it fit over the cases perfectly. It held the tent, sleeping bag etc..
    Happy hunting,

  15. #15
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Spring Lake NJ, USA
    Hoss - you're getting lots of good advice.

    Didn't see anyone mention it - to find items for sale - we have the fleamarket. You might put a WANTED ad up there and see who responds (we frown on them in this section, and they are usually quickly removed..)
    Don Eilenberger
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders
    '12 R1200R - I love this bike!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts