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Thread: Vario top box falls off during ride w/ passenger. DANGEROUS!!!! 2005 R1200GS

  1. #1

    Vario top box falls off during ride w/ passenger. DANGEROUS!!!! 2005 R1200GS

    Seriously scared myself here. I have a 2005 R12GS with the BMW Vario panniers and top box. The top box locks on to the mount, and while seems sturdy, CAN and WILL fall off when a passenger is using it as a back rest (the padding encourages this). The problem here is when force is applied to the bottom of the case backwards, like my sisters lower back during acceleration, will knock the case off the bike. Overriding the safety lock, and falling out onto the highway going 60mph is terrifying. and even more so when my passenger could go with it.

    I tested it when i got home. A surprisingly light knock to the lower portion of the case will send it knocking backwards and off the bike. I made sure it is properly attached, and it really is an issue that needs to be highlighted. I am not sure what to do here. Should i see if BMW has had some sort of recall? Should i contact them? Should i jerry-rig the box on somehow so it wont fall off? While it will not detach while riding solo, i no longer trust it, and until further notice, it is KIA.

    Have any of you had this issue? Can you replicate the defect on your bike? I am in a pickle right now, because i planned on using the top box on my trip to the mountains come July. Any and all thoughts/help is really appreciated here.

    And seriously, test this out yourself if you use the Vario system. This could in all actuality be a *fatal* flaw in the system, if this isn't an issue with my box alone.
    Last edited by deilenberger; 06-03-2013 at 03:53 PM. Reason: added year/model to title

  2. #2
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Testing is one thing, inspecting for damage, wear, etc., another. Should verify you did that as well.

    On a design that's existed for 8 years or so, ought to be some other reports if there's a problem.
    Kent Christensen
    21482
    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

  3. #3
    Ill check that out in the morning. I am mostly sure from previous inspection that it looks just fine.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by STANTONBARBAS View Post
    Seriously scared myself here. I have a 2005 R12GS with the BMW Vario panniers and top box. The top box locks on to the mount, and while seems sturdy, CAN and WILL fall off when a passenger is using it as a back rest (the padding encourages this). The problem here is when force is applied to the bottom of the case backwards, like my sisters lower back during acceleration, will knock the case off the bike. Overriding the safety lock, and falling out onto the highway going 60mph is terrifying. and even more so when my passenger could go with it.

    I tested it when i got home. A surprisingly light knock to the lower portion of the case will send it knocking backwards and off the bike. I made sure it is properly attached, and it really is an issue that needs to be highlighted. I am not sure what to do here. Should i see if BMW has had some sort of recall? Should i contact them? Should i jerry-rig the box on somehow so it wont fall off? While it will not detach while riding solo, i no longer trust it, and until further notice, it is KIA.

    Have any of you had this issue? Can you replicate the defect on your bike? I am in a pickle right now, because i planned on using the top box on my trip to the mountains come July. Any and all thoughts/help is really appreciated here.

    And seriously, test this out yourself if you use the Vario system. This could in all actuality be a *fatal* flaw in the system, if this isn't an issue with my box alone.
    Why wouldn't you discuss this with a BMW dealer? If you're correct you could be saving someone's life. If your wrong hopefully the dealer can point out what's wrong.

  5. #5
    Registered User
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    Retrofit Pin kit

    There is a retrofit pin kit to fix this check out ADVRider for a pictoral installation.

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=686640

    I did this install and it worked great.

  6. #6
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Problem solved!
    Kent Christensen
    21482
    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

  7. #7
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Interesting.....I have been a bit skeptical on the "fancy" attachment mechanism for the Vario cases on my F800gs. I made some nice straps for the side cases but haven't got to anything with the top box.
    I'll have to take a peek. OM
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
    Mod Squad
    2009 F800GS 1994 TW200

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by OilBurner View Post
    There is a retrofit pin kit to fix this check out ADVRider for a pictoral installation.

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=686640

    I did this install and it worked great.
    This is beautiful. Exactly what i was looking for! Thank you!

  9. #9
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    Its NOT New;

    Man this has been going on for all 8 or so years this box has been around. I have seen it happen to many GS bikes on trail rides! A video exists out there, one coming off a GS, flew right over the riders head as he took on a tough downhill stride on the GS. No he did not fall, the box went flying! Its a poor designed unit and been sleeping a while, nobody saying much. Glad you had no bad thing happen other than the fright of it. I remember DECADES ago, the side cases on the 70s slash bikes lost their bags frequently, I still have mine. NOT really a NEW item from BMW, losing bags, trunks. An ugly revisited topic, many of us remember from way past and now a reminder it still exists!. Randy

  10. #10
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omega Man View Post
    Interesting.....I have been a bit skeptical on the "fancy" attachment mechanism for the Vario cases on my F800gs. I made some nice straps for the side cases but haven't got to anything with the top box.
    I'll have to take a peek. OM
    I just took a peek at mine and it has the pin from the factory One less thing to think about. Good helpful topic to bring up. The link from OilBurner was a great help
    OM
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
    Mod Squad
    2009 F800GS 1994 TW200

  11. #11

    There was a recall on the Top Box. I had mine replace for free

    My top box used to fall off also. I inspected the bottom of the box and I could see a small crack in the plastic tab holding in the locking device. If the bottom of you box's locking device is all plastic then you have the old style model. I told the dealer that I wanted a new case and I got one from BMW.

    If I remember correctly there was a defect in the mounting plate for the top box and they were replaced under warranty. I know that they did a retrofit on the bottom of my top box. They mounted a steel plate over the cracked plastic. That failed after a while so I "encouraged" them to give me the new version of the top box and have not have any problems since.

    The defect code on my repair order was # 7160000100 for either the mounting plate or the top box.

  12. #12
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Dear Stanton (?)

    I've added year/model to your thread title (per: http://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread.php?46055) since this info is valuable to other owners of early GS's where this condition may exist. Please add this yourself in future posts to the tech forums, it helps you get knowledgeable eyes to open the thread, and it may help others searching for this info in the future.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders
    '12 R1200R - I love this bike!

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