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Old 08-01-2011, 10:32 PM   #316
cug
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V-Pilot Experiences and Opinions

So, after having used the V-Pilot cases on my R1200GS for a while now, I can write a little bit about them.

Size and Usable Volume

As you can see in the photos above, they are fairly small looking on a big bike like the GS. But they really aren't small. I have two 8" cases that are a noted to have 37L volume. I don't doubt that, but I have to say it's hard to use all that volume. Not because they are too big, but because of the loading. The side loading is nice and handy and I can see how people who strap loads across the back of the bike appreciate it, but I still have to get used to it. It's hard to use all the corners, it's plain harder to stuff things in as it is with a top loader. And getting stuff out easier? Not really. If you rip something out of the middle, your whole packing strategy literally collapses. So, in the end, you have the same problem with side loading and top loading: you have to get stuff out before you can reach other stuff comfortably. Both systems have distinctive advantages in specific situations. Packing and using every available corner is easier with top loaders, but it works reasonably well with the V-Pilot cases.

Conclusion: if you strap stuff across the rear seat, like a large duffle or drybag and if you don't need to squeeze hard to get all your stuff in panniers, the side loaders can be really great. Personally, I still prefer top loaders, but can easily live with the side loading.



Mounts

The mounts are really what what makes this system stick out of the crowd. No ugly frames hanging from the rear of the bike, quick to install and take off. Precision engineering at work. The material is first class, the workmanship outstanding and the whole concept great.

Stability is very good (more details see below), but there is one thing I would change if I could:

The cases actually mount too close to the bike. I have a GS Adventure rear rack installed and as you can see in this picture, there isn't much space between a sharp edge from the rack and the case:



I would prefer if there were 5mm more space. The same is true for the lower part that is getting really close to the exhaust. It might be better with the exhaust lowering kit, but then the bike looks like shit when the cases are off.

Hereby I want to ask the Micatech folks whether I can still get the lowering kit for a 2010 R1200GS when it is ready for what I was discounted for not taking it in the first place (plus shipping of course).

The reason I'm asking is mainly that if I want to take the Hattech exhaust off, I'd like to have an option to still use the panniers.

Now, the problem with the cases being too close to the bike is twofold:

1) You get more heat in the left side pannier from the exhaust.
2) The cases are too close to other parts - if the bike falls on them, they will get pressed into these parts by the weight of the bike.

A simple fix could be to make the mounting blocks that are attached to the cases a little bit thicker (think about adding a 5mm washer between the blocks and the case). This would leave all mounting unaffected, only the blocks would need a fairly simple change.

The mounts are very unobtrusive when the cases are off:




Stability

There is no real test of panniers without finding out how the hold up to at least a tip over. As slowly laying the bike down doesn't cut it, we decided on our last trip that this needs to be tested and made the bike roll off the side stand and fall hard on the left side.

Hmmm. Maybe not exactly like this, but that's what happened.

Result:
  • Left side pannier has very slight deformation in the back. When I received it, the back was slightly bent outwards (about a max of 2mm), now it's slightly bent inwards (think of convex and concave). Loosening the mounting bullets, re-aligning the panniers, tightening everything up again made it nearly as good as new.
  • Left side pannier has some scratches on the lower front corner, along the front vertical edge and on the lock. Hardly visible after going over with a black Edding.
  • The backside of the left pannier has a scratch where it hit the GSA rack at the place I pointed out above. If there had been a bit more room, nothing would have happened.


My recommendation:

Think about giving up about 10mm width of the whole installation and move the cases out by maybe 5mm per side. It might even be a good idea to do this with a rectangular "washer" that goes like a hoop around the back of the pannier, this would add even more structural integrity. If this was made of aluminum, it doesn't have to be that heavy.

Back to stability: the test showed clearly that you can go out to the garage, kick the bike over and have virtually no damage on the pannier system. If you are actually on the bike when it falls over, you'll very likely be able to slow down the fall and have even less damage than I had. Nevertheless, here's a photo of my mood when it happened:



Not a big deal. This is after the fall happened and if you look closely, you see the scratches on the case. What I'm doing there you ask? Take of the shitty OEM valve cover protector that got badly bent. At least it protected the valve cover (which would probably have been cheaper to replace, but with bad luck might have cracked and I wouldn't have been able to ride home that easily ...).


Real Life Livability

I have used these cases now for a while and think they are very good. For my personal loading style, top loaders would be better, but that is because I never strap big bags across the rear seat of my bike and I would love to be able to use a single liner bag per case.

If you strap a large dry bag across your rear seat area, the side loading is the best you can have. Just think about the tent, sleeping bag and mattress being strapped there, or other stuff that is too big / long / oddly shaped to go inside the pannier itself. My tent, bag, and mattress only fill half of a single case, so I don't care for this all too much.

An excellent piece are the locks - they are easy to use, lock the pannier very tightly, and seem to be build to last.

Long term I might add some strap hoops to the top, so I can strap small dry bags, like 10L Kriega bags to the top of the case, but I haven't had the need for this, so for now, I leave everything as is.

Overall Conclusion

This pannier system is truly outstanding. High quality, excellent ideas very well executed.

Is it worth the price? I'd say - mostly yes. I personally find the price difference between the V2 system and the V-Pilot system a bit high. Would have wished the price were closer to the V2 as it is, but okay.

Would I buy this system again? Probably. I had considered two other options: First, Jesse Safari 9" cases. Top loaders but with fairly ugly racks, similarly priced. Second, Touratech Zega Special Set 35L. Less ugly racks and more boxy cases. Very expensive (but about the same considering what I paid for the special exhaust).

So, if you have really read all my crap above, stop here and go and buy a set! The Micatech people are a pleasure to talk to and have absolutely outstanding customer support. Something that can't be said for the other two options I had and therefore: I vote with my wallet!

I wish, the mounting system were available for more bikes. Not necessarily the exact same, but something other than the SW Motech which is too wide on pretty much any bike I have seen it on. Therefore, I can very much recommend the V-Pilot system over the V2.
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Old 08-02-2011, 04:45 PM   #317
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Originally Posted by suecanada View Post
Hey Bob, looks like the Rotopax fuel packs mount about the same turn-key way that the Kolpins do so you can add Kolpins to your list of can-do's!!!! The Kolpins can also be mounted on the roof racks as the base can be wiggled in under the rack with maybe a hair of metal filed off.
You're absolutely right! And similarly...
I am leaving on a BMW GS off road ride and fishing trip this week. I wanted to take along some extra gas since we will be 40 miles in from Greenville Maine, I had purchased a Koplin 1 1/2 gal. tank and rack for my ATV. I decided to fit it to your roof racks on the GS. I cut 2 sections of aluminum to fit in inside your rack, then drilled and tapped four holes. The pictures are shown on the left side but I will move to the right side for the trip to take weight off the side stand.. This would be great for your customers with roof racks and want the option to carry extra gas. You can move forward or back , left or right as needed. I plan to use it to run to the gas station for lawnmower gas. It is back enough for a bed roll and tent to go roof rack to rack. It will not be a problem getting on and off unless you are over 6 ft.!! There would more room on the 1200 GS. Ride safe.
- Jim Salisbury VP / Safety Officer BMW Riders of Southern Maine.








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Old 08-02-2011, 05:21 PM   #318
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Originally Posted by cug View Post
So, after having used the V-Pilot cases on my R1200GS for a while now, I can write a little bit about them.
Hi Cug. Thanks for the detailed write-up. I'm sure others will find it very useful. And thanks for the tip-over product testing! Great looking GS and be sure to post some photos of your adventures (pre- and post- tip overs!)

And yes, we can set you up with the exhaust lowering kit. The engineering for the '10-'11 models is complete and we're moving into production shortly. Keep in touch.
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Old 08-02-2011, 06:18 PM   #319
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Wicked Super Tenere with V2 cases

Here's a picture of my Super Tenere with black V2 cases (complete with roof racks!). These are some nice bags



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Old 08-03-2011, 03:38 AM   #320
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Here's a picture of my Super Tenere with black V2 cases (complete with roof racks!). These are some nice bags



I have to admit, I have always been a fan of the blue Tenere, but your black bike looks great (especially with black V2 cases)!
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Old 08-04-2011, 05:37 PM   #321
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Cool2 Super Tenere Excitement

There's been lots of talk on the Super Tenere forum. Check out this link for more info about Micatech V2 Cases on the Super Tenere.

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Old 08-16-2011, 08:13 PM   #322
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Bob & Sue, you saved my back this weekend. . .

Coming back from Quebec with my oldest, I hit a muddy rut pulling over to snap a photo of the Balsams. Notice the bike really didn't go over all that far.



The Right-hand box is our clothing storage, bike sat in the mud & rain for a little bit (to take the photos) before standing back up. A torrential downpour for the next 45 minutes of riding through the mountains cleaned off all the mud. . .

(And of course, no damage to the Micatechs or us ;-)
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Old 08-17-2011, 03:26 AM   #323
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Hey PhotoBiker,
Sounds like quite an adventure! Glad to hear you're doing well and thanks for sharing the photo!
From now on though, keep the rubber side down!
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Old 09-19-2011, 11:39 AM   #324
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Thumb Deer strike

Just a quick note to say that these bags are awesome! I just finished a 2300 mile trip around Lake Superior and I love these things!

I tested them on H58 (between Grand Marais and Munising in Michigan's UP) when I deer decided to play chicken with me and tried to jump the back of the bike. It's hind leg(s) hit the left pannier and only slightly dented the door. I spent the rest of the day riding through rain and had no leaks
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Old 09-19-2011, 12:36 PM   #325
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And yes, we can set you up with the exhaust lowering kit. The engineering for the '10-'11 models is complete and we're moving into production shortly. Keep in touch.
Sorry for letting this slip for so long - I was (and still am) absolutely crazy busy at work. What do I need to do to get the lowering kit? Thanks!
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Old 09-19-2011, 03:31 PM   #326
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GatSS - Yikes! Glad to hear that both you and your Micatech's survived! Keep the rubber side down
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Old 09-19-2011, 03:32 PM   #327
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Originally Posted by cug View Post
Sorry for letting this slip for so long - I was (and still am) absolutely crazy busy at work. What do I need to do to get the lowering kit? Thanks!
Give us a call, we'll get you sorted out. (888) 464-6494
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Old 09-19-2011, 03:39 PM   #328
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Okay, I'll call tomorrow morning. Thanks!
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Old 10-10-2011, 05:02 PM   #329
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Can you help?

Hi Micatech,

Just wondering if you could help me with an idea of cost for the whole set up (Vein colored: Pilot cases, mounting rack, medum top box, forward & rear mouting plate, padding.... everything I'd need to mount them) on a 2010 BMW R1200GS + an idea of the cost to ship them to Sydney Australia?

PM response is fine

Thanks TD
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Old 10-10-2011, 05:20 PM   #330
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