BMW Vario Panniers

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by Fast103, Aug 9, 2012.

  1. JRWooden

    JRWooden Long timer

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    Hell yeah we like!
    Post picture! :clap
    #21
  2. gordo5

    gordo5 Roadkill

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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. :freaky

    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!
    #22
  3. Fast103

    Fast103 Adventurer

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    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
    #23
  4. Fast103

    Fast103 Adventurer

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    Forgot I too want to see the photo!
    #24
  5. Meritlane

    Meritlane Been here awhile

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    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?
    #25
  6. Meritlane

    Meritlane Been here awhile

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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.
    #26
  7. PatrickM

    PatrickM Been here awhile

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    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!
    #27
  8. JRWooden

    JRWooden Long timer

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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.
    #28
  9. PatrickM

    PatrickM Been here awhile

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    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.
    #29
  10. sturgeon

    sturgeon Long timer

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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.
    #30
  11. DrRock

    DrRock Adventurer

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    Seems like a waste of money to take perfectly good panniers off a bike? Use them, wreck them and then buy a new set.

    I bought a used set of Caribou and a SW moto rack off a fellow ADV Rider...they worked great on my F800GS. I would buy these again in a heartbeat.
    #31
  12. Fast103

    Fast103 Adventurer

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    Not really. I sold my Vario panniers and brackets for $850.00 ...the Touratech with all hardware cost 750 euro or $937.50.. Not a waste of money...jut getting a product more suited to what I want to do.
    #32
  13. Loutre

    Loutre Cosmopolitan Adv

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    Share the same pov. And it's great that you got so much money out of it.
    #33
  14. DrRock

    DrRock Adventurer

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    Fair enough...
    #34
  15. Fast103

    Fast103 Adventurer

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    If you are ever close to Niedereschach, Germany do try to go into Touratech. It is awesome. It is like being a kid in a candy store! :)
    #35
  16. Loutre

    Loutre Cosmopolitan Adv

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    Or try the Touratech store in Aachen. Smaller but you have like 6 floors filled with BMW and you have a bar and a restaurant in it :lol3
    #36
  17. Supersal

    Supersal n00b

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    I love that I can put my full face helmet in the Vario case,lock it and leave it! That really is the only reason I'm keeping mine! My biggest complaint is that when you open the lid, all of your stuff falls out! The expandable feature is nice but they are starting to stick when I expand them.
    #37
  18. Captain Excellent

    Captain Excellent +ll+

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    Had a pair of Varios on the WABDR last September. We hit snow on the 2nd day. Can't remember which of the many falls it was, but eventually the bolt holding the mushroom nut bent. Had to scrounge an auto parts store for a replacement so I could get home.
    I anticipated problems with the cases off road, so I zap strapped the cases onto the bottom bar with heavy duty straps. Those broke on the first fall. (BTW, due to the snow, all the falls were slow speed).
    The gearing broke on both cases, so they were askew. Spent a night in Ellensburg at a hotel disassembling, re-aligning and reassembling the cases. It's easy after you've done it once or twice.
    Made it home OK, but ever since the cases have been sitting on my workshop floor waiting for me to order the DIY fix-it parts. One day.
    Went on a 3 000 km trip to Death Valley this spring with a fully loaded bike, Touratech Zega Pro cases, and a pile of s$&# on the rear deck. At least 70lbs + bags. I'm 200 lbs with gear. Only time the bike was short of power was trying to keep up with the 1200 GSA at 100 mph on the highway. Other than that, didn't notice any shortage of power, but who needs to do 100 mph anyway? Sucks on fuel mileage.
    So Touratech Zega Pro cases were great, except on the single track window on that rough 4x4 road with the boulder that slid down from the steep bank on the left. The perfect line was right beside the rock. Forgot about my fat ass and smacked (I mean really SMACKED) the left case. Just about ejected me off the far side of the road and down the mountain side. Lid blew off and it was a yard sale all over the road. I managed to keep her up though and the mangled car us of a box managed to stay in place.
    Went through Touratech in Seattle on the way home. The guy said he'd rarely seen one that banged up. Even the lid was twisted and the two locks / clasps were bent to s#%t. $400 for a replacement. That was an expensive reminder about my girl's girth.
    I live in the city and ride almost daily. I don't ride with the side cases except on trips, but I do have a Givi top case that will hold TWO full face helmets. Much easier to find slot parking spots without the side cases. Top case hasn't been on an off road trip yet, and probably never will be. BTW, unlike the Vario case mounts, the proper case mounts protect the rear plastics in the event of an unexpected get-off.
    So, South America trip, eh? (We are Canadian after all). I'd say the Touratech / hard case option is the way to go. Soft bags are too easy to knife off and there goes everything. You won't likely be riding any single track, but watch the lane splitting. You may bump them one or twice and then you'll remember just how wide you are.
    Have fun and send pics.
    #38
  19. Captain Excellent

    Captain Excellent +ll+

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    BTW, you sound like a room mate of mine in university. His dad was an AC pilot and he got that deal too. He was gone one Saturday and didn't get home till late that night. I asked him what he was up to. Said he'd just been to Hong Kong to pick up a camera for a friend.
    Some people...
    #39
  20. jimmycoin

    jimmycoin Adventurer

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    I can't speak for the varios's because I do not have them. I can give a good review for the Pelican Cases. I bought my system from Caribou Cases.

    http://cariboucases.com

    These cases come from Pelican or their sub company Storm. They come with pelicans standard lifetime warranty against damage. Thats right, if you wreck and destroy the case, pelican will replace it. It is not just a manufacture defect warranty. They also cover damage to the case itself. They are waterproof just like any other case. I like the look of the aluminum ones but was worried about going down and denting or poking a whole in the case. Plus, they are expensive to replace. I went down a about 2 months ago on one side and it bent the lock on the left case. I ordered a $25 locking mechanism from caribou and replaced it. Good as new. This is just my 2cents.
    #40