Vario Bags for F700

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by Flashdog, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. Flashdog

    Flashdog Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    957
    Location:
    NW in the Great Flat Sandy
    My F700GS came with the option package that included the Vario bag mounts. Last night while at the Seattle Motorcycle Show I received a coupon for 30% off any BMW accessories over $500. So, my question is, are these vario bags any good? I don't/can't go off-road due to a back problem so I'm not too worried about banging around.

    I loved the BMW cases on my old R1150R, are these as good?
    #1
  2. Loutre

    Loutre Cosmopolitan Adv

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    9,009
    Location:
    :o)
    they are good as long as you don't crash : o )
    #2
  3. Reaver

    Reaver Outta Here

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    8,185
    Location:
    Zona Sur Costa Rica
    We have them on our twin twins. Never had aftermarket so I can't compare but they're fine for the street. We've toured a lot with them. They will leak a bit, wil be hard to close if you over pack and the expanding part needs to be "exercised" or it gets real stiff. My peeve is that when expanded, the bar is on the bottom which interferes with packing. Because they're side opening, your stuff falls out if you don't catch it. They will hold up to drops or low speed stuff but they are just plastic. My advice is to get a used set. You just missed a great deal at the flea market here. We're selling our third set but have a buyer, sorry.
    #3
  4. Indy Unlimited

    Indy Unlimited Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,604
    Location:
    Parker, CO
    They are very good IMO I have had them for 3 years and they still work great.
    I went with them for one reason only: The frame mounts for the Vario bags tuck in and look great when the bags are not on. I do a lot of day rides and the frame mounts blend in so nicely you don't even notice them.
    The other advantage is that they are cheap to replace compared to other luggage if you do happen to crash.
    #4
  5. moe.ron

    moe.ron Pig. Can. Fly.

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    3,680
    Location:
    Phoenix AZ
    Mine work really well but have not yet had the opportunity to use them much. I dont use them around town or on a daily basis. I have a tank bag and tail bag for daily commute and everyday use.

    It was great being able to lock up my helmet and jacket a couple weeks back and not have to carry them around.

    I bought a couple cheap, square duffel bags to use as liners to put junk in. I have a couple trips planned and looking forward to stuffing them full.
    #5
  6. O-Man

    O-Man Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    Oddometer:
    63
    Location:
    So Oregon
    I had them on my 09' F650GS and loved them. I totaled the bike in July when a car turned in front of me and ripped the front wheel off. The bags survived intact and I now use them on my new 13' 800GS. Had the dealer change the locks to my new bike key. I like the way they fit close to the bike and the adjustable width feature. They don't look like all the ugly aluminum bags that stick out 6" from the bike. When they are off the bike, which is most of the time for me, you don't even see the racks. :D
    #6
  7. Flashdog

    Flashdog Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    957
    Location:
    NW in the Great Flat Sandy
    Thanks for the input. I'm ordering mine tomorrow.
    #7
  8. mbonadio

    mbonadio Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2012
    Oddometer:
    29
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    I have the top box on my F700. Should have gotten the panniers too.... It's worked great for toting all kinds of stuff around so far. Haven't gone offroad with it yet though...
    #8
  9. Reaver

    Reaver Outta Here

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    8,185
    Location:
    Zona Sur Costa Rica
    Going off road with a top case is like riding in the back of the bus. Bumps are the most amplified at the back. Just mind the weight and look back now and then to see if it has become a dearly departed. :evil

    ...and don't put your beer there!

    BTW a 1200gs plastic topcase fits the twins optional oem mount. A cheaper option if you can find a used one. They are aluminum clad if that does it for you. Both our twins have one.
    #9
  10. SlowRide13

    SlowRide13 Veteran n00b

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,345
    Location:
    Lakemont, Georgia, USA
    I don't think you'll regret it. Contrary to what some have said here, I have been thrashing and crashing mine offroad for 3 years, and they are still holding up -- powder-dry inside. The ground clearance is a real plus to me, and so are the ultra-compact racks. The side-load is not the best, but the quick-disconnect feature makes up for it. If it is packed full, just take it off the bike to open and close it -- saves time vs. trying to do it on the bike. :freaky
    [​IMG]
    #10
  11. Reaver

    Reaver Outta Here

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    8,185
    Location:
    Zona Sur Costa Rica

    I like to mix it up a bit. :evil


    [​IMG]
    #11
  12. Flashdog

    Flashdog Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    957
    Location:
    NW in the Great Flat Sandy
    I picked up my bags today and mounted them. I then put on a lot of black Scotchlite stripes. The bags look normal during the day but really light up when a headlight hits them at night. The bags look like they are even higher quality then my old city cases on my R1150R. I like then mounts too. Now I need to get the Touratech engine guard kit and some hand guards. I wish the R1150GS handguards by BMW would fit. I really liked them on my R.
    #12
  13. 73datsun

    73datsun Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Oddometer:
    271
    Location:
    Minneapolis
    So I'm looking at the F700GS. Actually, extremely close to pulling the trigger. I was going to buy the "Touring" package or whatever it is, due to the heated grips, aux power and the pannier rack.

    My question, which the dealer still can't answer is what bags will fit on the BMW OEM pannier rack?

    Is it ONLY the Vario cases? Or are there other options that will work?

    I've got a 4wk tour of Canada and AK and the top opening aluminum cases will likely work much better.

    Sorry for the hijack.
    #13
  14. LXDDLE

    LXDDLE ROBBXR

    Joined:
    May 29, 2002
    Oddometer:
    248
    Location:
    C'ville, Virginia
    The BMW Vario bags are certainly a good all around option. I have used the Vario bags on both the R12 GS on GSADV bikes. I took delivery of an R1200GS Adventure with the Vario cases and regular GS seat configuration rather than the Adventure seat and cases. The variable capacity is very handy, they don't stick out because they are designed to fit closer to the bike and because of the variable feature. As noted earlier they offer great ground clearance. The side vs top opening thing is a matter of personal preference. I had a set of Jesse bags several years ago and ended up not using them. They were well made but heavy. The opening at the top was smaller than the sides you could not use large internal liner bags. They were to big and I very seldom even came close to filling them. As to the top vs side opening thing I prefer side. Sure things tumble out of the left one if you are on the side stand as opposed to the center stand but I found it more difficult to dig down into and sift through the contents of the top loaders. The only thin I miss about not having a hinged lid top loader is that the lid can make a very handy table when you are camping. I've got a set of Varios in the garage awaiting delivery of a new F8GS.
    #14
  15. FredRydr

    FredRydr Danger: Keep Back 500 Ft.

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,568
    Location:
    Carlisle Pennsylvania USA
    I'd say your dealer is lazy. Is there another you could buy from?

    Fred
    #15
  16. 73datsun

    73datsun Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Oddometer:
    271
    Location:
    Minneapolis
    I wish. Fairly limited in Minneapolis.

    They say Vario cases and some touratech fit.

    On top of that, BMWs site kind of blows.
    #16
  17. LXDDLE

    LXDDLE ROBBXR

    Joined:
    May 29, 2002
    Oddometer:
    248
    Location:
    C'ville, Virginia
    I would be amazed if any bags, other than the BMW Vario bags, would be accommodated by the BMW Vario mounts that are delivered with the bike.
    #17
  18. Flashdog

    Flashdog Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    957
    Location:
    NW in the Great Flat Sandy
    I've been told that the mounts ONLY fit the BMW Vario-bags. I bought the Varios and they seem to be more than up to the task of anything I'd put them through. I've always had side opening bags on other bikes and never had a problem with things falling out. It's a non issue to me.
    #18
  19. NotSoPlainJane

    NotSoPlainJane Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Oddometer:
    24
    Location:
    So. Vermont
    I just picked my new 700 with the comfort package (I think that's what you meant) and the only bags offered to me that fit the racks that came on it were the Vario .... I'm sure if there were others.....especially formore $$ they would have pushed those.....joy
    #19
  20. LXDDLE

    LXDDLE ROBBXR

    Joined:
    May 29, 2002
    Oddometer:
    248
    Location:
    C'ville, Virginia
    I suspect that the likely reason you haven't heard anything about bags, other than the Vario bags, being able to utilize the BMW mounts is because there are none.

    As to whether the side or top opening will work best for you, it's a personal decision. They each have there appeal. One of the reasons I have most often used the side opening design is that if you use top openers and you have a bag laid across the rear seat and strapped to the tops of the panniers you have to remove it in order to access the panniers. Typically this is not the case with the side opening design.

    Another thing that I have noticed about certain top openers is that unless the lid is attached via a fixed hinge there is a danger that you will lose it, sometimes while you are on the road and before you realize what has happened. I hate backtracking for stuff that falls off of the bike! I have seen this happen several times. Some manufacturers provide or offer a leash to guard against this eventuality. However if you use a fixed leash you lose the nice feature of top openers of having the lid available around the campsite to provide a secure and stable tray that you can move away from the bike. In this case you should consider a quick release attachment to the box. Something like a light-weight steel cable and a small carabiner. Some models with a fixed hinge lid offer the ability to provide a secure and stable place to put a camp stove, park your coffee cup, etc. The lid can make a nice table. This can be a nice feature at a primitive campsite where you do not have a picnic table. I suppose the best of both worlds would be a hinged lid that is easily uncoupled but I do not know if anyone makes this.

    The Vario bags are pretty much alone in their ability to adjust their size to your load which is a nice feature. as to things falling out when the lids are opened the use of multiple internal fleece bags (Aerostich) or clear zip lock bags will go a long way in helping you to stay organized and to keep your items in the panniers. The zip locks offer the extra margin of keeping things dry. I have used the BMW vario bags for 10 plus years and have never had them to leak but the belt and suspenders method makes me feel secure particularly with clothes, cameras, laptops, etc.

    Like I said, it's a personal decision based on trade offs but, to answer your question, I would bet a dollar to a doughnut that there is no aftermarket bag offered that will mount on the BMW bag mounts.
    #20