The Aftermarket Luggage FAQ
compiled & edited by Kristian #562

Updated by Nick #1085
Major updates by mspeed #1023; editting by Scott, ID #1244

(See the GS Aftermarket Luggage FAQ for Opinions on Luggage/Sidecases/TopBoxes/racks & TankBags for the GS/Dakar)

Please read the Disclaimer before attempting any work in this FAQ.


Bagster Tank Cover
by Flash #412

BMW Cases & Racks

I would advise getting the bigger ones as these are rather small. I wish I had the bigger ones so I could put the backpack I used to bring to work. Now I use one as a briefcase and the other for oil, tools, etc.


I have the large bags they stick out wide but are very handy on long trips.



Five Stars Rack

Here is a pdf of the Installation Instructions. (In German, but the pics are good.)

And thanks to Nelson Oliveira (a.k.a. Sojourner) here is the English translation.

Five Stars Rack & Kappa Luggage
by Omnikron via. Riderhaus

  1. Omnikron's 1997 BMW F650 - Five Star Rack and Kappa K40 Pannier with OEM BMW topcase setup

  2. Omnikron's 1997 BMW F650 - Five Star Rack and Kappa K40 Pannier with OEM BMW topcase setup

  3. A rear view of Omnikron's 1997 BMW F650 - Five Star Rack and Kappa K40 Pannier with OEM BMW topcase setup. Note the racks maintain a symmetrical appearance even with the high exhaust.

  4. The Kappa K40 sidecase. The gloss black panel is interchangeable with other colored panels to match your motorcycle.

  5. The Kappa's have the three-point mounting system as Givi Monokey cases.

  6. Here is what the completed Mounts look like.

  7. The Right Mount is bolted in next to the seat lock as shown next, where the canister bolted to before.

  8. You have to remove the canister to install the side rack. There is a short guide on how to remove the canister with the last image.

  9. For the Final touches, a word of caution. Do not over tighten the mushroom shaped nut that the bags slide into. They are easy to crack and there are no chances that you'll find one in a store.

  10. If you do happen to break one, use the same screw provided and stack a bunch of washers on it until its the same length as the others and it should work fine.

  11. And there is where the left mount bolts, next to the muffler. This side should be a breeze to put together.

  12. The Mounting points are the same for both sides, here they are shown below. You use a wrench and ratchet for all of these.

  13. And you have to take the nut off that holds the footpeg in place to attach the rack mount, then put it back on and tighten.

  14. REMOVING THE CANISTER: The hose on the right side of the gas tank under the tank cover that runs all the way back to the canister is the vent hose. This vent hose connects to the interior of the gas tank thru a series of check valves contained inside the filler cap. The other end of this vent hose runs to the charcoal canister at it's center rear fitting. The front (lower) fitting on the canister goes to a drain hose which ends by the right footpeg.

  15. You take the little hose from the carb and plug it or take it off the carb port and plug the (rear) port on the carb. Ya, don't mess with the front carb port.

  16. You take the long hose from the tank to the canister and reroute it to the place where the hose that used to go from the canister to the footpeg went. I used a small cheap gas filter to connect the two hoses together. Because this hose is just a 'breather' hose for the gas tank, chances are it won't suck up any dirt from the ground, but being so close to the ground (footpeg area), I thought it best to add this filter just in case. I would suggest going here for a more detailed textual description of what to do. Which is where I got some of the info on this page.

GIVI Panniers & Topcase
Pair of E360 bags and an E45 Topcase. Flash #412


Jesse Luggage
Jesse's Website



The Jesse bags have two points where you use a small ratchet-type level to lock a conical-shaped metal bit into a receptacle in the rack itself. It would be difficult but not impossible to dislodge one. The locking mechanisms aren't that sturdy and a determined 12-year old could lever up the handles even if locked. If security is that much of a concern, I'd add a hasp-type mechanism and locks.  Cheers    -    Gerry #951 (Phoenix AZ) 


More Jesse angles


Marsee Tank Bag

Pelican Cases
Martin 1201

Pelican Top Box Solution

For description see Opinions section below.

Riky Cross Bag Support

Tail Rack too Small?
Steve Johnson #F650001

The stock tail rack is just too small and just too plastic for some owners. Here someone has made a steel rack with a backrest. He plans a new version which will be at the same height and slant as Jesse panniers - thus creating a huge flat area for packing all your gear.

BMW F650GS Side Cases: Instructions and Installation

Side Case Instruction Booklet – Thanks to Haakon Aas for scanning:

Pages 1 through 5: pictures and German text. You need these even if you don't read German because the English text which follows does not have the diagrams.
Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 3a, Page 4, Page 5

Pages 6 through 10: English text, without pictures.
Page 6, Page 7, Page 8, Page 9, Page 10

A small note as to the mounting and "Adjusting the mushroom-type retainer" in Section 5 of booklet:
When I was about to adjust my "mushroom-type retainer" I just could not do it. The case fitting piece that goes over the mushroom touched the side panel before I had the desired tightness. I did not know what to do so I just had a sloppy-fitted side case. Not properly resting on the bottom rail, but hanging on the mushroom thingy. After my first small crash I discovered the frame lug (where the mushroom-type retainer is fitted) was bent upwards. I bent it down by brute force and could then adjust my case properly. Haakon

Side Case Bracket Installation BookletAgain, thanks to Haakon Aas for scanning:

As with the Instruction Booklet above, you need all the pages because the pictures are with the German text.
Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5, Page 6, Page 7, Page 8

BestRest F650GS CargoRest: Installation Instructions

Thanks to Wayne #1314, McGuireV10 and zdkayaker


Have a look at both versions. The pictures are easier to follow in the colour version, but the black and white version has the parts list and a helpful addendum.

CargoRest Instructions in colour, CargoRest Instructions in black and white.


For pictures and description of CargoRest installed with a BestRest BackRest see The GS Aftermarket Luggage FAQ.


Jesse Bags for Classic F650: Installation Instructions


Thanks to Marty #435 and with Al Jesse's kind permission, here are the scanned instructions:

Parts List, Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4,   


Pelican Cases as Panniers and Removable Top Box for F650GS

by Greg (CessPool)


Complete setup.


Mounting a Pelican 1500 case as a removable top box


The case was mounted on a Happy Trails tail rack. In case you aren't familiar with the HT rack, it is build like a brick sh#t house... err, I mean it's really solid. I got the Pelican case from The case looks a lot larger in the pictures than it does in person.

Rear view of box with lid closed.

As you can see from the photos, I've got some reflective adhesive strips on the box back and sides. I just had some spare stuff laying around and decided to use the pieces available to make the case more visible at night. Turns out it worked fine.

Inside view of case with mounting hardware.

The mounting hardware consists of a couple of metric bolts with press fit knobs from the local hardware store that match the embedded threaded inserts on the HT tail rack. There is also a wide washer underneath the knobs between the knob and case. I really crank these knobs down when the top case is mounted and so far it hasn't come loose while riding. I like the option of being able to remove the case when I need to... but come to think of it, I haven't had the need to yet.

Bottom view of case mounted on rack with small spacing washers.

This picture shows a couple of rubber-backed washers that take up the space between the rack and the case. The rubber backing on the washers has a two-fold purpose. It holds the bolts captive in place on the case after removing it and takes up the small space between the case bottom and the rack. The case has some small extrusions on the bottom that hold the case up off the rack by about 1/16".

Right side view of case with lid open.         Left side view of case with lid open.

Rear view of case with lid open.                View from front with case lid closed.

Notice the tie-down loops on the top of the case. I went to the local hardware store and got the most heavy-duty drawer pulls I could find, and mounted them with a washer on both the outside and inside of the case. I also used blue Loctite to hold the screws in place, so they wouldn't loosen while riding.


From Ike #647: I have used similar cases, and Pelicans, for many years and have two suggestions.
1: Put some of that reflective tape inside of the lid in case you are stopped at night with the lid open/up.
2: Stick a piece of wide masking tape inside of the lid so that oil changes, etc. can be easily recorded on it. I also record on the tape certain telephone numbers inside of my bags and usually keep a spare key there also.

Mounting Pelican 1550 cases as panniers

I mounted a set of Pelican 1550 cases on my F60GS as a lower-cost alternative to aluminum panniers. As with the case for the Top Box above, I acquired them from the online dealer, The cost for the pair of cases was about $200 and that includes the shipping charges.

Happy Trail side rack.


The cases are mounted on a Happy Trails side rack, which is one solid piece of equipment. I also used the Happy Trails pannier mounting kit, which consists of a set of "L" brackets fashioned from some sort of synthetic material, as well as all the hardware necessary to mount the brackets and a pair of large knurled knobs which allow the cases to be easily removed from the rack. The width of the mounted cases is 38" from edge to edge. I tried weighing the cases on my bathroom scale, but it's one of those digital ones and it failed to trigger. According to the web site where I ordered the cases, they're about 13-1/2 lbs each.

Cardboard template.                                 Case with cardboard template.

I constructed a cardboard template to fit the back side of the Pelican case and used it to locate all of the mounting holes to be drilled on the case.

Back side of the Pelican case before modifications.

Note the extrusions which run vertically up & down the case. When the case is mounted on the rack, these extrusions hold the case away from the rack and prevent it from sitting flush. Rather than put spacers between the "L" brackets and the case, I elected to remove the extrusions.

Back side of the case with the extrusions partially removed.

Yeah, I know, I shouldn't use a wood chisel with a ball peen hammer and I should be ashamed of having such rusty chisels...

Case back with the bottom "L" bracket mounted and the extrusion removal completed.


I used blue Loctite on the bracket mounting screws so they wouldn't vibrate loose under use.

Pelican case interior detail when mounted on the bike.

Rear view from below with cases mounted.   Rear view from above with cases mounted.

The rear views of the completed installation show how the cases are mounted flush with the side rack and how wide the setup is while on the bike.

I've got a few more things to do before I'll consider the installation complete. I'd like to mount some footman loops on the tops of the cases so I can lash luggage on the top of the racks. I need to put some black reflective tape on the front, side and rear portions of the cases. This reflective tape is almost invisible during the day but makes you really stand out at night. Thanks for the idea from inmate member Ike in Georgia. I'll also be putting an 8x11 sheet of this reflective stuff on the inside lid of the top case, so that when I'm stopped by the side of the road with the top case open, I'll even be able to be seen by the blind... I also need to install a piece of wire or rope connecting the lid to the case so when the case is opened the lid doesn't immediately fall to the ground and spill the contents of the case.

So far I like the whole setup of using Pelican cases as panniers. They're inexpensive, virtually indestructible when you drop the bike, and very dust and waterproof. On the downside, they're a little heavier (I think) than aluminum panniers and open from the side rather than the top. I'll be using the h*ll out of them this summer...

I got the Pelican locks as well and they work great. I was going to get some locks at our local hardware store but the Pelican locks were cheaper than the equivalent locks I found locally.

I also considered the 1520 cases but wanted the extra room of the larger cases for a trip to Alaska. The 1520's would work and look great and provide more clearance too.

I took out the bike and rode it hard in the Colorado mountains and didn't touch the bags down once! I did reduce the size of the sidestand though. I also had the bike up to 100mph on the interstate and didn't notice the bags at all.


Pelican Cases on Moto-Sport Pannier Brackets for F650GS
by cb_abq #1534

I have installed the Moto-Sport pannier mounting brackets and pucks and Pelican 1550's and I must say, I am pleased with the finished appearance. (Pics in The GS Aftermarket Luggage FAQ.) By the way, the whole set-up was $373, not bad for ~4000 sq. in.

I noticed that the brackets are wider than the flat area of the bottom of the case, and originally I was going to stand-off the pucks and bottom bracket by ~¼ in. I saw where CessPool removed the extrusions, and I did not want to modify the cases in that manner. But then I decided that it was only necessary to shave off 1" of the extrusion in four places on each case to accommodate the brackets. This was preferable to cutting billet aluminum to stand off the hardware, which wouldn't have worked due to the length of the bosses on the pucks anyway. It also proved to be more difficult than I thought to position the pucks due to my own competence level and in part to the position of the boss; it is offset at a 45 degree angle with respect to the tab, rather than at 90 or 180 degrees. I am concerned that the pucks lay on or near the muffler heat shield. (I know, that's what they're for.) I don't know if the cases will drag. The lowest point is about 19 or 20 in. off the deck.

One thing that concerns me is that the Moto-Sport brackets sound like they have some residual material from cutting and welding the supports (rattle, rattle, rattle) inside the tubes.

Greg #1245 commented: On the Yukon's and other M-S panniers, the pucks are rotated 45° so that they fit exactly in the corners of the bracket (visualize having the pucks as far apart as possible and rotating them 45° clockwise and counter clockwise). This prevents the panniers from moving forward/backward without relying on really tightening down on the pucks.

cb_abq replied: That makes sense now that I read it. I put them all the way to the edges, I just didn't turn them into the corners, but I should have. I left some slop to the inside so I could a) add some rubber strips to the bottom brackets and b) if I erred the other way they wouldn't go on.

Mounting Pelican Cases to Givi Saddlebag Loops
by Flash #412

Givi makes some great products. I have a set of E360 saddlebags and an E45 top box. I’m VERY happy with them. They have one drawback… because of the way the single lock works, you cannot take them on an airplane. If you lock them, the TSA will destroy the latch to open them. If you don’t lock them, there is nothing to hold them closed.

I wanted a set of saddlebags that I could take on an airplane. These bags needed to latch securely without locks. Yet I needed to be able to lock them to the bike and lock them closed when they were on the bike. From the variety of plastic cases out there, I selected Pelican Cases.

Pelican Cases cost significantly less than bags from motorcycle companies and are significantly sturdier. Pelican Cases come with an unconditional lifetime warranty, with the exception of sharks, bears and children under five. That’s what they write. What Pelican will tell you on the phone if you ask, is that drilling holes in them voids the warranty. I figure that since they cost less than $100 each, I can buy three before I have bought one bag from BMW. BMW bags are made of crap plastic and will explode like a firecracker if you drop the bike on one of them. Pelican Cases are STRONG.

For a variety of reasons, I picked the 1550. (Click on thumbnails to open large pictures in new windows.) When mounted as saddlebags, they open from the side. Since have a tank bag and a top case, I don’t open my bags very often when they are attached to the bike. So I prefer these. The 1650 has more volume with very little addition to the dimensions. I think if I was going to do it again, I’d get the 1650’s. I picked the International Orange color for several reasons. First, they are EXTREMELY visible. This might keep someone in a car from broadsiding me. (Probably not.) Second, they are EXTREMELY visible; this makes them unattractive to thieves. “Did you see a guy go by here with a black suitcase?” just doesn’t cut it. Finally, I ride a BMW F650, the only BMW motorcycle with a chain drive. The international club for the F650 is called The Chain Gang. Members are called “inmates.” And the club’s color is jailhouse orange. I bought a pair of Pelican 1550 cases and a set of Givi bag loops. I think the whole mess cost me right at $300 new.

Then I bought a few eyebolts and some washers. I also got a length of appropriately-sized C-channel aluminum. I cut the C-channel so that the pieces would fit in the space between the “tits” that the regular Givi bags use to attach to the loops. Then I drilled three holes in each piece, straight through the opposite sides of the “C”. I drilled one set of holes over-size so that I could get a bit through it to countersink the inside of the opposite holes. My plan was to use 6 mm flat head cap screws to attach the rails to the bags. On the inside of the bags, for each bolt, I used a large fender washer followed by a quarter inch rubber-backed washer, followed by a NyLoc (nylon-insert locking) nut. This would not only attach the rail to the bag, but prevent any leaking. Plus, the outer surface of NyLoc nuts is rounded, which theory says will be less “offensive” to whatever rubs up against it inside the bag as we rattle down the highway.

I also bought some short eyebolts. My original idea was to attach two eyebolts to each bag so that one would be above the top rail of the loop and the other below the top rail. I figured that a long-shackle padlock would catch both bolts and secure the bag to the bike.

After some eyeballing and allowing as how, I realized that I needed to remove some hardware from the bag loops. Since I didn’t want to lose the hardware, I just turned it around backwards. When moving the “tits” on the bottom rail to the other side, I used screws that were longer than the originals. After tapping the through holes, I re-installed the tits on the other side using longer bolts with jam nuts.

Similarly, the latch piece required some different bolts. I used flat head cap screws for their lower profile. But I realized that by milling a slot in each stock Givi latch piece, I could mount a bag to the bike and lock it with just one padlock. This involved bending some special rods. My fallback plan, if that didn’t work out, was to have three locks per bag, one for each latch and one to secure it to the bike.

After getting the loops worked out, it was time to decide how the bags should be positioned. I held them parallel to the loops and they seemed canted too far forward. I held them parallel to the ground and they seemed too flat against the lines of the bike. So in the end, I split the difference. This meant that the two bags would not be strictly interchangeable. So I put a piece of red electrical tape on one handle and a piece of black on the other. It’s just as well. When you are in a hotel and open one bag, if they’re not marked, Murphy says you’re going to open the wrong one first. I also stuck a return mailing label on each bag and covered it with clear packing tape, just in case I lost it.

Another part of putting the bags on the airplane is carrying the mounting loops. I accomplished this by cutting off the lower leg that shares the buddy peg bolt. Then, both loops and all of the mounting hardware would easily fit inside one bag. A piece of pipe, cross-drilled for 4 mm bolts, made reattaching the amputated legs trivial. While the reattached legs were a bit wobbly before mounting the loops to the bike, once mounted, they were solid as a rock. One other item worth mentioning is the tie down inside the bag in the photo.

I picked up some of the tie downs that BMW uses to secure new bikes inside shipping crates for free from my local dealer. Rather than make some sort of cross-brace at the bottom rear of the bag loops, I simply loop the tie down across the seat and through the handles of the cases. They’re held very securely to the bike and the strap takes some of the “bending weight” off the bag loops. All of the attachment hardware easily fits in one bag with plenty of room left over for other goodies.

Pelican sells accessories for their cases. They don’t sell anything to go inside the lid of the 1550, so I bought a pair of inserts for the 1400 series. They attach with sticky-back Velcro, so they work just fine. The one pictured is the “photo” insert. I also got a “document” insert for the other bag. These are not very expensive and certainly add utility. (What’s pictured is not what I had there while I was actually using the bag.)

Here is a photo from the back, of the bag attached to the loop using a “special rod” that I made.

Here is a photo from the outside, of the bag attached to the loop using a “special rod” that I made.

Here is a photo from the back, of the bag attached to the loop using a long-shackle padlock. I bought six keyed alike padlocks at Home Depot for about US$20.

Here is a photo from the top, of the bag attached to the loop using a long-shackle padlock.

The first trip I took with the bags was a weekend shakedown cruise of about 2000 miles round trip from Colorado to Arkansas and back. They performed flawlessly.

The next trip I took with the bags was 20,000 miles round trip on Lufthansa (Denver to Frankfurt to Johannesburg and back) plus about 4500 miles on the ground in Southern Africa. Again, the system performed flawlessly.

Here’s a shot of the bags mounted on the loaner bike I borrowed in Johannesburg as I’m getting ready to head out for some adventure.

Here’s a shot of the bags, still on the bike almost 4000 miles into my African Adventure, outside of the highest pub on the continent, in Sani Top, Lesotho. (Sani Pass between South Africa and Lesotho is without a doubt the worst excuse for a road I have ever encountered. Woo HOO!)

$35 Pelican Top Box
By Motoplaner

I wanted something to just carry some essentials (mainly tools, air compressor) for off-road where hard side cases would be likely scraped off/destroyed. Ordered a Pelican 1300 for $35. Didn’t want anything too big, and there was a substantial price jump beyond this size. For long distance/camping I’ll mount the 20” top plate and side bags to the Jesse mounts. Went to Ace and got some stainless hardware, bolts, Nylocks, fender washers and neoprene washers for vibration damping and waterproofing (I’m going to take it on and off) —$5.00 (got a bunch of extras too).

Saw that the “feet” of the Pelican about perfectly mated/recessed into the Jesse rear rack slots (one could just grind these off and mount it any old ways).

The modified feet set right into those slots and it doesn‘t move 1/64“ any which way but up (before bolting down). I plan on removing the handle soon, as it’s just additional weight/shrapnel. And what do people do to a handle? Yerk on it as hard as they can, is what.

Four feet/posts angle-cut to mate with angled slots.

Mounted view from below.

The bare essentials: air compressor, beer and big Vise-Grip (for scale).

  Different views.

I'll probably add some reflectors and such. Anyway, that’s how I spent $40. That's a Jesse rear rack. Jesse offers top boxes that are quite heavy and expensive. I bought the big plate (bolts on to the top of the rear rack) to strap my kitchen sink to. To have a Jesse rear rack you have to have Jesse side bag mounts too. $. If a guy had a Happy Trails or some such rear rack (a more stand-alone system), it'd be a simple deal (with the right size Pelican) to bolt one on.

Touratech Racks - Installation Guide
Scott (TX) #678

I installed the 35L and 41L rack/box assembly on my '99F. I wrote an installation guide for them that I believe they are using.

1999 F650 Touratech™ Aluminum Side Case Installation Guide


Qty Item  Location

Left hand luggage rack

Left side of motorcycle


Right hand luggage rack

Right side of motorcycle


Union bow

Connects rear of two side frames


Hexagon bolts M6x25

R & L luggage rack bridge


Hexagon bolts M6x16

R & L union bow connections


Washers, M6

Union bow connections (2) Luggage rack bridge (2)


Self locking nuts M6

Union bow connections


Hexagon bolts M8x20

R & L Rear luggage rack to frame


Hexagon bolts M8x30

Right foot peg bracket assembly


Washers for M8

R & L Rear luggage rack to frame (4), foot peg space (3)


Self locking nuts M8

R & L Rear luggage rack to frame

RIGHT SIDE INSTALLATION: (the most difficult side)

  1. Remove the two (2) hex screws holding the right side body cover to the motorcycle and remove the right side body cover. Secure the two (2) hex screws as to not lose them.
  2. Remove the single large nut on the backside of the passenger foot peg then remove the passenger foot peg. Loosely place the nut back on the peg threads as to not lose it.
  3. Remove the single hexagon bolt and washer securing the luggage rack bridge handle (located just forward of the seat lock) to the motorcycle frame. This hexagon bolt and washer will be replaced with a new one from the parts kit.
  4. Remove the two (2) hexagon bolts holding the passenger foot peg bracket to the frame. These hexagon bolts will be replaced with new ones from the parts kit.
  5. Remove the two (2) bolt assemblies holding the oxygen canister to the frame. Secure the loose hardware as to not lose it.
  6. While holding the right side luggage case frame in place, insert the M6x25 supplied hexagon bolt and corresponding M6 washer through the luggage rack bridge handle, then through the front luggage case frame tab and into the threaded opening in the motorcycle frame. Make sure the luggage case frame tab is between the motorcycle frame and the luggage rack bridge handle. Tighten finger tight to hold in place.
  7. Using the supplied M8x20 hexagon bolt and corresponding M8 washer, insert the bolt through the rear luggage case frame tab and through the clearance hole in the motorcycle frame. Tighten finger tight with the supplied M8 nylon self-capture nut and washer.
  8. Using one (1) of the supplied M8x30 hexagon bolts, insert the bolt through the top/rear passenger foot peg bracket hole. Make sure the luggage case frame tab is between the foot peg bracket and the motorcycle frame. Line up the holes and insert the bolt into the threaded opening in the motorcycle frame. Finger tighten.
  9. Using the second supplied M8x30 hexagon bolt, insert it through the remaining passenger foot peg bracket. Then, place three (3) M8 washers on the bolt threads and then complete the bolt installation into the motorcycle frame. (These three washers act as a spacer to take up space from the luggage case frame tab).
  10. Remove the large nut from the passenger foot peg. Insert the foot peg threads into the foot peg bracket clearance hole and tighten the nut securely.
  11. Using the existing hardware, install the Oxygen canister bracket. (see Notes).
  12. Do NOT install right side cover yet.


  1. Remove the two (2) hex screws holding the left side body cover to the motorcycle and remove the left side body cover. Secure the two (2) hex screws as to not lose them.
  2. Remove the single large nut on the backside of the passenger foot peg then remove the passenger foot peg. Loosely place the nut back on the peg threads as to not lose it.
  3. Remove the single bolt holding the muffler bracket in place. There will be a support arm with a rubber bump stop attached to this part. Secure bolt and bracket as to not lose them.
  4. While holding the left side luggage case frame in place, insert the M6x25 supplied hexagon bolt and corresponding M6 washer through the luggage rack bridge handle, then through the front luggage case frame tab and into the threaded opening in the motorcycle frame. Make sure the luggage case frame tab is between the motorcycle frame and the luggage rack bridge handle. Tighten finger tight to hold in place.
  5. Using the supplied M8x20 hexagon bolt and corresponding washer, insert the bolt through the rear luggage case frame tab and through the clearance hole in the motorcycle frame. Tighten finger tight with the supplied M8 nylon self-capture nut and washer.
  6. Using the original muffler bolt, line up the clearance hole in the luggage case frame tab with the muffler bolt hole, insert bolt and tighten finger tight.
  7. Using the original hardware from the passenger foot peg, insert the foot peg threaded portion through the foot peg bracket and through the clearance hole in the luggage case frame tab. Install the large nut and tighten. Make sure the luggage case frame tab is between the foot peg bracket and the motorcycle (i.e.: on the inside of the foot peg bracket).
  8. Do NOT install left side cover yet.


  1. Using the supplied M6x16 hexagon bolts, washers and nylon self-capture nuts, connect both luggage case frame tabs together. The union bow should be mounted as to not obscure the license plate or vehicle inspection sticker area if applicable.


  1. Tighten all hardware so that no distortions of the assembly are apparent.
  2. Install the right and left side covers. Work from the rear side first by inserting the side cover through the small clearance opening between the luggage case frame and the motorcycle. Take your time – they do fit with just a bit of ‘coaxing’. They will not get scratched.
  3. After driving some distance, re-check all nut and bolt assemblies to verify they have not come loose. If so, re-tighten as needed.


If you have any questions or problems, contact Domanic at Cyco-Active. Tell him I sent you his way and he should take care of you. Their information is:

-800-491-2926 (=491-CYCO)
CycoActive, inc
701 34th Ave.
Seattle, WA 98122 USA

Touratech Installation Notes 2
by NormJ #473 Seattle

Here are some notes about my experience installing the Touratech racks and aluminium panniers on a '99 Classic.

I followed the very good directions per the FAQ, but there were a few "oddities" that I believe should be entered onto the board here so they will pop-up when one searches the archives.

All in all I am super-stoked about the Touratech bags, and they carry all I need.

Touratech Installation Notes 3
from scx

For an alternative mounting method try

Touratech Zega Case Installation on F650GS
by Dave #1513

I suspect most here know this part, but as way of introduction: Touratech is a German company that makes lots of cool after-market accessories for "enduro" style bikes. They concentrate on BMWs, but produce bits for other makes as well. The Zega bag is basically a big aluminum box that mounts to a tubular steel rack. The US distributor for TT products is CycoActive, located in Seattle.


Luggage can be a religious issue for some; I believe that Zegas are the best luggage you can buy. (Jesse/Givi/Happy Trails owners would disagree, of course.) Their advantages (to me) include: They're square, so they're easy to pack. The lids remove. The lids include strap points to tie down a dry bag. They easily come off the bike, but when attached properly are very secure. They're waterproof. They're durable. They hold a lot. They look cool. Hey, if they're good enough for Helge Pederson, they're probably good enough for me. (No, I don't work for Touratech.)


I got the pre-mounted 35 liter (each) boxes. Pre-mounted means that the "pucks" that hold the boxes to the rack are pre-mounted, so I didn't have to position them and drill the bolt holes. I understand that the puck-mounting process is the most pain for any Zega install, and the part where you're most likely to make a multi-hundred dollar mistake and ruin a box. Unless you have some special need to position the boxes in an odd location, you should probably get the pre-mounted kit.


What you get from Touratech is a great big cardboard box. Inside the box are the Zegas, the rack pieces (left, right, and two rear sections), the mounting hardware and instructions. The instruction sheet is in German, so unless you're fluent in that language, the first step is to go to the Touratech web site and download the English language instruction sheet (977K PDF). The mounting instructions do a good job of explaining how everything goes together.


The installation itself was a breeze. It took (maybe) an hour, and that included a test mounting, then I took everything off and cleaned the threaded parts, then re-installed with Loctite.


The rack mounts to three points: The passenger foot-peg brackets, the threaded mounting points under the pop-off cover on the exhaust shroud plastic, and the threaded mounting points under the tail light. (I'm assuming these provided mount points are also used by the BMW luggage rack.) There is also a second cross brace that goes below the license plate to tie the two sides together.


The passenger foot-peg bracket mounting uses a split bolt design, very similar to a bicycle handlebar stem if you're familiar with that. This goes into the back side of the foot-peg bracket (which is open), then as you tighten it, it will expand and lock into place. Fairly clever, since it means you don't have to remove anything to mount the rack. (In comparison, on the R1150GS you not only have to remove the foot-pegs, you also have to replace the stock turn signals.)


I haven't dropped my F650GS (yet), but I'm confident that the bags will hold up to some fairly major impacts. The Zegas on my previous R1150GS survived a number of drops, and that bike weighed significantly more.


The main downside to Zegas on a F650GS (or any bike with high exhausts) is that the rack stand-off from the exhaust makes for a wide load, right at 38.5". (If you chose to get the 41 liter bags, add another 3" to the overall width.) The handlebars (with bar-end weights) are only 36" wide, so these may not be the best choice for someone who wants to lane split.


You can see lots more pictures (and a repeat of some of this text) from the install on my website. Dave #1513

Home made Ammo-Can Panniers

20 MM AMMO CAN PANNIERS for the F650

For those who have asked if this is possible, I used the BMW pannier rails and some hardware at home depot. the whole thing cost me about 50 - 60 bucks. I want to put a cross member in the rear, since the cans bounce a little when loaded up. They are heavy though, about 20lbs each, but waterproof and extremely strong. The cross member should reduce the bounce when I install it. I would not recommend them for off road use because of the weight, but I have done 5-6 hour trips at highway speeds, twisties and around town no problem.

Ammo Can Sources:
from Rand #1111

Ammo Can Panniers Source #1
Ammo Can Panniers Source #2

Very Inexpensive Mounts and Bags
by Doug #1206

I just bought some of the GIVI bag mounts on eBay very cheap (less than $70.00) The part number says they are for up to 96 models only but they bolted on to my 99 model with no problems at all. Bought some plastic pistol cases for only $30.00 each at Galyans. Anyway, the whole set-up cost less than $125.00 bags and mounts. Looks great as well. There are still several of the mounts listed on eBay (the seller informed me that he had several) and no one seems to bid on them because they don’t realize that the fit 97 - 99 models. To mount the bags I removed the GIVI bag connection points and put in longer bolts that would go into the bags. I then secured the bags with wing nuts and a metal and rubber washer. I can remove the bags from the bike in about 1 minute each. (I remove my items from the bags not the bags from the bike, as in all cruiser-type bags, Gold Wings, K-Bikes, etc.) These bags are about 25 litres in size. I know they may not be Jesse or BMW Bags, but for under $125.00 for new mounts and bags they are tough to beat. Oh, and the top box is a removable one I got at J.C. Whitney for $59.00. I know I'm probably a cheapskate...HA HA... Doscocil sells some bags about the size of the small Touratech Zega 35L that are completely waterproof for about $65.00 each if you need.

Opinions on Aftermarket Luggage

Discussing Tank Bags, Side Cases and Top Boxes is like discussing Oil.


It is a subjective issue and as such, there is no must do this or do that. So this list reflects some hopefully reasonably well-balanced recommendations and opinions from those who actually have these items on their bike. The best advice: Read it and form your own opinion.


The Tank Bag or Top Box Debate

Tank Bags

Map Cases

Side Cases/Panniers

Top Boxes

Tail Bags

Tank Protectors/Covers

Tips for Tank Protection, from Tank Bag Wear



The Tank Bag or Top Box Debate

Tank Bags



Aerostich Tank Panniers

Baglux Tank Bags

Bagster Tank Bags

BMW  Tank Bags

DriRider Backpack Tank Bags

Marsee Tank Bags



Touratech Tank Bags

Tourmaster Tank Bags

Wolfman Tank Bags

Wunderlich Tank Bags

Tank Bag Protection

Map Cases

Side Cases/Bags



Aluminium Panniers

BMW System Cases

Chase Harper Soft Bags


GIVI Side Cases

Happy Trails Panniers

Hepco & Becker

Jesse Side Covers






Micatech Pilot Luggage

Moto-Sport Side Covers

Oxford Luggage

Roadgear Luggage


Ventura-Bike Side Covers 


Top Boxes


Aprilia Top Case

BMW Top Box

GIVI Top Box 

JC Whitney Topbox



Touratech Topcase

Tail Bags

Tank Protectors/Covers 



BMW Racks

CargoRest from BestRest Products

Five Stars Racks

GIVI Racks

Happy Trails Racks

Hepco & Becker



Modifying or Making or Mounting Various Bags or Boxes

Carrying Liquids
See also Aftermarket Fuel Tank FAQs – GS and Classic.

Will This Bag Fit with That Exhaust?

Bicycle Rack on the F

Q. Has any one ever seen a bicycle rack for a motorcycle?
A. Yes.

1. Here is a picture I found a couple of years ago I think is a good design. will probably do something similar unless I hear something better.

2. by Josh #581

3. I've seen a couple of designs and glimpsed some on BMWs supporting riders on the Tour De France. Here's a link with some pix of different designs: Northwet #110.

4. I have a rear rack on my Dakar made by Happy Trails. I took two long carriage bolts and two long pieces of iron gas pipe and bolted them to the two holes in the rack that the carriage bolts fit into. So I have two upright posts on the rack lkind of like horns. Everyone asks what is that for? My friend Scott says Im going to be impaled on them. I did it to lash my 1 1/2 gallon water jug to the rear rack, but it also serves as a method to carry my moutain bike. Sorry cant do pictures., use you imagination. Its suitable for low speed carrying (<30mph). PaulK.

Wiring a GIVI Topcase Light

Bag/Case Repair Tips

TomO-AR 650GS;1150GS Adventure

When the aluminium skin on the BMW system cases gets scratched and then dented, a viable repair is to coat them with a rubberized liner such as sprayed in pick up beds. This will describe an inexpensive do-it-yourself solution.

  1. Go to your auto parts store and purchase the spray-on liner in a can, body filler material ($6/quart), a rasp scraper, 150 grit sandpaper, etc. [The liner spray can tells you what you need.]

  2. Without removing the aluminium skin from the cases, clean and sand the surface.

  3. Mix up the “bondo” and fill the dings and dents. Let set. Rasp it smooth. More bondo as needed.

  4. Sand all smooth again.

  5. Carefully mask off the lids. The liner material will spay on the exposed part of the case, so be as careful as you can in your taping job.

  6. Set up the spray “booth.” Best if well lit and chest high with access on all sides. Then add newspaper screening with more masking tape to the tape already on the bags so that the bags are draped with paper to protect them from overspray.

  7. Wipe down the lids one more time just before spraying.

  8. [Most important part of the job.] Practice spraying on a piece of taped up newspaper. Get your strokes down “on paper.” If you go back and forth over the bags, the material builds up about 2-3” in from each side. Better to go from left to right, stop, come back to the beginning without spraying, and then spray left to right again on the next pass, etc. until covered.

  9. Watch the edges near the case opening – you may need to spray those areas from a different angle to get them covered. Spray two coats. The first is to cover. [The instructions on my can suggested 4-6” – that was too close.]

  10. Let dry for 5 minutes. Then apply the finish coat from further away [10-12”] in a nice even pattern. [Instructions on the can tell you how far, etc.]

  11. Let dry 24 hours.

Material cost - about $22

You may want to consider taking it through step 5 and then taking the cases to a professional liner company to get a price on them spraying the liner on. Some Chain Gangers (errr.. "Inmates" ed.) have posted prices of $35 and up to get it done. Another rider told me of a $100 charge by one shop for a similar size job.

As a follow up to my previous post on repairing the aluminium covers for the F650GS system cases, I have been sharing email off site on a couple of questions. One suggestion was to remove the aluminium skins and just go with the plastic underneath. But I have a question – what does it look like? Will it be like Darth Vader without his helmet? Or, is it a workable solution?

I would be interested in an email photo of a case with the skin off if any of you can do that.

Another idea is to remover the aluminium skins (I understand they are attached by double sided tape), then you could spray the plastic directly with the truck bed liner stuff. Should work well.


More on those "famous" aluminium covers

Q. How do you get the covers off the BMW cases? I want to put Rhino liner on my BMW system case covers. (To make them stronger) I see the metal piece in there but you can't hammer it out, it seems ‘cause the other side of the hinge is covered. Bryan #1157


The cases were easy to put on for the most part. About 60 mins. to do. I like the cases but it obvious that the outside cover is weak. I ordered them from ChicagoBMW and there was a small dent in one already when I opened the box. You can see the dent in the picture below. It looks like someone pressed their finger against it.
Bryan #1157

The BMW cases are a good thing, BUT they need a small modification. The aluminium covers are secured to the case lids with......double sided tape and hot melt glue! I not long ago got a new set of cases under warranty. I was on a club ride one day and left my bike parked in the hot sun for 4 hours or so. Hopped on and headed home.......a semi-trailer going in the opposite direction buffeted me badly, and the right side case aluminium cover was 'sucked' off the lid and hit the road 10 metres behind me. Fortunately the rider following was far enough behind not to wear it as an instant fairing! I stopped, recovered a badly bent lid AND discovered the left side one was half off as well. So.....either, don't park you machine in the hot Sun OR secure the outer covers with screws etc.
You can see the feeble amount of hot melt glue and double-sided tape they use. The left one had started to come apart at the bottom of the lid (as mounted on bike) Jack in Australia.


This is the allen bolt and neoprene washer repair job I completed to keep the cosmetic aluminium shells in place. Ran 'em in the heat and rain and parked in a downpour and no worries to date. The photos to secure the chintzy aluminium covers on the BMW bags are self-explanatory from left to right. Seems like Jack from Australia and I (here in Louisiana) share a common malady of lost covers due to high-heat. Couple of things to add – I marked prior to drilling and began with a small bit first for a pilot hole and then a bit slightly larger but still smaller than the allen bolt, to ensure a snug fit. No silicone needed for waterproofing. After I finished, I did find some neoprene washers that were already bonded to regular flat washers, and those would be ideal. Lastly, a fifth bolt could be added in the very centre but would be cosmetic only. Total cost was about USD$8. Total time was about 2 hours. Checked on using Rhino Lining or Line-X to coat the bags to 'ruggedize' them for scratches, dings, etc. but no company will do them unless the surface is roughened, and nobody wanted anything to do with scratching the cases. Oh well, the covers are secure now and whatever scratches and dings they get will just add character. 


Just finished with several of the mods suggested in the FAQs on the dent-prone Factory expandable bags. LOOKS GREAT! I put two small machine screws on each side to assure that the stick-on metal covers don't depart. Then, I scuffed up the metal covers and sprayed several nice coats of truck bed liner (from Autozone) on the covers. The difference is (to me) a much more rugged, solid look to the bags and bike overall. Thanks to whoever came up with the idea of using truck bed liner to cover these things. The dings and dents are practically impossible to see. 

  Rick #939

Reinforcement Before the Lug Breaks



Broken Lug Repair/Reinforcement

A "case" of the F650GS wobbles

Q. I dropped my bike yesterday and scraped up one of my new system cases. Not too bad though. Thing is, it is wobbling now. I'm not sure why. It seems to be  seated in well to the latch. Has anyone had this problem before? Bryan #1157



Repairing ABS Bags

How Safe is the Stuff in your Luggage?

Misc. Luggage Links