- They need to fit my 2010 R1200GS. Don't laugh - a lot actually tell me they have something and then they say, oh, right, that exhaust lowering kit only works up to 2009 model years.
- The overall width needs to be narrow. Really narrow. I rather pack less stuff and have a narrow bike than add wide cases and have more space.
- I still like to get a decent size. 70L in combined volume should be manageable.
As I have a really hard time finding something that fits my aesthetic and functional requirements, I'm trying to puzzle something together from different vendors. Therefore I wrote lots and lots of emails in the last few weeks and here's what I got.
Below are some impressions from my quest for panniers (rating is for pre-sale service only, 0 being abysmal, 10 being perfect):
They seem to have a 9" set of Safari cases for the R1200GS, but other than a photo on their website, there is no information around it. I wrote to xplorermoto a few months ago and they told me they should have more photos "by the end of the week" and where careful enough not to tell me which week. Haven't heard back since then.
Vern's Worldbeater Cases
Wrote emails before Christmas. Got response that he will respond the next day. Never heard back. Wrote again a week ago. No reaction.
Keihan Exhaust Systems
Asked them whether their system is available for a 2010 model. Never heard anything back.
When I was still interested in the Tiger 1050 I had some questions for them and they responded fairly fast, competent, and with photos. Took a bit and not every question was answered, but still - decent service.
Unfortunately their system costs an arm and a leg and I don't like their racks.
Best Rest (Metal Mule USA)
Asked for photos / measurements for the MM exhaust system - got a response back that I'll get the info "tonight", haven't heard back yet. It's about a two days ago, I still give them some time and I will also ask one more time - as I did for most of the others.
Rating: no rating just yet
Asked about their exhaust system, had to ask twice but at least got a response then with the excuse that their computer system had crashed. Seems to happen fairly often in the world - especially when there are too many unanswered emails.
Unfortunately the response wasn't totally clear to me and on my follow-up question I never heard back.
Asked a lot of questions, requested some photos, more information. Got everything I asked for and more. They are responsive, nice, helpful, and take ideas from outsiders serious.
Micatech are also the only ones I link to at the moment, the others weren't worth it so far. Seems nobody wants to sell a set of side cases including racks and possibly a narrow exhaust to me. I always asked politely and tried to be as precise as possible.
What is wrong with those vendors? I can understand that people do not respond within a day or two as not everybody is a computer geek, types fast, or checks email regularly. But come on, when you offer your stuff online, you should be able to answer questions that are asked online within two or three days, right? I'm I totally off with what I expect? Possibly. Maybe. Nevertheless - it makes me hesitant dealing with those people.
So far, I might be buying the Micatechs just because they have great service and the panniers are solid and good quality, too. Don't meet all my various requirements and I'm still uncertain about the fitment, but what the hell - with those guys I have the feeling I can work something out. With the others? Nope.