24 January 2011

One More Responsive Vendor (and some Luggage Thoughts)

A few days ago, I complained about vendors that are not up to the task of real customer service per email. They all might be great in person or on the phone, but email or online service still is a challenge for most.

Nevertheless, I had one with the rating pending. I asked the American Metal Mule distributor, BestRest Products about measurements and photos for the Metal Mule exhaust system for the R1200GS and David Petersen responded within the same day that he would provide the information I asked for. It actually took him a bit longer as said he was busy on Thursday and Friday and out riding over the weekend - understandable, so no complaints from my side about that. Today he got back to me with excellent information and the measurements and photos I asked for.

So, I'll give that a 9/10 for service!

Btw: I have already bought other stuff from BestRest, like Proxxon Tools and a bash plate and so far I was always happy with their products (apart from the stupid mounting kit for the bash plate extension that is a ... let's not get into that again).

Now, I "only" need to find out what I can do with this information. That's what I have:

Metal Mule exhaust and rack seen from above

From the rear

The lower photo doesn't show it properly but the exhaust is just ever so slightly hanging out beyond the left rear signal (also according to David). Now, the big, big question is whether I can make this work with this:

Micatech V-Pilot with lowered exhaust

Close up view

From above

When you look very carefully, you can see that the left side case is pretty much directly against the left rear turn signal. Bummer. There is about 1cm space missing. May even less. It might be possible to make it work though - have asked the great guys at Micatech whether it's possible to move out the box ever so slightly.

This would give me what I'd really like: no ugly lowered exhaust – which I think looks absolutely abysmal on the GS when the cases are removed –, a non-obtrusive mounting system that you can hardly see when the cases are off, and very robust cases that are pretty much guaranteed water tight and tough.

This is the mounting system:

It's actually barely visible - unfortunately I don't have a bigger picture, but it shows pretty well, that it's close to invisible when the cases are not mounted.

When the big Pilot cases are mounted, it's not so unobtrusive anymore:

R1200GS with Micatech Pilot Cases (from here)

The V2 cases which I like a bit better from the overall size perspective are more than 10cm shorter, 5cm lower, 4cm narrower (10 inch model) and still have 45L volume per case. Or the even smaller 8" model, that is again 5cm narrower and still offers around 37L volume per case. There is one more reason why I prefer the smaller V2 cases: they don't go beyond the rear signals, which means those are better visible from the rear / side. Small but important safety consideration.

I'm not sure what to do just yet, but those are the potential options. Still looking at other options, Micatech is also working on a top loading box, maybe even with the Pilot mount. That would be the absolute killer for me! We'll see what will show up in the coming weeks. I'll keep you all posted.


  1. You're right about the lowered exhaust. It does look a little odd without the cases installed. Personally, I don't think I've ever ridden my bike without the cases installed since I usually stash my hemet and gloves in the right one when I reach my destination and I have my rain gear in the other. Without the lowered exhaust doesn't the right case really heat up inside?


  2. I normally don't ride with panniers on local or short rides. Makes the bike wide and heavier. Not sure about the heat, I guess it depends on whether the exhaust gases heat it up or the whether the exhaust can gets hot in itself.

    For the gases, this can be used: an exhaust extension

    A hot can ... only thing you can do is keep it away from the box. Half an inch of room is normally enough.

  3. Not sure I like the lowered exhaust on the GS but the boxes look sturdy and are not too ugly. I also removed my Pelicans since I am currently only riding short distances, and to carry the odd stuff, the top case will do. Happy continued shopping!

  4. Yeah, I don't like the lowered exhaust either. And from all I know right now, it won't fit with the non-lowered Metal Mule exhaust. Sucks. So, I'm still looking around ...

  5. Guido:

    I am the opposite. I like to have my cases on all the time, except when I need the room at home for parking is the only time they are detatched. I like to have storage options with me at all times.

    I like the additional protection they provide. I have used them inadvertently as frame sliders before and they held up quite nicely.

    perhaps if I had a new GS I would be more particular

    Wet Coast Scootin

  6. Bob,

    I would probably keep cases on most of the time, too - depending on the width, but there are two reasons why I wouldn't: weight and width. Weight when doing backroad riding on my own, the lighter the better. Width for parking, maneuvering, and most importantly convenience, we have not enough space in the garage for my bike with panniers, Andrea's bike next to it, plus the two bicycles.

    Long term, that will change, but right now I would have to take them off, every time I put the bike in the garage.