05 July 2011

Micatech V-Pilot Panniers Installed

Last week I received one of the more important farkles for my GS. Panniers. After a lot of back and forth and thinking repeatedly (here, here, here, and here) about it, getting an aftermarket exhaust, I finally ordered and received a set of Micatech V-Pilot cases.

Installing them was not hard but it took quite some time. I took my time aligning everything properly, getting it all setup. To put it bluntly, the quality of all the bits and pieces is astounding. Every single part is high quality, well thought out and engineered and manufactured to perfection.

The case "racks" are basically just mounting rails that have "bullets" where the cases slide on, here is a photo of the rack installed on the bike:

Micatech Case Racks

The racks are very unobtrusive, barely visible when the cases are off. The cases are attached to the bullets with these parts:

"Bullet Holder"

Again, very high quality manufacturing. Three of these are attached to the back of each case. Two attach to the rails on the bike and one per case is for a cross bar in the back.

After installing the cases, the whole affair looks like this:

Rear view - click for larger image

Side Rear view - it's just 32.5 inches wide!

You can see how narrow they are.

Tiny, right? 37L per case. Lots of space.

On the bike, the cases look fairly small but when the bike sits in the garage with them, it's still quite something. Installed they are about 83cm (32.5 inches) wide. The GS handle bars are about 98cm (38.5 inches) wide, so the bars are 15cm wider than the cases which is awesome as I can be absolutely certain to not touch anything when I get through with the bars.

Still, the cases provide a lot of space. An overall volume of 74L in both cases, that makes it only 8L less than the GS Adventure panniers that are 99cm wide. I very much prefer the narrower profile. I can leave the cases on all the time  if I wanted to, but I probably won't.

We will give the luggage a thorough test in two weeks on a weekend trip to Yosemite. I'll report back then.

When installing the cases I also installed a GS Adventure rear luggage rack which I bought used not too long ago. Haven't installed my Givi topcase to it yet, but will do that long term. For around time riding I will install a Pelican on the pillion seat with the quick release for the seat itself. This will take tools and rain gear and some everyday items. I'll post more pictures once this is done.


  1. I have to admit, I didn't like the way the pipes look that were necessary to install these panniers, but wow, what a sleek look you get now with the luggage attached.
    I very much like the design and the fact that they don't exceed the handlebar width, something that I always worried about with my pelicans.
    So now that you are (almost?) finished with farkling, can I buy your bike? HE HE!

  2. The bike looks pretty good with the cases especially with the new exhaust. The mounting looks pretty solid and I assume there is some sort of locking mechanism. I rarely see a GS without cases of dome type as most seem to leave them on all the time.

    Trip to Yosemite. Camping?

  3. @Sonja: the new exhaust wasn't strictly necessary, but otherwise it would have looked even worse. Look here. There is a photo of the OEM exhaust lowered to fit the panniers.

    I really like them with the panniers installed it very narrow, I can park the bike in the garage pretty much the same way as before. I mainly got these panniers as I liked the width and their outstanding customer support.

    And no - the bike is not for sale ... Or it might be too expensive ... ;-)

  4. @Richard: The mounting is really solid. The locking mechanism is inside the case - a locknut that locks into the bullets and is then locked by a counter nut. Works pretty well, but takes some space. I don't plan to leave the cases on all the time but who knows. They are so narrow that they don't disturb me at all.

    Yosemite will not be a camping trip. We have a motel in Merced booked as we will be rafting on Merced River near Mariposa on Saturday. After that we will definitely appreciate a hot shower and a nice bed.

  5. I love it! And, I'm very fond of the fact that the mounts aren't bulky and scream, HEY WHERE ARE MY BAGS! I put a set of Caibou cases on my G650gs and when they are off, the mounts are screaming for attention. Not my favorite thing. I'll be curious to follow along as you use these bags and mounts and see how you like them! Thanks for posting such great photos! I am envious!

  6. @Jess: The mounts really are something special from Micatech. It's what makes their cases even nicer. I'll have to take some photos from a distance without the cases later.

    For now I'm waiting for my new solution for carrying tools, spare gloves, rain gear, and the like. I've ordered a Pelican Storm iM2100 for that which I will mount instead of the passenger seat. I'll also need to find a way to mount the Givi base plate again, but I won't use the big Givi all the time anymore and use only 20% of the space of it.

  7. Hello from F800riders.org forum...I posted on your thread there as well. How are you still liking the GS? I'm thinking of switching from an F800ST to a 1200GS.