16 March 2013

Gearing up for the Summer Tour

After some thinking and head scratching on what luggage to get for the F650GS for our planned summer tour (California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona) we decided on Jesse Luggage.

The main reason was that they provide adequate space without getting too wide, plus they are top loaders which comes in handy when stuffing in camping equipment and other assorted bits and pieces. The other nice thing is that we got them keyed all the same, Jesse keyed the F650GS cases for the same key as my Tiger cases - very handy.

Our Trusty Steeds

The cases on the F650GS are an overall width of 96cm, not really narrow, but not too bad either for a volume of over 80L. The Tiger has probably about 95L usable volume and is (after installation of a smaller exhaust) at 94cm width (96.5cm with the OEM exhaust).

~ 240L Luggage Volume – Way too much to use all

We installed the cases today, it's a well thought out rack system attaching to the OEM luggage mounting points, got them adjusted straight and nice. Looks good on the bike.

F650GS in Full Touring Trim

Another good thing is that the Micatech luggage liners I had for my old R1200GS cases fit fairly nicely in the bottom wide part of the new cases, so we'll probably get some liners for the upper part to get our stuff easier into a hotel/motel room or into the tent. Saves us a bit.

Didn't get too wide ...

I really like the Charcoal color Andrea selected for her cases and wish now I had gotten the same. But the black ones on the Tiger look good as well.

The test ride today took us – as so often – up CA9 over Skyline Blvd to the view point just on "the other side" of Skyline. From there we backtracked to Skyline and rode north to Alice's Restaurant, had some coffee and great apple pie and took Page Mill Road towards home. We were super careful there, saw lots and lots of deer on the meadows on the side of the road, no wonder I had that accident there ...


  1. Those cases look really nice. It is great they could key them the same as yours. That will come in really handy on trips.

    Now to decide what to pack in all that luggage space......

    1. Yes, that'll be the hardest part. We'll take the camping equipment with us for the times when we don't find a motel or hotel or when we are in the mood for camping. This will seriously add to the list of things to take, but other than the long and really bulky items like the Therm-a-Rest mattresses we should be able to fit everything we need into the side cases.

      Plan is to put bulky items in an Ortlieb back on one of the bikes, and take one more or less empty topcase for locking away things when we are away from the bike. We'll see how this works out, we have plans for a few weekend tours before the long tour, which means we can try out a bit. Might take more than we need to on these short tours, just to try packing and how the bikes handle with the load.

  2. I've heard nothing but positive regarding the Jesse cases. Very durable, reasonably weatherproof and tough. Camping stuff does add a little to the load but even for those planning to motel it the whole way, it's still a good idea to carry some minimal camping gear.

    1. There are a few things I don't like that much about them: the very irregular shape, it's hard to get good liners (for convenience) into them. The other is that the mounting racks are made in a way (some flat steel connections, some not optimally angled supports) that often makes the case "hang down". The cases themselves are very solid, but for example the Touratech racks are way more solid than the Jesse racks. But it shouldn't matter for what we plan here.

      And I agree - we take basic camping equipment anyways to be able to make some coffee on the road, use the sleeping bags in hotels with just sheets, or skip hotels altogether if they are too expensive and/or disgusting.

  3. Looking mighty pretty. How does Andrea feel riding with the panniers? Any difference in handling?

    1. She said she was aware of them being there - but not from the weight. Handling was no different - but the panniers were empty apart from the jacket liner and a non-tinted visor. Therefore, not much difference expected.

      The next test will be with full panniers ...

  4. Guido:

    I suppose that I am not that particular. When I bought my Vstrom I told myself that I need to buy hard cases this time. I have always had soft side bags and worried about my camera and electronic stuff. I don't worry about clothes because you can always buy them while on the road.

    I went for the cheapest alternative which was Kappa cases and racks. They aren't the best looking, and they are too wide but I just live with it. They work and they seem to be water tight, haven't failed yet.

    When I bought my R1200R "pre-owned" , it came with factory OEM side cases. The OEM top case was too costly so I bought a Givi 46 Ltr topcase. It is what it is

    Your Jesses look very nice and I like the slimmer profile. Don't they have a model where there is a side opening ? I also like "top loading". My cases are stupid. You open and all the stuff falls out.

    can't wait to read about your upcoming trip. When are you going ?

    Riding the Wet Coast

    1. I have a Givi 46L topcase that I like a lot. The Givi cases are great, especially because you can switch them between different bikes. Same with Givi side cases. But the problem with them is that they are often too wide for the provided storage for my taste. I just don't like that "wide load" feel on the motorcycle.

      I have nothing against side opening cases as long as I can get good liner bags for them. The Micatech I had on the R1200GS were side opening and they were great. Unfortunately, Micatech pulled them in just a few mm too much, maybe 5mm on each side would have been a good buffer. And as it were they were only 82.3cm wide, so still 12cm (nearly 5 inches) less than the Jesses on my Tiger.

      The summer trip will be in early summer - you'll see it here ... ;-)