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Old 19 Dec 2009
blh blh is offline
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Down to Jesse's or Caribou Panniers for bmw f800gs...Suggestions?

Hi all,

After reading almost every thread I could on Panniers I have it narrowed down to Jesse's Odyssey II or Caribou's panniers for my bmw f800gs.

I'm leaning toward Jesse's because of the larger storage and the fact that they are narrower. I live in Central America and do a lot of crazy lane splitting, sidewlk driving etc...

My main concerns are leakage (I heard the Caribou's are better) and ease of taking on and off (again I read the Caribou's are better). Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Also, I am in Florida for the Holidays and will have to take them down to Panama with me on the plane. Does anyone know how bulky they are to carry? Will I get hit with a lot of extra fees?

Thank You in advance.
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Old 20 Dec 2009
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I have a set of the original Caribous. I believe that they now have a larger pannier size along with Pelican 1550 which were the orginal size.

The pros of the set up is that they are waterproof and can take a lot of banging around without changing shape which is one of the downsides of metal panniers. The cons are that they are side loaders so you have to get good at opening and closing the case and not stuffing too much gear in it. The new larger panniers probably address the issue of carrying capacity which previously I found a bit on the small side. You need the inner bags to help keep things in order.

It can be a bit of a pain sometimes to side load, and after a while I tended to not leave stuff in there that needed to be accessed too much. Perfectly fine, but for longer trips I would probably lean toward a top loader for better ability to stuff gear in If you plan on riding lots of rough roads and expect spills and dumps of the bike, then the Caribou system is great as the boxes and very strong when sealed. So much so that you want to make sure that the attachment system allows that bag to break off in case of a hard crash as you may not want that much force directly transmitted to your rack and frame. The locking mechanism does have a breakoff feature, but after a few attempts, I was unable to hit it hard enough to see if it works

As for transporting, the Caibous are commonly used for photographic cases so they come with a handle and everything. Easy to travel with, they are heavy plastic though so weigh a bit even unloaded. Only other suggestion is that they look like they might be carrying something valuable to an unscrupulous baggage handler so if I were transporting them new to a place where safety might be an issue I would leave them in the box they come in from Caribou or wrap them in something. And yes I have seen this happen to a friend of mine where he arrived and his shiny new panniers did not
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Old 20 Dec 2009
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Location: Northern Arizona, USA
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I vote for the Jesses. I have used them on Elefants, several types of GS's, and KTM 950's. I have never seen anything stronger. Once, T-boned in central China, I had one with outside touching inside and after straightening at a shop, never leaked! I have crashed too many times and tho the bags always were scratched or damaged in someway, never a problem. They are just tough. Narrowness is Al Jesse's middlename. He seems to want to make them tighter every year. The new rack design for 800's is fantastic as it moves front to rear for solo or 2-up balance.
I do have a GS Adv with stock bags and while I like them too, the Jesse's are still my favorite and I think, the best out there. Sorry for the bias showing.
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Old 31 Jan 2010
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Location: Comox, B.C. Canada
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Jesse Bags

Hi All,

Know this thread is a bit dated, but just thought I would comment as I have the Jesse Bags for my DL650 Vstrom and they have been great. Have dropped the bike on gravel logging roads twice and in the driveway once (I know - I am a bit of a clutz) and they are tough.

They have some nice features on them as well, like the little extra bit that wraps under the frame to put the heavier less frequently used items (like tools) to keep the centre of gravity low and to the middle, as well as the 10 litre storage area under the flip out lid that have compression wire that hold everything in place. As, the fold out lid, that opens away from the bike, makes a handy work area as the open 180 degrees to make a small table area.

The flip out top with the 10 litre storage area also means you have the capacity you desire, but have it broken down into two sections so you can get to the bottom of the panniers a bit easier.

I use simple resuable (green) grocery bags with the two handles to hold several smaller stuff sacks (like "granite gear" bags) for easy removal of everything if I want to leave the panniers on but take things out easily.

The built in locking clasps front and back work well, (save you having to have a padlock that flaps around) and the overlapping lip seal works well with no water getting in at all. I live in British Columbia on the West Coast, and it does rain the odd time here.

Not sure how the new series work for the BMW F800, but can attest that the product they make sure seems to work well and stand up taking a fall.

Not sure if that is any help to anybody, but thought I would just let folks now that the Jesse Bags seem to have some pretty good features in them.

As a side note, my buddy has the Vstrom DL1000 with Happy Trails aluminum panniers of the same size. But they don't have the top flip out lid with storage, and they have clasps you have to use pad locks on. Overall the panniers seem to be very similar, and am sure they are just as tough, but for virtually the same price, the Jesse's seem to have better features.


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Old 6 Aug 2010
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I have the Jesse - mine leak


I bought the Jesse Panniers when I got my 650 V-Strom a few years back. It was fairly soon after they began making the V-Strom mounts and I was very dissapointed with poorly fitting mounts. I had to grind steel and bend the mounts to even get them on the bike. The nylon holders did not fit the mounts as well.

The boxes are well made however, but mine have started leaking after few years with very little use.

I guess it is luck of the draw!

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