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Old 6 Feb 2003
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Jesse or Touratech panniers?

I have a set of both new-style Jesse panniers and Touratech panniers for my R100GS. I have had both of them mounted (at different times!) and have given them a try. There are things I like and dislike about each of them. While I like the large size of the Jesse bags, I'm not convinced that the racks are as sturdy as the Touratech (HB) racks. In fact, I had problems with the old-style Jesse racks on my G/S in South America, though the new-style are much different. On the other hand, the Jesse bags are much sturdier than the Touratech bags.

I'd like to hear from those of you who have experience with each of these bag systems. What problems have you experienced with these systems on the road? Have you broken racks and/or bags? I know there are people out there who say they've heard horror stories about the ruggedness of Jesse bags, but I haven't heard them. Or perhaps you've travelled RTW and not had any problems with your bags?

Please share your experience and help me decide which bags to use!

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Old 7 Feb 2003
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This is my experience with jesse:


The rack and left box are strengthened so if I can get some good locks they should be okay....

I send the link above to Jesse some days ago but havent got his comment yet...

Good luck

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Old 10 Feb 2003
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I am trying to decide which luggage to go with myself. I have a BMW R-100 GS. I am looking at the Touratech rack and wondering if this style rack lends any support to the subframe. The Jesse luggage surely does not (though I like it otherwise), but it looks like the Touratech rack might. Any opinions on this?

I have looked at the pictures of the sub frame support that Grant did, but looking at my bike, it looks like it will be difficult. The exhaust pipe and shock are really in the way. If the luggage rack can healp support the subframe that might be a good soulution.
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Old 10 Feb 2003
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A good solution is a rack and pannier mounts from Overland Solutions. Check out what I got from him for my G/S.




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Old 10 Feb 2003
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After the reply from Ali Baba, I took a long look at the Jesse system currently mounted on my bike. While it looks clean and simple when mounted on the bike, it has more parts and welds than the Touratech system. Also, the Jesse system has special purpose latches which would be harder to service/replace on the road.

Based on all this, I've pretty much decided to go with the Touratech racks. They are universal and will be simple to repair or replace.

So, yesterday I unmounted the Jesse bags and remounted the Touratech system. While doing that I made some observations. First, the Touratech bags mount with two fairly small bolts on the upper subframe on each side. I would have liked larger hardware at these mounting points. On the left side, the Touratech rack mounts at two lower points - the passenger footpeg and the lower frame. On the right side the rack mounts to just the passenger footpeg. The racks are very sturdy and I believe that they do reinforce the subframe, though I don't know how much.

But there are a couple of small problems with the Touratech racks. First, the rear brace that ties the two side racks together covers the license plate. To fix this I got some small spacers and moved the license plate out so that the brace runs behind the plate. This turned out to be a very clean solution and it looks good too. I can send more details on this solution if anyone is interested.

Second, the right side rack has a bend in it that protrudes outward as the rack extends towards the footpeg. This protrusion means that you can't mount an oversized bag to the rack, at least not one that extends foward. This is unfortunate as I was hoping that I could use the Touratech mounting pucks to mount any size bag on the rack. An oversized bag would fit on the left side, but not on the right side.

Given all this I still believe that the Touratech system is simpler and stronger than Jesse. I'm going to investigate getting some custom bags made that are larger than the Touratech bags. To do this they'll probably have to extend up/down, instead of front/back (see the picture of Greg Frazier's hard bags on his G/S for an example). While this isn't as convenient, it should give me the extra space I need.

I took some pictures of the Jesse bags mounted on my bike, and can take pictures of the Touratech bags if anyone wants to see the two systems. Stay tuned for further developments!

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Old 10 Feb 2003
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What about the Happy trails mounting bracket? They make a really sturdy rack and you may be able to put the large, Jesse bags on there and have the best of both worlds
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Old 10 Feb 2003
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Funny you should mention Happy Trails. I have Happy Trails racks and panniers mounted on my KLR. I was originally planning on using the Touratech racks and getting Tim (@ Happy Trails) to make me some oversized luggage for the PD. While playing around with this setup over the weekend, I found that the oversized bags don't fit on the Touratech rack because of the bends on the right side (see my previous post). However, I also noticed that the welded seam on one Happy Trail bag is splitting. Not something I want to happen on the road! These seams looked flimsy even when new. Needless to say, I won't be ordering bags for my trip from Tim.

I haven't seen Tim's racks for the PD. They may be as strong as the Touratech racks. However, I would not be able to mount the Jesse bags on the Touratech racks because the Jesse bags do not have a flat back - they are countoured to fit around the muffler. I assume I would have the same problem on Tim's racks. Also, the Jesse bags have special-purpose mounting hardware that would have to be removed and new mounting hardware drilled and mounted. And the Jesse bags have fairly complex (and weak looking) latches and hinges that I'm not too fond of.

No simple answer I'm afraid, but this investigation can be part of the fun of the setup.

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Old 10 Feb 2003
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Yes, no easy soulution. What about using the Jesse set-up but replacing the mounting hardware with something less complicated and stronger? Could you toss the cam- over latches and put on a Touratech-like puck?
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Old 11 Feb 2003
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Just a plug for Jesse Luggage. I have used many different bag systems over the years. I switched to Jesse a few years ago because of their strength.He actually redesigned the mounting system while fitting my Elefants. I had a prototype mount. This summer my wife and I crashed big time (low sided). I broke ribs; the helments, Arai, were destroyed. But those bags and mounting system were intact. No damage other than a few scratches We slid on the right bag, and it in actuality saved the bike any damage and my wife. It acted like crash bars. My Elefant with Heppco Beckers blew over in Patagonia and the bag was smashed.

[This message has been edited by Allen Naille (edited 11 February 2003).]
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Old 7 Sep 2003
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Using the Jesse bags on my 1150 gs. The bags are strong, sturdy and huge capacity.. They are also extremely heavy, and the locks are just plain useless.
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Old 8 Nov 2005
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We've had both types of panniers - Touratech and Jesse Luggage - installed on our F650 Dakars for a RTW trip. I ride most of the time with Touratech and my girlfriend with Jesse. Overall we both clearly prefer Touratech for long-distance travels - and we think it would be especially true if you travel solo. Traveling as a couple, we ended up leaving on the Jesse bike all the stuff we don't need every day because it was more of a drag to get to it. I marked below the pros (+) and cons (-) of each brand.

(+) Accept inner bags: much more convenient to load/unload
(+) More secure and convenient locking system
(+) Really waterproof out of the box
(+) Better mounting system
(+) Can use the suitcases and lids as seats, tables or trays when camping.
(-) Slightly larger than handlebars (or seems like it). It can be a problem sometimes to slalom between cars or park the bike inside a hotel.
(-) Watch out your feet when pedaling in sand

(+) Narrower (you don't have to think about it twice before sharing lanes in stalled traffic).
(+) The cut-off corners are safer in sand.
(-) In the model we bought (2001) the mounting system does not distribute any weight to the passenger footpegs. Almost all the weight is anchored high and back on the bike. In my opinion, this is a major flaw! The fully loaded bike doesn't behave quite right when leaned. We also broke the rear-shock twice on the Jesse-equiped motorcycle (even though it had less weight that the Touratech's) and we suspect the distribution of the weight to have played a role in the problem.
(-) The Do-It-Yourself part is a bit of drag for such an expensive system. If you don't do it perfectly, the suitcases leak (and the leaks aren't easy to find). The suitcases themselves aren't easy to mount/unmount (although you don't do that every day or even every month) because the rack and the locks can go off alignment and turn rusty.
(-) The locking system sucks. Both the locks and the keys are flimsy.
(-) The weird shape of the suitcases doesn't allow you to easily load/unload what you need. Items at the bottom are difficult to access.

As for the resistance, it's difficult to tell which one is better. Jesse indeed _looks_ stronger but in practice, we haven't noticed much of a difference. The Touratech system might be more likely than Jesse's to loose some waterproofness after a really hard crash - although I'm not talking about the normal off-road crashes (which we had several times) but the "drunken driver rams full-speed into your parked motorcycle" type of crash as it happened to us. Jesse got some cracks on a normal crash once, though, instead of bending - but it was easily fixed.

VoilĂ . Hope this helps...
Pierre (& Merritt too)
Pierre Saslawsky
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