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Thread: Q re: jesse bags/top box on r1100gs

  1. #1
    WesPeterson
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    Question Q re: jesse bags/top box on r1100gs

    I'm planning on buying jesse bags and a top box for my r1100gs. I've seen lots of positive feedback with respect to the bags but little about the top boxes. I'm thinking about going for the largest top box. Anyone with feedback/pictures would be appreciated. It's tough to tell from jesse's website whether or not the "rear compartment" is a necessary component when buying the top box or if it is simply a possible add-on.
    Last edited by Wes; 10-24-2003 at 04:53 PM.

  2. #2
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Wes -- sorry it took so long to reply. I was in Mexico (trip report soon!).

    I use the Jesse System, and the large top box, and it is excellent. I use it as a backrest for my wife when riding two-up, it mounts on top of the Jesse Rear Compartment. The front of the compartment features two tangs that slip under the grab rail and is fastened at the rear of the rack by two bolts that go into a special metal bracket. (you must turn the grab rail around backward to do this... and the seat still fits, but it's tight).

    However, mounting in the pillion position is not 100% straightforward. At first, I simply turned the whole thing around so that the tangs face rearward and fit under the grab rail. However, the plastic tool box cover is not strong enough to support the rear of the compartment, so I fashioned my own mounting plate and bolts.

    This worked OK, but the shape of the compartment placed the box at an angle that didn't jive right with the angle of the bags, and the lines of the bike... and the whole set-up looked a bit funky (although it worked).

    Here is what that set-up looks like:



    For my ride to Mexico, I tried a different approach. Using a Best Rest Toolplate as a base, I drilled four holes in the plate and matching holes in the bottom of the Jesse Rear Comparment. I mounted the top box in the pillion position facing forward, placing some rubber donuts in between to have a little shock absorbtion.

    This is how it looked:



    It worked ok, but the Best Rest Toolplate was a bit thin and tended to flex a little more than I wanted. The roads in Mexico are rough as hell, and I wondered how long this whole setup would last, so I wrapped some foam pipe insulation around the top of the grab rail to fill the gap between the bottom of the box and the top of the rail to minimize the flex. This was a temporary solution just to assure that it wouldn't break while I was on the road.

    Al Jesse keeps threatening to make a mount for the piliion position application, but no joy yet. So I know what I am going to do: cut a thick sheet of aluminum plate the same shape as the entire rack. place a thick sheet of rubber between this plate and the rack, bolt the plate to the rack and then the Jesse Rear Compartment to the plate.

    This should work very well.

    If you're interested here is a complete review of the latest Jesse Pannier systems that was written for the BMW MOA website and the now-defunct Motorcycle Camping column in the BMW ON.

    Let me know if you need any more information.

    Ian
    BMW MOA Ambassador
    Go soothingly through the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon.
    ________________________________________________
    '67 Trail 90 || '86 R80 G/SPD+ || '00 1150 GS || '06 HP2e

  3. #3
    Ritalin Poster Boy rob nye's Avatar
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    That is a great review Ian.

    Ian's review of Jessie panniers and topbox

    One of the things I like about my Jessie panniers is the rugged construction. Compared to the Zega cases these are built with thicker material (more weight) however given the way they mount (much narrower and lower) I don't think the slight increase has a negative affect on handling.

    Is the top box substantially heavier than say a Givi or System case? Do you feel a dramatic difference in handling? I may be able to convince my wife to do a little touring this summer and I am considering a top case.


    Thanks,

    Rob Nye

  4. #4
    GIZMO
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    Hi,

    I have the Jesse system including the medium top box and cargo box, it is great stuff. Personally I rather not use the top box because it increases the center of gravity, I prefer to strap stuff in a bag/bags. I purchased the top box specifically for my wife to use as a backrest and to add some flexibility for packing if so desired. What I have done is put clevis style pins up through the cargo box so that the top box just drops in place then secure with clips. This works great for me because most of the time the box is off the motorcycle and when my wife wants to go for a ride, it is a minute job to atach it. I also use the top box when I travel to visit my daughter. The box provides a secure location for her helmet and she too has a backrest.

    My recomendation is to stay away from the large one as the tempation to over load is there and it will really effect the handeling. The medium will allow you to carry one large full face helmet plus a little extra room.

    I do not believe you need to have the cargo box to mount it, but you will need a rack. I do find the cargo box quite handy and am glad I purchased it.

  5. #5
    WesPeterson
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    Ian,

    Thanks so much for your post - very helpful. Couple of other questions:

    1) Curious why you decided to move the box forward without a pillion - more stability? I doubt I will use with a pillion. When I go for long trips with my girlfriend I tend to use a U-Pack (any opinion of utility of the top box vs. a U-pack?)

    2) My main reason for wanting the top box is to have someplace safe to store my BMW jacket (rougly the size of a Darien), boots and leather pants while I am off the bike and out fishing. Will the large hold those things you think? Any idea if the next size down would?

    3) is the top box easy to remove if you decide not to ride with it on occassion?

    Looking foward to reading your trip report!

  6. #6
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Rob Nye

    Is the top box substantially heavier than say a Givi or System case? Do you feel a dramatic difference in handling? I may be able to convince my wife to do a little touring this summer and I am considering a top case.
    Rob -- first, there are two sizes of top boxes, 45- and 65-liters. I personally do not think that the weight is a significant issue, but here are a few caveats:

    1) my wife is a featherweight... wish I could say the same about me! When she is on the bike with the box, and I have adjusted the hydraulic preload on the rear shock properly, I can hardly tell the difference compared to an unladen bike. Of course, I don't ride agressively with my wife on the back (although she says she just closes her eyes sometimes during "interesting" maneuvers...)

    2) Al Jesse says that he avoids selling the big box to people because they tend to over-pack it. This is not only dangerous to have a lot of weight hanging way out back, it can also fracture the cast aluminum rack on the 1150/1100 GS, and can aggravate the transmission boss breakage problem on the 1100s. I have not looked closely at the Adventure model rack, so don't know if this is an issue with this model.

    The best thing to do is to talk with Al Jesse. He owns an Adventure and will be 100% candid with you about what will and will not work.

    Regarding comfort as a backrest, my wife says that it works for her just fine. I have experimented with a pad from, of all things, a Harley TourGlide top box. This actually fits the shape of the big Jesse box perfectly, although there needs to be a bit of bracketry designed to attach it correctly. My wife said that it wasn't worth the trouble, so the project has languished. If you're interested, I can ship this pad to you. It looks practically like it came from the factory.

    One thing I can tell you not to do... a few years ago I took my wife on an extended tour on the back of a rented Goldwing. Whatever you do, don't make that misake... the back of your GS will never be good enough.

    Ian

  7. #7
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Wes
    1) Curious why you decided to move the box forward without a pillion - more stability? I doubt I will use with a pillion. When I go for long trips with my girlfriend I tend to use a U-Pack (any opinion of utility of the top box vs. a U-pack?)
    Yes... keeping weight over your wheel makes far less impact on the bike's overall center of gravity... and therefore, has less effect on handling.

    U-packs are great, especically for riding 2-up, or for carrying a ton of junk. I never pack my top box heavily, because even when it's in the pillion position, it's still high and that means handling irregularities, especially in loose terrain like sand, where the rear end can be moving back and forth.

    I used a Jo's U-Pac in conjunction with a RevPack SeatPak on my ride to Alaska back in 1998. This worked very well. I still use that SeatPak all the time...

    One other note, Jesse make some very nice racks for the tops of this boxes that are *ideal* for lashing your U-pac down. They also serve as good handles for carrying the boxes when off the bike.

    My main reason for wanting the top box is to have someplace safe to store my BMW jacket (rougly the size of a Darien), boots and leather pants while I am off the bike and out fishing. Will the large hold those things you think? Any idea if the next size down would?
    The large Jesse Top Box will easily hold that kind of gear... you could probably cram it into a small one, too, but it would be cramped.

    3) is the top box easy to remove if you decide not to ride with it on occassion?
    I only use the Top Box when I need it, otherwise, it sits on the shelf. The bike looks kinda like a Mad Max Goldwing with all that luggage on it!

    It only takes me about 5 minutes to put the box on or take it off. I use a bit of duct tape on the bottom of the Rear Compartment and an old mouse pad on the painted rack surface to keep the paint from getting scratched. It still does get roughed up a bit, though. But hey, it's a GS!


    Looking foward to reading your trip report!
    I may get it finished tonight, Sunday at the latest. Lots of pics!

    Ian
    Last edited by Visian; 11-07-2003 at 06:09 PM.

  8. #8
    GIZMO
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    Originally posted by Visian
    Rob -- first, there are two sizes of top boxes, 45- and 65-liters. I personally do not think that the weight is a significant issue, but here are a few caveats:

    Actually there are 3-sizes; small (holds 1 full face helmet and typically is used on the F650 GS, medium (holds 1 full face helmet plus) & large will hold 2 full face helmets.

    1) my wife is a featherweight... wish I could say the same about me! When she is on the bike with the box, and I have adjusted the hydraulic preload on the rear shock properly, I can hardly tell the difference compared to an unladen bike. Of course, I don't ride agressively with my wife on the back (although she says she just closes her eyes sometimes during "interesting" maneuvers...)

    2) Al Jesse says that he avoids selling the big box to people because they tend to over-pack it. This is not only dangerous to have a lot of weight hanging way out back, it can also fracture the cast aluminum rack on the 1150/1100 GS, and can aggravate the transmission boss breakage problem on the 1100s. I have not looked closely at the Adventure model rack, so don't know if this is an issue with this model.

    The best thing to do is to talk with Al Jesse. He owns an Adventure and will be 100% candid with you about what will and will not work.

    Regarding comfort as a backrest, my wife says that it works for her just fine. I have experimented with a pad from, of all things, a Harley TourGlide top box. This actually fits the shape of the big Jesse box perfectly, although there needs to be a bit of bracketry designed to attach it correctly. My wife said that it wasn't worth the trouble, so the project has languished. If you're interested, I can ship this pad to you. It looks practically like it came from the factory.

    One thing I can tell you not to do... a few years ago I took my wife on an extended tour on the back of a rented Goldwing. Whatever you do, don't make that misake... the back of your GS will never be good enough.

    Ian

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