Problems With Vario-Cases - BMW F800 Riders Forum & Registry



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  1. #1

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    I took delivery of my new yellow F800GS last week and have 750 miles on it. My only complaint is design/build quality on the Vario cases. I am wondering if anyone else has these issues:

    1) The retention lines for the case lids use snaps to attach to the lid. The snaps on either side of my top case are weak and will not hold - they fall off every time I open the lid.

    2) The side cases have two round rubber feet each for use when off the bike. They fit into small holes near the closest-to-bike corners of each case. The feet have pointy retainers with lips that are supposed to go on the inside of the small hole in the case. With the feet fully inserted (the lip on the foot retainer is fully inside the case), barely touching the foot on the outside of the case will cause it to fall out. I put the cases in our SUV and slid them around a bit and later found two of the feet when emptying the back of the SUV. I reinserted them, but they fall off easily. A third foot is completely missing - probably fell of while riding. So now there's a hole in the bottom of the case, ruining the waterproof qualities. The remaining three feet will likely fall off and be lost.

    This is clearly a flawed design in both respects. I really like the looks, expandability, keyed-alike locking, and attachment system, but for the most expensive case system in the world, BMW could have finished the design.

    Anyone who has these cases should check to see if your rubber feet are still there an dmake sure your retention line snaps are intact. I will speak with the dealer tomorrow when we go in for the 600 mile checkup.

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  4. #2

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    I noticed one of my snaps failing to engage no matter how hard I pressed.

    I'll put a blob of silicon on the rubber feet - if they are all there. I haven't ridden with the side cases yet, except the 5 miles to my house.

    Thanks for the heads up.

    Fred

  5. #3
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    Adjustment is everything. Not very easy to adjust. You have get the bottom rest adjustment right so the top "lock hole" fit just right. Not too high not too low.

    Now the trick for mount/unmount case easily: by pushing the case toward bike using your stomach as you pull lock/unlock level.

    Karl

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  7. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmfick View Post
    I took delivery of my new yellow F800GS last week and have 750 miles on it. My only complaint is design/build quality on the Vario cases. I am wondering if anyone else has these issues:

    1) ...
    2) The side cases have two round rubber feet each for use when off the bike. They fit into small holes near the closest-to-bike corners of each case...
    I had what sounds like a similar problem with the feet on the Vario cases on my 2007 F650GS (single). Even though they looked to be seated, it wasn't till I used a pair of pliers to pull the tip of the rubber foot from inside the case that I got it to truely lock (and seal). I haven't seen what your rubber feet look like when installed, of course, but it may be worth a try to use some persuasion from the inside of the cases. These feet are really tough and the tug with the pliers didn't damage them. I had to get the underside of each foot higher than the case before they popped into place. Standard disclaimers, YMMV.

    I won't get my bike till tomorrow so I can't confirm either complaint on my own cases till then. Offhand I don't recall the lid stop [ 1) above ] having a snap, so I guess I haven't had a problem.

    Bruce

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  9. #5
    brusuillis's Avatar
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    I have a big problem with my Varios. BMW replaced me the second set but the problem is the same: the mechanism to reduce the volume is very very hard to use.

    What about your Vario cases?

  10. #6

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    No problem at all using the levers. Yes, there's some resistance, but it's not at all difficult to either extend or retract the cases.

    Bruce
    Santa Fe, NM

  11. #7
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    I have the top case only and the only problem I have is with one of the snaps on the lid. It comes off all the time. I guess as long as the other snap doesn't come off easily I'm ok with it. I have no problems with the expanding mechanism.
    2009 F650GS Twin 

  12. #8

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    BMW replaced the entire case because of the snap problem, after the dealer tried to get just a replacement cord/snap, but the parts protocol didn't allow it. The dealer and I just shook our heads in disbelief.

    By the way, I only use the cord on the uphill (right) side of the topcase, and the left one is tucked down because the cord was always hanging out when I closed the lid when the bike is on the sidestand. The left one becomes a spare.

    I think a shoe repairman or tailor could easily install a replacement snap on to the plastic end of the cord.

    I haven't used the side cases since I bought them last summer, but I will put a dab of silicon adhesive on those rubber feet/plugs to hold them in place.

    Fred
    Last edited by FredRydr; 06-25-09 at 11:26 AM.

  13. #9
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    Both my vario side cases rubber feet/plugs are missing now
    Any solution?

    Karl

    >>I haven't used the side cases since I bought them last summer, but I will put a dab of silicon adhesive on those rubber feet/plugs to hold them in place.

    Fred[/QUOTE]

  14. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by karlcchen View Post
    Both my vario side cases rubber feet/plugs are missing now
    Any solution?
    Buy replacement feet if they are available, and insert them into place with a dab of silicon or body trim adhesive. If not (yet) available separately, check to see if the rubber feet are identical with R1200GS Vario cases, and then be on the lookout for some wrecked cases to take the feet from. Let your BMW dealer and some of the used parts sellers (e.g., www.beemerboneyard.com) know what you are looking for.

    Fred

  15. #11

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    Irony of ironies.

    Although I've constantly used my Vario topcase since I bought the F800GS ten months ago, the side cases were only moved around the garage until last Thursday, when I mounted them for the trip to Cass. Only then did I discover the snap problem on one cord (same as my topcase), and two rubber feet had popped out (and disappeared) from the cases being slid onto high shelves. Unlike BMW's absurd replacement of the entire topcase for the snap problem months ago, BMW now lists the snap cord and the rubber feet as separate parts. Approx. $2 for the rubbers and I think $13 for the cord (unless BMW replaces them).

    Fred

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    Not had any problems with the retaining snaps. Not sure about the rubber feet as I don't tend to remove the luggage much. I would go out to the garage to check, but it's raining right now so I won't bother.

    My only problem has been the stiffness of the closing mechanism, which is gradually easing off with time. And I could do with the panniers being a fraction on the small side for taking a laptop.
    [COLOR=Red]2013 F800GS Cordoba blue/black, ABS, ASC, ESA, heated grips, centrestand, BMW vario cases, Scottoiler, Touratech hand protectors, Powerbronze flip-up screen Number of ABS extended releases: None 

  17. #13
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    I mean I could do with them being a fraction bigger!!!
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  18. #14

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    A new netbook is less expensive than one pannier!

    Fred

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmfick View Post
    ... I will speak with the dealer tomorrow when we go in for the 600 mile checkup.
    David:

    Did you get any kind words/action from the dealer?

    I know there are stronger cases out there ... but I like the style, the fact that the mounting frames blend in when not using the cases, and the expandability feature is sweet.

    Thanks!
    Blue 2009 F650GS - H-B crash bars, TT luggage rack, Pelican top case, BMW Vario Panniers & bash plate, 20mm handlebar risers, LED voltmeter, Sargent seat, MudSling, a few other trinkets ... I may be just about at the end of the farkle train  

  20. #16
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    Finally, after 3 sets of Varios changed by the dealer, I received the new ones built in 2009.

    All other sets are built in 2008 and it is hard to get them reduced in volume and the rubber feeds very easily to lose.

    The new Varios are different: different plastic and different rubber for the feeds.

    Now my Varios close easily and the feeds are very hard to get off.

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  22. #17
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    This is very good to know.

    What are the easy ways to tell if a set of bags is the new 2009 version?

    THANKS!
    Jim
    Blue 2009 F650GS - H-B crash bars, TT luggage rack, Pelican top case, BMW Vario Panniers & bash plate, 20mm handlebar risers, LED voltmeter, Sargent seat, MudSling, a few other trinkets ... I may be just about at the end of the farkle train  

  23. #18
    brusuillis's Avatar
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    Inside the bags there is an incision with the code and the production month and year.

    Bye

  24. #19
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    one of my snaps on the topbox has come off at the lid end and now is an absolute pig to get back on.

    btw, Fred, I have to go with what laptop my company offers me!
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  25. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by FredRydr View Post
    Buy replacement feet if they are available, and insert them into place with a dab of silicon or body trim adhesive. If not (yet) available separately, check to see if the rubber feet are identical with R1200GS Vario cases, and then be on the lookout for some wrecked cases to take the feet from. Let your BMW dealer and some of the used parts sellers (e.g., www.beemerboneyard.com) know what you are looking for.

    Fred
    I had to replace one of mine when I stupidly used a pressure washer to clean the bottom... the foot went flying lol.

    They are available from BMW and are very cheap thankfully. They are a pain in the ass to install though, really have to make sure you got the lip up and over. Have to be installed with the vario expanded because the outer case edge pushes against them.

    I might simply stick a pin or small nail through them and then silicone em, it'll never pop out then (nail though the part that is inside the case to act as a cross-bar to prevent it coming out).

    Cheers
    Tim
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  26. #21

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    As to the snaps, I discovered that when I moved them around to pair with other snaps, in the pannier and topcase, there were much better matches, and now they all work! It is easier to move the male side held in place with a Philips screw, than the female part on the string.

    Fred

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    Any new comments here after more use?

    I really appreciate the adjustable size, being keyed to ignition, mounting frame nearly invisible when bags removed etc, but am a bit concerned about potential for damage....

    Also not sure how to tell if I would be getting the newer design introduced sometime in 2009 vs. the older design that was harder to work with - I am not sure what the cut-over date was exactly or what the visual clues would be for newer vs. older design ????
    Blue 2009 F650GS - H-B crash bars, TT luggage rack, Pelican top case, BMW Vario Panniers & bash plate, 20mm handlebar risers, LED voltmeter, Sargent seat, MudSling, a few other trinkets ... I may be just about at the end of the farkle train  

  28. #23
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    Having the same issues with snaps... weak, will not hold. The sliding mechanism works fine, glad they are VARIO as I have stuffed them a few times.

    Will contact my service guy to see what he has to say. Repairing the snaps is probabaly a good fix, however if the dealer is going to bring in new bags, I am down for that.

  29. #24
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    I have a set that I've used since last June with no problems at all. Like the looks, expandability, and single key operation. Wasn't aware there was a redesign so not sure whether these are the new design or not.

  30. #25
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    Thanks folks!
    I think I'm sold ... if I figure out how to tell the "old" design from the "new" design I'll post back!

    The only thing I am sure of is that the "old old" design had a non-removable tab that connected the pannier to the bike while the newer (either one generation or two generations of newer) design(s) have a removable/adjustable tab/clip to hold them to the bike.
    Blue 2009 F650GS - H-B crash bars, TT luggage rack, Pelican top case, BMW Vario Panniers & bash plate, 20mm handlebar risers, LED voltmeter, Sargent seat, MudSling, a few other trinkets ... I may be just about at the end of the farkle train  

  31. #26
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    I am getting the varios for all the reasons stated here. When the right side is expanded can you get a full face helmet in?

  32. #27
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    Yes you can fit a helmet in there, absolutely.

     

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  34. #28
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    I am pleased, overall with the performance of the luggage aide from the snaps not always holding. It is treat to have dry luggage .

  35. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by montanaman View Post
    I am getting the varios for all the reasons stated here. When the right side is expanded can you get a full face helmet in?
    I gather some helmets may not fit, but mine does.
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  36. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by montanaman View Post
    I am getting the varios for all the reasons stated here. When the right side is expanded can you get a full face helmet in?
    Shoei RF1000 fits. Arai Astral fits. I even think the Shoei Hornet fits.
    F800GS 

  37. #31

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    Shoei flip front is 30mm to high to fit in the vario top case!

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    I am very disappointed with my cases on my 2010 GS. They've been back to the dealer twice for problems with the expansion parts. All of the feet are gone, one of the screws that holds in the expansion bar in the top case is now stripped out and won't hold. Granted my stay on the bike 24-7, but I also expected more considering.
    On another note, the right side case will hold my Icon Variant Dual Sport Helmet and because of that, I have a love/hate relationship with mine.

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    And now you know why I use soft luggage. They expand without problems (assuming the zippers hold out) and don't have feet to fall off.
    Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM 390 Duke, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior. 

  40. #34
    Southern Germany AlanI is offline Volunteer Moderator - Recreational Vehicles
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    Quote Originally Posted by MsMeow View Post
    All of the feet are gone......
    I've read of this problem way back now in another thread. Anyway, I inspected mine at the time and remember thinking that the case(s) would really need to be scraped across the ground for them to have any chance of popping out. Maybe mine have a newer design from the earlier problematic ones.....who knows.....but just to be on the safe side I lifted the base of the feet from the cases and squirted in some clear silicone to glue them in.
     

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    My Vario luggage has about 27000 KM and aside from the fact the retaining snaps are pretty well useless on the side bags everything else seems fine. I must try to lubricate the "vario slides" as they have slowly required a little more effort to open and close now. I have not lost any feet off the bottom, though I can see if they are dragged along a rough surface it would not take much for them to come off.

    It would be nice to have the option to go with both Vario and soft luggage, something that is interchangeable and works using the existing Vario mounting hardware. Not more "bungies"....

  42. #36
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    I had an off the other day at under 30 mph on tarmac:
    https://f800riders.org/forum/showthre...542#post515542
    Considerable scraping on the left hand case lid as you would expect. However, what's more concerning is the crack on the inner side of the case by where it attaches onto the frame. Clearly it's not going to be waterproof any more. Only time will tell if the crack propagates further over time. The case distorted so much under the impact that it hit and dented the exhaust. If you have the Vario cases on a GS, take a look and see the clearance to see how much it must have distorted.

    I'm not saying any of this to be critical - I'm not sure what you would expect from plastic cases. But it's made me think whether I should have gone for metal cases after all.
    [COLOR=Red]2013 F800GS Cordoba blue/black, ABS, ASC, ESA, heated grips, centrestand, BMW vario cases, Scottoiler, Touratech hand protectors, Powerbronze flip-up screen Number of ABS extended releases: None 

  43. #37
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    Pete:
    The cases are made out of some sort of thermoplastic resin ... said another way, if you warm it with a hair drier on high, or an industrial heat gun on LOW you and bring the case up to a temperature at which you can get rid some of the distortion if there is any... ? Then perhaps glue some thin membrane on the inner surface to restore watertightness? Inner tube / thin sheet metal or ...

    The case is less expensive to repair than you are ... trust me

    Several folks have talked about making a bracket set that would allow mounting Pelican cases to the Vario mouning frames... but no results so far.... I'd love another option ...
    Blue 2009 F650GS - H-B crash bars, TT luggage rack, Pelican top case, BMW Vario Panniers & bash plate, 20mm handlebar risers, LED voltmeter, Sargent seat, MudSling, a few other trinkets ... I may be just about at the end of the farkle train  

  44. #38
    Southern Germany AlanI is offline Volunteer Moderator - Recreational Vehicles
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    Quote Originally Posted by pedantic_pete View Post
    I'm not sure what you would expect from plastic cases. But it's made me think whether I should have gone for metal cases after all.
    Um, difficult to know with certainty. It might of been the case that the pliable Vario cases absorbed some of the impact thus sparing the subframe, whereas the more solid metal cases with less energy absorbing characteristics would have transferred more of this impact energy directly to the bike. Who knows.
     

  45. #39
    pedantic_pete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanI View Post
    Um, difficult to know with certainty. It might of been the case that the pliable Vario cases absorbed some of the impact thus sparing the subframe, whereas the more solid metal cases with less energy absorbing characteristics would have transferred more of this impact energy directly to the bike. Who knows.
    Quite. Anyone with the aluminium cases care to do a controlled experiment?

    Jim, good advice. The case sprung back so it sits well clear of the exhaust now. I could try fixing the waterproofness by using sealant on the crack from the inside so as not to show externally. My main concern though is that the main structural damage is right by one of the mounting struts, so I just wonder about its long term load-nearing capability.
    [COLOR=Red]2013 F800GS Cordoba blue/black, ABS, ASC, ESA, heated grips, centrestand, BMW vario cases, Scottoiler, Touratech hand protectors, Powerbronze flip-up screen Number of ABS extended releases: None 

  46. #40
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    I just got an '09 F658 last week and it came with the Varios (all 3). I haven't seen any issues with the snaps/retention cords - other than the fact that when the top case is expanded, the cords are too short. BUT - I am missing several feet on the side cases. Glad to hear that I can get replacements, and cheaply

    I too am a big fan of the adjustability of these cases. We'll be heading out for a trip down the BRP next month and that should really put these cases to the test for me.

    One question - how have you all found the "water-tightness/rain-proofness" to be? Nothing worse than to ride for a day in the rain, only to find you have NO dry clothes to put on when you stop
    French kissing life square in the mouth....
    2020 F750GS | 2018 Spyder RTLE 

  47. #41
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    I only have the topcase Vario but I haven't had any leaking issues with it, raised or compacted. I would notice as it is my only case while commuting and even on trips I tend to keep my most important stuff in there. Things just get wet when I open the case to get at them of course.
    "An expert is someone who has made every mistake possible within a very narrow field of inquiry" - Niels Bohr 

  48. #42
    Southern Germany AlanI is offline Volunteer Moderator - Recreational Vehicles
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luna View Post

    One question - how have you all found the "water-tightness/rain-proofness" to be?
    Been caught in the odd shower or two......nothing torrential......and the inside of my Vario cases have remained dry. That said, to be absolutely sure of the contents remaining dry and also because I'm not a fan of taking cases that may be dirty from road grime/oiled from the chain, bugs etc etc into hotels/guest houses and the like, I always use waterproof inner bags.
     

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    My vario top case purchased last summer works great!

  50. #44
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    new to me F800GS with vario side cases - I had to replace the back/bottom of the right side case as it was damaged and repaired by previous owner - stout but was scratching the mount. Neither case will expand after putting as much force as I'm comfortable with and not wanting to force/break them I am in a quandary. The cases are just for city/commuting use. Any tips???

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    It is a challenge to get the gears of the expander mechanism timed/installed correctly.
    I think it is covered pretty well here (they are old links, I hope they still work....):


    (also see: http://www.city-gs.com/blog/2015/4/1...-modifications )


    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...0#post22003260

    https://advrider.com/f/threads/vario...ations.643013/
    Blue 2009 F650GS - H-B crash bars, TT luggage rack, Pelican top case, BMW Vario Panniers & bash plate, 20mm handlebar risers, LED voltmeter, Sargent seat, MudSling, a few other trinkets ... I may be just about at the end of the farkle train  

  52. #46
    notacop is offline The original Schwartz Wald Troll
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    I have the Vario bags on my '13 G650GS. The function to open the cases is putting the case on the grass and stepping inside with one foot and then pulling up while rocking the outer cover. PITA. So I just leave them expanded.
    Considered getting the factory bags for my new F750GS but with your input here and my own experience, I'm going to get aftermarket mounts and use a set of Nelson Rigg semi soft bags.

  53. #47
    CanéNero's Avatar
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    solution on 2 part video
    BMW Vario case fix

    Part 1
    https://youtu.be/MSuWeftisb4

    Part 2
    https://youtu.be/NADb936e5Y8

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