►Kawasaki Versys Luggage and
Special Report by H.B.C. for webBikeWorld.com
The Kawasaki Versys Story
Versys motorcycles shown in the photos have been
outfitted with Genuine Kawasaki Accessory Vario
Windshields, which are manufactured by MRA for Kawasaki
Motorcycle Fairings & Windscreens page).
This windshield, similar to other MRA shields, adds an
adjustable top spoiler, allowing height and air flow
adjustments to be made by the rider. Comparatively, the
replacement shield is about 1.5 inches taller and about
3 inches wider than the stock shield.
its shape, and the spoiler, this accessory shield does
an effective job of creating a larger clean air pocket,
especially at touring speeds -- bug count has been
significantly reduced as a result, which is always a
good thing, even with a full face helmet.
Two Marsee 20 litre Teardrop strap mount tank bags,
originally purchased while in Daytona for Speed Week
earlier this year, fit perfectly on the Versys gas
tanks. The simple steel and flat surface of the tank and
the sides of the fairing will allow a variety of bags to
be used, keeping in mind handlebar clearance and
integrity of the mounting system used.
For expediency to satisfy commuting and travel
purposes we mounted our aging GIVI Voyager soft
saddlebags that have been used on a variety of
motorcycles over the years. These versatile units mount
in a couple of minutes, thanks in large part to their
simple strap system, the under-frame exhaust system and
easy access to the rear trellis frame, which provides
ideal and safe mounting points.
The bags, along with our
also aging tail bags (Oxford and Travel Bag brands),
provide lots of storage space and while the increased
weight is noticeable, the Versys remains stable at all
Acknowledging that patience is truly a virtue, we had
been waiting with some frustration for the GIVI
accessory items being produced for the Versys to become
more widely available. Another owner snagged the first
set, so we had to wait a bit longer. With patience
rewarded and the kits exchanged across the counter, we
have now gotten both GIVI kits installed on the Ebony
To allow for a progressive build-up and evaluation,
first up was the Monorack kit. The whole effort, no
thanks to the poor instructions, went on in about 30
minutes. The kit is fabricated of mild steel, oval in
shape, with a matte black powder-like coating.
it blends in rather well, broader oval tubing was used,
rather than round tubing that is used for the companion PLX bracket kit. Appreciating strength concerns, using
the same round tubing for both kits would have allowed
the accessory pieces to better blend into the tubular
trellis frame for far better aesthetics.
With the Monorack installed, a new GIVI V46 MONOKEY
trunk previously ordered was snapped into place. Anything larger would overpower the looks of the whole
setup and based on the age old law of space versus
utilization, could possibly result in an unstable load. From a versatility perspective the trunk gets used
between virtually all the fleet, so itís a good
Installation of the second piece of the GIVI
ensemble, the PLX447 kit, has just been completed as
well. This kit is fabricated, except for the mating
brackets, of round tubing, with the same coating as used
on the rack kit.
We did not even utilize the
instructions for this installation as itís a relatively
straightforward exercise. As the two kits need to be
co-mounted, it is a good idea to loosen off the already
installed to-be-shared Monorack bracket mounts. Outside
of exchanging some of the rack mounting bolts for longer
items (supplied) to accommodate the second kit brackets,
no problems were encountered.
It took longer to remove
and reposition the signal lights using the supplied
pieces than it did to install both bracket kits -- go
figure. Note: the pictures provided should be used when
repositioning the signal lights as the brackets can be
mounted with either an inward or an outward orientation; to clear the PLX bags when they are mounted, the
signal lights must be installed with the bracket
oriented inwards on either side.
We did find out that with repositioning the lights,
the left hand signal light wire is now just a tad short.
It was stretch to get it connected (the left and right
signal light harnesses, although identically wired, have
keyed connectors and thus cannot be interchanged
With this lesson learned, and for a more
permanent installation, an extension harness will be
fabricated, or a shortcut hole will be drilled through
each side of the lower rear fender at signal light
level. This will allow the wires to be pulled straight
through and run up to under the passenger portion of the
seat, where the wiring plugs are located.
Note that access
to run the signal light wires up between the rear fender
and the side panels into the access point is very narrow
and it takes a bit of patience. Once done, we then
reviewed the minimalist instructions and discovered that
all steps had been covered, albeit in a slightly
different order and manner and what should have been
left over, was.
As only the new PLX style of side case can be used
with this bracket, a set of V35 saddlebags, with a
silver insert, were used for mounting and photography
purposes. This whole ensemble turns the Versys
into what we are terming the "mini" Adventure. Said other
owner who received the GIVI kits had already installed
the complete set of luggage and departed on a trip.
Consequently we are anxiously awaiting his return to see
how it all worked for him.
Awaiting installation is the TomTom Rider GPS.
have both a handlebar and a brake/clutch assembly mount
for the unit, and we shall see if the claimed accessory
line is to be found under the front fairing assembly,
which will make this job a bit easier.
Kawasaki - GIVI Accessory Information
All the GIVI components can be ordered from
GIVI Canada or from your local Kawasaki dealer as a
genuine accessory. Installation options allow for: a top
case mounted using the FZ447 Monorack kit; two side
cases using the PLX447 kit; or, mounting of three cases
using both kits.
Note that while the provided instructions
are minimal and typically confusing, the simple pictures
that are part of the instruction set should allow most
installations to be successfully completed. We have
already done up some more detailed installations
instructions for other Versys accessories and passed
them back to the Kawasaki Canada representative for
their use, and hopefully posting and sharing - we will
likely do the same for these kits as well.
Each GIVI PLX mounting kit is specifically tailored
for the individual motorcycle to provide a much closer
fit than other installations. This approach also serves
to reduce the overall bracket and bag combination width,
improving aerodynamics and appearance.
A MONOKEY top case is recommended for use on the
Monorack as these are oriented more towards motorcycle
use with a wider variety of styles and sizes. For the
side cases, a PLX style bag, like the new V35, must be
used on the PLX bracket; older style side cases will
not work. The V35 side cases can be keyed-alike to the
GIVI MONOKEY or MONOLOCK top case using a GIVI Z228 lock
cylinder kit, which is sold separately.
The GIVI V35 bags can be ordered with either the
Burnt Orange or Ebony colour matched panel insert -- a
nice finishing touch. The Low Gel Seat, as identified
earlier in the article, is also available from Kawasaki
and comes embroidered with the Versys logo.
Other accessories are listed on the UK website and
our dealer is hoping that Kawasaki Canada will add them
to the availability list as well.
Twisted Throttle is also
listing the SW-MOTECH Quick-Lock Contour Carrier for the
GIVI V35 PLX cases and the Quick-Lock Sideracks for
GIVI, Hepco-Becker and Krauser sidecases. Accordingly we
are pursuing this avenue as a possible option route for
the Burnt Orange Versys.
►Your Comments and
Please send comments to
Comments are ordered from most recent to oldest.
Not all comments will be published (details
). Comments may be edited for
clarity prior to publication.
From "S.H." (04/11): "I enjoy
your site and was wondering what you needed to mount the
v35 cases with the shad top case to the Kawasaki Versys.
I have a shad top case with their mount based on your
review but I want to add v35 side cases. Can I get away
with just the PLX447 without the kit or do I need the
adapter kit like I do not have a top case. Thanks for
your help. P.S. 2008 Versys."
HBC's Response: In the original Versys
and SHAD luggage articles, I had eluded to the
possibility of using the GIVI V35 side cases along with
a SHAD top case, but in the end mixing the two sets of
mounting brackets wasn't going to work, even though
initially it looked like it could be done, at least not
without some serious machining or welding.
However, what I did have installed before both Versys
got traded, was the GIVI FZ447 and the PLX447 kits that
form a single integrated mounting system for a top case
(Givi or otherwise) and the V35 cases.
So short answer is yes - both kits are the optimum
for a Givi solution, that will still let you adapt the
carrier for another top-case, like SHAD.
The left and right bracket pieces of the Givi FZ447
carrier kit has a top strip welded on, which is drilled
for the standard Givi adapter - specific model or
the universal plate. The reason I mention this is that
the SHAD metal plate that came with your top case
kit can be mounted on almost anything given its multiple
hole patterns and as such, it is very adaptable.
I actually still have the (now surplus) Givi FZ447
and PL447 kits on the shelf and once I took another look
at the pieces, I think the metal SHAD plate can be
bolted on, using the holes drilled on the left and right
Givi bracket pieces (although you may have to drill some
new holes in the Shad plate).
An alternative, which I used for the
first installation, used a rectangular sheet of aluminum
that was drilled as the initial plate to bolt to the two
Givi side brackets. With this done, you can drill that
piece for whatever pattern you want to match the SHAD
metal plate and then bolts these two plates together.
The Shad top case adapter can be screwed on and the top
Another option is the SW-Motech Quick-Lock kits for
side case, but not sure if there is a compatible carrier
kit that can be bolted on as well and they have some
There are a couple of other manufacturers that make
basic side case frame kits for the Versys and most have
adapters to fit various bags, like the v35.
Finally, coming back to SHAD, an alternative which
you have possibly investigated seeing as how you already
have the SHAD Top Master kit mounted is to get the
companion SHAD Side Master kit for your Versys.
I never got the chance to install and use this kit,
but it gets good reviews and it would provide a more
integrated system and more capacity if needed (around
42/43L) over the v35 items. Anyway, short answer made
long, hope this helps."
From "E.S." (2/09): "You have a very
interesting website, please keep up the good job.
I can easily spend a couple of hours (that I donít have)
reading your articles.
I have recently bought a Versys, and now while
waiting for the spring Iím thinking of different ways to
equip the bike. I have read you article were you
test the FAMSA tank set system 260/7 on the Versys.
I think it looks good and I presume that the function
also is good.
I plan to buy the tank set but since I have to order
it from England (live in Sweden - Scandinavia) I must be
sure that everything works out fine because it will cost
me too much to return it.
You write that the bag fits the bike rather good.
Could you elaborate on the fit, does it fit with no
adaptations at all? Do all the straps,
hooks/catches etc fit, or do they have to be shortened
or modified in some way? Is it easy to mount and
dismount the bag/bags?
FAMSA is selling a custom fit tank bag for the Versys
called FA244/48 Kawasaki Versys 650 Enduro Max Tank Bag.
Do you happen to know if it is possible to connect
FAMSAís side panniers to the FA244/48?"
1. Regarding the FA244/48 - I had spoken to the
US retailer about the new bag for the Versys early last
fall, when it was just released, as he said they were in
stock. However, he did state that the new bag was
just the tank bag and mounting base and that it did not
have the fittings for the tank pannier or side bags,
which he knew I was hoping they would produce. So,
from pictures I have seen, this bag would not be able to
have the tank pannier bags mounted to it (no zippers).
2. The 260/7 tank set sold for the R1200GS is
(virtually) a perfect fit on the Versys and if the bag
is located relatively forward, the cutout for the gas
cap sits just where it should.
The tank bag itself works really well on the Versys
and after using it over a longer period of time, the
only observation is that the tank bag is about one inch
wider than ideal. The sides of the bag and the
handlebars will touch when turned lock to lock, but this
situation is not severe unless you have other equipment
mounted on the handlebars.
I have a Garmin zumo 550 on a RAM mount on the left
handlebar control and it pushes up against the tank bag
if the bars are turned sharply to the left or when the
steering lock was used. But again, it was a
tolerable situation for me. Depending on what is
in the bag, it may or may not be an issue.
a. the front neck strap and back hook straps work
without modification, other than adjusting them for the
proper fitment front to back. The front neck strap
will loop around the steering head and behind the small
tang under the steering head and radiator, so that is
not an issue.
The back straps also work well, as the small hooks
can be mounted at the rear of the tank and they will sit
flat, so they do not interfere with the seat or anything
else. The tank pad, as designed, works a scratch
protector for the tank when the bag is not being used.
b. The bottom mount can be used directly on the
mid-engine brace that runs horizontally across the side
of the engine - it is perfectly located for this use.
You can use the original item or use a short length of
nylon strap with plastic strap adjusters. On one
Versys I used the original strap, on the other one, a
short length of strap was used, both keep the bottom of
the tank pannier bag very secure.
c. The original Y-strap can be used from the kit by
re-adjusting the lengths of the nylon straps, but a
better solution is to remove it and just use a single
long piece of nylon strap (similar to the original
strapping) and run it from the top mounting point down
inside the side fairing piece, between it and the small
diameter frame tubing and then out the front bottom to
the forward tank pannier mounting point. As both
ends have plastic adjusters. This is the easiest
way to secure the bags using these two points.
d. Outside of the minor width issue of the main tank
bag, I have had no problems with using this tank set on
the Versys and the setup gets very positive comments no
matter where we are.
The tank panniers can be removed in about one minute
flat (depending on how secure the strapping is) and the
tank bag just unzips from the tank base when not needed
and only needs to be unzipped about three-quarters of
the way to allow it to be pulled up for fueling up.
4. The tank set is not 'perfect' as it wasn't
specifically designed for the Versys, but its the
closest fit I have found in adapting something like
this. There are other separate tank pannier kits
out there, but nothing works as well, or looks as good
as the FAMSA tankset.
5. On a related note I do know that you can also
order a tank pad and tank pannier set, without the tank
bag itself. I bought one of these to use on the
second Versys, as we already had two of the original 260
I hope this information helps somewhat...and that
your accessorizing goes OK, the Versys is a superb
motorcycle and with a few good accessories can do even
more. Let us know how it all works out."