A planned trackday didn’t come off, so with my yet-to-be-worn dead cow firmly wedged in the cupboard ready for a rearranged date, I’m left to work on another part of my BMW F800R mission. The mix of track, stunt and touring planned for this year is important if I’m going to be able to realise the bike’s true potential, so with the last of these three things on my mind, I set about fanning through the accessories catalogue.
I’m extremely excited about getting out on the road and putting some proper mileage under my belt this year, and with BMW already fitting the touring pack to my bike (pannier brackets, essentially), it was an easy decision to nip to the local dealer to pick up the soft, sports cases and start marvelling at the quality.
A set of hard cases – similar to those I had on an F800GT a couple of years ago – are also available, but the ‘R’ isn’t styled as a tourer and I want to keep the raw naked roadster look intact, so I’ve gone for the softer, ‘plastic skeleton shell’ bags. And I’m really glad I did.
They’re expandable for up to 25 litres from their closed 15-litre state, so there is ample room for an extra helmet in each (though I’m not sure why anyone would need to carry two spare helmets). And although they’re only listed as ‘spray-proof’, they come with fully waterproof liners.
At a cost of £498 for the pair (including locks) they’re not what anyone would call cheap, but they feel well-made and practical. The only negative so far is, that despite being listed as codable for use with the ignition key, my dealer couldn’t get that to work, so I have another key to hang from my chain. Knowing how prone I am to key-loss, this is probably a good thing.
Of even bigger surprise to me was the soft luggage that I ordered at the same time. At a cost of £164 I was expecting a pretty standard tailpack, but the sheer, cavernous size of the 55-litre bag has floored me. It’s fully waterproof, has pockets all over it – I keep finding new compartments even now – and even has a soft bit of padding on the front for my pillion to lean against. It also comes with a 150+ page manual; I’m not sure why, but it feels reassuring.
Next stop, the Alps! (hopefully via a track session at Donington Park first!).