Equipment

We own three R1200 bikes as follows:

  • 2006 R1200GS in Papua New Guinea
  • 2007 R1200GS in New Zealand
  • 2010 R1200GSA in Australia

On this page you can review:

Overall, my focus is on functionality, not style. Usually I am traveling loaded to capacity. Here we are on one of our trips in New Zealand.

P1020421

My Favourite Equipment

This is list is not yet complete.

Type Brand Comments
Panniers Stock BMW GSA I have extensively used the following panniers:
– BMW Vario (40,000km)
– BMW GSA (30,000km and still own them)
– Jesse Odyssey II (10,000km and still own them)
– Micatech (20,000km and still own them)The most practical by far are the stock GSA panniers. They are spacious, easy to pack, and easy to remove.

I very much like the Micatech for their looks – they are the best looking in my opinion, and they are spacious. But they are a pain to remove, especially because they have to be at least partially empty to remove.

The Jesse panniers are very solid, but I have snapped a support frame (this is just by riding rough roads, and certainly not by dropping the bike). The fact that they are top loading makes them easy to use.

Any future bike I have, I will choose the BMW GSA panniers. They are solid, large, and very practical.

Top Box Hepco & Becker Journey TC50 – but would prefer a larger one (perhaps the Micatech 65??) I have extensively use the following top boxes:
– BMW GSA (15,000km and still own it)
– Givi E55 (10,000km and still own it)
– Hepco & Becker Journey TC50 (60,000km and still own it)I like the Hepco & Becker for its volume, but have had to replace the locking mechanism which failed after about 50,000km. Getting a replacement mechanism was easy.

The BWM GSA box is just a little too small. If the same design was available in a larger size (to fit two helmets), it would be my favourite choice.

I love the volume of the Givi E55, but it has to be avoided. It has multiple problems:
– it flexes when the pillion leans against it
– it is noisy, clunking with every bump in the road
– it keeps vibrating appart
– it is not safe – it has fallen off he bike while riding a rough stretch of main road in Papua New Guinea.

Unfortunately no perfect box yet, thought the Micatech 65 litre Top Case looks interesting – sturdy metal construction and fits two full face helmets.

Equipment That Should Be Avoided

Brand and Model Comments
Givi E55 Do not purchase this for rough road application. In Papua New Guinea, where I live, the roads are very bad. This box has come off while riding through a rough section of a main road.I have now secured this top box with zip ties, so that I can’t fall off. This also means I can no longer easily remove it. Sad smile

Further, this box is very noisy. It clunks with every bump on the road.

My wife does not like it, as it flexes too much during use.

Ake PowerCom InnovaGerman Web Site:
http://www.ake-electronic.de/

English Web Site:
http://www.ake-electronic.de/motorbike-communication/motorbike-communication-system.htm

I purchased a kit as recommended by the Ake sales team, which included high fidelity headsets and Bluetooth adapter.Unfortunately, despite spending many days trying to get this to work, and even contacting the support team at Ake (via e-mail and phone), I have not been able to get a working system.

I have a strong technical background, but have not been able to get this system working. The key problem is that the system makes all volume adjustments through the software. Unlike other similar systems, there are no volume adjustments per input or output.

The key problem is that I can either use the system to communicate with my pillion (wife), or configure it to work with other inputs (Bluetooth – phone and music, or wired CB Radio).

Most recently the support team have asked me to send the Bluetooth module back to Germany for a firmware upgrade. However, given that I have invested a significant amount of money already, I cannot justify further investment in a product that currently shows no signs of working. Shipping from PNG is very expensive.

I am also concerned how this will work properly without separate volume controls, given that my wife wears earplugs and I don’t. The support team has told me there is a solution, but has been unwilling to inform me what that solution would entail.

I have offered Ake that I will pay in full the cost of shipping, but only AFTER I have a working system. They have not communicated with me since that e-mail.

I recommend that you do not purchase Ake products unless you are located in Germany and can easily ship products to/from the factory for support.

I am planning to purchase a different system in due course.

[Updated 30 October 2012]
I sent another e-mail to Ake, and have received no reply. I think it is unacceptable for a company to only engage if they can sell you more product, but as soon as you request a fix to what has already been sold (but which is not working), they withdraw all communication. If I get a chance over the next few weeks, I’ll post my complete correspondence with them here.

I strongly recommend avoiding Ake products given the poor product support and questionable product quality.

[Updated 11 April 2013]
I have now invested in the Autocom Super Pro Automatic distributed through BlueRim Australia. This system is FANTASTIC. It worked right out of the box, and is far more configurable than the Ake system.

My wife and I have done two week ride, and love the system.

I am so pleased – and will post a review in due course.

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