Caribou does not appear to be cheap.
It's all relative.
When I was looking for luggage, my first criteria was functionality. I wanted cases which could take a beating, since I knew I'd probably beat on them.
Next I worried about looks. As much as I already dislike the looks of the V-Strom, I didn't want to make it worse by tacking on some cases which I don't particularly care for. Fortunately, most cases pass this test.
After those two criteria, I had several cases in mind. I really liked the look and especially the durability of Pelican cases used by Caribou. Then I saw how much they cost. Yow!
That is until I started pricing other cases.
In my opinion, the Caribou system is the best bang-for-the-buck bolt-on system you can buy. If you have the skill and tools, a homebuilt luggage system will be cheaper and possibly more durable, but for someone who wants to write a check and put them on in a couple hours, I don't think Caribou can be beat.
Aside from some cheap knock-offs and questionable manufacturers, Caribou is the cheapest I've seen. Almost all other reputable hard cases cost more: Givi, H&B, HT, etc.
I'm not knocking other good cases. Trust me. But I've had other experience with Pelican cases outside motorcycling. They are about as indestructible as you can imagine. I've dropped and dragged my cases on mud, concrete, gravel, sand, and taken a direct (albeit somewhat slow) direct hit from a small truck. The cases and racks have faired admirably. That is, they've never left me stranded. And when I've needed some replacement pieces, Roger has responded almost instantly and had me taken care of in short time at moderate cost.
Initial cost is not a drop in the bucket to be sure, but they will last as long as you need them and hold their value along the way.