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Ok - I know Carribou luggage is supposed to be some great stuff-and I am about set to buy, but I was researching it a little more and ran across two very similar experiences with reference to the strength of the racks (links below - scroll down a bit on the first link).

Considering that the V-stroms will probably never beat the luggage as hard as the bikes it was mounted on in the articles below, caribou will probably be a great choice however, it gives me some concern considering the cost - opinions - observations - insights....appreciated.

http://www.motorcycleramblings.com/?cat=14


http://tysonbrust.com/2008/03/16/caribou-luggage-rack-disaster.aspx
 

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Considering that the V-stroms will probably never beat the luggage as hard as the bikes it was mounted on in the articles below
That's the main point, I'd say. My only problem with Caribou after a year is hardware coming loose. Put locktite on everything that's threaded, including pre-assembled parts like the lock cylinders that attach the cases to the racks. Everything.
 

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I've had my caribou siderack & cases about a year/18,000 miles not often do I ride without them , at least 6000 or 7000 miles is on gravel roads , most of the rest are on frost heaved broken new england secondary and local roads, even a few miles of true off road :mod2_scooter:

one of my siderack locks came loose early on, but the way its designed, it can't completely fall out, I loctited the retaining nut and haven't had anything else loosen since

because I lowered my suspension, on a few hard bumps while 2up, I have bottomed my rear tire on the crosbar a couple times (one of those true off road rides, yes, 2up on a lowered Vee with no crashbars or skidpan)

the right side case is still snug & tight but that one is the one that stays on the bike more with my spares & spare gear

the left side , it the one I use and is more likely to be carried in the house or office to load or unload contents so it's been off and on much more, it's a little looser fit now, but I believe I could easily snug it back up wth a shim added or removed from the footpeg stud

I thiink though that if you start to tie things down to them and stress the joints in ways they weren't designed for, eventually metal fatigue will have it's way

I also think that the V-strom is more of a stressed member of the caribou system than some other bikes would be with a caribou system quite a bit of the strength of the system is the rear subframe



I really like how the cases keep stuff bone dry, even in the worse of wetness abuse from a pressure washer

imho, the best value in a complete luggage package



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I have 6000 miles with my caribou system. I have landed on them at 30+ mph hour off road. One on road get off. I also got knocked over by a semi a few months ago. The only contact between the rig and my bike was the right case. Still no problems. I ride off road quite a bit. Not just service roads but power lines, single track, mud. I beat the hell out of the bike and everything on it... No problems yet.
 

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The only complaint I have is that the paint on the rack immediately started flaking off. After a ride down the coast it started to rust and flake more. One of these days I'll sand it down and coat it with bed liner.

I also had a minor get-off and the case stayed on, nothing was bent or broken. Very happy with the whole setup.
 

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Caribou Racks

I used them on my Strom for about 25,000 km across Europe, through the middle east and from Cairo to Cape Town, lots of highway and plenty crap gravel and rocky roads. In general, great stuff, the cases are very strong, the racks are very strong, the attachment system is a bit soft but probably the right level of strength for highway riding.

Off road, the attachment system is too "soft", in the sand and rough roads you will tip over quite a bit and the quick attachment system bends very easily. This can be addressed by using a u-bolt to attach the front bracket to the attachment point on the passenger foot rest. The issue then will be that the force of a crash is now transmitted to your bike. For a sliding crash on a rough road covered with big stones, (learned the hard way) this will lead to a bending of the passenger footpeg mounting bracket (if that makes sense). Easily straightened with some heat and a vice. So either you leave it stock, and you end up having to tighten the attachment system by rebending, or you use the ubolt and have to rebend less.

The cases are great, even after quite a few knocks they retain their shape and only have a few scuffs to speak of. Way better than medium to low quality aluminum cases which lose their shape and them are never quite the same again. Big downside of these is the narrowness and side loading which makes it really difficult to get a good amount of stuff in there. You manage, but eventually a lot of the larger stuff migrates it's way to your top bag because it's such a pain.

So if you plan on mostly highway touring, then I would highly recommend them. If you are going to be doing a lot of off highway and rough roading, then something with a stronger attachment system would be the way to go.
 

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The only complaint I have is that the paint on the rack immediately started flaking off. After a ride down the coast it started to rust and flake more. One of these days I'll sand it down and coat it with bed liner.

I also had a minor get-off and the case stayed on, nothing was bent or broken. Very happy with the whole setup.
My experiences are similar, except that for my off-road spill I lost a side and top case and busted my windsheild. I'll add (embarrasingly) that I have bumped into bollards and I hit a retaining wall once hard enough to break the opposite side loose. The cases were unharmed. It's fairly easy to bang the brackets back into shape. I like the bedliner idea and might do that at the end of this season.
 
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