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RandyShields

Touratech Zega Evo X Panniers

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RandyShields

This weekend I installed the new Touratech Zega Evo X panniers on my GS.  I have to say that these anodized silver cases look fantastic on the bike, despite some of the hassles with mounting the racks, and my displeasure with the looks of the exhaust extension.

The Zega Evos came out in 2019 as the quick release version of the Touratech Zega Pro cases, which have been around since 2009 (with some upgrades along the way).  Instead of mounting the Evo’s to the racks through a mechanism on the inside of the cases, the Evo’s have a quick release latch on the outside rear of the cases that allows them to be mounted, as well as locked into place.  The same quick release mounting system is used for the Evo X’s, which came out earlier this year and have a cut-out on the right side case for the GS exhaust.  I find that the quick release latches work very easily.

As previously reported in a number of reviews of the Zega Pros and Evos, the quality of construction of the Evo X cases is excellent.  The lid and base are manufactured without welded seams, and they also use stainless steel rivets.  They are light but feel very solid.  And unlike the prior versions whose cases are different widths to accommodate the exhaust, the Evo X cases provide a symmetrical look because of the cut-out on the right side case for the exhaust.  I can’t wait to get them out on the road to try them out.

The cases come with 6 locks – one each for the two quick release levers, and one each for the four case lids.  As for the installation, the written instructions are not very helpful, but the videos are very good.  One nit -- one of my lid locks is off by a bit and does not engage.  I will have to bend the mechanism about ¼ inch or so for it to engage properly.

The rack installation video makes it look pretty easy, but one side wasn’t.  The four brackets that go under the passenger seat go in easily, as do the bolts to hold the rack to the left side of the bike, but the right side is a challenge.  There is virtually no clearance for the bolts that attach to the rear footpeg assembly, so using a ratchet to drive the T40 is impossible.  If I had read their product page more closely, I would have seen that “[a] T40 Torx L-wrench is required to install the right-side rack . . . It's not possible to use a ratchet, you must have the L-wrench.”    Basically, that means hand loosening and tightening, with no visual of the hidden bolt you are trying to engage.  And there is very little space to work with.  

Faced with that, I thought I would get creative and just remove the exhaust to give myself the clearance needed for attaching the right racks.  Guess what – that worked and I got the rack on easily, but then discovered that the main attachment of the exhaust to the bike frame is blocked by the rack!  So, off comes the rack, back goes the exhaust, and then the tedius process of reinstalling the right side rack.  I later discovered a YouTube review that identified this problem as the "Catch-22" of the right side Touratech rack.  Apparently, it has been a known issue for a while.  Lesson learned the hard way.  I see now why some guys just remove the passenger footpeg assemblies completely.

The only other issue I will note is the exhaust extension.  Again, if I had done a more thorough review of these Evo X panniers, I would have learned that the extension has been necessary (apparently required for warranty purposes) since the Evo’s first came out last year.  Based on some riders discussions with Touratech reps, the heat from the exhaust can melt some of the plastic used for the quick release mechanisms, so Touratech developed an extension that directs the exhaust further back and to the inside of the bike.  It might be effective, but it is a pretty hideous looking thing.  And it is not compatible with after-market exhausts.  It is not that easy to install either.  You can see it in one of the photos below.

So, I have somewhat mixed emotions at this point.  After years of Vario bags, I love the clean, motorcycle-pure look of the Touratech cases, and they seem to be very functional.  But the hassle of mounting the right side rack is still pretty fresh.  And the jury is definitely out on the exhaust extension.  I look forward to putting these cases to use on some rides and seeing if I bond with them.

Cases 1.jpg

Cases 2.jpg

Cases 3.jpg

Cases 4.jpg

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RTinNC

Nice review Randy!  And having done waaaay too much research on panniers for the GS and having watched the mounting video multiple it sounds like your findings mirror what others have noted.   The issue with the right side mount and need to struggle with it or remove stuff.   But I believe the Touratech racks are about the best hard (and soft) racks produced.   They mount is clean and relatively simple.   Having watched numerous other products videos the Touratech are the cleanest I have seen.   I do like the silver and if and when I go for Zega Pros they will be either silver or bare aluminum.  (yeah have heard all the concerns about bare aluminum but had them for 7 years on my 2012 GSA and loved the bare aluminum and the no worry about scratching the finish and ability to buff out most anything)  But the silver anodized does look nice. 

 

Not sure why Touratech felt the need for an exhaust extension?   The BMW Adventure bags never needed one nor did the Vario Cases.  And other brands don't require one.  Hmmm ... and I think that buggers up the great looks a bit.   The quick release is nice as is the carry handle but both of those key features seem to benefit those who camp or take the cases off frequently.   Camping for me is a hotel / motel with no bar and smaller than 32" TV !! 

 

As with most Touratech products they seem to be built like a tank!   They look great !!  Good luck with them!! 

 

Oh ... are the rubber bumpers removable / replaceable like the Zega Pro cases where they simply screw on? 

 

And are the accessory mounts only provided on the left case?   That is a nice addition too! 

 

One other nice feature with Touratech is they only use about a dozen or so different keys so if you ever order any other Touratech items (top box, tool box, etc)  you can just give them the key # and then ALL your locks will be keyed the same.   Touratech does think of a lot of stuff. 

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RandyShields

Thanks Ed.  The rubber bumpers on the top cases appear to be screwed in from the inside, so might be removeable; I haven't tried to take one off, though.  Not sure about the rubber bumpers on the bottom of the cases.  There are no interior or exterior screw attachments.  They might be glued in place.

 

There are 4 accessory hooks on the top of each of the cases.  There are smaller extended rivet hooks on the rear of the left case; none on the right.

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RTinNC

One of the features that I like about the Zega pros is the ability to re-place the bottom bumpers in case of tip over damage by simply unscrewing then.  That may be my OCD kicking in again.
 

Seems logical  Touratech would maintain that feature.

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Slumgullion

Excellent report! However they look naked with out some stickers! 

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