One of the first things I did when I got my BMW GS was put on Aluminum panniers from a GSA on and then rip off the back seat and the rear passenger pegs. For Adventure riding I don’t want anything that adds weight or cant take a fall. The question may come up of why a plate and not a trunk. The simple anser being I don’t need the drag, the extra rear weight and have no idea from trip to trip what needs to be strapped to the back but it typically never fits in a trunk such as a Tent. A plate gives me luggage options and a heavy duty duffle that straps on has proven to meet many needs while being simple and lite.
I started with the BMW made a luggage plate, thinking it would be easy and work perfectly since it was BMW. Not only was it entirely plastic, and difficult to install, it also has no way to mount straps. The BMW Luggage plate looks nice and is just horrible.
I replaced it with Touratech (Like most people do when the BMW part isn’t up to the challenge). Specifically the “Passenger Seat Luggage Rack XL, BMW R1200GS / ADV, 2013-on (Water Cooled)” which isn’t cheap coming in at MSRP $329. Its easy to mount and did the job for at least 20,000 miles. But one of the critical bits is plastic and it did break.
Thinking “If it broke once it will break again” I now have the pinnacle of luggage racks on the bike — AltRider! —
This all Aluminum (No plastic) is the most expensive of the three coming in at MSRP $438 but it is absolutely the best.
The AltRider is both longer and wider than the Touratech and has larger mounting loops which is good when you have gloves on and the one inconvenience I continuously had with the Touratech. The AltRider parts turned out to be the easiest to install and the fact they are pre drilled for RotopaX is a serious plus.
Here are some side by side comparisons of the luggage plates:
During one of my trips to Seattle I actually dropped in on the guys at Touratech and AltRider.
Touratech staff has a showroom is welcoming and other than the ability to place orders are rather worthless.
AltRider by contrast are not expecting people to just drop in and were caught a little off guard. However the very cool thing is about 10 minutes after introductions where made one of the bikes was on its side to show how all the parts work. We asked questions and they answered with computer designs they were working on. You can tell they are really into bikes and want to make the absolute best products they can.