I rode down to their only Canadian distributor in Hamilton, Ontario, Dual Sport Plus, to take a look at the Jesse cases and see if I really actually wanted them. Originally wanting the more bare aluminum look, Jesse Luggage didn’t offer this. They have black, charcoal, and grey. On display they only had charcoal and grey, but this was fine as I was fairly confident I knew what black looked like. The sales rep was very helpful explaining the benefits of Jesse Luggage over some other manufacturers, and even had them on his own motorcycle, which he showed me. His were grey but fit well on his BMW. We pulled out a grey one and held it next to my bike but it just didn’t have the bare aluminum look I was going for. In the end I decided to go with black because any of the bare aluminum looking ones were either cheap, or too expensive. There was one inbetween option by Happy Trail but they didn’t have any resellers in Canada and I wasn’t interested in purchasing sight unseen.
Despite the positives I have mixed feelings about dealing with Dual Sport Plus. The sales rep became rather silent after taking my money, and later commented that Jesse Luggage frequently forgets to include instructions and that I could find PDFs on Jesse’s website. Try as I might to find the PDF he mentioned, I could not find it. After contacting Jesse Luggage, who replied very rapidly, it turns out Jesse Luggage is going paperless and emails instructions to new orders. Why Dual Sport Plus was not aware of this I’m not sure, but if they frequently “forget” to include instructions, would you not contact them and complain or question why? Regardless, Jesse Luggage themselves were very helpful in this regard and provided instructions within minutes of me requesting help.
The instructions however are pretty poor at documenting the install procedure. While they did help me to install the whole setup, I pretty much ignored them after looking at the photo showing the mount together but not on a bike. The rest of them were pretty much useless at showing any nuance you might require, like where this piece goes, or order of the washers/spacers and what have you. Various lines drawn in MS Paint try to highlight and identify items, or just a list of items and a photo, explaining nothing. In addition to that, they have an 8″ install and a 10″ install, my bike has an 8″ set, but requires info from the 10″ install, because the 8″ is incorrect but only with regards to my bike apparently. So Jesse Luggage provided me with three sets of instructions, the instructions for the mount, the instructions for the 8″, and the instructions for the 10″. Other important missing information in the instructions is the proper torque specifications for all the bolts in the set, or any mention at all of installing the heat shield they include.
One great thing Jesse Luggage does do however is include all the parts with their bolts, nuts, washers in place in such a way you can just match them up and install without instructions. However, I didn’t really figure this out until half way through the install. Yes, I noticed the parts were in place, what I didn’t notice though was that they’ll put one bolt/washer/nut in place on one part, and the other on it’s corresponding part in such a way you can’t mix up sides. Knowing just this bit of knowledge in the beginning would have saved me considerable time even bothering with the instructions. This is not the case with the side cases themselves. However they’re quite simple to figure out anyway, I think had they not mentioned the 8″ vs 10″ issue and provided instructions for both, I would have just installed all the parts just fine, not realizing that there was ever a discrepancy.
The Odyssey II system itself is extremely sturdy and well manufactured, I was impressed with the thickness of the parts and the quality of the welds and the fact it’s made out of 2mm thick 5052 aluminum. Most (all?) others are made out of thinner materials. The system appears designed to take a serious beating, one I hopefully will never give it but it’s reassuring none the less. Mounting the cases on the side couldn’t be easier either, just a single twist on a little handle and off them come. Another nice feature is that they come with locks already installed. Many manufacturers charge you extra for locks, even some of the most expensive cases by Touratech don’t seem to come with locks as standard, so it’s a pretty nice feature. Of course, they’re not difficult to pick if you know how, but it’s still reassuring that people can’t so easily steal out of them. Though I’m sure most thieves wouldn’t know what to do with a Dollfie and would be really disappointed at their efforts.
Some other nice features about the system, the lids on the cases have friction hinges which means even if you forget to close them properly, they wont bounce around much. Additionally, it also means they wont fall closed on you, and you don’t need to worry about a wire or scissor hinge getting in the way either. Another great option is the ability to adjust the placement of the cases forward or backwards approximately 12 cm. If you don’t have a passenger on the pillion you can move the cases forward and thus downward, lowering your centre of gravity. One little hiccup on my bike however, if you move them too far forward they come into contact with the left passenger foot rest and vibrate like mad. Never the less, they still move a considerable distance forwards and backwards as required.
Some concerns about the system… Once installed on the left side of the bike, a bolt comes in contact with the plastic of the bike itself, damaging the piece. It’s a minor concern really, as the part is plastic, it’s not like it’ll corrode now that the finish is broken, and it’s not like anyone will ever see it. Another concern is water leaking in. Sure Jesse Luggage included a great seal around the top of the case where the door opens and closes, but during the install there was no grommets or silicone or anything around any of the bolts/nuts/washers. I’m not sure water will leak in, but given peoples complaints with other systems and the ability of water to find it’s way in without proper seals, somehow I think it will find it’s way into the case.
After purchasing the Jesse Luggage and seeing how rugged it feels, the Givi 52L Trekker top case I bought originally just seems crappy now. It’s no where near as sturdy and now looks quite cheap next to these solid aluminum cases. That said, my bike looks ready for some long touring rides now, just need some camping gear and I’m ready to go. This whole setup is such a huge change from my old sport bike, sometimes I wonder how I could have changed so drastically. But really, I didn’t change, I’d wanted to get stuff like this for the old bike the whole time, it just wasn’t comfortable enough to ride long enough for this stuff to matter, plus it would have looked so much more dumb.
I’ll need to do a camping test one of these weekends…