Givi Panniers for KLR-650

Givi cases are sturdy, waterproof, and easy to open and remove. They make great top cases and panniers, and I’ve had them on several bikes, so I wanted them for the KLR.

At the time I write this (May, 2005) Givi does not make a mounting kit to put side bags on the KLR. (One catalogue in my dealer suggested a Givi part that would do this job, with the footnote “requires some modification”. It doesn’t work — see separate notes on this.)

However, several other dealers make side luggage racks for the KLR. After some research I chose the SU Rack from Happy Trails, with the optional Givi mounting lugs. I think this was a good choice — the rack is beautifully made, heavy powder-coated steel, sturdy, and is obviously custom-designed for this bike as it fits well.

Installing the SU Rack

Installation is straight forward, taking a couple of hours. Here is my photo-journal of the process:

The Happy Trails SU rack shipped in a single box, and took about a month from order to arrival.

The parts are the two major side racks, a rear brace, stand-offs to relocate the turn signals, and a variety of screws and spacers. There’s a single page of clear, well-written instructions.

I prefer to do most maintenance with the bike level, so started by putting it on a swing arm stand.

First, the side panels and seat must come off.

Remove two screws from each side panel and pop them out.

Then remove the 10mm screw holding the seat on each side.

I find it a good practice to put fasteners into a divided box, in order, as I take things apart. This greatly simplifies putting them back on in the right order.

Here’s the bike with the sides and seat off.

Next, the turn signals need to come off. They’ll be relocated later.

A rubber boot covers a nut between the side rail and the frame. Remove these.

Pull apart the connectors just inside the seat area,

and the signals and wires can be carefully pulled away from the bike.

I had hoped to leave the Givi top box plate installed rather than bothering to remove it. However, the helmet lock has to be removed,

and you can’t access the screws holding it in place while the luggage rack is mounted to the bike.

So, I removed the Givi top plate and the luggage rack. Remove the 10mm bolts shown here,

and, with a hex wrench, the side mounting screw on each side.

Now the luggage rack lifts off and the screws holding the helmet lock can be removed.

Reinstall the luggage rack, but put just the top screws in — leave the side screws empty because they get replaced by screws from the SU Rack.

Another set of screws from the SU rack will replace the upper screws holding the passenger foot pegs.

So remove the original upper passenger foot peg screw on each side.

An SU-Supplied screw goes through the end of the SU Rack tube and into the foot peg position,

and additional screws go into the upper two mounting points. One replaces the former luggage rack side screw, and the other goes through the hole where the turn signal was.

The screw going into the luggage rack mount point can be tightened with a hex key. The rear screw isn’t in a threaded hole.

Instead, it will be tightened with a nut, and will also be used to secure the standoff bracket that will be the new location of the turn signal.

Put the standoff over the protruding end of the screw, oriented so it curves away from the bike, then add a washer and a locknut.

Tighten this arrangement so the turn signal standoff sticks out straight backward. (It isn’t perfectly straight because the slope of the various pieces constrains the angle.)

Finally, tighten all three of the mounting screws.

Repeat on the other side of the bike.

The instructions say to make sure the rack is standing clear of the exhaust. No problem, it’s clear. (Maybe if you had an after-market exhaust this would be a problem.)

Now something becomes clear. This funny plastic plug was loose in the shipping case.

And now I can see where they go — four of them plug the ends of the bottom of the SU rack, two on each side.

And one of them has fallen out.

Since they are obviously capable of falling out, I remove all 4 and reinstall them with silicone sealant so they can’t shake loose.

Next, the “rear bumper” is installed across the back of the bike to further brace the rack.

It easily mounts to the side racks using screws, washers, and locknuts.

Now we reinstall the turn signals at their new locations. We’ll need those thick nylon washers because the mounting bracket is thinner than the former location, and the threads on the turn signal stalk aren’t long enough.

Put a signal through the hole in the standoff, add a thick nylon washer, the nut, and the boot. The instructions warn that the electrical connections might need to be lengthened.

In my case, the wires for the left signal were long enough, and I was able to reconnect them under the tail.

It’s dirty in there, so I thoroughly sealed the connection with electrical tape, and secured it to the frame with a zip tie.

The right side, however, didn’t fit. So I cut the bullet connectors off,

and used crimp connectors to extend the wires with some lamp cord.

Then ran the lamp cord under the seat and used spade connectors to connect to the leads for that side’s signal.

And finally fastened everything to the frame with more zip ties.

That’s it for the main rack. All that remains is to install the optional Givi mounting lugs. There are 3 parts and the necessary screws.

The big lug goes at the top. The screws pass through those holes from the back, and into the threaded holes in the lug.

Attach the lug with the void in it facing down. Don’t tighten completely yet.

The other two lugs go at the bottom. These can be tightened completely. Now trial-install a Givi bag and gradually tighten up the upper lug until the bag snaps on and off easily.

Put everything back together and you’re done. Here is a set of E360 panniers mounted on the side racks. Oh, the helmet lock that we had to remove? I found another place to mount it — see here.


  1. Ok. this was fantastically helpful! I have aquired these exact SU Racks used and for 2005 klr I am restoring. Without all the bolts and no instructions, I was really “racking” my brain to see how to mount this. I’ll relocate the turn signals and the helmet lock and follow your steps. Thanks so much for taking time to record your work and share this effort. Great help! I couldn’t even figure out what the model or brand of rack these were called (just new that had been on 1999 klr at one time) until I saw them in your post. They are not made any longer and the whole bike is a work of vintage history in 2022. 🙂

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