Givi Side Rack Doesn’t Fit KLR-650

Mount for Givi panniers on KLR-650

At the time I write this (May, 2005), Givi makes a mounting plate to put a top case on the KLR-650. However, there is a strange omission in their catalogue — they don’t make a mounting kit (Wingrack or other model) to put Givi bags on as side bags (panniers).

When I was in a local bike dealer I looked in the catalogue of their importer who supplies Givi. That catalogue did list a “Wingrack mounting kit” for the KLR-650 with a footnote in fine print saying “requires some modification”. An expert at the importer said it was simple – just shorten a tube and re-drill a hole. I thought it was worth a try and I’ve had a Wingrack before and liked it, so I ordered the mounting kit and Wingrack.

Result: Forget it

Don’t bother unless you have access to major metalworking equipment. The kit turns out to be the mounting kit for another Kawasaki dual-purpose (a KLE-600, I think). It’s “close”, and maybe it was almost a perfect match for some earlier version of the KLR, but for my 2004 KLR-650, making this kit work would require:

  1. Cutting a piece of the upper rear frame of the bike and replacing it with a pressure-fit piece from the mounting kit. (I wasn’t prepared to cut the frame of my bike. But instead of stopping the analysis right there, I also checked how the rest of the parts would fit.)
  2. Replacing 3 out of the 4 supplied s-shaped mounting brackets (heavy 1/4″ steel brackets with two right-angle bends, and drilled at each end. Each bracket a different length, and 3 of them the wrong length).
  3. Cutting the long steel mounting tube for one side and moving a hole.

This was ‘way more than I was willing to do for a new bike and with an expensive mounting kit, so I returned it.

The good news is that there are other ways to mount Givi bags as panniers. After some research, I settled on the “SU Rack” from Happy Trails. This high-quality and sturdy piece of gear went on easily and looks like it will serve well. See my installation journal here.

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