Caribou Luggage Systems
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are all of your cases made by Pelican?
A: Pelican makes our 25L and 35L side loading cases and our 25L top loading cases. SKB makes our 40L cases, and B&W makes our 34L top case. We make our own COMMANDO soft bags. As you can see we have several case suppliers and all of them are made in the USA with the exception of the 34L B&W top case (Germany). We integrate custom lid locks into the cases along with lid lanyards and retention straps and we pre-drill the cases for our complete systems. Most of the components added into the cases are made in the USA.
Q: What are the differences among the cases you offer?
A: All of the cases we offer meet stringent MIL-Specs for impact, submersion and UV/chemical resistance and have a limited lifetime guarantee, so all of them are very tough. The Storm and SKB cases are about 1lb lighter than the regular Pelican cases due to having a thinner wall construction and different material formulation. The Storm and SKB have push button activated latches instead of the snap down latches of regular Pelican cases, and they both have a smooth matte black finish. The B&W 34L top case is made of an ABS plastic rather than the co-polymer plastic of the others. Our COMMANDO soft bags are made of heavy duty PVC material. The inside and outside dimensions and weight for each case we offer is on our web site (scroll down to the bottom of the item description). Also see our YouTube videos for more comparison information.
Q: There are so many choices, what cases should I get?
A: If you ride two-up, or carry a lot of gear and need lots of space, then the 40L cases are appropriate, otherwise our 35L cases are plenty big for almost any need. Some prefer top loading cases (the light and narrow 25L Top Loading cases are fine for any bike). If you like to run errands around town on your bike, then our 34L top case that fits a helmet is handy so you don’t have to carry the helmet into the store or fiddle with helmet locks. Our COMMANDO soft bags are lightweight, durable, waterproof, and are a very cost effective solution for pavement or off-road riding.
Q: What side racks do you use?
A: We use German made Hepco Becker (HB) side racks for all of our complete side luggage systems today. The HB racks have proven themselves extremely durable and they fit great. Most Hepco Becker racks today are the "Lock-It" type that allow removal of the side rack in a few short minutes leaving the clean look of your bike. We also make side luggage systems to fit Givi and SW Motech side racks. SW Motech racks are mid-range in terms of both price, durability and fit. Givi racks are the lightest-duty and least expensive and work fine if you ride mainly on pavement and don’t expect to crash often. Remember, it only takes 100 feet of bad road surface on a 1,000 mile trip to ruin your day, so a few extra bucks spent on a stronger rack will be worth it.
Q: I know the cases are tough, but what about your side racks & case mounts?
A: Our overall product field failure rate is well under 1%, and we have thousands of luggage systems being used all over the world by all types of riders. We make it a priority to continually improve the crash-survivability of our luggage systems based on field data and our own testing. The mounting systems we offer today are extremely durable and very refined. The German-made Hepco Becker side racks we now use have proven themselves to be extremely tough by thousands of our customers and have a zero field failure rate. Realize side luggage takes the brunt of the impact in a crash and nothing is truly crash-proof. To help protect the bike’s subframe and the luggage rack our systems have a field replaceable latch that acts as a mechanical fuse and allows the case to eject in a hard crash, but every crash is different and damage to the luggage or the bike may still occur. The most important factor is for the rider to check for damaged, loose, or missing fasteners and parts after a crash or tip-over before venturing onward. We stand behind our products and if you have a problem we're here to help get you back on the road.
Q: What is the weight of the side case system and top case system?
A: The 35L and 40L side-loading side case systems weigh 35-38 lbs (including side rack) depending on the bike and case selection. The 25L Top Loading systems are 30lb-33lb depending on the bike with side racks. Our COMMANDO soft bag are the lightest of the bunch at only 24-26lbs including HB side rack. The top case systems weigh 12-14 lbs depending on the bike and case selection.
Q: What is the overall width of the side luggage on the bike?
A:Our 35L Pelican, 35L Storm, 25L Top Loading Storm, and 40L SKB side cases are all the same width on the bike - about 36"-38” (.89m). Our COMMANDO soft bags are about 34-36” across on the bike. We find that under 40” width is preferred when you are negotiating tight spaces and need to have a good feel for how wide your ride is.
Q: Should I put a narrower case on the exhaust side and a wider case on the other side of the bike to create a balanced system? Do you offer racks that are “balanced.”
A: All of our side cases have the same depth, so it is not possible to put a smaller case on one side. On most bikes the side racks (HB/Givi/Motech) are designed such that the exhaust-side case will stick out only about an inch further than the non-exhaust side to allow heat to escape and keep the case cool. You will not notice this small difference while riding. The most important factor in balancing your side luggage is to have about the same weight in each case. There is no need to sacrifice space in the exhaust-side case when what really matters is equal weight.
Q: How much weight can you put in the side cases and top case?
A: Each make/model of motorcycle is unique. There are limits to the weight that a bike’s rear sub-frame can support, and there are motorcycle handling issues to take into consideration. The weight limit for the OEM-supplied luggage for your motorcycle is a good reference to follow. Do not exceed the weight & load limits specified for your specific motorcycle. Generally speaking, top case loads should be kept to 15lbs or less, and side case loads should be kept to 20lbs or less.
Q: I have two bikes and want to swap one set of side cases between the two bikes, so can I buy just the rack for my second bike?
A: Yes. Hepco Becker side luggage racks for many bikes are available on our web site and we can get many others if you have a bike not listed. For Givi and SW Motech side racks please contact your nearest dealer.
Q: I don’t see my bike listed, and/or I want to build my own racks, and/or I have my own cases, so can I buy just the quick attach/release latch system that fits to the back of the case?
A: Yes. We have DIY mount kits that attach our Caribou cases to Hepco Becker, Givi or SW Motech racks with a strong, lockable and quick attach/release mount. Essentially you buy HB, Givi or Motech racks for your bike and then buy our luggage system for that rack (or DIY kit if you have your own cases) and you then have a complete and affordable luggage system for your bike.
Q: Can I use cases other than those listed on the Caribou website?
A: Yes. Our Do-It-Yourself kits will fit any case with a flat back and at least a 10” x 10” flat area on the inside back panel of the case. Our DIY kit for Hepco Becker racks requires a 7”H x 14” L flat area on the back and inside the case. DIY kits work with plastic, aluminum, or steel cases.
Q: Will the Caribou Top or Side case fit a helmet
A: Our side cases do not fit a helmet, but our 34L top case does fit a full face helmet.
Q: Are there any modifications to the bike required, turn signal relocation or exhaust relocation?
A: Hepco Becker racks used with our luggage require turn signal relocation on only a couple of bikes so in most cases turn signal relocation is not required. All parts needed to relocate turn signals are provided.
Q: I’ve noticed that other aftermarket companies are now offering Pelican cases, what makes yours different and better?
A: We are the original Pelican-based motorcycle luggage company and the largest with thousands of systems in use by adventure riders all over the world, so our systems are the most refined and tested in the business. Our latch system is the best and most advanced in the industry including the OEM products. We offer more sizes and configurations of Pelican, Pelican Storm, SKB, and B&W cases than any other company by far. We design and offer more accessories specifically for our cases than any other manufacturer by far. We offer the best customer service in the industry when you have issues during install or at any time, and you are likely to get the President of the company on the phone when you call, even on weekends. All emails are answered promptly, usually within an hour. We have first-hand familiarity with every bike we offer products for and are very experienced riders, so if you have a question about a particular application we are there to help. Finally, we are one of the most innovative companies in the industry and you’ll continually find new products being offered that make a big difference in your riding experience.
Q: I read on an internet forum that when you open a side-loading case everything falls out on the ground, but I see lots of people using and loving your cases and report this is not a problem. How do you keep things from falling out?
A: The answer is a lot easier than some on the internet will lead you to believe. First, we offer inner bags that take care of everything. Secondly, we install lid lanyards keep the lid from swinging all the way down thus creating a tray to catch anything loose, and we install internal retention straps hold your gear into the main cavity of the case. Finally, we offer our Caribou liners that create fabric walls along the sides and bottom gap so nothing can possibly fall out. Note that our cases have a deep main cavity and a shallow lid as compared to the 50/50 clam shell cases offered by other companies, so your gear more easily stays in the main cavity.
Q: Can I get the cases in a color other than black?
A: All cases we offer are black only. You can send us your own cases of various colors and we will outfit them.
Q: Can I get the racks and brackets in a color other than black?
A: The Hepco Becker side luggage racks we offer come in black primarily, but a few are silver depending on the bike as noted in the product description.
Q: Can I get all the locks on my cases to match so there is one key?
A: Yes. All of our systems are “one-key” so that you don’t have to fumble with different keys for the different locks on the cases and latches. We can match your existing Caribou key when you buy top and side cases over a period of time.
Q: Does the original manufacturer’s guarantee apply to the case even though it has been drilled by Caribou Luggage Systems or by the DIY’er when using the Caribou DIY kits?
A: Yes, the original manufacturer’s limited lifetime guarantee applies. We handle the replacement of the broken case so you do not have to contact the manufacturer, all you pay is the shipping costs (return and replacement).
Q: Do you have everything in stock, and what is the lead time?
A: We normally have everything in stock, and typical lead time to ship is 3 days. If we do not have something in stock, or if lead time is extended, it will be noted on our web page or we will contact you.
Q: Can I get items such as the Pick-n-Pluck foam inserts for the Pelican cases?
A: We don't usually carry the foam, but sometimes we have some on hand. You can get foam kits from many on-line Pelican dealers.
Q: Will you install a Caribou system on my bike if I stop buy your shop?
A: Sorry, we do not have the manpower or insurance coverage to wrench on customer’s bikes.
Q: Will you do custom work?
A: We accept RFQ’s/RFP’s for large volume/contract work.