1978 Motor Sport with white Krauser bags Thanks
to John Ruchalski for this beautiful photo.
The story of Krauser bags is mixed into the bags made by Krauser for BMW. This makes it very confusing indeed. The Krauser hard bags came out in
about 1971. They took over the market very quickly. The bags
offered by BMW were the old leather bags They never sold well in
the USA and Krauser basically put all of the competition way
back in second place.
Some of the photos show the variety
of bags offered by Krauser A big thanks to Robert Zamojski for his
These 2 Krauser bag styles (40 liter Star and 25 liter Starlet) were
offered from the mid '70s up until the early '90s. They are very versatile
and can be adapted to most bikes. Both bag sizes use the same racks. Early
on, these were cast aluminum and you could choose between a T Set (Luggage
Rack) or the S Set (T/S holders only - no Luggage Rack). Sometime in the
mid to late '80s, they started offering a K Set, made from Polyamid (some
sort of plastic). This set is like a combined S and T set, containing both
T/S holders and the Luggage Rack. Along with your rack kit, you also
needed an A Kit for your particular bike (or the Universal one). This
contained all the mounting straps and hardware specific to your bike. The
Universal kit contained long top and bottom front straps that you could
cut and bend to fit. If you only acquire the racks, making your own mounts
from strap steel is not that difficult. Of the 2 bikes pictured, I used
the model specific. A kit on one and made the straps for the other.
Starlet and Star bags
T set S set Universal A set
Starlet and mounts
The BMW and Star bags
Early Krauser mounts
Photos by Ron Kanter, thanks
I have a 1971 R75/5 with a set of Krauser bags that I assume are a very
early style. The clasps to close the bags are perpendicular to the
edge of the opening rather than parallel (and they don't stay closed too
well.) The bags mount on brackets at three points - a clasp on each
end of the bag wrap half way around one inch studs on the ends of the
mounting frame and an inch tall sleeve on the back of the bag near the
bottom slides over a small post in the center of the bottom rail of the
bracket Not a very reliable system but with some cotter pins and
third-party straps they let me carry lots of stuff.
This shows the rack with the luggage rack on back. This fits the SWB and won't fit the LWB. It may be from 1971, but
wasn't produced for very long. It was not a secure system.
This shows the mounting without the rack It is a
later style with the "seat belt" bag fastener It also was
not a secure system.
The rear latch
The front latch
This shows the mounting stud welded on the lower part of
The sleeve on the back of a bag It slips down and
over the stud shown above.
I believe that this is the first mounting system used by
Krauser. Let me know if I am wrong about that. The latches
were cheap, rusted up easily and could fail. That would allow the
bag to fall off of the motorcycle. The rack on the back was very
small and weak It should be that way because the amount of
"authorized" weight was small. They were commonly over loaded and
Krauser saddlebag liners
The Krauser saddlebag liners were high quality items.
They were expensive and didn't sell well. This is one of a set of
NOS bag liners that I sold in 2004.
BMW and Krauser bag history
I don't know how much use I can be here. I have never found any source
that chronicles the development of Krauser panniers (hard bags) or the racks that
go with them and you can't go by pictures because most of the bags will
(or can be made to) fit any of the racks. I have a sort of story worked
out in my mind but most of it comes from hearsay and posts on forums.
Some, I have been able to check using ETK and the BMW Behelfs Katalog but
that isn't the easiest thing to understand so I can't give any guarantees
that I've got it right. Anyway, here goes :-)
No Hard bag racks were provided, by BMW for short wheelbase /5
machines. BMW did (do?) produce soft bags and racks that fitted these
machines. These came in two sizes and any color you wanted (provided it
was black). It would appear that these bags could be fitted to all models
up to at least 1981. (Source BMW Behelfs Katalog 1981 edition)
In 1971, BMW started selling hard bags and the racks to fit them. The
racks came in two forms. The earliest form was a one piece rack that
incorporated a top box mounting (see the 10th picture I sent). The top box
rack meant that the 'all round' seat grab rail had to be removed from the
seat before the rack could be fitted.
Later racks came in three part form. The two pannier racks were
separate and a top box rack could be bolted to brackets welded to the top
rail of the racks. There would appear to be a number of variations to this
type of rack.
Some had the brackets for the top box rack, some did not. Some had the
tongue for the 'seat belt' type latch welded in place, some had a welded
on bracket for the latch to bolt to, some had no provision for this latch
and a long stainless steel 'P' clip could be purchased, which allowed the
fitment of the tongue.
I have no definitive information about which came first or dates but it
is logical to assume that the three types were in the order I present them
because the later type bags do not use the 'set belt' type latch and
cannot be used with the rack that has the tongue bolted in place.
These racks were produced until the end of the twin shock series and
fitted all models
In 1985, a new variation of the rack was made. This was basically the
same shape as the earlier racks, but the shape of the lower fixing arm
changed to accommodate the shock absorber on the right hand side of the
bike... and the lack of a shock absorber on the left.
The first hard bags sold under the BMW banner were the Classic Bags. All the information I have suggests that they were made by Krauser and
marketed by BMW, but I can't absolutely verify this. It is logical to
assume that these came into use in 1971 to match the racks.
The 'touring' cases came into use later. I think that was about 1980
and I think they superseded the classic design. The 'seat belt' type
latches were replaced by 'claw' type catches that hook around the rear
rack down tube, this necessitated the removal of the older seat belt type
The situation with the Krauser Bags is even less clear. I have always
assumed that Krauser just kept making bags for the BMW, when the contract
for the old classic bags was cancelled. Certainly, the Krauser bags
resemble the profile of the classics although they are a bit wider and
don't have the recess for the roundel. In my opinion, they are not as well
made as the classic bags and feel quite flimsy by comparison They fit to
the same racks as the BMW sourced bags and the latches are more or less
identical, except that the locks are different. In fact, the latches you
can see on the back of my 'classics' are actually the latches from the Krausers. I swapped them over since they are better locks.
The 'odd' set of latches in the pictures come from the later design of
pannier, which was made for the 'k'series. I believe that the same pannier
was supplied to fit to the last few years of 'Boxer' production but I have
no idea about dates. The nice thing about these locks is that they can be
key coded to the bikes key. I think these panniers have different racks
associated with them.
Well, that's about all I can think of in relation to panniers. I would
think the best source for definitive information would be the brochures
published by BMW. From them, you could probably work out which panniers
were being offered at what date.
BTW - I found that my local BMW dealer was happy to order
both the 150 and 324 keys for me and they came in promptly. John Falconer