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Kawasaki Z 250 SL Luggage...All Packed Up...But...

Blog date September 2016

I guess I am still quite green when it comes to motorcycles. Yes green enough to buy myself a shiny green motorcycle and naively think that I would find it simple to find luggage options for this bike

The bike in question is the Kawasaki Z 250 SL. It is rather new on the market coming out only in 2015. The Kawasaki website reveals few accessories for the model and certainly no luggage options.

Searching the internet initially proved fruitless. But I pride myself on my ability to know how to find things on the net so I did not give up. If it is out there on the internet I can usually track it down. Eventually I was delighted to find a luggage option for my bike. Not only was it specific for my make and model of motorcycle but I loved the design. The product is manufactured by the German manufacturer Hepco and Becker. The luggage option being The C-Bow Carriers. According to Hepco and Becker The C-Bow system is an innovative way to add soft luggage to your bike without compromising the look! 

The Hepco And Becker C-Bow system fitted to some motorcycles
Hepco and Becker C Bow Carrier 

I could certainly agree with their claims.Yes this was the product I really wanted for my bike. Just as well really seeing it was the only option available for my bike. No one else had yet to develop a luggage option for the Kawasaki Z 250 SL. I was very pleased to find that Hepco had an approved dealer in the UK. http://www.hepco-and-becker-luggage.co.uk

The UK website offered the C-Bow soft bag holders for £133.20. Ouch that was more than I had hoped to pay but I really liked them so I worked some overtime and put my order in via their website. At least they offered free delivery so that was a bonus. I would buy the holders first then save up for the lovely clip on bags you could also buy to attach to the holders. I was very excited about getting the luggage system so I could finally load my bike to enable it to go on a long trip or even a short one. At the moment I can only carry my tail bag but have to wrap cloth around the rear end to protect the paintwork.

I was away for a week and on return I expected a lovely parcel containing my C- Bows to be waiting at home for me. However I was disappointed to learn from my daughter that no little surprise had arrived for me. I logged into my Hepco account to check on my order status but my online orders file was empty. Oh dear , oh deary deary me this did not give me a warm comfortable feeling. As it was out of office hours I had to wait until the morning to telephone their office.

I called the following day enquiring about my order. I was told by the lady taking my call that they had placed the order with Hepco and Becker and it should have arrived by now so she would chase it up and call me back. I was relieved to hear my order was on their system even if it was not in my online account. So I though all was well. Good to her word half an hour later I was phoned back. However all was not well at all.

She told me that Hepco and Becker had not yet developed the C-Bow for my bike yet. What???? But how could this be ? ... it was listed on the UK website with a product number and price. It certainly looked available. I was able to place an order and have money deducted from my account for the purchase. The err helpful lady asked if I would like them to keep my money until the order became available ?
"Oh" I replied hopefully, "So it is coming out soon then, is there a date when it will be available?" 
"No, no date." was her reply.
"Hmmmmmm.....I guess I will take a refund then please", is my response. 
The lady then begins to shout to some unknown person across the office and therefore down my ear "she says she wants a refund." I don't hear what unknown person in the office has to say but she then says "ok we will refund you."

I am left sitting in my chair feeling very disappointed and some what befuddled. Surely this can not be right. You can't advertise something for sale that does not yet exist can you? Maybe there has been a confusion somewhere along the line. I decide to check out Hepco and Becker's official German site. There on their own site is the C-Bow holders for the Z 250 SL. So I email them direct with the following message -
Hello, please can you tell me if you have the following item in stock. 
C-Bow softbagcarrier 
SKU: 6302519 00 01 
for the Kawasaki Z 250 SL 
I tried to order these from a UK supplier and they said that you have yet to produce this item for the Kawasaki Z 250 SL. Please can you confirm if this is the case?

They replied 

Hi Sharon,
Thanks for your mail, the bike is not yet launched in Germany, so we could not develop the parts for it yet, sorry.
Viele Grüße,
With kind regards

Hmmm short and to the point.  I replied back ... Can you then explain why then was the part available to purchase on your website ... to which I got the following response.

Hello Sharon,
yes, the part was available to order on our website, changed it to not available.

Viele Grüße,
With kind regards

Again short and to the point. Yes they had responded to my query.  I checked  their website and yes they had indeed removed my model from the list of  C- Bow carriers  available.  (However the Uk Hepco site still lists the C-Bow holder as available for the Z 250 SL) 
But this simply did not feel good enough. I guess I hoped for some sincere apology for the extreme disappointment I now felt. I guess I had hoped for a promise of contact if or when the product became available and even a discount for said product for my inconvenience.  
Instead I was left with a simple sorry and a bloody bike that now has zero luggage options. For someone who likes to travel and go on camping trips with her bike this is no small matter to me at all. If I had known when I bought the bike it had no luggage options then I would have not bought it. I have searched and searched and nothing is available. 

Do I always have to learn the hard way ... pfft.  It is not like I don't try. When I was thinking of buying this bike I did the research. I got quoted a price for the insurance which  then turned out once I had purchased the bike to be incorrect. I also then believed it to have luggage options that were in reality not even in production. I am not a happy bunny, sure if I don't like this situation I can pack my bags ...  but I sure will not be going anywhere with them on my bike any day soon. Yep I am all packed up but with no place for it to go. 

Reader's Comments

David Barwick said :-
I feel your frustration.
I am not sure if you researched any luggage options for your Z250 sl before you bought it, however, that does not change your present situation.

You have 2 mayor options;

1; fit universal soft luggage to your bike now, whilst waiting/hoping some bike specific stuff comes out.

2; exchange your present bike for an alternative with a choice of bike specific frames/luggage.

option 1;
consider the Wolfman "skyline" range of universal soft luggage(panniers/tankbag/large rear-bag) made in U.S.A
positives; light, stylish, tailor- fitted water-proof removable inner- rolltop bags,
made from siver-coloured hi-tech marine material (would look smart with your silver trellis frame)
Negatives; very expensive, windingroads.co.uk have ex-display set on offer @ £450.00

A budget alternative would be to go for Hein-Gericke.outlet.com soft luggage,
ie; Trend touring tank bag 21L @ £65.00, Trend tailbag 30L @ £40.00, trend panniers 22-35l @ £75.00.
I presently have H.G. universal luggage on my Inazuma 250, and find it well made/priced, and easy to fit to many different bikes.
Negatives, without a carrier/top-box, I am not sure you would be able to carry as much stuff as you need? (compared with the Keeway 125 set-up)
Personally, I hate top-boxes, and prefer to travel light as possible, so as to still enjoy the ride ( I only camp to be able to enjoy riding further)

Option 2;
Consider ex-changing the z250 sl for a used Ktm Duke 200 (@ £2000/£2500)
Positives; You would be spoilt for choice regarding luggage options,
ie Ktm accessories: bike specific pannier frames/side-bags, tank-bag, various tail-bags, rack-bracket and rear-carrier, (however, these are all relatively expensive)
SW Motech (German) "Blaze" soft panniers on detachable click-rail system @ £235.00, alu-carrier, plus various uni- tail bags, and "tanklock" system tank bags(quite expensive)
Shad (Spanish) bike specific pannier frames/semi-rigid E48 panniers (quick to remove) @ £180.00/set, plus rear carrier, E22 semi-rigid tank bag, and tail bags.
Venturer reversable rear rack/bag system (carrier reverses over pillion seat when not riding two-up)
Negatives; should be obvious (fiancial loss, losing "new" bike for "used"

You have 2 minor options:
1; use the Keeway 125 to carry stuff when touring, and the z 250 sl naked for day-trips and pure riding pleasure.

2; go with major option 1 above, and give everthing else to Renn to carry on his big heavy 500 twin, and enjoy travelling light on your 250 single.

Hope this helps you in some small way Sharon, there is nothing worse than that nagging doupt, you may have made a wrong choice of bike, it can play on your mind, I Know.

David Barwick, Norfolk September, 2016.

13/09/2016 03:31:28 UTC
pocketpete said :-
What a pity they look like such a nice neat option. Simple carrier brackets which are quite small and discrete. Then to find they are not available is simply outrageous.

Its really taking the biscuit I hate that I ordered my Honda Heated grips when I got the bike but for some reason they are out of stock at honda. The same applies to the hugger. I think they were just popular items. So I have had to wait. I've done 2000 miles now.

But the grips have finally arrived. yeh...

I had the same problem getting panniers for my Suzuki Inazuma. They were listed as an option on various sites made by Givi which fitted the E21 Mono lock panniers. I rang loads of people either the metal carrier was unavailable or the top carrier was unavailable or the panniers were unavailable I gave up in the end and stuck with the top box.
13/09/2016 08:29:48 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Thanks David Barwick. Cheeky swine! "give everthing else to Renn to carry on his big heavy 500 twin, and enjoy travelling light on your 250 single." I am a modern man and in the interest of equality I believe Sharon should carry her own blinking luggage. Anyhow she'd end up faster and lighter than myself and it's embarrassing having to ask your girlfriend to wait for you at the next junction.

What has most angered me over this fiasco is that Hepco and Becker have clearly and blatantly advertised a product that is not even in development let alone in production. Not only that they have taken payment for a product that does not even exist. I'm sure there are laws about that in the UK and Europe.

One day I'm going to run "Ren's Motorcycles". I've no idea how to make these bikes, what they'll look like, what they'll ride like or how long they'll last but I'm taking payments for them already...

And for Sharon? Barely an apology.
14/09/2016 10:03:35 UTC
Sharon said :-
Thank you David

I appreciate you taking the time for your very comprehensive reply. I shall look into your suggestions.

I could not part with my bike now. Despite its severe lack of luggage options I have already gelled with it and it is a beautiful bike to ride.

I will le you know if or when I come up with any solution. Meanwhile I think your suggestion of Ren carrying all my gear is just brilliant.
15/09/2016 06:43:01 UTC
Pocketpete said :-
A gentleman should never let a lady carry her own bags. He should always hold open doors for you as well.

Will there be enough room on rens bikea for a bag of cloths a bag of make up. A bag of jewelry. Dresses hats hair dryers. Straighteners. Spare shoes. High heels boots sandals. 37 assorted outfits. Etc.

Oh sorry that's what paula took to Greece for 2 weeks. My shorts and t shirt fitted in the hand luggage.
17/09/2016 06:06:32 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
It's a good job I'm not a gentleman then Pocket Pete! An old school gentleman might carry the lady's bags and open doors for her but he would not allow her to ride her own motorcycle, it would be most unbecoming.

In the past Sharon and I have come to blows over luggage. I suspect Paula is the same. She likes to be prepared in case you go out for a meal and its warm, go out for a meal and its cold, go shopping warm, go shopping cold, go shopping wet, gentle country walk, rugged country walk, beach sunbathing, beach walk, beach with swimming, evening out dancing, evening out talking to friends, breakfast at the hotel, breakfast in the local village, breakfast in the town and to cap it all off she will NEED a ball gown just in case you're invited to the Ambassador's dinner party.

I have 3 outfits. 1 being warn, 1 ready to wear and 1 drying after being washed in the sink.

As for the make up, hair dryer, hair straighteners, face wipes, body wipes, lotions, potions... All you need is a bottle of shampoo. You can clean yourself, your bike, your pots, your clothes and your surrounding with just shampoo. Cheap shampoo. I do have to take a hair brush, that's probably not a problem for you Pete.

17/09/2016 08:26:32 UTC
Pocketpete said :-
Yes a bald benefit.

Whats funny though even though I shaved my head for 15 years I can't get out of the habit of using shampoo in the shower. And it has to be head and shoulders. There's something wrong with me I think.

Maybe I just wish for hair I could put in a pony tail.
19/09/2016 11:52:12 UTC
Mark said :-
There is a Givi option for the Z250SL, but it appears to be only available in Malaysia.

19/09/2016 12:13:29 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Mark - That's infuriating! Yes Googling around I can see Givi do a kit for the Z250SL but they're all in the far east. GRRRR! I've attempted to contact Givi via their website to see if they can source one for the UK. I've only just done it so we'll wait and see what their customer support is like.

Pete - Hair today, gone tomorrow huh.
19/09/2016 03:32:23 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I've received a prompt reply from Givi...

Good Afternoon and thank you for your email.

I would advise that we produce a different range of products for the Far Eastern market and this can be seen by viewing the website for Givi Asia; http://www.givi.com.my/. The item highlighted on the weblink provided in your email is a product that is not available within the European market.

I am sorry that we have not been able to assist you further on this occasion but would thank you for contacting Givi UK.

It's disappointing and frustrating that Givi has this policy. However fair play to them they've provided my with a straight answer. At least they didn't string me a line which is what I feel Hepco and Becker did to Sharon.

Now...does anyone know anyone in the far east - preferably Malaysia - who'd be prepared to order one, receive it and then ship it to the UK...?

19/09/2016 05:13:24 UTC
Mark said :-
I've also noticed that the Givi products are offered in SE Asia markets only, which is annoying given I am based in Australia, and not that far off really.

I did some more investigation and found an a possible alternative.


It's meant for the Ninja 250SL, but the Z250SL and Ninja 250SL share a chassis. Further, the luggage rack is mounted via the rear mud guard, and tidy tail parts for the Z250SL and Ninja 250SL are interchangeable. In theory then, this mount *should* work on the Z250SL.

I've ordered the rack, should arrive in late October. Ill keep you updated.

29/09/2016 04:50:30 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Cheers Mark! I've had a look at the rack and it's a good start I hope.

My concern is that Sharon loves her saddle bags. The Hepco & Becker plates would work for throwovers by keeping the bags safely away from the back wheel and from scratching the angular plastics. The Kijima rack offers only the rear rack and nothing to help with saddle bags.

However it could be a starting point to bolt/weld/bodge some side plates on to accommodate the bags.

Do let us know what it's like when you get it. Is it strong, is it easy to fit, does it look the part and so on. Big thanks.
29/09/2016 02:15:57 UTC
Volodymyr said :-
I did contact webike japan and givi it with same questions - negative answers.
Is any decision?
my Z250SL - 2016
Thank you
15/02/2017 02:52:37 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi Volodymyr. Sharon's had no luck yet with the luggage. webike japan has recently listed the Givi system for the Z250SL I don't know if they'll post to your country.

It is very frustrating!
15/02/2017 10:51:38 UTC
Pschemo said :-
Hi all,

I was happy to buy Z250SL on soldout due to EURO4.
I didn`t plan to buy naked but well the price made the hob.
I`m now trying to organize a racksack. I don`t know if You found that video :

What can interest You is also:

I`m in contact now with welding workshop to create such solution and even something more... ;) I`ll let You know once I have something real =)
30/03/2017 08:12:07 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi Pschemo - where abouts in the world do you live?

We are aware that Givi do a rack kit for the Z250SL but it is only for sale in Malaysia as far as we know. We did ask Givi if they would bring one to this side of the world but the answer was "no".

I would LOVE to see your solution when it's complete - with as much detail as possible! You can post on here or email me via ren@bikesandtravels.com.
30/03/2017 10:10:35 UTC
Pschemo said :-
Hi Ren,

I`m from Warsaw,Poland.
I didn`t know that it is only for Malaysia =\ But, I`ll ask distributor from here is there a chance to get it. I thought that guy from video made them by himself.
The goal is to achieve something similar as this couple as I will be using same Crosso sacks for both motorcycle trips and bicycle trips:

Once done You`ll get photos =)

31/03/2017 05:28:15 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Warsaw! Here in the UK Warsaw sounds other worldly and far away, I imagine to you it's just home, the place where you live and work. I wonder what images Manchester brings to your mind.

Yes on the video you can see the Givi rack system holding the top box. I suspect they have fitted the Givi rack then added additional fixings to hang the boxes on the side. It looks like they've done a fine job.

I've not seen the Crosso bags before - I'll pass that on to Sharon and let her have a look. She's got her heart set on Kriega luggage at the moment but it sure ain't cheap!

We'd love to hear what you think of your 250 as well Pschemo
31/03/2017 08:21:29 UTC
Alan Smith said :-
I am frustrated as I bought a Z250SL and was told I could get a rack but it turns out Kawasaki don't do one. I have found 2so far, 1 in Japan and another in Milasia, has anyone fitted a rack that can take a top box, if so, where did you get it from.

02/06/2017 12:35:11 UTC
Amanda said :-
Have we an answer to the luggage problem?
I would really like a panniers option but small ones. I cant see how any brackets would fit as there is so much plastic!
19/11/2019 07:38:47 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Follow the link below. It's not PERFECT.
19/11/2019 04:34:54 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
And if you don't mind a random dude getting silly with the luggage...
19/11/2019 04:36:38 UTC

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