by Gus Breiland
You have read countless times in this paper and other motorcycle magazines that the only way to increase your riding time is to commute. Increasing your time on the bike means increasing your gear. Boots, pants, gloves, jackets, helmets…but what about your briefcase, your laptop, your files?
I have had side panniers on almost all of my bikes, but never a top case. I always had the opinion that 2 bags were better than one. After further consideration, the top case makes more sense to me as the majority of my time is spent going to and from work; not multiple day trips that require added provisions and gear.
Saddlebags increase the width of your bike by almost 2 times the original width depending on the system. A top case keeps the slender girlish figure of your bike while increasing your travel capacity, without increasing your footprint in your lane. This is especially helpful in downtown congested areas where sliding past cars and lane splitting can be necessary.
I contacted GIVI USA because one of my bikes, a Yamaha TDM, was only imported for a few years and the likelihood of my local GIVI dealer having the kit in stock seemed unlikely. They had a rack fitment kit in stock, along with a simple plate for the tail deck of my KLR. The GIVI attaches to your bike on a plate that either bolts directly onto you bike, as is the case with the KLR or a rack system developed by GIVI. The plate has 2 “T” shaped ribs and a locking tab. By sliding the case over the ribs and clicking the case down onto the tab, the case is positively locked into place without any slop. This is important, as a fully loaded case shifting in mid turn could be cause for alarm.
I selected the E460 case, as it was the most appealing in both size and aesthetics to me. With 46 liters of capacity in a 22 x 17 x 12, the case allows me to take along my essentials for overnight trips, plus some added room to allow me plenty of space for all my work needs and quick runs to lunch or to the store during those after work errands.
The KLR adapter plate was the simplest of all. Basically it sits on the back deck and is bolted down using 2 bolts in the kit. The TDM required a little bit of time. Removing the seat and rear cowl, following a simple exploded diagram included in the kit, the well thought out simple rack installed in about 30 minutes. If you were/are able to assemble Lego’s, you will be able to install this rack system using the directions included.
GIVI’s adapter plates are easily installed on flat surfaces using nuts and bolts from the local hardware store and a little ingenuity. This summer, I bolted the plate onto the rear rack on my Genuine Scooter Stella and we headed up to Duluth. The top box allowed me to carry my warm clothes, a change of grundies, and bring home yet another bag of goodies from our favorite motorcycle supply house, Aerostich.
With the shear ease of installation and variety of luggage, GIVI offers even the most discerning rider the opportunity to ride farther and do more with their motorcycle. How much room do your really need? More? Then saddle bags and a top case may be in order. Removing the bag is as simple as turning a key, pressing a button and walking away with your case in hand. Want to leave the case on the bike? It is already locked on the bike with the locking mechanism hidden under the handle assembly ,allowing you to sleep with the confidence your gear will still be there in the morning.
You can request information from GIVI USA or your can travel down to your friendly neighborhood motorcycle parts dealer like Midwest Cycle, 612 825 9774, on 4300 Nicollet Ave in South Minneapolis or Scooterville, 612 331 7266, at 650 25th Ave SE near the U of M to find the fit kits and order your GIVI accessories.
The E460 case in flat black will run you about $200. The fit kits start around $125 with the simple plate for the KLR running around $50. Prices will vary, as will models available. The GIVI product line is one of the most universal and expanding luggage lines available. GIVI accessories include external frames to tie down the tent and sleeping bag, tank bags and lighting kits to increase your visibility. Take a spin around on their web site; talk with your local parts dealer and start riding, knowing you can carry what you want instead of leaving something behind.