No top box ?

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by DonVulpes, Feb 23, 2013.

  1. DonVulpes

    DonVulpes Adventurer

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    Hi All

    I've been doing a lot of reading up, before setting off on my trip round Europe and I've noticed that a lot of people don't take a top box, just panniers. I will be going solo, so the weight concerns aren't as rigid as they would be for a couple.

    Just wondering why a lot of people forgo the top box, when they're touring ?
    #1
  2. jiggliemon

    jiggliemon Nobody

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    For the same reason that I forgo wearing a fannie pack: I'm too vain.
    #2
  3. DonVulpes

    DonVulpes Adventurer

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    I wouldn't wear a fanny pack either, but a top box makes a lot of sense to me.
    Horses for courses I suppose.
    #3
  4. NoVa Rider

    NoVa Rider Long timer

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    Keep the weight low? :clap
    #4
  5. Cal

    Cal Been here awhile

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    I would not be without my Givi 52 liter top box. It safely stores stuff while I am at border crossings, resturants etc.....
    #5
  6. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    Same here. It's where I put my helmet and jacket when going in stores and resturants
    #6
  7. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    I'm running a 55L Givi topcase and I'm not convinced the pros outweigh the cons

    Pros:

    - It stores a ton of stuff and it's waterproof

    Cons:

    - All the weight is *behind* the rear wheel, which greatly throws off the balance of the bike. Front end is too light, which is not good when the road gets twisty - no confidence in front wheel grip when accelerating.
    - All the weight is high, which feels like balancing a bowling ball on top of broomstick. If you're doing a lot of off-road, balance is harder to maintain.
    - Because it's large, you end up putting more stuff in it, which makes it more heavier. Even if you put light stuff inside, the case itself is pretty heavy
    - Illusion of security - I can probably open it with a long screwdriver if I ever locked myself out
    - Ugly-looking

    If you absolutely needed a topcase, I'd opt for a smaller, lighter case that doesn't sit too far behind the rear wheel. That way you're not tempted to overload it. Maybe mount it on the passenger seat instead of the rear rack. Also something more secure, like a Pelican Case. Best option is run one of those Ortlieb or Wolfman dry-bags instead. The kind you put over the rear seat and hangs over your panniers. Better weight distribution (basically a passenger) and looks a lot cooler than a topcase...
    #7
  8. Mr_Gone

    Mr_Gone The Lejund!

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    If you need the room, there's no real reason not to take it. Of course, if you can get by without it, then it's just extra weight.

    That being said, I take my Givi E55 everywhere for the same reasons stated above: keeps my helmet, gloves, jacket, stuff save when I leave the bike.
    #8
  9. going south

    going south hero & Zero...

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    I really like this set-up, holds more than an top box, lower center of gravity, one pad lock and the whole thing comes with,
    if your not packing much it rolls up small or goes flat, water proof,
    (if you look close its in an Pac-safe wire mesh bag, which is really tough stuff)
    you can run the pac-safe cable through your jacket arm, pant leg, lock it up and your good to go for a walk-about...

    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. colomtnbiker

    colomtnbiker wimpy old guy

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    #10
  11. DonVulpes

    DonVulpes Adventurer

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    Hadn't considered the CoG issue and that makes a helluva a lot of sense.
    It won't be anywhere near as important for my tour, but it's certainly something to bear in mind for future ( wilder ) trips.
    #11
  12. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

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    My side cases carry the heavy stuff. Top box gets the sleeping pad, tent poles, and gloves, plus clothes that I shed as the day warms.

    Since it IS high, I don't put heavy items in it.
    #12
  13. Paul_Rochdale

    Paul_Rochdale Been here awhile

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    fannie pack (US) = bum bag (GB)

    I've had top boxes on my BMW R100/7 and Pan for the last twenty years and will also be putting one on my R100GS-PD too. I wouldn't be without one.

    "All the weight is *behind* the rear wheel, which greatly throws off the balance of the bike. Front end is too light, which is not good when the road gets twisty - no confidence in front wheel grip when accelerating.
    - All the weight is high, which feels like balancing a bowling ball on top of broomstick. If you're doing a lot of off-road, balance is harder to maintain.
    - Because it's large, you end up putting more stuff in it, which makes it more heavier. Even if you put light stuff inside, the case itself is pretty heavy
    - Illusion of security - I can probably open it with a long screwdriver if I ever locked myself out
    - Ugly-looking"

    I've never experienced balance problems because there aren't any. I don't go off road. The top boxes are GRP so aren't heavy. Illusion of security? How many people wander around with long screwdrivers? Ugly looking? Don't look at it.:huh
    #13
  14. Unstable Rider

    Unstable Rider Moto Fotografist

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    Tires
    Oil
    Topboxes

    :deal nothing good can come from this.
    #14
  15. Sport

    Sport Been here awhile

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    The worst sight on the road is a bike with a top box and nothing else. If you have to use one, make sure it's combined with side bags and loaded with light weight gear.
    #15
  16. Boondox

    Boondox Travels With Barley

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    That there's just funny! :rofl

    I suppose if you had no self control at all you might be tempted to put all sorts of heavy stuff in a topcase. The reality is you use common sense just like when you load your panniers. Heavy stuff goes down and forward, which means nothing heavy goes in the topcase.

    Security? If my helmet is locked in a topcase, and the helmet on the bike next to me is sitting on the saddle, which would a thief go after first? Out of sight, out of mind works pretty well at Christmas time. If a thief sees packages on the front seat of a car the odds of a break-in are greater than if they are locked in the trunk. Same goes for stuff on a bike.

    Ugly? Seriously, this is a concern? If that bothers you add some function so your buddies don't think less of you. Topcases make a great place to mount a cupholder for your Starbucks Tall Skinny Decaf Mocciatto. You and I both ride the GS, which is probably the ugliest bike ever created. Nothing you could possibly do to a GS could make it any uglier: mud, gouges, bent crashbars, broken mirrors, topcase, etc.

    Don't forget the increase in sail area argument. Wind might catch the topcase and blow you into the next county!

    Love your sense of humor! :lol3:lol3:lol3
    #16
  17. Dan-M

    Dan-M Long timer

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    I go with the waterproof duffle across the back seat. The weight is in a better place, it makes a good back rest and seems to catch less wind than a top case. The only downside is security.
    #17
  18. madeouttaglass

    madeouttaglass The AntiHarley

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    I use the one on the Goldwing, have a factory one for my FJR that I use when the saddlebags aren't enough, and also have made an adaptor to use the FJR box on the rack on my Ulysses when the big Givis aren't enough. No box on the Gear Up but I've loaded the shit out of the rear rack for thousands of miles without issue. I certainly felt my stuff was more secure out of sight in a box than bungeed to the Ural rack. You can't tell me that a bungee net is as secure as a top box either physically or security wise. That's a nice little plus when you want to park to take some pictures, eat lunch, go in a public bathroom, or take a hike.
    #18
  19. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

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    I still use a waterproof duffel at times. I usually use a roll-top duffel but occasionally a roll-end duffel.

    One additional downside is access time. I can open the topbox, toss in gloves and gps, and relock it in less time than it takes to open a waterproof duffel, let alone put items in and reclose it.

    For the ones I have the topbox wins convenience and protecting contents (for example buying a loaf of bread late in the day). Roll-top is next in both categories. Roll-end last.
    #19
  20. PirateJohn

    PirateJohn Banned

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    I've got one of the last REALLY big Jesse top boxes. When I commuted to work with a briefcase or rode into Mexico for three weeks it was handy (getting laundry done can be a PITA so I carried a lot of clothing).

    Now, however, laptops and camera equipment are smaller, and I don't carry a briefcase. For a lot of trips I just carry an iPhone and and iPad for both camera and computer.

    Like someone said in another thread locking your camera equipment in a top box is good and you have quick access to it, but now a lot of times I just have my phone in the tank bag and the iPad in a thin case in a side box.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
    #20