Top Box Yes or No?
Bigger bikes nowadays I see on the road mostly seem to have top boxes, but are they a good idea for long-term travel?
Yes of course or no not all…?
If you are a single rider taking off on your own on your bike that top box is out there hanging out as you ride along, and I bet you rarely give it a second thought.
There is a lot of vibration on almost every motorcycle and that top box absorbs a lot of it, so does the mount and so does the subframe.
If you are about to take off on a long ride, do yourself a favor before you do, ask someone to ride or drive behind you and take a video of that top box when its empty so YOU can see how much it moves and vibrates, YOU might be surprised.
…if it does move at all then that energy has to go somewhere, packed and weighted will absorb some. but metal fatigue is real, and over time it WILL take its toll that is guaranteed, so if you have a top box, when was the last time you checked how stable it is?
Do the vibrations go to the base area of the top box? Then consider reinforcing it!
Do the vibrations go to the mount/ rack or mounting bolts? Then consider reinforcing that or them!
Do the vibrations go to the subframe because of how far back the box is mounted? Then consider moving that top box forward, or possibly reinforcing that subframe!
If you sometimes ride with a pillion, do they lean back on the top box, again go check it?
I have met numerous riders over the years who have lost their top box and didn’t realize it until the end of the day, 200-400km too late, and sadly most times it had, a computer, a tablet, maybe a camera or other valuables in it.
Maybe consider a soft waterproof duffle as an alternative option that will absorb the vibrations, much lighter, can be wrapped in a Pacsafe for security, less likely for the pillion to lean on and can be mounted further forward without any modifications of the bike when riding solo.