I travel light on the motorbike, and even when doing multi-day trips, I put the bare minimum in a dry-bag cargo netted or strapped down on the passenger seat, but after a few situations where I wanted to pick up heavier shopping, run errands, or where passengers wanted to carry something, I decided it was time to get some proper luggage on the Tracer.
Why a top box?
First off: This Is Not a How To Guide or a full review. It’s my observations of installing it, and Day 1 thoughts. Other people do far better install guides.
I won’t go into the full decision making process, but initially I wanted soft panniers, and decided against those mainly on a lane splitting/filtering width concern, and so l went looking for a top box. I reviewed quite a few models by a few different manufacturers before settling on Givi, and then within Givi, found a way I could afford the Trekker 46 litre model through a combination of hunting around for discounts online, and deciding to fit it myself.
It wasn’t quite that simple though; before I could choose a top box, I had to make sure there was available mounting hardware for my 2016 MT-09 Tracer. Fortunately there was and it goes by the memorable name of the SR2122. That is the sturdy steel bracket which attaches to the rear sub-frame and via the Yamaha luggage mounts on the side of the bike. Then to that, I needed to buy an M7 mounting plate, and then to that I can attach and remove the box itself.
Givi really have a gift for naming by the way. Monokey is the slightly more ‘premium’ line for larger boxes for heavier loads. Monolock is lighter fare for scooters and small day loads. My Trekker 46 litre (TRK46N) plastic/aluminium box is considered Monokey. Maybe it’s because I don’t really follow the world of luggage, but those two names sound quite similar, and share a theme, but you could waste some time and money if you don’t get the right pairing, though the websites do try to help.
For some reason, information on Givi’s gear seems spread over various sites. Some info is on the givi.it site, some on giviusa.com for example, and vice versa. Cross referencing gives you pretty much all you need to know, although no one really wants to talk about how heavy the top boxes and brackets are.
I went to my local motorbike spares and accessories shop (NAPS), but the chap there admitted they didn’t sell Givi much for the sports touring market, and most of what he sold was for scooters and such. He did pull out a catalogue though, but didn’t seem too sure on the bracket, so specced a full top box and pannier one, as well as a decent fitting fee.
Since I had an idea of what I wanted, I decided to email Givi Italy and confirm my understanding was correct, and to their credit, they responded in a couple of days saying that yes, the SR2122, plus the M7 would be fine for the Trekker 46 on the 2016 Tracer. Excellent!
Some Things To Note in Instructions
Whilst waiting for the kit to arrive, I went to look at the very few SR2122-on-Tracer install guides on the interwebs, and none mentioned a couple of small brackets mine came with, which required all the side seat fairings to be removed. Even some of the SR2122 PDFs don’t mention them – only ones which are explicitly for ‘2015/2017’ it seems. Interesting.
The Givi instructions also don’t mention how to remove all these bits of plastic either. OK, it isn’t difficult to figure out, and it brought into play the always helpful Haynes shop manual I purchased soon after getting the bike. You should always have a shop or service manual. Just in case you have to do some work on the bike, or to get an idea of how difficult something is before you embark on it.
Part one of installation for me then, was to remove the rear grab rails, the Yamaha luggage mount bracket, the rear side panels (including disconnecting the seat latch), and then fit these two small brackets, which I suspect are some kind of reinforcement to the rear light bracket on to which some of the Givi bracket will attach.
Anyway, whilst it took time due to all the plastic stud fasteners, it wasn’t too difficult, and soon I had all the panels back on, and was ready to mount the steel SR2122 frame directly. There’s three main components – two arms which go through the side luggage bar mounts , and then an ‘S’ lip which comes off the top of grab rail mounting bolts. The M7 then screws into the lip and arms with 6 bolts.
It’s not complicated, and broadly the documentation is OK, but there are some comments I have on these.
Firstly, There isn’t much coverage of any torque values. The Japanese text document does cover torque by size of bolt, but not really by specific bolt, or if there really is any solid requirement. Also, there’s going to be bolts left over which are included for some other optional parts I didn’t buy. It’s not wholly clear which are which, or which bolts will be re-used. They’re referenced in some of the instructions, not in others. Even though the sheet had a fairly accurate ruler printed on it, none of the illustrations are to any kind of scale. Also, there’s odd overlaps in documentation for the M7 which are kind of confusing as they seem to refer to other mounting plates for other Monokey units.
Let’s face it, this isn’t specifically a Givi issue – everything from IKEA up could do with a little more time on instructions, and I got everything installed successfully (as far as I can tell), and it wasn’t difficult at all if you’re methodical and organised. I think I was.
Current Thoughts on the Trekker
So after all that waffle, how is it? The mount and top plate feel very sturdy indeed, with no play in them at all, and they fit in well with the Tracer’s rather angular, Pacific Rim Jaeger aesthetic. With no box on, the whole thing still looks very neat.
The box itself is heavy, and rigid. I got the brushed aluminum finish as I want to be more visible, so I skipped the black version for that reason, and saved some money into the bargain. The lock comes with a spare key and all moving parts seem very well constructed. Hinges look well made and move smoothly. This box also allows just the front of the lid to be opened, as the unit could also be mounted as a (fairly huge it would seem) side pannier. The smaller opening mechanism might be useful in the rain for example. Speaking of that, the unit is meant to be somewhat waterproof, and I’m interested in seeing how well it holds up, especially that secondary hinge. I hope it can at least keep water our during a sustained rain storm.
The box connects to the top plate via two slide-in groves, and a locking connector which requires a bit of force to push down initially, even with the button pressed on the box. Once on, it feels very secure on there, with no movement. Removal means pushing that same button and raising out.
So there we are, just Day One installation observations, and it’ll be at least 6 months before I’ll venture any kind of review. I know, but personally I like reviews on things that’ve been kicked around a bit, so to speak.
So far so good, and out of the box it meets expectations. There are cheaper systems for sure, but since I’ve been saving for a while (aka procrastinating on researching options), and the box will store some of my bike gear in the house, not to mention that I really do ride in all weathers year round, I thought I’d invest a bit. Hopefully that pays off, as I know failed luggage can be a real pain.