Scott's 2001 VFR 800, No frills and pretty much stock


Beth's 98 VFR 800, OEM blue bodywork and stripped rims

GIVI Hardcase Luggage For The VFR800's

  For long distance touring in any weather, the GIVI system is hard to beat. The mounting system is sturdy and easy to use. The bags are large, durable and pretty much 100% rain proof. Yes, they do detract from that sleek aerodynamic look of the VFR, but the functionality outweighs that in my opinion. I ordered my setup from AZ Motorsports in early May 2000, they give a 10% discount to VFR list members. My setup was about $750 to my front door. Once I received all the parts, I began the process of installing the system.

  I decided on the Wingrack 2 for mounting. To me it is sturdier than the tubular rack and it lets you use your stock turn signals, unlike the Wingrack 1. It is the same rack for any bike. What is different is the mounting hardware for the rack. It consists of four side pieces and a top plate, then a mounting bracket for each side. The top mounts to the VFR where the passenger grab rails mount. The bottom mounts to the passenger foot pegs. The peg bolt is replaced with a longer one so that an extra nut can be added to the end. This allows for the rack to be removed without having to remove the pegs each time. The whole thing can be removed/installed in about ten minutes at the most. I am still unsure if any of the high mount pipes will work with the Wingrack 2.

The Wingrack 2    Front /  Right side /  Rear

  For the bags I decided on two E360 40 liter bags for the sides and an E50 Maxia 50 liter top case. Each side bag can hold a full face helmet and the top case can hold two full face helmets. Typically, I just use one of the E360's as a top case on a daily basis, unless I have a serious amount of stuff to carry. When I bought the cases, I also bought a set of tumblers so that all three bags would use the same key. It was an additional $13. Otherwise the side bags use one key set and the top case would use another. Changing them out with the new ones took all of five minutes. I went with the Matte Black color because I was told the Red did not match very well and that the painted finish would not be as durable under abuse as the black would be. Now that I have used the black bags for about 30,000 miles, I think that was great advice! They have taken a beating and still look nearly new.

E50 Maxia Solo Front Left side Rear
Full Load Front 1 Front 2 Left 1 Left 2
Full Load Right 1 Right 2 Right 3 Right 4 Rear
Justin Friday, my assistant and nephew Long reach Official pose
North Carolina Trip Leaving Chilowee Dam Cherahola Skyway 1 Cherahola Skyway 2

  I have been informed that my signals and brake light are still highly visible even with all three bags mounted. You can see in the front views that the bags don't stick out as far as you might think. The bottom of the side bags will touch right after the foot pegs do, don't ask how I know! I have not noticed any problems with wind buffeting fully loaded. If anything, the additional weight helps the bike track smoother and remain more stable. My mileage drops about 1 mpg, but that could be because I generally cruise around 85 mph on the open highway.

  You might think that all that weight on the back of the bike would destroy the handling. Well that is the beauty of the VFR! I had all three bags loaded to the hilt, well more than the stated max of 20 lbs per bag. The Skyway pictures above were taken on my way home from North Carolina as I cut across the Cherahola Skyway, fifty-five miles of mountain side and valley carving at speeds from 10 mph all the way up to 95 mph. The bike tracked through the curves like a rail car. The additional weight simply required me to roll off the throttle earlier as I approached curves and to get on a little harder coming out. It was a totally fantastic ride. The fellow riding with me was astonished that I could carry that pace with such a load of luggage. Just don't forget to crank up the rear preload a tad hehe!

  You might also notice when looking a the two Skyway pictures that the top case is mounted backwards. I do this when I am not carrying passengers because it lets me shift the weight of the bag forwards by several inches. But it does preclude carrying a passenger. When the bag is mounted correctly, it is excellent for carrying passengers. Both the E360 or E50 make great backrests for passengers, even without the additional pad that GIVI offers for that purpose. If you happen to have all three bags loaded, the side bags make great grab handles for the passenger. The only issue space wise is for the passenger's feet. They cannot put their toes on the pegs because their heels will hit the front of the bags. This also means that if I put my toes on my pegs, I sometimes hit the passenger's feet with my heels. So far though, this has not really been much of an issue.

  One special note about the handling of the bike with the GIVI installed. Almost every bike will have a tendency to develop some head shaking as the bike coasts down from speed. Some people have noted that the addition of the GIVI luggage weight has increased this tendency. However, this is only noticed if the driver removes both hands from the grips. I have noticed this too, even without any of the bags installed. A new front tire cured it. The VFR has a tendency to "cup" or "scallop" the tread on front tires. When this starts happening, the headshakes begin when coasting hands free. I have not noticed the presence of the GIVI luggage making much difference either way. It really is not much more weight than a passenger, if at all. It is set back a bit farther with respect to the rear axle however, which is why I reverse the top case when not carrying passengers.

  I also purchased a solo top case mounting bracket. It simply bolts to the top mounting points. The Wingrack is so convenient that I just leave it on all the time. I put the solo rack on our 98 VFR and Beth loves it.

  I recently bought a pair of the E21 toploading side cases. They are much more streamlined than the E360's and are more convenient to access when on the side of the road. They are quite a bit cheaper as well. These are the cases shown at in the picture at the top of the page.


  I had two minor accidents while the GIVI was on the bike. The first was with the E50 as a solo topcase on the wingrack. The case kept the rear of the bike off the ground and was only slightly scuffed in the process. I still use the bag and no one ever even notices the scuffs. The wingrack was scrapped where it attaches to the underside of the right footpeg, but otherwise is unscathed. the second accident occured when I had the E50 topcase and two E21 toploading sidebags mounted to the wingrack. The E21 on the right side ripped away after the third impact with the hill side. Again, the rack itself was unscathed and I still use it. The E21 was toast.

  A few months back, on a routine ride, the E50 topcase on the solo rack broke away while I was passing a car and doing about 80 Mph. It came up and hit me in the shoulders before flying off into the woods. Fortunately, the car behind me did not run over the bag or get hit with it before it left the road. I went back and found it, still intact and closed, but well scuffed. The latch mechanism failed right when I hit a small bump. I have since noticed that the solo rack experiences more vibration than does the wingrack. I think this may have induced a fatigue failure of the latch piece. When I contacted GIVI, the paid for me to ship them the bag and they promptly sent me a new replacement bag. Excellent customer service.

  For the money, I am extremely satisfied with the GIVI luggage. The GIVI does well in heavy rain for long periods of time. It is also very simple to remove the bags when you are heading into your hotel room at the end of the day. One key to remove and open every bag. The luggage takes the VFR to new levels of sport/touring without sacrificing all of the handling and performance you want when you hit the twisty stuff.

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