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
Right side /
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.
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.