Review: SW-Motech rack and top box for SV650

Proof top boxes can be practical and desirable

TOP boxes are usually at best a necessary evil and at worst a revolting eyesore. Occasionally you find one that looks like it’s meant to be there, and not like an act of vandalism on your motorcycle’s otherwise attractive styling. A top box that is actually a nice object.

Like this one. SW-Motech’s 48-lite T-Ray top case has a finish and style that, if anything, seem a little too good for my budget Suzuki SV650S.

I’ve heard of new car smell and new bike smell. I didn’t know about new top box smell. I assume the fabric lining is the source. It’s a nice smell.  

It’s not just the top box that I'm impressed with. The SW-Motech Alu-Rack it sits on manages to barely compromise the bike’s styling. I think it actually looks better than the grab rail it replaces, which is a little dated.

It bolts onto four points on the subframe under the pillion seat – two where the grab rail was attached and another two a few inches further forward. There are no ugly supporting arms extending to the pillion footrest hangers.

What that means is, if one side of the rack fractures, a lot of stressed will be placed on the other side of the subframe. I'll be watching for that. I've marked all the bolts so I can see if any work loose. 

Fitting it was a little more time-consuming than I expected. The two additional bolts each pass through a sleeve and getting those sleeves where they needed to be was a squeeze. Some gentle tapping got them in but it was fiddly. One of my pictures shows a sleeve in place. 

It seems a shame to hide a nice aluminium rack forever under a top box plate, and the best thing is I don’t have to. In a clever design feature, the plate uses three quick-release fasteners. As a result it can be removed in about 10 seconds, leaving the SV looking like a sports bike again. As much as it ever did, anyway.  

I've got two criticisms. One is that the top box eats into pillion back space a little. That's the pay-off for not having supporting arms from the pillion footrest hangers, which would allow the box to sit further out behind.

The other is that a sticker on the rack says the weight limit is 7.5kg. According to my bathroom scales, the box and plate together weigh 6kg, so that gives me a maximum luggage weight of 1.5kg.

Most luggage systems seem to have these unrealistic limits. It seems like what they're really saying is: 'Don't blame us if it goes wrong, matey.'

I guess I won’t be carrying any bags of sand around.  

Product tested: SW-Motech Alu-Rack, adapter plate and 48-litre T-Ray top box

Price: £267.13 (£128.99 for rack, £27.79 for plate and £110.35 for top box)

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