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Old 02-04-2015, 11:30 AM   #1
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First impressions review SWMotech AluRack and 48litre TRay top box

Proof top boxes can be practical and desirable

Rack bolts to sub-frame in four places

But first you have to get these sleeves in position

The rack sort of looks better than the grab rail it replaces

The top box plate is secure with three quick-release fasteners, so it can be removed in seconds

The top box and plate tip the scales at 6kg, while the weight limit stated on the rack is 7.5kg. No bags of sand, then

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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