Lost in a Givi Jungle

I wanted more luggage capacity than I had with my old Eclipse tank bag and ancient but still tough RKA throw-over saddlebags. I thought: I’ll get a top box. Thus began the four-year journey recounted here.

In the ZRX Owners Forum classifieds, I found a Givi top box plus the required SW-Motech rack and SW-Motech top box mount plate. I PaypPal’d some money to the nice fellow in New England and the box and hardware arrived in fine shape.

I mounted the SW-Motech rack, not really a rack but a smooth-topped cast aluminum base. It bolted onto low tubular rails with long bolts and spacers that stuck into the sides of my tail cowl where the grab handles used to be. I mounted the SW-Motech top box mount to the aluminum base.

Just like that the top box was perched securely on its mounting plate, low over the shapely rear cowl of my handsome red ZRX.

I rode thousands of miles with that rig on my bike, no exaggeration. I droned down interstates, bent around countless corners, reached destinations heretofore unreached. Many times, the top box carried the stuff I’d need for post-ride activity: street clothes to go to dinner, toilet articles, my tablet.

I’d take the easy-to-pop-off top box into motel rooms with me, leaving the saddlebags on the bike. It was, like, a system. Worked great. I got to where I liked the look of bikes with top boxes. No kidding.

Two years ago I noted that (1) the mounts for the rails were cracking the flanks of my lovely red rear cowl, and (2) the cast aluminum SW-Motech rack was cracked around one of the bolt holes necessary for its attachment to the rails. I sighed audibly.

When I checked with Twisted Throttle—they sell SW-Motech items—about the broken plate, Twisted Throttle offered me a discount on a new one, but it was still not cheap. Plus, the new plate would not un-crack my tail cowl, and because the rack itself would be unchanged, more cracking would surely occur.

Maynard June 2018

Artwork by Mr. Jensen

I found a really pristine 2004 red rear cowl (!) in the Owners Forum classifieds. I bought it and am delighted with it, but I can only use it when I am sure I won’t want to mount the top box. I don’t dare crack that cowl too.

At that point I learned somehow that Givi itself offers a different style rack, this one mounted on two rails that begin in the grab bar holes and arc up higher than the Twisted Throttle rack.

This new rack, I hoped, would not crack my cowl. Givi calls it a Monorack. You buy the Monorack made specifically for your motorcycle. When you order that Monorack—if you already own a top box—you order the Monorack with the proper mounting plate for your top box.

But, you ask, isn’t a Givi top box a Givi top box? They all sorta look the same…

No, I respond soberly, it is not. There is a Monokey top box and there is a Monolock top box, and they mount differently. If you buy the Monorack with the wrong top plate, you will be standing there next to your bike, holding your top box and shaking your head slowly… just as I was.

You may ask yourself as I did why Givi would want to manufacture two systems of top box mounting, not so different from one another, but not interchangeable either.

I found my Monorack on the ZRX Owners Forum. It was in the UK but it was just what I needed, I thought, so I paid for the rack and I paid for the shipping, and it arrived in fine shape in a quite reasonable number of days.

I dismounted my grab handles and mounted the two new upswept rails. I mounted the hardware and the top box attachment plate to the rails. I went up and down on the elevator to bring the top box to our basement parking garage. I tried to mount it to the plate. Nope.

A little research taught me that I had a Monokey plate and a Monolock top box.

Because the top box, a generous-sized genuine Givi, costs far more than a new Monolock mounting plate, I ordered a new plate, about $60, from Revzilla. Freight free.

At this point, I realized that if I had known that Givi makes two top box types, not so different in appearance—especially when mounted to the proper type of top box mounting plate—I could have ordered a brand new setup for far less money than I was spending trying to save money.

So…I have Monorack rails, a Monolock plate and Monolock top box. They are mounted on my shining red ZRX Kawasaki. All is well. Well, not quite.

I am left with a brand new Monokey top box mounting plate and the hardware that attaches it to the two rails of the Monorack system. It’s all in a Givi box. The Givi part number for the Monokey top box mounting plate is M3, Monokey mounting plate. Here’s the exciting news:

If you have thought of putting a top box on your motorcycle, or if you have (as I had) the wrong plate for your Monokey top box, or if you would merely like to own a Givi M3 Monokey mounting plate, email me care of my esteemed editor, Surj Gish, at rftc@citybike.com. Put “Maynard” on the subject line.

Tell me why you feel you’re the perfect person to own that gloriously new M3 Monokey top box mounting plate with all the necessary hardware. I will send the plate to the person I deem most deserving.

If you want to use the plate as Givi intended, of course, you will have to buy the specific mounting rails for your bike…and a Monokey-type top box, if you don’t have one already.

All decisions will be totally subjective and whimsical. Good luck, Givi fans!

This story originally appeared in our June 2018 issue.

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