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28 vs 49 liter top box


Jim Miller

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Ready to buy a top box for my R1200RT and wondered if anyone could comment on their experience with the 28 liter model from BMW. I don't carry a passenger much but simply want some additional luggage capacity for longer trips. My dealer tells me they sell many more 49 liter boxes than 28 liter boxes, and there seems to be more of the smaller ones for sale as used items than the other way around. Will I be sorry for not having gone bigger right out of the blocks? Fire away.

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This is almost like a tire or oil thread... :grin:

 

Basically what you are asking is for the collective to figure out what you want.

 

Here is the quick and dirty.

The small case is small. Many that have it say it is too small.

The large case is big and much more useful if you like to carry items.

 

Which way do you want to go?

 

 

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OTOH, I have the small box and it is the perfect size to carry tools, etc leaving my side cases for clothing, camping gear, etc. Never had a larger top case but I understand they can be more difficult in heavy crosswinds.

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I have both the 49L and the 28L. They're both very well designed and built, and they're equally easy to install/remove. I bought them both used and I suppose I could sell either one for close to what I paid.

 

My general usage pattern is to leave the 28L installed as an overflow case for the BMW tankbag. The BMW sidecases are stored safely away until I gear up for a trip. (Also that arrangement gives me more walk-around room in the garage). Only for trips do I consider swapping out the 28L for the 49L. And only with the sidecases on would I install the 49L. But in my case, riding solo only and not camping, I've never actually even used my 49L - I just haven't needed that much capacity.

 

I'm probably more apt than most here to ride without the sidecases, and so the 28L seems to be a more logical "first increment" storage solution. With the sidecases installed, the 49L begins to make more sense as a topcase.

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I have both and generally only use the 49L case when two-up on an overnight trip.

 

The additional capacity with the 28L is nice while solo but the 49L case is somewhat heavier and has a noticiable affect on aerodynamics, particularly in windy conditions.

 

Unless you have an absolute need for the additional capacity I would get the 28L case.

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I already shared pics of my 28L mounted and told you I prefer my 49L for touring. I always leave my sidecases on - filled with lightweight tools in one side and ride gear in the other. For touring, I'll pack sneakers and maybe a box of wine :grin: on one side and a jacket liner or other riding layer on the other side outer case lid. I use the 49L strictly for touring and it carries all my other clothing and Dell 12.1 laptop in a Kathy's bag. So you can see, there is a wide range of utilization and preferences. As was mentioned, both BMW topcases are quality items that go on or off in seconds. The choice is yours...

 

 

Jeff

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I can say my 49L topbox hasn't been a noticeable issue in sidewinds. I recall the instructions talk about reducing your top speed but it rode just fine at 120 MPH at an, um, testing location. I know it is a subjective call but for my money, why go smaller when it makes no difference in lane splitting? Can't argue with asthestics but I like the look of what I call "dreadnaught mode."

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Since most of us guys are visual, I took a couple of comparison pics of each topcase. Although the 49L is large, it frames the unpainted and painted sections of the sidecases well, IMO. I agree that for running sans sidecases and topcase only, the 28L would be my choice. I also am one who has not experienced any strange handling at speed with the 49L mounted.

 

Jeff

 

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Fightingpiper

I couldn't justify the cost of the BMW topcase so I went with the

Givi V46. Its a bit smaller than the BMW 49L but probably half the cost.

 

303476492_UTwsn-L.jpg

 

399177436_jRHee-L.jpg

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Well, the Givi is smaller (3L smaller) and is not double walled... I've had both and prefer the BMW 49L, mostly because it is a more comfortable backrest for my wife. I too bought mine used and paid 1/2 the dealer price for it.

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Well, I think we are all aware of the competitor units. To me the difference in price has to do with keying to match the bike, and having an extra mounting plate on the bike when the bag is off. For some that will be worth the extra for BMW stuff, for others not. In my case I had some BMW incentive money for options, so that equalized the price.

 

I ride with the 49 L top case, Sharon rides with the smaller one. I don't know that there is any difference in how we are affected by wind. I don't understand why you wouldn't use the 49 L case without the side cases, I do it all the time. Removing the sidecases takes at least 30 lbs off the bike. I think there is a 2-3 mpg hit for the large case. I got the large because the corporate laptop and case that I had at the time wouldn't fit in a side case, but would fit in the large top case.

 

Traveling solo w/o camping gear, and packing plenty of luxury items: travel pillow, dSLR kit, Bino's, a couple bottles of wine I rarely fill the large top case more than half full.... and I am carrying a CPAP too. Sharon is happy with the small one. With camping gear I have filled the large top case, and dry bag too.

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AdventurePoser

Kind of off the subject, but have you considered using soft bags on top of the cargo shelf instead of a hard bag? J and I use a couple of larger Helen Two Wheels bags, which lash very securely to the luggage rack.

 

We like them because they are soft, and accomodate LOTS of stuff. It is an arrangement that has worked very well for several long two up camping trips, and is MUCH cheaper....

 

cheers,

Steve in so Cal

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I have the 49l myself and have noticed the front get "lite", but I was above at the 130mph mark(gps not speedo) and on a ahh closed course. Yeah thats it on a closed course definitely... I have mine mounted more than not because I have a long commute and have to carry a bunch of safety gear for work, and I also have not noticed any negative effects from it in strong cross winds which we get alot of here in Vegas. I admit I'd like to get the smaller one also to use for daily travel, but if I had to have just one I would stick with the 49l. My take is you don't have to fill a top box all the way, but if you need to carry more the the 28l you can't make it any bigger...

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Thanks for the input gentlemen, and especially the pics, Jeff. I appreciate the differing perspectives and earnest replies. Tony K... ahh...I'll leave it alone.

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Silver Surfer/AKAButters

I have the factory 49 and don't know how I would live with less. With a Jacket, gloves, sweater, helmet, briefcase and laptop, I need all the room I can get. Although I have had the Givi 52, which is much more volumnuous (is that word?)nd much lighter, I definitely prefer the factory integrated rack and the single key option.

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I have the 49L trunk and am renting Whip space to park his RV in it!.....

 

I bought the 1200 49L trunk after being very unhappy with the 1100 trunk's small size.

I only use the trunk when 2-up or on extended trips, but it is great to have the capacity if necessary. I also like the fact that it is more secure than either a bag or items just strapped to the rack.

I can load my tent, sleeping bag, therma-rest, Kermit chair, and camp kit with room to spare in the trunk.

 

 

 

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I had a V46 on my FJR and the overall quality was very similar to the BMW box. I like the BMW lock mechanism slightly better (and it can be keyed for your ignition & bags key). If you go Givi, don't bother with the optional lighting kit. You get four wimpy leds, not all the lighting you might imagine by looking at the Givi reflectors.

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As far as usefulness, I usually follow an extremely simple equation.

 

Motors: >torque = better

Storage: >space = better

 

IMO, the primary decision has to be based upon aesthetics, and that's up to you. If the aesthetics are equal, then bigger is always better. Air flow is virtually a non issue, and weight differences when empty, are too small to make a big deal of.

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The reason I opted for the 49l is that I can put my helmet and all my different gloves in it. When I come out to suit up for a ride it is all right there at chest level ready for me. When I go into a restaurant all I do is to go around the back, open the topcase up and put things away. It makes for a better riding experience for me, at least.

 

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Kind of off the subject, but have you considered using soft bags on top of the cargo shelf instead of a hard bag? J and I use a couple of larger Helen Two Wheels bags, which lash very securely to the luggage rack.

 

We like them because they are soft, and accomodate LOTS of stuff. It is an arrangement that has worked very well for several long two up camping trips, and is MUCH cheaper....

 

cheers,

Steve in so Cal

 

I like the idea, Sharon insists on the security of a locking hard case. We use dry bags when camping though.

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I have the 28 liter top box on my R12ST. It's a pretty manageable size and seems to have no effect on handling or cross-wind behavior. Of course, my bike has a smaller cross-section than the RT, so these observations may not translate to other models.

 

One thing I would note is that BMW actually made the box pretty usable by making the interior somewhat square. I had a 33 liter top box on my old RT, and its irregular shape made it difficult to fit even a single full-face helmet into it. However, while it's somewhat versatile, 28 liters isn't a lot of space. I use mine more as a "motorcycle purse"--it's where I store extra gloves, plastic cleaner, and other things I might want to have readily accessible during the course of a day's ride.

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OK Jim .... in summary ...so far it seems

 

49L is big ... maybe called HUGE ... but holds lots of stuff

28L is small ... maybe too small

49L is very expensive ...even used

49L "may" result in handling issue (?)at least some have reported

Aftermarket GIVI is pretty well made and about half the cost of BMW and GIVE IMHO looks good on the bike

The 49L comes in any color you prefer so long as it is matte silver

GIVI (I believe) can be had in various colors

But GIVI has an extra mounting bracket that stays on the bike

BMW boxes pop right on the bike

 

 

Hmmmm .... looks like it is back at you Jim :lurk:

 

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Brian PDQ Signs

Hey Jim, I have have had smaller boxes but prefer a larger one that will hold a FF helmet. On my RT I only have a Givi Maxia ~50 ltr box which I leave on all the time. Only time I use the saddlebags is on trips, I sometimes use the tank bag around town but mostly for trips also.

 

The larger box is great for commuting, get to your destination, pull out the brief case, toss in the helmet & gloves and maybe anything else and head on in to work.

 

Best of luck on your decision,

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Hey Jim, I have have had smaller boxes but prefer a larger one that will hold a FF helmet. On my RT I only have a Givi Maxia ~50 ltr box which I leave on all the time. Only time I use the saddlebags is on trips, I sometimes use the tank bag around town but mostly for trips also.

 

The larger box is great for commuting, get to your destination, pull out the brief case, toss in the helmet & gloves and maybe anything else and head on in to work.

 

Best of luck on your decision,

 

I believe that both cases in reference will do that. Someone correct me if I am wrong but eh 28 liter will accept a single FF helmet. The 49L I believe can handle 2 FF helmets.

 

I am in the same debate. I ride solo 100%. I dont see much if a need for a top case and I think that for as often as i would ever use it, i might just as well get a soft bad and bungee cords

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Here is my current solution ... it provides a nice backrest for passenger and the T-bag at about $135 works great and both pop off in about 30 seconds

img2107848612ff02bf97.jpg

 

 

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My complaint about soft luggage, all types, is how easily they are stolen. I've had two sets of soft bags stolen over the years. Only locked-on hard luggage for me these days!

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THere are 2 RT in the familly one with the 49L and one with the 28L (mine). I think the 49 is to big. My 28L holds a FF helmet with room for gloves. It is alot easy to put my helmet in the top case then the side cases. It would hold enough for a weekend trip.

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My complaint about soft luggage, all types, is how easily they are stolen. I've had two sets of soft bags stolen over the years. Only locked-on hard luggage for me these days!

Guess I am lucky ... have never had ANYTHING stolen from my bikes. But then I can VERY careful ... I do not use it to commute and for the most part park it where I can see it if at all possible. If I used my bike to commute or frequently parked it in the city I would agree 100% and only have something that could be locked down! But for me the Stiff Sided T-bag works great.

 

 

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I got the 28L. It's less likely to scrape the ground when I pull wheelies. Actually, the 49L looks like it might cause perpetual wheelies! ;)

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I have only had the 49L and wouldn't know what to do without it. :thumbsup:

 

 

 

2007-PaulCSmith001.jpg

Golden Gate National Cemetery, Veteran's Day, in memory of JURING, MICHAEL G (SECTION V SITE 3378 PVT STA HOSP SCU US ARMY)

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Howdy :wave:

 

You bike is looking nice with the Givi on it. I am looking at getting a Givi as the price on the stock 49 l BMW box is a bit steep. I have a 28L BMW top box but for longer trips may need a bigger box. One question for you. Is the mounting system complicated, can it easily be removed to use my smaller box as I need to? And do you like the Givi overall?

 

Thanks for any info...heck if you have a pic of just the mount that would be awesome.

 

Todd

 

08 R1200RT

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So many conflicting answers. My experience is that my 33 litre top box is too small. I can't put 2 helmets in it. I can't even put one full face helmet in it. I recommend getting the larger one.

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Fightingpiper

Mounting system is not complicated but is not very amenable to removal. It is only 4 screws that you have to remove. Not hard but somthing I wouldn't want to do very often. If you are only going to be putting it on when you take long trips then it wouldn't be too hard to take the hardware on and off. The trunk itself is just pops off the mounting hardware with a push of a button. Sorry I don't have any pics of the mounting hardware at the moment but I will try and get some this weekend. Because of the size of the Givi I usually ride without the side cases. I have found it to hold everything that I need and it doesn't leak.

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  • 5 months later...

Hi Guys.

 

You lot really look like you know what you are talking about, hope you cann help me.

 

I'm looking at buying a used k1200gt here in Ireland. The bike I like only has the side panniers. I want to get a large 49l topbox, but I'm not sure if I need some sort of mounting brackets aswell. Can you take a look at this bike (which I haven't seen in the flesh yet) and tell me if it looks like it needs mounting brackets. Is that something that can be bought used?

 

k1200gt.jpg

 

Also I'm coming from a GS with the metal top loaded panniers. Why the hell aren't all panniers toploaded :(

 

Mick.

 

edit: apologies about the size of the pic.

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BitScribbler

I see the standard BMW parcel-shelf, so you're good to go with either of the BMW top-boxes. They just snap straight on.

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Great.

 

Are used top-boxes (49L) ever for sale? I don't see any now on ebay. And how do I get past the problem with the topbox having the same key as the bike it came supplied with?

 

Should I really bring the bike to my local dealer when I buy it and just buy a new box off them. (I'd really prefer not too as I don't carry lube with me.)

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Are used top-boxes (49L) ever for sale? I don't see any now on ebay. And how do I get past the problem with the topbox having the same key as the bike it came supplied with?

They show up from time to time, keep checking the classifieds on BMW-related forums and also Ebay.

 

Changing the key to match your bike is fairly easy for those with a little dexterity, here are some instructions. Or your dealer can do it for a nominal (or not-so-nominal, depending on their mood) fee. Make sure you get a working key with any used case else re-keying becomes considerably more complicated.

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Beemer_Nancy
Great.

 

Are used top-boxes (49L) ever for sale? I don't see any now on ebay. And how do I get past the problem with the topbox having the same key as the bike it came supplied with?

 

Should I really bring the bike to my local dealer when I buy it and just buy a new box off them. (I'd really prefer not too as I don't carry lube with me.)

 

Bought my used topcase on ebay a couple months ago. Keep watching, I missed a couple before I got mine. Dealer re-keyed for "free".

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stubblejumper

I ride one up,and have the side cases and 28liter box,as well as the 19liter BMW soft bag,yet I never seem to have enough room on tour.If I had the RT instead of the smaller ST,I would have the 49 liter top box.

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RichEdwards

I think that used 49L topboxes are sold only when the owner is selling his bike and can't use the box on his next bike. Everyone I know who owns this topbox is happy with its quality, capacity, and utility as a backrest for a passenger.

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Great.

 

Are used top-boxes (49L) ever for sale? I don't see any now on ebay. And how do I get past the problem with the topbox having the same key as the bike it came supplied with?

 

Should I really bring the bike to my local dealer when I buy it and just buy a new box off them. (I'd really prefer not too as I don't carry lube with me.)

 

I kept looking and eventually found a brand new 49l for 450.00! It came with a new lock cylinder too, which I was able to code for my ignition key myself in a matter of minutes. Just keep perusing the forums, ebay etc and you will find one eventually.

I like the 49 l topcase for trips. The backrest is great for my wife and we are used to a large case, having come from a Givi 52l on our VStrom. But, I am also kinda thinking it might be nice to have the small one for the short commute, and leave the side bags at home.....

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+1 on all the positive chatter regarding the 49. I have one and I like it, very nice for a pillion backrest as well.

 

Sounds like you need to buy it and try it out for a while. If for whatever reason it didn't work for you, i'd be willing to bet that you would be able to resell it fairly quickly.

;)

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  • 3 years later...

FWIW, I wrestled with this same question for my 2010RT. The 49 made more sense, but over $900?!

I really thought about when, and for what I'd use it for. I keep the side bags on all the time, and I always ride solo.

 

What I got has worked perfect for my occasional use and that is the BMW Large Sport Bag 2. Semi-rigid, easy off and on, waterproof, 55L capacity and easy mounting. No, its not overnight secure, but it pops off easily from 4 quick release points and has both side handles and a shoulder strap. Very secure mounting to the standard RT top luggage rack. And, I can move it to my R1200GS with a similar mounting arrangement.

 

Very high quality build. Haven't tried it, but I do believe a pillion rider could easily lean into it.

 

The price: $225

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Very high quality build. Haven't tried it, but I do believe a pillion rider could easily lean into it.

 

Curt, I have the same bag but in the small version. I wouldn't recommend a passenger using it for a backrest. The straps aren't that beefy. YMMV

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