Racks and Top Cases: A Novel Approach by Back Road Equipment
A fairly common dilemma for adventure riders is having to choose between having a top case or a rack behind the pillion seat for transporting and securing those endless necessities when traveling, or even for just picking up groceries. Although a top case might not be your first choice, the convenience of being able to solidly lock up your personal stuff is a compelling reason to have one. On the other side of the coin, having a solid rack on your bike allows for easier packing of large duffles or camping equipment.
The enthusiasts at Back Road Equipment (BRE) solved this dilemma for a number of bikes by designing a flat rack that accepts hard cases. Their kits are available for a select number of bikes, including the KLR, Triumph 800XC, Suzuki V-Strom, BMW 650 GS and, as shown here, the venerable R1200 GS-LC.
Upon opening up the watertight SKB polymer case, I saw only a single sheet of paper, the black anodized aluminum rack and an assortment of parts. But on BRE’s website I found a flawless installation guide. An outstanding feature of the rack is that it fits on the existing BMW rack, so no utility is lost should you ever decide to remove the BRE rack; the conversion back is a snap.
The BRE rack is able to maintain a flat surface by using a system of stepped pucks that are attached to the case and then slid into keyhole-shaped openings in the rack while being secured with a lockable cam lever. The installation essentially consists of bolting the rack on to the BMW rack with long screws, positioning the pucks on the case, drilling holes in the case, and securing the pucks to the case. Easy! But don’t skip any steps in the instructions because, to ensure a tight fit, the puck install must be done in the proper steps. Positioning is exacting, despite being simple.
Our kit included a rack and 40-liter case. You can also buy additional pucks and different size SKB cases from BRE. At the time of this writing, they were discussing stocking a larger case that would accept a full-face helmet, but will custom quote any size.
The installation was fast and easy. The case is secure and the assembly is rattle-free. The additional freedom of being able to securely lock things like gloves or a camera to the bike when you step away into a store or for lunch is well worth the reasonable cost of the BRE set-up. MSRP: $169 rack | $130 top case BackRoadEquipment.com
|▲ Quick install||▼ Must drill holes very carefully|
|▲ Solid construction||▼ Not available for all motorcycles
|▲ Flexible uses|
|▲ Can be used with any hard case|