How does the Trekker range of hard luggage from GIVI perform in terms of practicality on the road? Our Benelli TRK 502 test bike came fitted with the top-box and panniers, so Iain Harper has been getting the chance to find out…
I’m going to steer clear of fuelling the never-ending debate about whether hard or soft luggage is ‘best’, because to a very large extent it boils down to personal preference and the kind of riding you’re going to be doing. I’ll assume instead that you’re already sold on the merits of hard luggage and are considering your options before either upgrading your existing setup or purchasing luggage for the first time.
The GIVI Trekker top-box and pannier combo is one of those many options. Having ridden about 5,000 miles with them on the Benelli TRK 502, I’d say they’re certainly a worthy contender for your attention.
Design and Fitting
The specific products in this test are the GIVI TRK46B TREKKER Black Line 46-litre top-box and TRK33B TREKKER Black Line 33-litre (per side) panniers.
Fitting requires installation of the proprietary GIVI MONOKEY® pannier rails and top-box mounting plate (which conveniently happen to come as standard on the Benelli TRK 502).
The top-box has enough space for one modular helmet with plenty of room left over. A larger, 52-litre version is available that GIVI claims has capacity for two helmets.
The Trekker range is made from glass fibre reinforced plastic, covered in matt black painted aluminium. Non-matt black versions are also available. The panniers are side opening and can double as top-boxes.
One key opens the top-box, while another opens both panniers. Three clasps ensure the boxes are securely closed: a central push-plate (lockable with the key) and an additional catch on either side.
The lid of the top-box and the opening side of the panniers feature a hinged section. Catches on the inside allow you to switch between the whole lid/side opening or just the hinged section. I’ve not found much benefit to that with how I use the top-box, but it has come in handy with the panniers.
From weekends away, to carrying shopping home from the supermarket, to the 11 days I recently spent touring around France, I’ve been putting the Trekker luggage to real-world use on a daily basis for the past three months.
On the whole, they’ve served me extremely well and given me little to complain about.
The top-box lacks any external mounting/strapping points (which I haven’t needed, but could be useful on a long-term journey), but it’s size offers useful capacity without being overly bulky.
The panniers also provide useful capacity, and their carrying handles double as strapping points when needed, although in practice the clamshell design and rounded internal corners make it virtually impossible to fully utilise the space. The hinged section described above does go some way towards offsetting the impracticality of the side opening, but only for accessing smaller items packed at the top of the pannier.
The only thing that’s really bugged me about the design of the panniers is that when it rains water pools in the push-plate recess. There’s a drainage channel to alleviate this, but it’s not completely effective. When you open the pannier, the collected water has nowhere to go but inside the box and over whatever’s inside. Not a big deal if it only happens occasionally, but a real nuisance during prolonged wet weather.
Trekker luggage is available from all GIVI stockists, with online prices ranging from around £200 to £240 for the top-box and £200 to £230 (per side) for the panniers.
In very broad terms, that’s about half the cost of equivalent top-loading aluminium products from other manufacturers.
The GIVI MONOKEY® pannier rails and top-box mounting plate are sold separately.
As a practical, secure and robust luggage solution for occasional motorcycle touring, the GIVI Trekker range is a great choice and represents good value for money.
Unless you need space for two helmets, the 46-litre top-box is as good and big enough as a top-box needs to be. I’m not a fan of side-opening panniers in general, and would definitely favour a top-loading design for long-term travelling, but for the most part they do a perfectly acceptable job.
Review by Iain Harper.