If you’re going to invest in hard luggage it needs to be versatile, robust, waterproof and secure. SW-Motech’s premium TRAX ADV range more than meets the first three of those requirements, but its security is let down by a fatal flaw.
We’ve had the opportunity to evaluate the Suzuki-branded TRAX ADV 38-litre top-box and 37-litre panniers as part our long-term test of the V-Strom 1000XT. The luggage has now been in use for about 2,500 miles over three months during the winter.
The TRAX ADV boxes are constructed from 1.5mm aluminium with robot welded seams and punch riveting. A substantial gasket ensures water and dust-proofing when the lids are locked in place, and is claimed to make for easier opening after pressure and/or temperature changes. Sacrificial glass-reinforced plastic corners provide the metal with a degree of crash protection. The luggage is available in either a silver anodized or black powder coated finish. While the stainless steel latches, grab handles and tie-down points are all great features, the embossed design (which apparently improves reinforcement) is arguably form over function. It certainly limits the options for where to put your Overland stickers!
The top-box is large enough to accommodate a full-face helmet (the one shown in the photo is a XXL Shoei Neotec), and incorporates hooks in the lid for a net (sold as a separate accessory). A pillion backrest is also available.
The pannier lids are hinged on the forward-facing end, but can be completely removed. The boxes feature a generous chamfer on the lower outside edge “to optimize lean angle and ground clearance for cornering” (or to be fashionable if you choose not to believe the blarney). On the V-Strom 1000XT, the 37-litre panniers sit a touch wider than the handlebars. The 45-litre versions are 5cm wider per side. Liner bags and bottle/canister kits are available as accessories.
Fitting the luggage rack and top-box mounting plate assembly took a professional bike mechanic over two hours, so you’ll probably need to allow much more time than that if you’re installing at home. Each box slides into place on four locating bobbins on the frame/plate, and is further secured (see below) by a locking clasp. Although we haven’t attempted any kind of drop of crash test with the V-Strom, the top-box, panniers, and supporting racks all seem to be extremely stable. SW-Motech supply adapter kits for mounting the boxes on carriers from other manufacturers.
On the whole, TRAX ADV is a rugged and practical hard luggage solution. You can sit on it, tie things to it, there’s ample usable volume (despite that chamfer on the panniers), it’s quick and easy to take on and off, and all three boxes have proved their waterproof credentials through many long days of wet weather riding.
But… and this is an important but… the boxes are fundamentally insecure thanks to the stainless steel tab on the inside end of the lock barrel rotating into a plastic recess. It would take only firm finger pressure to pull the locks open, and frequent locking and unlocking will inevitably wear away the plastic over time.
While it’s fair to say that no hard luggage is ever completely secure against the efforts of a determined opportunist, and that locks are a deterrent as much as a barrier, is it wise to spend a four-figure sum on a set that’s barely even childproof?
SW-Motech TRAX ADV 37-litre pannier set
49 x 23 x 37 cm / 5.1 kg (per side)
€719.90 (pair – including rack)
SW-Motech TRAX ADV 38-litre top-box
41 x 34 x 33 cm / 4.7 kg
€349.95 (including rack and plate)
When supplied by Suzuki as part of the V-Strom 1000X GTA package, the complete Suzuki-branded luggage set adds £1,000 to the price of the V-Strom 1000XT.
Review by Iain Harper