GIVI is an Italian company offering a range of hard and soft cases, racks and other touring accessories, and has been around since the 1960s. Before writing this review I had never purchased a hard case, so I started my research by asking a seasoned tourer for his expert opinion. His response: “Why do I need a $400 case to store $40 worth of dirty laundry?” To be fair, the V47 trunk alone is currently priced at $310, but add the stoplight kit and a rack and you’re out of pocket more than $400. So is it worth it? I say yes, but with some caveats. Before I outline the misses, here’s some background info to better help you make your choice.
Review and Photos by Aaron Schasse
The V47 is part of the premiere line of Monokey products offered. The Monokey range features more heavy duty construction then the slightly lower-end Monolock series. Additionally, GIVI offers the Trekker, Outback and Dolomiti series aimed at adventure touring. I chose the V47 as the styling was a near perfect match for my silver FJ-09. I also loved that the case was locking and removable from the bike using just one key. It’s also waterproof and designed to accept an integrated lighting system, backrest for passengers, and a luggage rack, each at additional cost.
A bit of research revealed that I would also need to purchase a GIVI rack if I wanted to use the integrated lighting system, as the case connects to the bike via wireless contact points in the rack itself. If you want to add the Stop Light kit, you should be prepared to do some light electrical work as the kit comes with all the parts you need to assemble it yourself.
I’ll be the first to admit that adding a trunk to your motorcycle instantly makes it look stupid, however, I needed something to keep my camera gear safe on longer rides and having a removable, water-tight locking trunk with integrated brake lights is a very attractive alternative to wearing or strapping a heavy camera bag to the rear seat.
Thin LED tape integrates perfectly with the design of the case, preserving a sleek finish. Installation was simple and added value to an already versatile product. Note that installation of the Stop Light kit required drilling and cutting holes into the case itself.
After installing the rack and Stop Light kit on my FJ-09, I took a 3 day trip up the coast, filling the case with my valuable camera equipment and storing my clothes and other gear in my soft saddlebags. The V47 worked to keep my valuables safe, organized, and easily accessible on my trip. In the past I’ve always kept my camera gear safe on my back for longer rides, but wearing a backpack is uncomfortable, especially when it’s filled with heavy lenses and cameras. For my needs, the V47 worked brilliantly. I even had a chance to test it in heavy rain through Big Sur and the case worked as advertised.
I loved how easy it was to remove the case from the rack when arriving at a hotel. Just turn the key, push the silver button under the lock, and the case slides off. A durable handle allows the still locked case to be easily carried with one hand, even while wearing gloves. I was impressed by how well the rack and mounting system worked together with the integrated wiring.
You’ll need to cut a hole in the bottom of the trunk if adding the Stop Light kit. This could introduce some moisture to your belongings. The hole should be sealed before you hit the road. I used a standard hot glue gun to re-seal my case.
Overall, the V47 was the perfect top case for my trip up the coast. The integrated Stop Light kit provided extra confidence through urban/traffic areas, and the capacity of the case was fine for my needs. That said, here are the caveats I mentioned at the beginning:
Caveat 1 – The capacity is not exactly as advertised.
On their website, GIVI boasts the V47 liter trunk “can hold two full face helmets.” They would have to be small helmets, as I did not find this to be true with my personal lids. However, I was impressed with the case’s ability to store my Shoei Neotec II, an armored leather jacket, and gloves – which is exactly what I wanted for around town. If stashing 2 full face helmets is a must for you, then I suggest opting for the larger V56 Maxia case.
Caveat 2 – The Stop Light kit works if installed properly, but it is designed poorly and with cheap materials.
The case sits high above the rear seat, a perfect place to add some extra visibility. Having the ability to add additional brake lights to the case was a huge selling point for me, as I generally worry about being rear ended in traffic more than any other common accident. For around $65, what you get is 2 sticky LED strips, some very thin wiring, and 2 contact points which allow the case to be easily taken on and off the GIVI rack. The wires connecting each LED strip to the contact point are too short and too thin, in my opinion. For the price, GIVI should include more durable wiring that fits the case better. I’ll be re-wiring mine to ensure these tiny strands don’t snap during a trip.
The Stop Light kit comes with some very low quality parts. These thin wire strands are 22 gauge at best, and so short that they barely fit the design. A quick search on YouTube will offer some much cheaper and overall better DIY options for wiring your top case to your brake lights.
Notice the red wire stretching tightly across the top of the case. This wire connects the case’s left brake light with the top shell’s contact point. It works for now, but I’m afraid this thin wire will eventually snap in this precarious position.