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BMW Scooter Top Box

BMW Scooter Top Box
BMW Scooter Top Case Review
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
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See Also:
BMW Scooter Blog
BMW Scooter Tunnel Bag Review
SHAD SH37 & SH48 BMW Scooter Top Case Review
SHAD SC20 Scooter Tunnel Bag Review

Summary

The BMW scooter top box (aka top case) is expensive, but it's naturally a perfect match for the new C-series scooters.

The top case is made by SHAD for BMW and the molded plastic is thick and strong.

In typical BMW fashion, buying the basic black top case is just the start.

You'll need to add the luggage grid (which can be used with or without the box), the color-matched side panels, the soft luggage case liner and, of course, the keyed lock cylinder to complete the arrangement.

All of this will set you back nearly four times the cost of the SHAD SH37 or SH48 BMW Scooter Top Case (review), but the BMW system is beautifully made and a perfect match for the BMW scooter. And it's matched to the single scooter ignition key.

Its 35-liter rated water-resistant capacity is almost all usable and easily swallows a full-face helmet.

BMW Scooter With Top Box

Introduction

One of the nice perks of joining the BMW Motorrad community is accessing the huge catalog of aftermarket accessories that are specially designed for each motorcycle or scooter.

This includes an excellent selection of hard and soft luggage that other manufacturers still haven't been able to emulate, even though its been decades since BMW first started offering these accessories for their products.

When a new BMW two-wheeler is announced, the typical array of factory-authorized accessories goes along with it and the BMW C-series scooter introduction (report) was no different.

I purchased a BMW C 650 GT scooter (blog) as soon as it was available in the U.S.A. as the webBikeWorld "Project Bike" for 2013. We have added several accessories (listed in the blog), including the recent SHAD SH37 & SH48 BMW Scooter Top Case (review) system that were recently developed for the BMW scooter.

I actually had the BMW top case system here prior to the SHAD boxes and after some delay due to unexpectedly nasty winter weather, I finally got a chance to install it...just in time for (early) Spring.

BMW Top Case and Scooter

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The BMW Scooter Top Case System Cost Comparison

The 35-liter BMW top case sells for $303.95 (prices may vary by dealer, depending on discount), but there's not much you can do with it unless the rest of the parts required to install it are purchased as well.

At the very least, you'll need the nice BMW luggage grid ($174.95) which, by the way, can be used with or without the top case, so it's a nice accessory to have even if you don't plan on fitting a case. The luggage rack ("grid", in BMW-speak) includes a mounting assembly that fits on the passenger grab handles along with the necessary hardware, the grid or rack and the silver-colored cover with BMW roundel that fits on the rack to finish it off.

But surely you'll want to add the BMW lock cylinder ($58.00), which comes keyed for your scooter and unlocks with the single ignition key.

That minimal top case configuration will set you back a total of $536.90 -- a not-insignificant sum. The price of the luggage grid alone isn't too bad though, especially if you can get it at a discount from your BMW motorcycle dealer. It's good-looking, useful with or without the top case and it matches the styling of the scooter.

Add the color-matched side panels ($82.50 the pair) and the nice backrest pad ($96.50) to the top case and now we're getting into serious wallet anxiety. And as long as you've taken it this far, you might as well go for broke (literally) and get the also-nice BMW top case liner, a bargain at $118.95.

Add it all up for a grand total of $834.85 (or $715.90 without the soft luggage liner), give or take whatever discount can be squeezed from the local BMW dealer. The usual practice is that the dealer will provide a significant discount if the accessories are purchased within a certain amount of time after you purchased the scooter or motorcycle.

BMW Scooter Top Case Costs
A: Full Monty.  B: No Liner.  C: No Liner/No Back Pad.  D: El Cheapo.

The advantages of buying the BMW scooter top case luggage system includes the very nice BMW luggage grid and the color-matched top box with styling that matches the scooter, along with the single key.

But if handing over that much money gives you the willies, there's nothing wrong with the very reasonably-priced SHAD SH37 ($149.00) or the SHAD SH48 for $285.00 (described in my review). Add the SHAD Mounting Kit for the BMW C650GT (W0CG62ST) for $60.00 and you're good to go for as little as $209.00. That, my friends, is a certified steal.

Of course, the SHAD top case isn't color matched; its luggage rack is rather pedestrian and a separate key is required to open the case. But you can't beat the price...

Need more carrying capacity? The BMW scooter tunnel bag (review) was supposedly designed to fit the C-series scoots but it doesn't and I gave it a rare "fail" rating in my review.

I also tried the generic SHAD SC20 scooter tunnel bag (review), but it didn't fit the C 650 GT either, so I'm still looking for a low, shallow and narrow tunnel bag that can hold a few items.

Luggage Grid
The BMW luggage grid is good-looking and it matches the styling of the scooter. It can be installed in minutes and it's useful with or without the top case. It also includes a miniature BMW roundel.
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Installing the BMW Scooter Top Case System

Both the SHAD and BMW top case systems are very easy to install with a few common hand tools (you did read my review of the Torx inserts every BMW scooter owner needs, right?) and other than adding the lock cylinder and color-matched side plates to the BMW case, both systems can be installed within minutes.

The BMW luggage grid installation is a piece o' cake. It mounts to the hidden threaded inserts located in the rear of the passenger grab handles -- the same holes used to mount the SHAD luggage carrier. The BMW system has an extra support bracket across the rear that connects to another hidden threaded insert under the large BMW roundel on the tail of the scooter.

Here's a photo: 

Luggage Grid Mount
Close-up of the mounting arrangement for the luggage grid. The "V" shaped bracket at the bottom of the photo mounts to the original BMW roundel on the tail of the scooter.

The upper assembly of the BMW luggage grid consists of two parts, the grid base and a silver-gray colored top that adds a nice touch. The silver top bolts to the grid base with included fasteners and it has a small BMW roundel included.

Here is a photo of the base on the left and the grid cover:

BMW Scooter Luggage Grid Parts
The BMW scooter luggage grid on the left and the silver grid top or cover on the right.

Once the luggage grid base is bolted to the bracket on the passenger grab handles and the silver insert is fastened, it's time to add the lock cylinder to the top case.

My lock cylinder came sans instructions; apparently BMW wants the dealer to manage the installation. After about a half-hour of noodling (most of the time wondering whether I had to program the lock to fit my key, only to discover this crucial step is done at the factory when you order the lock), I figured it out.

Unfortunately, my photos somehow disappeared, but it's a pretty easy installation procedure. There's a black metal ring; the lock cylinder; a spring; a retaining screw and a plastic plate with screw.

Put the cylinder and spring in the black metal ring and insert that into the lock hole from the outside of the rear of the case, between the handles. Insert the retaining screw from inside the case, then screw the plastic plate that acts as a cover into the case and you're done.

Your minimal el Cheapo top case is ready to go. Of course, not one to do anything by half, I installed the color-matched side panels, which easily screw into the sides of the case lid with the included self-tapping screws (two on each side).

Now the case is starting to look like...a real BMW accessory! Here's a photo of the inside of the side panel:

BMW Scooter Top Box Before Side Panels
Unadorned BMW scooter top case fresh out of its shipping container, looking rather plain.
BMW Top Box Side Panel
Back side of one of the color-matched side panels. It screws to the top case via the two brackets in the photo.
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The Back Rest Pad

The back rest or back pad seems awfully expensive for what it is, but it's probably a good idea if you're planning on carrying a passenger. It also adds a finished look to the top case.

Installing the back pad involves the only "tricky" part, if you want to call it that: drilling two holes in the lid.

The BMW scooter top case is made by SHAD, so mounting the back rest involves the same procedure as the SHAD cases. There are two dimples molded into the lid on the inside at the front. These are used as the drill templates. The instructions are included with the back pad and it's pretty easy -- drill two holes.

Then slip the threaded metal brackets on the back rest, line it up with the holes and screw it on from inside the lid with the two included screws. The screws fit into rubber grommets on the BMW case, as seen below. I used a dab of blue Loctite for good measure.

Here's a photo of the back rest pad, showing the rear side of the back pad, the screws, inserts and grommets:

BMW Scooter Top Box Back Rest
Back side of the top case back rest, with screws, rubber grommets and threaded mounting brackets.
BMW Scooter Top Box Back Rest Close-up
Close-up of the back rest, complete with stitching.
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BMW Top Case Back Rest
The completed BMW scooter top box with back rest, mounted on the C 650 GT.
BMW Scooter Top Case Capacity

The top case has a claimed 35 liter capacity. I have no way of testing that and don't intend to, but the square-ish shape of the case leaves plenty of room for anything I want to carry. It will easily hold a size XL full-face helmet with room to spare (should you want or need to carry a full-face helmet!).

The bottom is fairly flat and the liner is molded to fit. The lid of the top case also has a gasket that looks something like the eye port gasket on a full-face motorcycle helmet, which should keep the case contents dry.

The cylinder lock works nicely. Vertical locks the case; turn to 3 o'clock and push to release the carrying handle and then you can access the squeeze handle to release the lid. Turn the key to the 6 o'clock position and you can fold down the squeeze handle on the bottom to release the case from the luggage grid. This is also illustrated in the video below.

BMW Scooter Top Box Capacity
Empty capacity of the BMW scooter top case.
Top Case Liner
Top case liner inserted, showing the waterproof apron covering the main compartment.
BMW Scooter Top Box Liner Open
The waterproof apron can be foled back and secured with four built-in bungees.
BMW Scooter Top Box Liner Top Compartment
The liner has an upper shallow compartment. Both compartments also have a mesh pocket.
BMW Scooter Top Box Reflectivity
I had a couple of strips of heavy-duty reflective tape that fit perfectly on the back of the top case. The built-in red lens is not a reflector; I hope someone develops an LED brake light kit for it?
BMW Top Case Liner
The BMW soft luggage top case liner.
BMW Scooter Top Box With Liner
Here's the liner in the top case.
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BMW Top Case Liner Insert

The "case liner" or "inside pocket for topcase" as BMW calls it is a nice piece of luggage. It is semi-hard and the bottom is a sort of rubberized material that is molded to fit the top case.

It has waterproof-type zippers and a large main compartment that is fully lined with a silver-colored water-resistant fabric. The fabric covers the entire compartment or it can be folded outwards and gathered at all four sides with a bungee arrangement. This is similar to the BMW scooter tunnel bag I reviewed.

The case liner has a single shallow top pocket, also lined. Both the main compartment and the top pocket have separate mesh pockets for holding paperwork, magazines, etc.

The case liner also has a carrying handle and it comes with an adjustable shoulder strap that attaches to D-rings on either side.

It fits snugly into the top case and the top of the liner interferes slightly with the top case lid on mine. Also, the zipper pulls have to be pushed out of the way or they'll interfere with closing the top case lid. But it's a nice fit and the liner maximizes the amount of carrying capacity of the top case, albeit at a slight weight gain, something this scooter does not need.

The BMW scooter top case with the liner weighs in at just about 6 kg (13 lbs.). Fortunately, it doesn't seem to make a difference (at least unloaded) sitting on top of the luggage grid. In fact, I think I notice the BMW top case less than either of the SHAD cases when I'm riding the scooter.

wBW Video: BMW Scooter Top Case and Liner
Conclusion

The BMW scooter top case system is expensive, no doubt about it. But it's a perfect match for the C 650 GT and it's very nicely made. The soft luggage insert is also a gem.

The system is easy to install and the luggage grid is useful even if you don't buy the top case. This one's a keeper...

See Also: BMW Scooter Blog BMW Scooter Tunnel Bag ReviewSHAD SH37 & SH48 BMW Scooter Top Case Review  |  SHAD SC20 Scooter Tunnel Bag Review

wBW Review: BMW Top Case System
Manufacturer: BMW Motorrad List Price: See details in text.
Colors: Optional color-matched panels available. Made In: EC
Review Date: March 2013
More: wBW Motorcycle Accessories Page  |  Motorcycle Luggage Page

Note: For informational use only. All material and photographs are Copyright © webWorld International, LLC since 2000. All rights reserved. See the webBikeWorld© Site Info page. Product specifications, features and details may change or differ from our descriptions. Always check before purchasing. Read the Terms and Conditions!

Your Comments and Feedback

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Comments are ordered from most recent to oldest.
Not all comments will be published (details).  Comments may be edited for clarity prior to publication.

From "B.I." (May 2013): "I purchased a new C650GT on Feb. 7, 2013. I also got the rear trunk with the bike. I notice, after a month of riding, the luggage rack (which the trunk fastens on to) started to shake while riding. I noticed there were 3 main bolts that hold the luggage rack on to the bike, 2 on the left and right, that  fasten onto the passenger grab bar and 1 that fastens over the rear tail light unit.

The bolt on the right side was the first to come loose and now the center bolt has come lose. I attempt to tighten these bolts (with the proper Torx driver) with negative results. I am afraid to use the trunk because I think it will vibrate off.

I noticed online, that there is a recall, due to this problem, in Canada. I am hoping that (BMW) recognize this serious problem and have a recall of it in the USA. Shortly, my bike will go back to the dealer for "Running-in" check (break-in servicing). I'm hoping they will repair this defect on the luggage rack under warrantee. I like the trunk, but where is the blubs/wiring in the back reflector for brake/turn signal/ running lights? After market companies offer the lights with their trunks, which cost a lot less."

Editor's Note: BMW scooter owners who purchased the BMW luggage rack and top case should check the bolts holding the luggage rack. The BMW recall apparently involves adding longer screws with nuts and Loctite to ensure that the bolts remain in place.

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