MCN Fleet: BMW R1200GS Rallye's big box / little box

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You don’t tend to think about how much an empty box weighs, but while working out luggage options for a trip away on the GS, I was stunned by the sheer bulk of the Vario topbox. Of course, my Rallye has Dynamic ESA which automatically adjusts to the load on the shock, but mass is mass – and less is better.

Popping the empty top box on the scales revealed that it weighs a fairly meaty 6.9kg. To be fair, it’s a big box, with a backrest, superb build quality, and BMW’s clever 25-35litre Vario expansion system (£348). But that’s a lot of weight. It’s not the only option though. BMW do a very tidy semi-rigid tail pack that slides on to the topbox rack, and offers an exceptionally useful 30-35litres of capacity – the same maximum capacity as the topbox.

And the weight saving? A whopping 5.4kgs. It also clips on and off in five seconds flat, is weatherproof, looks better (to my eyes), and costs less, too – at £125. It’s clearly not as rugged or secure as a topbox – but for almost all applications it’s the winner in my book.

See more updates on our R1200GS Rallye longtermer.


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Richard Newland

By Richard Newland