March 10, 2003

The Top Box

I've been accused of having some sort of unnatural relationship with the luggage on the Pan. Truth is, I'm just trying to go over each significant feature in turn. Doing this bit-by-bit means that new buyers should be able to get (albeit biased) information on whatever their key areas of interest are.

So, on to the rest of the luggage...

The top box is an optional extra. Bearing in mind some of what I have to say below, you may want to consider whether to fit it very carefully indeed.

To fit the box, a plate is fitted to the luggage rack, extending its length but not obtrusively. It's a shame that this is in black plastic as it doesn't really match the rest of the bike that well. The box uses its own, separate key unlike the panniers and (again, unlike the panniers) is very easy to remove and re-attach. The hasp to open/close the box is simple, effective and easy to use as well. There is a built in carrying handle making the box easier to carry about when full though it's a much more awkward shape than the panniers.

Inside, it's huge. Even more deceptively vast than the panniers. You'll be amazed just how much junk can be crammed in. I can (and do) put a small suitcase straight into it when travelling about, leaving room for odds and sods around it.

There are elasticated straps to limit the movement of loose items and a rigid carpet to flatten off the bottom. This covers two small gaps just large enough to hide, for example, a cargo net and some luggage straps.

Then the bad bit... The new Pan has a reputation for weaving at high speed. My experiments have shown that this is a combination of riding solo, screen at full height, top box fitted and travelling in excess of 110mph. Change any one of these (you have to completely lower the screen and adding a pillion is still untested) and the bike remains stable till at least 130mph. In the vicinity of legal speeds, there is no problem but, hey, you have been warned.

Me? I wouldn't be without it when I need it but most of the time the top box lives in the garage.

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