Top boxes

General discussion of the BMW R1200RT/R1250RT
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Top boxes

Post by smileymiley »

Went out with SWMBO to view a house (we've been trying for a nearly a year, but Brexit & Covid19 has delayed things what!)
Did about 60 miles in total. Back roads, dual carriageway. Usual mix.Missus has to have top box on & panniers never come off 'cept for cleaning, so suspension set for 2.Anyway trip went very well, lovely 🌞day. Nice countryside.  Tho traffic not far off the norm actually. Was going to fill up the bike on the way back at the local Costco (98.7p), but she needed the loo so dropped her off at home & went to fill up on my own. It's just short of 6 miles to Costco from my house,  dual carriageway all the way. Set suspension for 1 before setting off.Got onto the road & trundling along quite happily, a side wind hit me & the bike moved all over the place. Whoa, not had that before.. overtook a lorry further along & as I came thru the air pocket into the disturbance,  it happened again.
Filled up and came back different route, on the way it struck me what was happening. 
It was the top box acting like a sail!I remember many times over the years having numerous conversations (some very heated) about riding solo on a bike with a top box. I've always used panniers (hard or throw overs) & tank bag when travelling solo & having to need extra kit.
Right from the start of my biking, many, many years ago, I was always told to keep weight as low & near to the bikes C of G as possible. Plenty of my biking friends have removed the top box from their bike & immediately said how much better the handling was.
The air flow is all messed up with a top box when riding solo, it eddies behind the rider then hits the box like a sail.
2 up the airflow passes around both people & then as the passenger is right in front of the box it moves around that too before eddying behind the  bike.What are your opinions?
Sorry for the  length of the post  😱
Vini, Vidi, Velcro....... I came, I saw, I stuck around.
Nick Evans
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Re: Top boxes

Post by Nick Evans »

When riding at certain speeds the back end becomes a little lively sometimes, I have always put this down to the way the airflow sheds over my body down on to the topbox. I am quite big (thus presenting a large obstruction to the airflow) and so there may be quite a lot of turbulent air behind me bouncing on to that nice big lid of the 49l box. It has never bothered me enough to do an A/B test, but I have noticed that the effect changes if I lower the screen at speed.
I have not really noticed any adverse crosswind issues, but I tend to bear them in mind when riding so mentally I am prepared. Living in Devon and riding up the M5 when there is bad weather nearby can lead to a challenging hour or so of riding until reaching Bristol and getting away from the Bristol Channel.
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Re: Top boxes

Post by gogs01 »

I always have the panniers and top box on the bike. They may be full (i.e. overloaded) or empty and I may or may not have my wife as a pillion on board.

I've done over 100,000 miles on R1200RTs and never been bothered with crosswinds (although my wife has !).
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Re: Top boxes

Post by RTs4me »

I too have the 49L topbox fitted at all times, also with panniers always mounted. I like the convenience of the topbox (for helmet and gloves etc when I stop) and feel that the additional high-level brakelight is a useful safety aspect.

I've noticed a little 'tail wagging' when riding solo in high winds. There's an elevated flyover near to where I live and if it's windy, the turbulence is noticeable when overtaking trucks. But it's not so bad that it upsets the handling. I appreciate the comments from others, but I can't be bothered removing the topbox for solo rides and refitting it when carrying a passenger or needing the luggage space.

I'm currently riding a 2018 RT, but I've noticed similar effects on previous 2004, 2008, 2010 and 2014 RT's. It's not unusual with large topboxes. Maybe the smaller 28L topbox would have a lesser (or absent?) effect? Can any users comment?
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Re: Top boxes

Post by Rider1260 »

I was out in some strong winds a few weeks ago , just side bags and my bike does catch some wind as I would expect. when I ride with pillion she likes just the top case ( 49L ) when we can. when I commute I usually have a 3 bags ( suspension on rider + luggage normal ) the only thing I feel is a forward / backward , I call it tugging at times

Re: Top boxes

Post by guest4915 »

If you've ever ridden a heavily laden Honda Pan European at speed, anything an RT can do isn't worth worrying about. :-)
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Re: Top boxes

Post by Beagle »

Pickaxe wrote: If you've ever ridden a heavily laden Honda Pan European at speed, anything an RT can do isn't worth worrying about. :-)

Never catch on them.  :alas:
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