Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Box on Bike

Some of my friends doubt my taste in choosing what looks good. They might not tell me to my face, but they keep silent, look down, maybe say that, "they wouldn't make that choice." They are probably right. I don't have very good taste or don't see things the way that others do. A lot of the time, I see function as more important than style. I figure that form will follow function and don't worry about it if I am uncomfortable with my first look at it's appearance.

Just to be clear, this isn't one of those times. I completely understand that what I have done is functional but ugly. You might say that I have hit the KLR with an ugly stick and, as anyone knows, a KLR doesn't need a lot of help in the ugly department.

Over the years of touring, I've learned that I don't want to put a lot of stuff on the back of the seat so I can more easily swing my leg over. I also don't want my tank bag too high so that I can see the gauges.

This year, between video camera, overboots to keep out the rain, and other gear to stay warm and dry, I'm carrying more stuff. I needed bigger luggage that wouldn't get in the way. Most people would have installed panniers (side cases), but on my bike, there isn't any structure where the panniers go and I don't like how wide and in the airflow they end up on a high exhaust bike.

My solution was a bigger trunk behind me. My original plan was to build something aero and original, but I ran out of time. Instead, I decided on one of these waterproof military spec cargo boxes and most people would say that the one I bought is too big. Who am I to say they are wrong. Hopefully, this will be a better aero solution as the box is blocked from the wind by my body.

The extra room will be very nice. Note the old JC Whitney trunk fits nicely inside the new box. It's hard to believe that I live out of the JC Whitney for 3 weeks on my Newfoundland trip.

So my job was to make a secure mounting system that could lock to the bike for security and also be removed to go into the hotel. That turned out to be a pretty good project, including me relearning how to weld aluminum. The mounting frame that bolts to the bottom of the box uses the same mounting system as the JC Whitney trunk that I use on a daily/short trip basis. It's got plastic sliding races, spring loading, over-center latches, and locks.

Best of all, I can detach the box from the bike, pull out the handle, and roll it into the hotel just like a regular suitcase. If I get dirty out on some two track, I can find a spray car wash and clean up the box and the bike before going on to the hotel. That is a big improvement on what I had been doing with the water resistant JC Whitney trunk.


  1. Your Volkswagen years are showing, Jac.

  2. I've been thinking of doing something similar with my KLR for longer trips. Where did you get the box/who makes it? Thanks.

  3. Lee,

    My box is an SBK. I chose it because it was the size I wanted. I bought it from one of several online suppliers. The biggest deal is making the mounting system yourself. If you don't want to do that, you could try options like Caribou's mount.