Reviews

Have Storage, Will Travel

My new topcase has a lot of room and a few issues that I’d like to gripe about.

nopets

I got a sweet new trunk for my scooter. It has a lot of room — it fits my big Timbuk2 tote alongside my 3/4 helmet. Or it will fit two paper bags of groceries from Trader Joe’s.

It will also fit two cats or a medium-sized dog, but Piaggio USA would like to remind you that no pets are allowed in the storage compartments of Vespa scooters.


Anyways, here’s the new topcase:

topcase

While the trunk is weatherproof and roomy, I am a bit disappointed with it on a couple of features. I thought it would be a bit more sturdy and durable, given the exorbitant price. Likewise, I thought the red lenses on the back would be lights wired into the brakes — or at least reflectors — and they are neither.

I shouldn’t have assumed they would be brake lights, but in my research I passed a few catalogs that carried “replacement brake wiring” for the Vespa topcases, so I jumped to that conclusion, aided by the price tag (which is more than twice what a generic Givi trunk runs).

Apparently, though, I can buy one of the wiring kits and hack the trunk. I’m a bit nervous to mess with the electrical system when I’ve had so many problems with it already. I’ll likely leave it as is and add some 3M Solas instead.

The one other issue is that it’s a pain in the patootie to close and lock. If there is anything at all in the topcase, the edges don’t line up perfectly and the thing won’t snap shut. When I had it installed, they showed me that I have to turn the key in the lock, then close the top, then release the lock to close it. I don’t always have two free hands, and this doesn’t always work anyway. I’ve discovered that shutting it hard without turning the key often gets it to lock, but it’s super fussy and inconsistent.

I’m also cranky about having an additional key to deal with, namely because the ignition key has to be on to open the underseat storage space, and I’m often storing items simultaneously in both the trunk and under the seat. There’s no way to shut the topcase without locking it, or lift the seat without having the ignition on. This requires much juggling of keys. I may just get one of those key rings with the separator clip that pulls apart.

BUT the topcase is color-matched to the bike — a metallic midnight blue not available elsewhere — and it came with a passenger backrest. Thus, I could justify getting it because I won’t have to acquire a backrest separately. And the backrest is also color-matched to the seat. So, it looks pretty. Which is, in the end, what it’s all about. Right?

I got the topcase and had it installed at the new Vespa Eastside. The folks at Vespa Eastside were an agreeable bunch. I bought the trunk on eBay, and then realized they were in Woodinville, WA. So I called them, and the fellow there said if I picked it up, he’d install it for free.

So I went on a little road trip down to wine country, and it was a beautiful 50 minute ride. The sun was out and it was warm, getting me excited for spring riding weather. Following Google’s directions there, I made the mistake of turning right rather than bearing right and instantly found myself on the 405. I guess it was as good a time as any to put the GTS through her paces at 65 mph… and I promptly got off the first exit. Aphrodite can handle it, but I’m not sure I’m ready to. Not with SUVs whizzing by on either side of me doing 80 mph.

They had many pretty scooters and attire at Vespa Eastside. As you can see, everything is reflective.

eastside1

eastside3

This is the scooter I was going to get, the Vespa GTV, which is the same engine as my GTS but the body styling is “retro”.

gtv

I didn’t like that the headlight was down on the fender as visibility is already a big concern for me. I also didn’t really like the exposed handlebars, which is the core of the “retro” look. I did like the Portofino green though, and the brown leather double-saddle seat.

eastside2

In the forefront of the above pic is another GTV, in “Aviator Grey”. Alas, the GTV is also an extra $1,000 and to pay that much more for a paint job that’s going to get demolished by urban living didn’t seem worthwhile (been there, done that).

See — it’s not always about looking pretty. Logic occasionally sneaks by me.

About the author

kristin

1 Comment

  • Great review. I have a midnight blue 2008 GTS with a cut down Tall Vespa shield and was trying to decide whether to get a Givi or go with my ego and get the color matched Vespa case. I does look REALLY nice but I asked up front about the lights. I think the reflective tape under the lens is a good choice. I was thinking about buying a lighting kit to upgrade the Vespa case. I hesitate to mess with the electrical especially after you said you had experienced electrical problems. Anything I should look out for? Great pictures – I carry a small digital camera wherever I go.
    Thanks for the information!
    Davis