By Andy Lawson
When I bought my R1200GSA back last year, it came with the BMW Adventure panniers and top box. A good, solid set of aluminium luggage, but the top box is quite small. It has a capacity of approximately 32l and a maximum recommended payload of 5kg. It’s OK for holding a single helmet and I can fit my System 7 in, if I slot in corner to corner, but that’s about it. Gloves, of course can go inside the helmet if they’re not dirty or wet. So, I find the box a little limited, especially so if I want to ride without the panniers.
Looking around to see what other top boxes were available, it was only third-party aftermarket companies who offered alternatives. BMW do not have an option of a larger Adventure top box. There are indeed several aftermarket alternatives and designs, but I wanted one which would have a suitable match with my existing BMW panniers, plus not too big that I couldn’t easily open and lift the lid on the panniers as they are top loading access.
After some research, I settled on Kappa and the K Venture range as they are very similar to the BMW Adventure product, available in brushed finish or black anodised, aluminium construction and reinforced technopolymer corner protection. The top boxes come three sizes – 42l, 48l and 52l. There’s also an accessory option of a pillion back rest to add to the top box
The Kappa range are also almost identical to the Givi Outback product and for a very good reason. Givi own Kappa and so apart from the Kappa stamp on the lid, they are indeed all but identical, except the Kappa range of products are cheaper – go figure! The Kappa products are also using the same Monokey lock system, so will work with all Monokey compatible Monoracks and Special Racks from Kappa and Givi
I finally settled on the middle of the road option and chose the 48l top box and in black. This top box will easily take a single helmet or two jet style helmets, not too wide, so I can still open my panniers easily, I also had to purchase a rack plate adapter to attach to my existing rack, as the mounting attachment on the top box is not compatible with the BMW mechanism.
•Capacity: 48 ltr
•Helmet Capacity: 1 Full Face or 2 Jet Type
•Maximum Load: 10kg
1 x KVE48B case with 2 keys
How does this fit?
The case will require a suitable rear rack and/or rack plate to mount before it can be use. The part for the BMW R1200GSA LC rack: 1 x K-KRA5112
Fitting the base plate was a breeze. Two bolts and a small plate at the front of the rack and a bracket with two bolts for the rear of the rack.
The rack plate adapter has four silicon/rubber spacers to ensure a snug fit and damping between the rack plate and top box. An additional and larger set of silicon/rubber spacers come with the rack plate adapter kit, but I found I didn’t need to use them.
An additional set of strengthening brackets also came with my rack plate kit. These would attach to the existing rack mount, where it bolts into the frame. However, I decided not to use the additional brackets. The existing BMW rack is quite substantial and when attaching the new top box, I could feel no movement or flexing. This is just my own personal choice and not a recommendation. Perhaps the additional brackets would be more suited if the larger 58l was fitted, as this is a substantially larger box. Indeed, a friend of mine commented that it looks like a piano has been bolted on!
There are a couple of videos on YouTube video I found where they are fitting the rack plate. I’ve included a link, but quite frankly, the guy doing one fitting has managed to put one bracket on back to front and was also in a dilemma on how to put on the additional support brackets once he had put on the rack adapter. Um….you put the additional support brackets on first buddy! ?? If you decide to purchase this product or wish to see the item fitted, you may find it useful anyway: https://youtu.be/ahBvpChYkK0
Once the rack plate is bolted on and in place, the top box simple slots on to a three-point latching system. Two latches at the front of the adapter (nearest the seat) and then clips and locks down onto a latch at the rear.
As in the description, a “Monokey lock system” is used to both open and close the top box as well as the latching system to release from the rack. Don’t worry though, by unlocking to open the top box, the box isn’t going to suddenly fall off the rack! There is an additional latch lever to use to release from the rack plate.
So, the ultimate question: Am I happy with my purchase of the Kappa Venture? Very much so!
For me, the 48l is just the right size. I can get my System 7 helmet in, with enough space for other items. I feel I could also put an overnight or even weekend bag in there and not have to attach my panniers. So, OK for one person, but if you regularly carry a pillion, then perhaps the 58l would be more suitable. As I said earlier, this is a very large box and wide too, so much so, that if you have the BMW Adventure paniers, you will not be able to open and lift the lids from one end only. The only option is to open both locks and lift off the lid completely.
One final note and just a couple of tiny gripes from me:
The fitting instructions are not the best! Typical diagram only and a few translated words.
When closing and locking the Venture top box lid, the seal edge by the lock looks as though the lid is either warped or slightly bent (see the picture above, which is from Kappa). However, after contacting my dealer, who contacted the distributor, who contacted Kappa, apparently this is normal! I was a little bemused by this, I would’ve thought during design phase, they would’ve noticed and added a couple of mil. It’s not causing any problems though, just something I noticed.