Stop Light Kit for Givi V46 Topcase
WHY? Safety and visibility. As long as I have that big ol' Givi V46 topcase sitting on the back of the bike I figured that it would be a good idea to add some light to make me more visible to the cagers. Since I purchased the case from the good folks at Twisted Throttle I decided to check their site to see if a stop light kit for the V46 box was available. Sure enough I found a listing for the kit, Givi model #E105. I placed the order online and paid via credit card--$48.42 plus shipping.
SERVICE. Excellent. Immediately after placing the order I received an email confirmation; I received a shipping notification the next day, the shipment arrived at my door via UPS eight days after placing the order. Since most of that time was spent in shipping transit I consider that to be good service. This is online shopping the way it should be done! The kit was a small box of miscellaneous parts and several pages of illustrated installation instructions in several different languages, one of which was very poor English; more on that later.
INSTALLATION. Frustrating and time consuming, but certainly within the capabilities of the average home mechanic. The process--which took me about two hours--went something like this:
1. I always open the bag of parts, check them over, and inventory them against the parts list. Each piece was accounted for and I laid them out in numerical order.
2. I read all the installation instructions and look over the illustrations to familiarize myself with the process before I began; in this case it was quite a chore because the photo illustrations were not very clear and the written instructions in English were not well-written. Undaunted, I began the job by working carefully and checking off each step in order.
3. The first steps involved disassembling the lid of the topcase, assembling the lighting module (What's up with that? There's no reason they couldn't have shipped this unit assembled rather than in 5 pieces) and mounting it to the topcase lid. Most steps could be done with a small screwdriver, but some drilling is required.
4. Work on the lower portion of the case involved some drilling and installing the wiring and contacts. At that point the work on the case is finished and the instructions were all checked off and a couple of parts remained; unfortunately, there are no instructions at all for wiring the box to the bike and the mounting bracket. If you're at all mechanically inclined and have the Givi topcase rack it's not hard to decipher. Near the back edge of the rack you can see the outline of a hole that needs to be drilled to accept the connector; after drilling it out (carefully) I slipped the connector into it and ran the electrical leads back under the topcase rack. Time to tap into the bike's stoplight circuit.
5. Before I went any further I wanted to check and see that the new lights were working properly so I snapped the topcase into place, removed the seat and touched the electrical leads to the the battery terminals. We had light!
6. Looking back under the tail section I could see the two tail light bulbs. I removed the one on the right side of the bike by twisting it counter-clockwise and pulling it out; that gave me a little room to identify and work with the wires. The bulb carrier had three wires leading to it: gray (tail light), black with white stripe (ground) and white with black stripe (stop light). I'm not particularly fond of Scotchlok connectors for motorcycle applications, but the kit included a couple of splice connectors so I decided to give 'em a try. I spliced the black wire from the topcase to the black/white wire and spliced the blue wire from the topcase to the white/black wire. A quick test revealed that the lights worked fine, so I tightened all connections and wrapped the bundle with electrician's tape. I replaced the bulb carrier into the tail light unit. To be safe I notched the edge of the tail section so that the seat wouldn't ride on the wires and chafe them through. I replaced the seat and the job was done!
RESULTS. Some good, some not so good. I was a little disappointed that the kit provided just four small bulbs; they don't add a lot of light during the daylight hours. I'm also not too wild about the use of spring contacts at the lid and junction with the mounting rack; they are not always reliable and are susceptible to corrosion, so I used a small dab of dielectric grease on them. On the plus side the extra lights are just the right height to catch the eye of drivers behind me; they also throw off a surprisingly good glow at night. The plus side of the spring contacts mentioned above is that they enable me to remove and replace the case on the mounting rack very easily.
Worth the money? A reserved yes. It's not a lot of light, but it's not a lot of money. If the extra light catches the eye of the driver of that Ford Expedition behind me, the $50 spent will be a bargain.