You could also call this the "junk in the trunk" review.
Since I only have the bike and needed more grocery-getter utility than a backpack would provide, I decided to try the pricey Givi stuff. I went with the newer and largest E55 case. Mine is the E55NT version which is matte black with clear lenses. I liked it because I didn't want shiny and I also recently went to all clear lenses on the bike. I compared the dimensions of the V46, E46, E52, and E55. They are not very different and I figured that if I was going to have a big honkin box up there it may as well be useful. The E55 allows two helmets to sit vertically and quite a few groceries can get swallowed up. The trim strip around the center is shiny which I don't like much but it's better than the other colors to my eyes.
Install is easy, although three hands would be nice when mounting the monorack. The side bars will require a little twist to get the bolts lined up. If you try to run them in without proper alignment the bolts will try to cross thread. I had one start to cross thread and so backed away for a deep breathe and then got things better lined up before continuing. Note that the monorack is not the color shown on all of the websites. The pictures show it as the same color as the grabrail but it's actually the color of the rearsets/engine case. It's probabaly a 98% match to that color, maybe a tiny bit darker.
The case opens and/or comes off the rack easily with the key is generally high quality. It takes a certain touch to close it smoothly. You have to press down on the top while also pressing inward with the other hand on the Maxia3 label. It's explained that way in the instructions and works. The pop-out carrying handle is also nice.
So far it's a thumbs up. I can't tell any real handling difference. Maybe I'll know it's there when it gets windy. I ride two-up a lot with my GF and thought about ordering the backrest but she says that her back does not touch the trunk. I have a Corbin seat on order so that should finalize the comfort/utility equation for both of us. Talk about an economic stimulus package!
I bought the Givi setup from sporttour.com - they had the best price I could find and also offer free shipping on Givi luggage. That's outstanding considering some shops want $30 to ship a case.The case was $306 and the rack was $135. I opted for the Givi rack over the SW-Motech at twistedthrottle.com because I have the Corbin seat on order and the SW-Motech rack is not compatible with it.
In addition, I spent $139 for a custom LED kit from Admore Lighting. They are in Canada and design kits specifically for each Givi case. This one has bi-color LED strips that fit precisely in the tiny holes behind the reflector lenses in the case. You do have to drill a hole somewhere in the box as can be seen in the pictures. The harness has a mini controller built in that gives the brakes a quick modulation when you tap them - a nice touch. Some of the kits only have red for turn signals but this one has amber. Installation took about an hour as I had to slide the cowl back to access the lighting connections. I recently installed the Clear Alternatives integrated taillight so I already knew which wires to tap. The kit comes with all the connectors required and good instructions.
I will soon lose the reflectors and figure out if I want LED turn signals in place of the stockers - no rush on that. I like the visibility and I need to keep the fender anyway as I don't like rooster tails hitting me on the back - gets wet a lot in Miami.