I tend to carry a bit of “stuff” on my bike just as a precaution. I’m a little over careful that way. Be Prepared having been drilled into me as a Boy Scout. This means that one of my side cases is always full of tools, rain gear, tie downs, first aid kit, tire puncture kit, and various other odds and ends. I accumulated these essential items by way of either needing it and not having it or having it and begin really glad I did. Once items go into the side case they rarely come out.
Pro Tip: If you put wet rain gear away in a waterproof side case, make sure that you take it out to dry when you get home. This may seem obvious but waterproof cases are not only waterproof on the outside, they are also waterproof on the inside. This is why I now have a fuzzy tool roll.
Being one side case down for storage meant I either needed to strap a bag on the back of my bike or get a more weather proof option like a top case. I did extensive research online as well as polled other riders about what they had purchased. I narrowed my options down to three choices: OEM, Givi or Coocase. Each of these options had their pros and cons but in the end I chose the Coocase S50 Astra Topcase.
For those not familiar with Coocase, they offer a line of motorcycle and scooter top cases that are feature rich and cost about half that of a Givi. I purchased my Astra from Twisted Throttle. Their site was also very helpful in choosing the case thanks to their videos and customer reviews. The Coocase comes standard with a padded inner liner (top and bottom), integrated alarm, LED running lights, brake lights and remote control. There is also a connector in the case for an optional accessory charger, I haven’t purchased this but I plan to. In addition I also bought a passenger back rest and SW-MOTECH’s steel toprack that replaces the plastic OEM rack that came with the Connie.
The build quality of the Astra is excellent. The gloss black matches my bikes color exactly. This being my first top case I cannot compare it directly to other cases. My opinion, however, is that the case itself is rigid enough that I would feel comfortable and safe leaning against it while riding on the passenger seat. The steel toprack connected to the Astra’s mounting base instills me with confidence that the Astra will stay put without issue. If there is a nit to pick it is with the locking mechanism for the lid. When I received the case it was very stiff. To close the top case took a fair amount of effort. I had to both push down on the lid and push up from the bottom of the case to get the latch to click home. The key lock was also pretty stiff. A few shots of WD40 into the lock solved this problem.
Wiring up the break/running lights was simple and direct with a kit and instructions provided by Twisted Throttle plus a set of Posi-Lock and Posi-Tap connectors (note: if you are not familiar with Posi-lock products, you really have to check them out. They are the simplest way of wiring electronics to your bike I’ve ever seen). I did not connect the case directly to the battery as suggested in the installation instructions. Instead I tapped into the license plate light and the brake light line. This does mean that I am unable to use the remote to lock/unlock the top case or use the alarm unless the bike is on. This didn’t present a problem for me as I ditched the remote pretty early on. As for the alarm, if you can actually get the top case off the bike without the key you are welcome to what’s in it. You obviously need it more than I do.
I’ve had the case now for over a year and it has been a welcome addition of my daily commute as well as on longer trips. It has held up well. The lenses for the lights have started to yellow a little. I’m not worried as they look more smokey then faded at this point. There are no cracks in the plastic and minimal scratches. I did recently have to repair the female connector on the bottom of the top case. The solder points that connect the wiring had broken off inside the connector on the base of the top case. I had to remove the plug and solder new connections in place. This involved having to take apart the entire locking mechanism inside the case and adding new wires to the plug as the ones that came with the case had no slack to work with. The repair took about … well let’s just say if I was better at soldering it would have been about an hour. Everything is working as designed now.
Overall I’m still happy with the top case. It’s large (holds two full face helmets) which comes in handy more often than I would have thought. The added brake/running lights are a nice addition too. I’d recommend this product to anyone looking for a less expensive (but certainly not cheaply made) feature rich top case for their bike.