RSS

Monthly Archives: December 2012

Coocase S50 Astra Topcase Review

photoI 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.

TailTurnWiring 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.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on December 12, 2012 in Gear Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Baby, it’s cold outside

Photo Credit: ADAM ZUCKERMAN, Rider Magazine

Photo Credit: ADAM ZUCKERMAN, Rider Magazine

Normally in the fall my friends and I take a four or five day riding trip that helps me get through the winter. This year we were not able to pull off our trip and I feel like somethings missing. I really look forward to this long ride capping off the regular riding season, but now it seems unfinished.

I’m not one to stop riding when it gets cold, but I do ride less in the colder months than in the summer. Partly this is due to me being lazy and not wanting to winterize my bike. It’s also because there are always those 60 degree surprise days that pop up all through winter and I don’t want to not have a bike to ride when they come around. Generally I’ll ride as long as the surface road temps are above 35 and the outside temps are around 40. I’ve collected a gear set that keeps me warm on my commute. With a little more layering I can go on long trips without getting cold. A few weeks ago two friends and I took a day trip into Luray, VA for lunch and a to ride the surrounding area. It wasn’t exceptionally cold but we did see snow on the side of the road as we crossed Sky Line drive on Rt. 211.

My winter kit isn’t anything special. It’s gear that I’ve collected over time and found works for me. I have Dainese TRQ-Tour Gore-Tex Boots, Smartwool tall ski socks, FirstGear TGP insulated riding pants, TourMaster insulated/windproof riding jacket, Aerostitch 3 season Vegan gloves, and a fleece neck warmer. For longer rides I will also put on my Cycle Gear FREEZE-Out base layer long sleeve top and long johns. I’ve been satisfied with my winter gear so far. The recent addition of the FREEZE-Out base layers has extended my riding range a lot. It’s light weight and breathes well keeping me warm but not hot and sweaty. My bike also has heated grips which are a huge help and allow me to wear thinner gloves but still have warm hands.

How long into the winter do you ride? What do you do to keep warm? Electric heat or no? Leave a comment and share. I’d love to discover your secret to staying warm so that we can all use it and be able to ride longer into the colder months.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 7, 2012 in Commuting, Gear Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

 
Moto Adventurer

Confessions of a Motorcycle-Aholic

c90ftw

an avid motorcyclist's journey transitioning from the street to the track

Motorcycles and the Cynic

My motorcycle adventures and thoughts

Two Wheel Tripping

Adventures in motorcycle road tripping

EXPERIMENTAL GHOST

motorcycles, travel, friendship, respect... I may drift off into WTF-land at times so hang in there.

The Texas Rambler

Motorcycling, Motorcycle Touring & Travel Blog

I JUST WANT 2 RIDE!!

Our Motorcycle Blog about Motorcycle Stuff

FoodMapAdventures

Adventures are not defined by size, it's by experiences along the way

Ride2ADV

Shrinking The Planet - One Ride At A Time

bikermonkey

Live, Love & Ride

riderako

I ride, therefore I am

built in the bathhouse

the progress and inspiration of a retro classic motorcycle builder

hollywooddesmo

Splitting Lanes and Taking Names

Motorcycle touring and its lessons in turn.

Passionate love for the simple joy of riding

Louda Goes Vroom

(Laʊd-uh gohz vroom)

Bucket List Publications

Indulge- Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences

The Wheelnerds Podcast

A couple nerds talk weekly about motorcycles and stuff...

CouchSurf America

CouchSurfing my way across the 50 states of America and 10 Provinces of Canada.

Darlene Steelman McGarrity

Writing With A Day Job

Observations of a Perpetual Motorcyclist

Tales from the road and the range.

Adventurous Wanderings

Stories of Sailing, RV-ing, Motorcycles and Adventures

notwithoutthebike

Freedom and the open road.

Northwest RoadRAT

A blog about bikes, me, and whatever else comes to mind...

TwoTireTirade

Keeping the faith of fanatics who feel fired up for anything motorcycles. It’s all about the journey and the philosophy of riding on two wheels. Let’s bring alive the truly unique culture of motorcycling and never let the ride leave the fibers of our being.

The Great 80's

All The Things We Love (and Hate) About The Eighties!

%d bloggers like this: