By April 29, 2009

JC Whitney motorcycle hard case review

When I sold Raider, my BMW R1150R, I knew I would immediately miss the greater storage capacity. Sure, my Yamaha FZ6 Cylon has the Givi V46 top case and E21 side cases. Even though Raider had the ultra-wimpy E350 Flow case (35L instead of the V46’s 46L), I felt like I had more space on the BMW due to the massive side cases.

However, I didn’t want to spend $200 each on getting the 40L Givi E360 side cases. I started looking around for alternatives, and found a thread on ADVrider.com about JC Whitney’s hard cases. They are a knock-off of the E360, and by all accounts they were not as well made as their Italian inspirations. Yes, there were accounts of them flying off of the supplied mounting rack at highway speeds, or that the interior “stays” that held the clamshell design open snapping on first use. Yes, there was that stupid iron cross sticker on the top. However, they were cheap, at about $85 before shipping.

The more I read, the more intrigued I became. The rumor was that with some “fine tuning” they could be modified to fit the existing Givi rack on my bike. I was already ready to try them out, but when I found a way to get them for less than $65 shipped I was chomping at the bit.

Find out how to get the JC Whitney trunk for as little as possible. WARNING: AS OF 05/01/2009 THIS APPEARS TO BE DEAD. I will leave the directions up just in case it gets reactivated.

JC Whitney processed my order very quickly, and my first trunk arrived. This was actually before I sold Raider, and I was interested in using it as a replacement topcase. I removed the Givi mounting plate on the BMW and put on the supplied JC Whitney plate. I think the mounting plate is why so many people have problems. It’s cheaply made out of a thin sheet metal and easily contorts out of shape. After less than a week of use, I took the top case off to inspect it, and found this crack at a mounting point:

http://gallery.drfaulken.com/d/6489-2/IMG_8876.JPG

I sent the case back, JC Whitney was very easy to deal with during the RMA process and my refund was processed quickly. However, this made me determined to not use the mounting plate on my FZ6. Pleased with the overall quality of the case, I also ordered a second one (well, technically third).

So, I broke out my coarse metal file and went to work filing off some of the plastic around the mounting point. I butchered the cases, but after about ten minutes combined both cases clicked neatly in place on the stock Givi side rack.

http://gallery.drfaulken.com/d/6294-2/IMG_8997.JPG
Front view

http://gallery.drfaulken.com/d/6297-2/IMG_8998.JPG
Side view — note that I removed the included back rests. I wound up putting bolts in the open holes later and sealing them with silicone.

http://gallery.drfaulken.com/d/6299-2/IMG_8999.JPG
Rear view

I have put about 400 miles on the side cases already, and they have shown no signs of cracking like my first case. I also speed tested them to over 100MPH indicated, and they stayed put. There were reports of the cases leaking, but I haven’t experienced any water intrusion — and that was before I plugged the holes from where the back rest used to be.

I modified the lock on one of the cases to accept the key from the other, so now I don’t have to carry around two keys. I should have taken pictures for a write-up, maybe I will disassemble the locks again another time.

Anyway, for about $130 delivered for the pair, I am very happy with the JC Whitney side cases.

Recommended.


Okay, this is how I got the large trunk from JC Whitney for the lowest price possible. You must follow the directions exactly (
taken from ADVrider.com), and don’t panic about the price. WARNING: AS OF 05/01/2009 THIS APPEARS TO BE DEAD. I will leave the directions up just in case it gets reactivated.

  1. First off, you MUST click on this link to begin: http://www.jcwhitney.com/autoparts/Search?catalogId=10111&storeId=10101&sku=zxe20997G I don’t know what is so special about this page, but if you browse the site for the trunk, or search by part number, the deal won’t work.
  2. Add the large $85 trunk to the cart. (the wrong price will show)
  3. Search for and add the $5.99 bungee net to the cart. Part # bZX272206 (the wrong price still shows for the trunk)
  4. Open the cart. Add the free shipping promo code ‘frshp50’. (The wrong price still shows for the trunk, but free shipping should show)
  5. Checkout. Enter your name address information. Select FedEx expedited shipping. (The wrong price still shows for the trunk)
  6. Enter your credit card information. (The wrong price still shows)
  7. On the FINAL CONFIRMATION screen before you actually spend your money. Finally, the correct price will show

My shipped price was $63 per case. Not bad. 🙂

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Posted in: motorcycling, review

9 Comments on "JC Whitney motorcycle hard case review"

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  1. Sideout says:

    Great write-up. So you have 3 keys now, one per each case?

  2. drfaulken says:

    Thanks!

    I have two keys: one for the Givi V46 and one for the pair of JC Whitney cases. I took the lock apart on one and ground the gates down to accept the other key.

    I really should have taken pictures, it would have made a great write-up on how to modify both cases to share a key.

  3. Sideout says:

    Great idea, definitely make a post about that. I am pretty sure there is quite a large number of people who bought more than one case and would find it helpful.

  4. Starbuck says:

    The only thing bad about them is that it is harder for me to get on the bike, as a passenger, because the case blocks where i use to put my foot on the peg. It was interesting getting on as a passenger. I almost fell :/ But it worked out

  5. Sideout says:

    Starbuck, yoga is your friend 🙂

  6. Starbuck says:

    Sideout: Funny thing is I have been taking yoga for a month now 🙂 But I think my problems with getting on the bike are the leather pants that won’t let me lift my leg high enough because they aren’t broken in.

  7. Andrew says:

    Hey, Doc – I’ve been reading your site for a while and finally took a little plunge on a BMW F650. I picked up a set of Givi brackets and e21 cruiser bags from Twisted Throttle. The cruiser bags are smaller than I’d hoped (the outer dimensions seemed fine, but they’re contoured in just the wrong way). So, anyway… how much monkeying did the JCW cases take to mount on the Monokey side rack brackets? Can you elaborate on that bit a little?

  8. drfaulken says:

    Hey Andrew, thanks for the comment.

    I used a metal file to wear away the plastic mounting “notches” on the bottom of the JC Whitney case. I ground enough material away that the cases snapped right in.

    I will caution you against using the JC Whitney cases as side cases. I don’t think they are built well enough to handle the stress of a full bag on the hinges. I had a hinge fail on one case, and a lock bracket fail on the other. I was unwilling to risk my cargo if something failed on the highway, so I bought the Givi E360s instead.

    Good luck should you decide to use the JC Whitney cases as side cases; people who use them as top cases seem to be happier.

  9. Andrew says:

    Yikes! ‘Nuff said. I’m looking for a sidecase solution to carry my Macbook around in. I’m guessing the JCW shouldn’t be trusted with that job.

    Anyway, I’ve been digging your site. The little travelogue you posted recently was great.