If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Monday 5 December 2011

Sweet! (or should that be 'suite'?)

I wrote recently about getting a new larger Givi topbox to match the small one that came with the Sprint. I now have two bikes with identical mounting plates, and two differently-sized* boxes. This is majorly convenient and adaptable: short trips and commutes on either bike, and longer trips or shopping expeditions on either bike. It's working well.

One thing remained: the keys. I usually attach the topbox keys to the ignition keys, as I would always be forgetting them otherwise. Swapping boxes over would therefore mean a lot of struggling and broken nails with swapping the keys to the other ignition set, and that just looks like a hassle too far for a system that was meant to be easy and convenient. Having the box keys on separate rings with a carabiner clip would be easier, but would mean labelling it all, and a lot of metalwork clanking about while the bike was in motion. No, that won't do either.

The other issue was the lack of a spare key for the small box. The Sprint came with one set of keys and a promise that the spare set were with the previous owner and would be found as soon as possible. I get a bit nervous if I don't have a spare set somewhere, so I pressed the dealer to get them from the previous owner (I was assured they were there and 'just forgotten'). However, after a lot of nagging and a series of variably-plausible excuses, I have come to realise that the spare set are not recoverable. A spare Triumph ignition key is on order and should be easily sorted, but a spare Givi key is not so easy. After a fair bit of research, it seems that Givi no longer sell individual keys. You have to buy a new lock.

You know that cheesy inspirational thing about when life gives you lemons, make lemonade? Well, I think I have just produced a pint ot two. For fourteen of your Earth pounds (£17 including postage), you can get a two-lock set: two barrels, two lock housings, two circlips and four keys. I ordered some from Motorcycle Planet after checking the part number of the set I needed with Givi - part number Z227, if anyone's interested - and a few days later they arrived. I was a bit nervous about fitting them. After all, it's locks, and that means deliberately difficult with some designed-in gotchas, doesn't it? But in the end it was simple, and I changed the locks in both boxes in about half an hour. The first one took 25 minutes, the second five, so that shows how easy it was after you have worked out what to do. And that included cleaning out road muck from the attachment mechanisms as well, and a quick lube of the relevant bits.

I'm not going to detail the procedure here, for obvious reasons. Suffice it to say that once you have the box off the bike and open, it's completely logical. I needed a cross-point screwdriver, a small electrical screwdriver (for the E-clip holding the thing together) and a pair of needle-nose pliers to snap it all back. You will need strong hands, too. Both for re-assembling the lock and for re-attaching it to the box, you need to hold things together against spring pressure, and on each lock I had to re-attach the lock to the box twice (lining it up better the second time) to get it to work.

Two words of warning:
  1. Before you take the E-clip off to release the lock mechanism, memorise how the thing looks, or even better take a photo. It can go back in at least 8 different orientations, and only one of those will work.
  2. Check the mechanism clamping the lid down, and the operation of the lock and attachment release before closing the box to check your work. If it closes and you have got it wrong, it's likely you will need to drill the lock out to open it again.
So now I have a set of keys for each bike, each with a Givi key that will open either box. Oh, and two spares. I believe that the modern term for this is 'suiting' the locks, but I just think it's sweet.

*See how I avoided giving offence there?


  1. You have very dirty numberplates...

  2. It's spray-on pixel mosaic; a bit like that canned mud the 4x4 owners in Chelsea use. Beats having to do a wheelie every time you pass a camera.


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