Long-Term 2016 BMW S1000XR: Recycled SW-Motech Cargo Rack

Overcoming the early adopter blues.

WRIST: Marc Cook
MSRP (2016): $19,760 (as tested)
MILES: 11,318
MPG: 38
MODS: Recycled SW-Motech top rack

It seems odd to admit that a guy running a $20K long-term bike would also be a cheapskate, but it’s true. Or maybe as much as that I’m just impatient. You see, my daily commute on California freeways calls for—no, it actually demands—a narrow, agile motorcycle. Which is why I’m such a fan of the top case; I have a place to tote lunch to work and bring junk home at night without causing the XR to be any more of a traffic challenge than necessary.

BMW luggage rack
Beneath a plastic cover on the XR’s luggage rack are six threaded bosses that can be used to secure another type of rack.©Motorcyclist

Problem is, the XR's rack is unique. And it's taken some time for the aftermarket to catch up. For example, Givi is in the process of making an aluminum plate that bolts to the BMW's stock rack to carry a Monokey top case. But it's not yet available. SW-Motech has also just begun delivering rack adapters, but the first product is the Alu-Rack Toprack (see Alu-Rack here: twistedthrottle.com). I have long used the sister product, the Steel Toprack, because it contains built-in mounts for Givi Monokey or Trax Adventure boxes, needing only bag-specific hardware to make it all work. But the Alu-Rack depends on a plastic intermediate piece (see Adapter Plate here: twistedthrottle.com) to carry the top box itself. I had this setup on my personal Kawasaki Versys 650, but felt that it wasn't quite as solid as I like.

bmw storage rack adaptor
Using the original plastic luggage-rack overlay, I was able to drill holes through the SW-Motech Steel Toprack that picked up four of the six screw locations.©Motorcyclist

It just so happened that I had a leftover Steel Toprack from another project that I thought I could make work on the XR. I started by removing the BMW’s plastic luggage-rack cover. It connects to the rack with six screws. By placing the plastic piece over the soon-to-be-modded Steel Toprack, I could see how it all fit together. After some contemplation, I found an orientation that would let me use four of the six pickup points on the BMW rack with adequate edge distance from the new holes to cutouts in the steel rack. Four newly drilled holes later, I had my new Steel Toprack. (Incidentally, the donor rack fits the Yamaha FJR1300 sport-tourer. There may be better candidates in the SW-M catalog, but I don’t have the option of checking in person.)

givi motorcycle storage cases
Givi’s 33-liter Monokey top box is basic but super handy. Its size does not overwhelm the XR’s lines.©Motorcyclist

With the proper hardware in place, the modded rack carries my Givi B33 Monokey top case (see Givi B33 here: giviusa.com) with ease, turning a wonderfully fast, theoretically sexy machine into a geek-box-toting commuter missile. Fine by me.

bmw s1000xr fork seals
Hmmm, that looks like a blown fork seal. Interestingly, that’s the fork leg without the ESA damping mechanism. We’ll see what’s up at the 12,000-mile service.©Motorcyclist

Oh, you might be wondering why I don’t just get the BMW accessory top case. Simple answer: It’s too easy!

The XR is about ready for the 12,000-mile service, and while it's there I'm going to have Mamba Motorsports (mambamotorsports.com) check on a weeping right fork leg, which, ironically, isn't the leg with the damping apparatus.

bmw adv bikes
The service minder starts counting down before the nasty “achtung” light comes on. For the XR, BMW calls for service every 6,000 miles.©Motorcyclist
long-term bmw s1000xr
Long-term BMW S1000XR©Motorcyclist
BMW luggage rack
Beneath a plastic cover on the XR’s luggage rack are six threaded bosses that can be used to secure another type of rack.©Motorcyclist
bmw storage rack adaptor
Using the original plastic luggage-rack overlay, I was able to drill holes through the SW-Motech Steel Toprack that picked up four of the six screw locations.©Motorcyclist
givi motorcycle storage cases
Givi’s 33-liter Monokey top box is basic but super handy. Its size does not overwhelm the XR’s lines.©Motorcyclist
bmw s1000xr fork seals
Hmmm, that looks like a blown fork seal. Interestingly, that’s the fork leg without the ESA damping mechanism. We’ll see what’s up at the 12,000-mile service.©Motorcyclist
bmw adv bikes
The service minder starts counting down before the nasty “achtung” light comes on. For the XR, BMW calls for service every 6,000 miles.©Motorcyclist