Oxford 24-Litre Topbox Review
It won’t add any horsepower, but it does offer useful luggage space that would otherwise involve bulky rucksacks and back pain or floppy bags ockie-strapped to the back seat. And with that comes the risk of facial trauma if one of the hooks lets go.
A topbox is a rigid plastic case that’s lockable and usually almost entirely water-tight. Some have quick-release latches and can be carried a bit like a suitcase, others are more permanently attached to the bike with built-in brake and tail-lights. Others fit somewhere in between. This is one of those.
Aftermarket boxes are available in a variety of sizes from about 20 to more than 50 litres in capacity. While the big jobs will hold two helmets, they’re pretty huge and invite overloading. Plus, they look absurd on small bikes or scooters.
The smaller ones will generally take a helmet when it’s not on your head, or perhaps a set of rain gear, lunch, a security lock and the stuff you want to keep out of sight and out of the rain such as a change of clothes and shoes for the office, groceries. Or a balaclava, leather gloves and a small-calibre firearm.
Oxford is a UK company that produce various aftermarket accessories. It’s best-known product lines are its ranges of heated handlebar grips, intelligent battery chargers and now, hard luggage.
The 24-litre box comes with everything you need to mount it to your bike barring the tools (a screwdriver and a 10mm spanner) assuming you already have some form of firm rack on your bike.
Task one is to mount the Oxford’s base plate: it’s pretty straightforward and there are lots of options to give maximum chance of getting it straight, square and secure. Once that’s done, it’s a case of slipping the box onto the plate and tightening it down with the provided knurled knob. Even for someone with multiple thumbs and advanced OCD (or in the correct order, CDO) like me, it was the work of 10 minutes – well, okay, about an hour, while I sorted through hundreds of nuts, bolts and washers to find four identical sets – to mount it securely.
I have three observations: it’s distressingly easy to slam the box’s lid with the keys inside. It’s like locking your keys in the car except RACV, RACQ, AAA or the Cavalry won’t come and help, and, while 24 litres is a lot if it’s water and you have to carry it, it’s not actually a huge volume. So, a full-face Shoei or Arai Adventure helmet will only fit if it’s lying on its side.
Plus, while the latch involves a stout steel peg rather than the flimsy plates used by some rival manufacturers, there’s a bit of a risk that this locking peg can scratch your visor.
That said, I turned the garden hose on the Oxford to simulate a downpour and exactly no water found its way in – which is pretty much what you’d expect from a product from England, isn’t it?
OUR RATING: 3.5/5
AVAILABLE: All good motorcycle stores