I just made the final enhancements to my new trunk installation, and I’m very happy with it. Here’s how I did it.
First, I removed the Silverwing’s stock trunk. (That much is obvious.) My bike was originally designed to have either the rear passenger seat OR the trunk attached at the same time. There was a very popular aftermarket adapter available that allowed for both, sticking the trunk out in back of the passenger seat. My bike is fortunate enough to have it. This is not a true luggage rack – no cross bars or anything – as it’s designed specifically for the Silverwing’s stock trunk. It bolts on simply with two bolts, and that’s more than adequate for a secure installation in either position.
The new trunk is literally twice as big as the stock one. It comes with a mounting bracket of its own, which is full of slots and holes to bolt onto virtually any luggage rack, so it was easy to figure out how to bolt it to the holes intended for the stock trunk. Unfortunately, for the correct overall fit, the attachment points were nearly all the way toward the back of the bracket, and there was nothing to support the front of it. The fit wasn’t bad, and I did take a quick ride with my personal laptop inside with it mounted this way, but I would feel a lot more comfortable with some support in the front as well.
The solution was less than $5 worth of parts at the hardware store. The two bolts that hold the tail light on lined up rather well with the front of the bracket. So I bought a pair of 6″ straight brackets, drilled a couple of new holes in the trunk bracket (okay, three – ignore the empty hole where I messed up the first time), and bolted it all together. It’s rock solid now. The entire rack itself rattles more than the trunk on the rack.
The end result is pretty slick. I had to move my ham radio antenna, since the new trunk overlaps the sides of the rack by quite a bit, but I positioned the trunk far enough forward to give me just enough space to clamp the antenna on behind it. It’s not the most convenient location for loading, but it’ll do. I’m considering installing an antenna mount directly on the lid of the trunk itself. It’ll be a more clean appearance, and completely out of the way when I’m loading or unloading. Being a half wave antenna, it doesn’t require a groundplane of metal underneath it to work properly, so it wouldn’t be a problem mounting it to plastic.
I was happy to find that my measurements had been correct, and that my laptop bag for work does fit in the trunk. It’s a tight fit, but I’d rather have that than have it sliding around inside. It’ll also make it easier for me to use my backpack as my “stuff I’m taking inside tonight” pack and just lift it in and out of the trunk. I made this work on the NH trip, but I did have to somewhat stuff the bag inside, and I intentionally only packed it half full so that it could crush a bit.
An unanticipated benefit of this trunk is that it’s intended to be removable without tools. Simply unscrew the bolt you can see at the bottom of the trunk in the previous picture (only accessible from the inside, so with the trunk closed and locked it’s secure), and the trunk comes right off. The bracket that’s left behind has the effect of turning my rack into a true luggage rack, something I can strap items to if I decide to go without the trunk. I don’t think I’ll be doing this very often, but it’ll be nice to have the flexibility to run any combination of luggage I want with no tools required to install or remove anything, including no luggage at all.
See the small flat space underneath the lock? I’m thinking that would be the perfect place for a small LED strip – at least an additional brake light, and perhaps a running light as well. This picture is a good example of why I’d like some better rear lighting – the trunk bracket sticks out over the tail light and makes it a bit less visible, especially from above. The turn signals are bright enough that I don’t think I need the fancy LED strips that have those built in as well. I’ll take a measurement and go online shopping.
Finally, there’s an open gap between the back of the passenger seat and the tail light that wasn’t there before. This used to be covered by the stock trunk. It’s not too visible, but I’d like to figure out a way to cover it up – if nothing else, to keep the tail light wiring dry in case of heavy rain.