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Zana 45L Top Box review & DIY installation on my Himalayan

"My primary requirements for a top box was that it must be able to take a full face helmet with an intercom, my gloves and have some space for other small items."

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Update: Review of the Zana 45L Top Box

Getting a Top Box/Case for the bike was always on the cards for me, as I’d mentioned earlier on this thread somewhere. Lugging my helmet around everywhere was inconvenient, especially during day rides, and even in the city. I needed lockable storage on the bike, and a top box seemed like the perfect solution. While a Cycle Lock from Decathlon could secure the helmet, leaving the intercom outside wasn't practical. Constantly unplugging and re-plugging it could damage the port over time. Additionally, I often carry my rain gear, so having it on the bike would be much more convenient than carrying it around. Considering all these factors, getting a top box was the logical choice for me.

I was well aware of the possible disadvantages of the top box, and the possible effect it may have on the handling dynamics of a motorcycle, which I’ll address in this post a little later. The decision to finally take the plunge and get one was after a lot of information extraction from Shyam, who has traversed the entire country pretty much with a top case from Shad and/or Givi by his side (Or should I say on the back)

Whilst I’m not too bothered about adding weight to the bike, in general, I still wanted to keep the box as light as possible due to the area on which the box is mounted, high and well away from the bike’s centre of gravity. Hence I decided against aluminum boxes. If I had to pick an aluminium box however, it would have been Auto Engina’s 42L Top Case as it comes with support braces that attach to the saddle stays, albeit only the RE OEM Stays. Since I have Saddle Stays from Zana, that idea went out of the window

Top Rack Change

Shyam further said that for the Himalayan, it's best to change the rear rack to something sturdier even if I was mounting a Plastic Box, hence I decided to pick up a rack from Zana.

The rack in itself is sturdy and well-made, and not too heavy, frankly. The Stock Rack with the Aftermarket Plate I had on the bike weighed 3.4Kgs whereas the Zana Rack weighed just 2.4 Kgs, All whilst being much thicker and reinforced at better positions. Shyam has been running a Zana rack for his Himalayan for a while now, and it has held up pretty well.

The Contenders

My primary requirements for a top box were that it must be able to take a full-face helmet with an intercom, my gloves and have some space for other small items like a cloth and zip ties and whatnot. Further, it had to be reasonably sturdy and mustn’t break the bank. I wasn’t looking to spend more than Rs 10,000 for the whole affair and the rack in itself cost me Rs 3,000.

  • Givi B32 Bold -

I had a look at this box earlier when I’d been to Let’s Gear Up in HSR about a year ago, however it was a little too compact. It probably could take a full-face helmet, but that’s about it. Plus it was also out of stock at Bikenbiker, where it was listed for a reasonable price (around 5.5k) and was retailing at almost 8k everywhere else which was not reasonable considering that it didn’t come with an Inner Liner to muffle the noise that is inevitable from things rattling around, which I personally cannot stand.

  • JB Racing 45L ABS -

This was really cheap at 3200Rs, but I just wasn’t a fan of the way it looked (Although Top Cases, in General, aren’t great lookers, but I’m trying to minimize the damage here). Reminds me of those old-timey suitcases that my grandparents used to load on a bus when they came to visit. No inner lining on this one either, but hey at the price I can’t really complain about that.

  • JB Racing 45L Economy -

Weird name, but it looks like case. Looks like an Aluminium Box with the carry handles on top and luggage routing loops, but is completely made of ABS. Was priced at 7499, which was reasonable. Shortlisted this.

  • Zana 45L ABS Top Box - Little did I know that Zana themselves had also started selling top boxes, both Aluminium and Plastic Variants. I couldn’t find any reviews on YouTube, but one look at them, and I realized it's all the same Chinese(?) Boxes that JB Racing, TreknRide, and other similar manufacturers are rebadging and selling here, so I figured why not try this. Was priced at 6200 Rs. Comes with a 6-month warranty and also has a soft inner liner. Here are some pictures of the Box and its accompaniments.

Installation

Delivery was fairly straightforward, as is the usual case now (Only Bikester Global hasn’t been able to sort this to date). The Rack and Box came in about 4-5 days from Haryana to Bangalore. The Box and the plate combined weigh a mere 4.2 Kgs. The Installation procedure is fairly straightforward and the plate is a direct bolt-on to the Zana Rack. Installation of the rack, however, phew, that was a task. I’m not sure whether it is Royal Enfield’s inconsistent welds or Zana’s (I think RE cause of past instances) but the rack was a bit too tight to fit on when using the rubber washers provided. Furthermore, replacing the rack at home proved challenging. While I managed to remove three of the four screws holding the rack, the fourth screw seemed to be stuck with an excessive amount of locktite, causing the screw head to strip. I had to take it to a welding shop to have it removed and had the rack and plate installed at my local FNG as it was nearby.

Stripped Screw Head

Then came another issue (definitely an issue with RE) is that the rack plate just wasn’t straight and was tilted to the left, This I was aware of earlier but was too prominent to ignore with the box mounted, so I used the two Rubber Washers from the Pillion Backrest Holes that this rack can accommodate and added it on the left side (Notice a small green object) to balance the rack.

Uneven Rack

Other than these issues, however, I guess you could say everything went well. I wasn’t a big fan of the lime green reflectors that Zana provides, so I picked up a few Red ones from Amazon.

Storage

Overall, the storage is sufficient for my usage. It can accommodate a full-face helmet with an intercom and a few other knick-knacks, although this can vary based on your helmet shape. It has some detachable soft lining all around the inside (Including under the Lid) and also has a little zipper compartment on the Lid. I carry around a few essentials every day in the box, namely a cloth, zip ties, insulation tape, a 12V USB Adapter for the charging port, Aux Light Filters, etc. Whenever I park my bike, I leave my helmet and gloves in the box. During the rainy season, I might pack my rain gear in there as well.

Riding Dynamics

As Red Liner once said on this forum, "The Top Box isn't going to affect the Himalayan's Moto GP*Aerodynamics" and boy was he right. I honestly felt no difference (Have Ridden Only Solo with the Box So Far). I tested the box at varying speeds (up to 100 Kmph) on varying surfaces and varying gradients. I even took it on washboard gravel for about 4 kms at 50kmph continuously which rattled the mobile holder loose but the box was still solid. You definitely are aware of the box’s presence when there is a crosswind but it's nothing major. I plan to get the Autoengina crash guards either way in the future, which I believe will add some ballast to offset the effect of the box if any (Weight towards the front, down low). There is some amount of rattling noise present when you go over bumps, but nothing major really. The key really is to fill the box that occupies space but doesn’t weigh a lot, and it shouldn’t be a big issue.

Overall seems like a good product for the price, and I hope it holds up well. Cheers!

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