Kappa Garda Adventure Luggage Review

Nov 12, 2013 View Comments by

Kappa Garda Adventure Luggage ReviewGivi has been my ‘go to’ luggage choice for years. The Italian company has mastered both the design and execution of aftermarket luggage solutions for virtually any popular motorcycle you may ride. So when I started looking for a new case to mount on the Givi Monokey tail rack on my BMW R 1200 GS, the company’s adventure styled Trekker line seemed the logical starting point. However, I wanted the thinnest profile 33 liter size to keep the loaded bike’s center of gravity low. When I researched the Givi product I realized that in a topcase I didn’t need the Trekker’s innovative, but more complicated, dual opening system. That was when I came across the Kappa Garda line of adventure luggage.

My initial research on the Kappa Garda luggage revealed that it mates perfectly with the rugged Givi Monokey mounting system. There is a good reason for this. Kappa is Givi’s sister line— one that is marketed much more vigorously in Europe and Canada than in the U.S. It also carries a lower price tag than comparable Trekker pieces. I found relatively limited distributorship in the U.S., so I expanded my shopping search to retailers outside of the States. I found a great price from an Italian retailer (Motostorm) that included reasonable shipping costs and a promise of quick delivery. Amazingly, my Kappa case made it to my door in Arizona from Italy in only five business days.

Pulling the 33 liter Kappa out of the shipping box, I was instantly pleased with the appearance and rugged construction of the case. The Kappa line looks very similar to the Trekker series on the bottom half of the case. However, the top lid is styled differently. While it displays a black plastic and aluminum motif, there is less of the metal trim on the Garda case than on the Trekker. Also, as mentioned, there is a less complicated single opening lid on the Kappa.

As far as function goes, the single center latch system is simple, smooth, and effective. Just like on Givi Monokey cases, the Kappa uses one key both to lock the case lid and to lock the case to the mount. The rubber seal that runs the circumference of the case is well designed and looks like it will hold up to the elements and to countless openings and closings.

As advertised, the Kappa Garda case attached to my Givi Monokey plate perfectly and effortlessly. Stylistically, the combination of black composite plastic and brushed aluminum compliments the big GS very well. Photos of the Garda line on other adventure bikes reveal a similar aesthetic symbiosis. The cases look great in both side and top applications.

Something that I like about the Kappa case over its Trekker cousin is that a scratched or dented aluminum trim plate can be removed, via several hex head screws, and replaced. That is an attractive feature for true adventure riders. An unfortunate meeting with a rock or tree branch does not necessarily mean a permanently disfigured piece of luggage.

The Garda line is available in 33 liter (KGR33), 46 liter (KGR46), and 52 liter (KGR52). All can serve as side or topcases. There is also a full complement of accessories to complete the package —backrests, inner bag liners, and attachable top racks. As with Givi branded products, all cases can be keyed alike. Suggested retail prices range from about $280 to $350 for the cases, but lower prices can be found.

In the end, I am a big fan of Givi luggage and I think I am destined to feel the same way about the Kappa Garda case as an alternative.

Text and photography by Tim Kessel

 

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