Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Project report: Installing a top case rack

The first stop on this summer's Tour was Cornwall where I dropped in on Peter Sanderson.

Peter had mentioned to me that he had a Vespa cover he no longer had a use for and that it was mine if I wanted it. I took him up on the generous offer. I wasn't sure I'd have room for the cover but it turned out not only that I had room for it, but that it actually did the Tour with me and was really handy.

Peter had even more generosity up his sleeve, including a chrome plated top case rack he had decided not to install and no longer had a use for. I managed to squeeze the rack into my topcase, but I left it at my sister's in Toronto. I had business in Toronto a few weeks later and took it home then.

On labor day weekend I finally got around to installing it.

It was simple. The only tricky part was getting it exactly where I wanted it.

I used a divider, some masking tape, a ruler and my Space Pen.

I put masking tape on the top case to protect the finish and to give me something to mark up.
I then placed the rack on the trunk lid and used the design ridges on the case to centre the rack. Once I had it where I wanted it, I traced the mounting points onto the masking tape.
I then used the divider to measure the precise distance between the mounting points of the rack, centre-to-centre. I transposed those points to the masking tape. Along the way I used the divider and the ruler to measure and re-measure where the holes would need to be drilled to be absolutely certain I had things right.

I then used my smallest drill bit to make pilot holes, then drilled out the final holes.
I added stainless steel washers on the inside to distribute the stress in the trunk lid and finished the installation with self-locking nuts instead of the plain nuts supplied with the rack.
I'm not sure the rack will ever see active duty, but I really like the look. I think it complements the rest of the bike very nicely.
Thanks Peter!


SonjaM said...

David, that looks very handsome on your steed. What is the maximum weight load you could put on it?

David Masse said...

Sonja, it's very sturdy. Piaggio has a very small weight rating on the topcase, in fact it will carry a lot. I would not want a full topcase and then something really heavy on that rack. My concern would be mainly stability if there was a lot of weight hanging behind the rear wheel.

Canajun said...

Looks good - a nice finishing touch.

Trobairitz said...

Very nice rack. Looks great on the Vespa.

Space Pen - haven't heard that one in a while. Please tell me your space pen was a pencil, lol.

RichardM said...

It looks good installed there. It would be a good location to tie a mesh bag to if you had things that needed to dry out. There should be plenty of air movement up there...

I still use space pens (not a pencil).

Unknown said...


I would probably put another larger flat washer under that smaller flat washer but it looks good. Rubber grommets on the top wouldn't hurt either

you mentioned good air flow to dry stuff on that rack. If I had that rack I wouldn't have "lost" my Large Camp towel but I was lucky to have it shipped via: Special Delivery to PA. And the price was right too

Riding the Wet Coast

Coop a.k.a. Coopdway said...

I've always liked the look of the racks on top of a case, gas tank, etc. but then I especially appreciate the functionality of such things.
As long as it's not overloaded, the box or the rack, it will be fine. I'm with Bob; something to spread out the load to prevent stress cracks around the holes sounds prudent.

VStar Lady said...

Nice Rack!

The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.