There is no such thing as a 100% waterproof top or side case that is reliable in all given circumstances. And now that we have made this clear, we’d like to explain why a side or top case can present fantastic results when it comes to waterproofness.
The IPX4 rating or IPX4 qualification signifies ‘protected against splash water and/or drops’. GIVI calls it waterproofness that is equal to a heavy rain shower.
Every IPX rating (IPX0 being a strainer, IPX8 a submarine) is the result of a test that considers the flow rate, angle of incidence and the power of the water, the duration of exposure and the result-with-tolerance afterward. A high-pressure cleaner or a water spray, that’s quite the difference. A wet day on the highway is not the same as a few drops before diving in your garage or crossing a river somewhere in South-America.
In this case, the rating is tested with a special machine that simulates rain with a flow rate of 20 litres/minute, the normative condition to speak of vertical and lateral rain. The test investigates the casing and checks whether it protects against water spray from all directions. The maximum tolerance employed to consider a GIVI case compliant with the directive is 10 cc.
This means: less than 10 cc of water inside the case after a stormy day is still okay with regard to the IPX4 rating. It doesn’t mean the contents of your case will definitely remain dry. Hence the raison d’être of watertight inner bags and the likes.
Waterproof side and top cases
Specifically with regard to side and top cases: they are not one continuous whole, they open and close and therefore, can by definition never be 100% waterproof. A side and top case is a hard protection. It is not a sterile, clean, waterproof or sealed storage space.
Every side or top case is cleaned, used, mounted and manipulated. It has a lock, hinges, rivets or something else to keep everything together. All of these things form a potential entry way for that intrusive rain drop looking for a dry spot.
Does this mean you have to consider half your motorcycle case contents to be soaked? No. On the contrary. Most top and side cases perform well even in bad conditions. They complete their task – offering hard protection – and most of the time they achieve to keep their contents dry as well.
But, park that excellent top case underneath a tree somewhere, right where the drops reach the worst possible place, and: misfortune. Just like the angle of inclination of your parked motorcycle in that one situation creates a perfect waterfall from the top case into the side case.
The power of water is relentless. It changes nature and it sinks ships. It made the Grand Canyon and the Gorges du Verdon. A healthy sense of reality and the right amount of humility will help you celebrate the almost completely dry content of your side and top case after a wet ride.