I don't know about the Givi's but I use an old pair of Nelson-Rigg soft bags and they work fine. No problem sitting on the muffler; I've got Dan Vessel's bracket on the left.
Sure, they're not as dry as Pelicans or the like but they have covers and I also pack everything in smaller dry bags from Walmart. With that, I keep clothes, tools and even my camera in there.
It's very nice when I get where I'm going because they come off the bike in 5 seconds and I can carry all my stuff with me to the hotel room or wherever.
They have MOST of the functionality of hard bags at a fraction of the cost. The biggest thing that they don't have is security.... there's not much to keep someone from rooting around in your stuff if you left the bike for a while.
As for passenger comfort, I've never had a complaint but it might be an issue for really long distances.
+1 on the Nelson-Rigg and Dan Vessel bracket. My son uses them plus the top Nelson-Rigg top bag and has tons of storage. He can load up for weeks and never needs to turn his underwear inside out. When we get to a motel, he can unload faster than I can with hard bags due to me having to unstrap items off my rear rack. They are not water proof but darn close to it with the very good rain covers.
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