Cheap & EZ way to mount a Pelican 1550 as a topcase - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 3 Old 03-22-2009, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Bisbee, AZ
Posts: 1,020
Cheap & EZ way to mount a Pelican 1550 as a topcase

Yes, I know there are plenty of pre-made cases meant to be used as a topcase that come with the mounting hardware but they really didn't do it for me. When I first got my Vee I came across the Bestem case on ebay and since the price was right I pulled the trigger and mounted it up. A year or so later and the Bestem case looks like it's been out in the elements (thank you AZ sun), it rattles, and I just wanted something with a more regular shape to it; enter the Pelican 1550.

I did some searches about how to mount this thing and nothing really comes up, people just say that they mount these puppies up and go to town. I see on ebay that some guy is selling a case with a mounting plate but evidently the plate has some sort of precious metal in it as he's very proud of it.

When I mounted my Bestem case I decided the cheezy brackets it came with weren't my style so I chose to drill and tap the package rack so I could just bolt the adapter plate up. Using what I had around the house I went with an 8mm tap, too easy.

Here you can see the package rack with its holes drilled there are washers around 3 of the holes, you get the idea where the holes are (ignore the washers at this point).

Now I didn't want to use different holes to mount up my Pelican (got a good deal on ebay for $89 shipped brand new) so I used the Bestem mounting bracket as a template to drill my 4 holes in the bottom of the box. First of all I positioned the box where I wanted it and then used my stock of precision measuring instruments (tape measure and eyeball) placed the bracket on the box and got out the drill.

When I originally mounted the Bestem box I made the mistake of placing the bracket too far forward on the package rack, it didn't matter where a passenger's concerned but it meant that I had to remove the box every time I wanted to take the seat off. Not a big deal for some but I tend to do a lot of tweaking and I keep a lot of stuff under the seat so it was a bother. I made sure this time to not make that mistake.

So for Pelican mount 1.0 I was finished. I came up with some stainless hardware then used rubber washers under fender washers to try to keep the water tightness of the Pelican and took off down the street. Wow, the sides of those Pelican boxes really aren't very sturdy. The box shimmied and shook all over the place, it was really quite a miserable experience and I was not happy with it.

Stay tuned for Pelican mount 2.0

Go hang a salami I'm a lasagna hog

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post #2 of 3 Old 03-22-2009, 06:20 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Bisbee, AZ
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So I started thinking about what I could use to make my Pelican box a little sturdier. Initially I went straight for the aluminum plate, I wasn't sure how thick I would need but I guessed pretty thick. Have you priced aluminum plate lately? It's some pretty pricey stuff.

I was shopping for something in Target one fine day and wandered into the housewares department; what do I find but some very nice plastic cutting boards! They had one that was exactly the right size for the bottom of the Pelican and it seemed very sturdy. I tried to flex it with my fingers but either I used to be a lot stronger or this thing'll do the trick. The price was right for $12 so I picked it up.

I went home and using my precision measuring tools (see previous post) I determined that my new cutting board (did I say that it even came in black?) would go right where I wanted it to. I drilled some extra holes in the bottom of my Pelican box, if you've ever seen one you'll be familiar with little indentations around the edges that seem to act as feet, this is where I drilled my holes.

So now you can see I have 8 holes in the bottom of my box. The inner 4 are for the box to mount to the bike and the outer 4 will only be bolted through the cutting board, I figure they'll give the whole setup some rigidity.

Next I set the box on the cutting board and got everything lined up just the way I wanted it. Using one of my existing holes in the box as a guide I drilled through the cutting board. I then stuck a bolt in that hole just to keep everything from moving around and continued on in this manner until I had 8 holes in the cutting board to match those already existing in the box.

At this point I loosely installed some nuts & bolts into the outer holes to hold the pieces together. Looking at the package rack I noticed the area where I intended to mount my contraption was lower than the edges of the rack. Here's where the washers come in from post 1 (please go back and look if you feel the need). A single washer on each hole seems to be enough to somewhat even out the height.

I then set the box/cutting board assembly on the rack and, using the same rubber washer/fender washer deal insert the bolts into the hole. Of course the existing bolts I'd been using were now too short so I had to head out and get some longer ones. But eventually I got it straightened out and the box mounted onto the bike. I then tightened the outer 4 bolts and went for a ride.

Here's the inside of the box when finished:

Here you can see the cutting board on the bottom of the Pelican box.

After a few hundred miles, some of it over very rough terrain, I've determined that this simple mounting plate has stiffened up the Pelican box exponentially and will make permanent mounting very sturdy.

I've found that the Pelican is an excellent size for what I need it to do. I very much like the rectangular shape. I have some footmans loops that I intend to mount to it soon so I can strap some stuff onto the top for camping trips.

Hope this helps someone.

Go hang a salami I'm a lasagna hog

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post #3 of 3 Old 04-01-2009, 10:28 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Indiana, "Carmel by the Interstate"
Posts: 102
If that doesn't embody the true V Strom image, I don't know what does.

I mean c'mon he used a CUTTING BOARD as his topcase base. What could be more simple?

Outstanding Bisbonian--I like it--I think I may just try that.

Thanks for sharing
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