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ADV NewsGIVI Canyon Quick-Release Soft Luggage System Review

GIVI Canyon Quick-Release Soft Luggage System Review

Durable soft bags combined with GIVI’s tried and tested Monokey latch system.

Published on 08.14.2023

There are few industry topics as polarizing as luggage, especially when it comes to the biggest question of all; hard or soft bags? Setting aside that long standing debate, there are a few options that combine the benefits of both the hard case and soft bag world while eliminating as many of the downsides that come with each as possible. Among them, GIVI’s GRT720 Canyon Saddlebags matched with the GRT723 Canyon Top Bag offer an enticing package.

Announced at the end of 2021, the Canyon Saddlebags immediately draw the eye with their attractive appearance. While not as well known for their soft luggage, GIVI has a long history of making durable hard cases and tank bags that pair well with their convenient Tanklock system. The point is GIVI knows a thing or two about designing and manufacturing a quality piece of luggage, even if they are relatively new to the off-road soft bags game.

GIVI Canyon Quick-Release Soft Luggage System Review

Sized at 25L per side, the Canyon bags are a resilient, waterproof system designed to be as convenient as possible to put on and take off the bike. They rely on GIVI’s patented ‘snap-in’ Monokey system to quickly attach and detach, and when paired with their GRT723 40L cargo bag that also uses the Monokey system, you’re left with a setup that, on paper, should comfortably get you to the other side of the globe and back.

GIVI GRT720 Canyon Saddlebags
The Monokey-compatible pannier racks make it easy to interchange your soft saddlebags for hard boxes depending on the style of ride.

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Starting at the top, let’s talk about durability. From a technical perspective, the saddlebag’s outer shell is constructed from a very durable 1680D rubber-infused fabric stitched together using a high-tenacity 1200D Nylon thread. Combined, this results in a near-bomb-proof exterior with water-resistant properties. The GRT723 Cargo bag sports the same material construction and as such, is equally ruggedized to roam the globe. The bags ship with inner bags made from Hypalon that make them truly waterproof when used in conjunction with the rest of the system. 

Getting Them Installed

GIVI GRT720 Canyon Saddlebags monokey latch system
The rigid thermoformed backing plate on the GRT720 saddlebags firmly snaps into the Monokey latch system on the GIVI racks with a satisfying “click.”

The GIVI Canyon Bag’s unique Monokey attachment system means that there’s little concern about the backs getting rubbed through against the racks. This is due to the fact that the  molded backs of each bag slot into modules on the pannier rack itself, before clicking and locking into a latch at the top. Once attached, there is little to no movement in the assembly, and rubber bumpers between the backs of the bags and the racks ensure that there’s no friction between the two. This does mean that GIVI Monokey-compatible pannier racks are required to fit them, but that’s a small tradeoff when you factor in the security of the locking mechanism and the ease of use that the quick-release system offers. 

With this system, gone are the days of fiddling for hours the first time you slap a new set of bags on your bike; instead, you line them up and click them into place; No more realigning and re-tightening straps every 100 miles, no anxiety wondering whether your prized possessions are flapping in the wind like the Queen’s wave — just simple, practical attachment and storage. The Canyon top bag is equally easy to get installed with a semi-rigid base that snaps into the Monokey compatible fixing plate that bolts onto the rear rack.

GIVI GRT723 Canyon Top Bag
The Canyon top bag snaps on and off with the convenience of a top box. No fiddling with attachment straps required.

GIVI’s use of Duraflex locking side buckles on the saddlebags adds to this theme of simplicity. If you’ve ever used soft bags, you’re probably quite accustomed to the slightest miscalculation in hand movement causing the buckles to loosen. However, GIVI had the wherewithal to solve this minor annoyance, too. They work like any other cam buckle, except that once you’ve tightened them down, they have an additional flap that clicks into place, gripping onto and compressing over the now tightened strap in the buckle. This action locks the strap into place, making the assembly immovable. My only wish is that they used more of these Duraflex locking side buckles, particularly on the GRT723 top bag, where they’re seemingly absent from the design.

GIVI GRT720 Canyon Saddlebags Duraflex buckles
The saddlebags utilize Duraflex buckles with a unique locking mechanism to hold straps in place once they’ve been tightened down.

In addition, the GRT series bags all use a top roll style closure commonly found on soft luggage. Give them 2 to 3 rolls, and you’re good to go. At either end of the top roll are buckles that click into the base of the bags, keeping the openings shut tight once folded over. Additionally, the previously mentioned locking buckles and accompanying straps fold over the top, attaching the front of the bags to the rear, keeping everything pulled against the back and tight to the racks.

GIVI GRT720 Canyon Saddlebags
GIVI Canyon Quick-Release Motorcycle Luggage System Review

On the long side of each bag, there’s an extra flap that, from the outside, appears to be purely aesthetic, but a look on the inside reveals a zippered pouch for additional storage. Each pocket can hold several small items — tools, maps, food, and anything small to medium-sized that you might want quick and easy access to on the road. Considering that each bag has one of these, you’re left with a large amount of additional, easy-to-reach storage. This outer flap also doubles as a large fastener of sorts, as you can place tent poles, a camp stool, a camera tripod, or any number of other long/oddly shaped items behind it before tightening everything down, ultimately saving precious storage inside the bags for the things you wish to keep out of the elements.

GIVI GRT723 Canyon Top Bag
A set of M.O.L.L.E. panels underneath the GRT723’s top flap provide expansion options for attaching additional accessories.

All together, the saddlebags support 25L per side of volume. In my tests, I loaded them with everything I possibly could, including both a tent and camping hammock, a week’s worth of clothes, a 40-degree sleeping bag, food, first-aid, camp stove, bag liner, sleeping pad, chair, and quite a bit more — at no point did they feel overpacked or stretched to get everything to fit. The Canyon top bag’s 40L of storage rounds the system off at 90L total capacity, allowing for quite a bit of gear to be brought along on whatever adventure you may find yourself. If you like to bring the kitchen sink on your adventures, GIVI also makes the GRT722 auxiliary bags that easily attach onto either side of the Canyon saddlebags, adding 8L of capacity for each one you add. Plus, the GRT723 has a set of M.O.L.L.E. panels underneath its top flap, which can be used to securely attach additional accessories. All told, this makes for a versatile modular system.

How They Performed

As someone with an admitted bias toward rackless luggage, I’ll be the first to admit that I was skeptical about these soft, rack-mounted bags. It didn’t take long for them to grow on me, though. As I only have one set of racks for now, I’ve only been able to toss them on the back of a Royal Enfield Himalayan – but here’s what I’ll say: my Himalayan only goes on trails and gets abused far more than it deserves.

GIVI Canyon Quick-Release Motorcycle Luggage System Review

Over the past couple of months, I’ve ridden through overgrown brush, a couple of drops, plowed through packed snow and ice, been caught in monsoonal Sierra Mountain thunderstorms, jumped, ripped through sand, all manner of rock, and most everything in between with these bags loaded and on the rear of my bike. Not even considering that the target market for these is more on the adventure side than the enduro/off-road side, I’ve been pleasantly surprised and even impressed with their durability.

GIVI GRT720 Canyon Saddlebags
GIVI GRT720 Canyon Saddlebags
A large opening with a Hi-Viz interior make it easy to find items in the bag you need access to.

The GRT723 top bag has the same general features of the saddlebags, but with a couple of other tricks up its sleeve. The biggest of those is the roll style entry from either side making it remarkably simple to reach in and get things you’ve packed without the need to unload the entire bag each time as is often the case with tail and duffle bags. If you need even quicker access to something inside the bag, there is a third opening on top featuring a zipper that is accessible by just unsnapping two buckles. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find myself avoiding the roll-style sides altogether in favor of this flap purely because of laziness. That said, the side rolls make for easy cleaning when a package of cookies explodes inside them — oops.

GIVI GRT723 Canyon Top Bag
The top bag not only gives you roll style entry to your gear from each side, but also has a large zipper opening on top for even quicker access to the items inside.

The GRT720 side bags pack efficiently and quickly, too. I’ve had bags before that I love once they’re strapped and on the bike, but every time I need to get something out of them or repack after a night of camping, the dread returns. Perhaps I’m a bit too boujee, but I enjoy simplicity and things that work. That ire I’ve experienced repeatedly with other bags is non-existent with these. However, I wish I could say the same for the GRT723 cargo bag.

GIVI GRT723 Canyon Top Bag top pouch buckles
We’d love to see the standard buckles on the GRT723’s top flap upgraded to the locking-style Duraflex buckles.

Unfortunately, the Canyon top bag lacks the same locking cam buckles that the Saddlebags use, and because of the soft nylon straps, I’ve found myself fighting with the top pouch. When the bag was empty or partially filled, the top pouch cover had a tendency to self-loosen over time, leaving it flapping around in the wind. Nothing ever came out of the bag because the zippers were closed and I wasn’t storing anything inside the flap, but this did occur on several occasions. That said, I’ve found that with the top bag packed full, this puts pressure on the buckles, keeping them tight, which resolves the issue for the most part.  Lending to hope is that GIVI does have an entire catalog dedicated to replacement hardware for their various bags and accessories.  Perhaps the locking Duraflex  buckles from the Canyon side bags can be purchased separately as a way to upgrade the buckles on the top bag.

GIVI GRT720 and GRT723 Canyon Soft Bags

That small quirk aside, my experience with the Canyon bags has been overwhelmingly positive. Between us beating on them in the Mojave Desert, along Northern California’s Lost Coast, or here in my local playground just a short skip away from Lake Tahoe, the simplicity keeps me coming back to them. I am frequently the last person done packing up camp in the morning, so luggage that can quickly snap off the bike with the turn of a key, pack right beside my disassembled camp and click right back onto the bike is not only a valuable asset to myself but also the people I ride with who I’m pretty sure roll their eyes at all the time it usually takes me to load up in the morning.

GIVI GRT720 Canyon Saddlebags waterproofing
GIVI GRT720 Canyon Saddlebags waterproofing
After blasting the bags with water for an extended period of time, the contents inside the inner bags were completely dry. And even though the shell is not fully waterproof, only a small amount of drops found their way inside in the non-waterproof area.

In a high-tech fact check of the system’s claimed waterproofing, I put them through the veritable ringer in a 15-minute extended downpour at ADV Pulse’s Northern California testing laboratory, but some call it my driveway. That’s right; I took a garden hose to the bags for 15 minutes straight. While this may seem silly, a static hose blast will likely find seeps and gaps far more quickly than bags on a mobile bike since, when sitting still, the water has more time to trickle down and locate any and every possible exploitable flaw. Post-douse, I let the bags stay on the bike for an additional 15 minutes, allowing any excess moisture to seep through if it could find a way. To get an idea of how much water might make it through, I placed a sheet of paper inside the inner bag and one between the inner bag and the outer shell. The exterior is not advertised as waterproof without the inner bags, so we weren’t expecting them to blow us out of the water, but the results surprised me. After the dousing and cooldown period, the inner bag was still bone dry, as was the space between it and the outer shell. Upon opening the bags, though, a tiny bit of remnant moisture that had found its way into the folds of the top roll managed to splash into the shell area, adding a couple of drops directly onto the sheet in the “non-waterproof” area. In short, it would be fair to say that these will sufficiently keep your gear dry in almost any wet weather scenario, even if your bike sits out in the open during a continuous downpour. RIP my water bill.

GIVI GRT720 Canyon Saddlebags
GIVI GRT723 Canyon Top Bag top pouch pocket

Overall, given the Canyon bag’s ability to keep my possessions dry, stow them effectively, and withstand the abuse that comes with an unseasoned madman at the bars, I’m thrilled with the overall performance of these GIVI Canyon Bags. The outer panels show plenty of brush scratches, and they’re certainly more soiled now than when I unboxed them. However, two months of objectively dumb riding on a 450-pound bike have made me conclude that they still perform just as well as they did the day I opened the package they shipped in. Their locks aren’t sticky, the stitching and seams are all still perfectly intact, the inner and outer bags are entirely without evidence of abrasion, and best of all, this luggage system still saves me a ton of time packing and unpacking for any trip.

Who Are They For?

GIVI GRT720 and GRT723 Canyon Soft Bags

GIVI’s target audience for the GRT720 saddlebags and GRT723 top bag is comprehensive, aiming at the casual adventurer seeking a practical, spacious, and convenient bag system to toss on a set of racks and the weekend warrior wanting to ride more aggressive off-road terrain before pitching camp in the back-country. While not advertised as enduro gear, they’ve proven they can take a beating for those wanting to go beyond gravel forest service roads or twisty back-country tarmac. Suppose you want pannier racks or already leverage GIVI’s Monokey racks for their hard luggage but want soft bags for more aggressive riding (think BDR, Trans-America Trail, Trans-Euro Trail, etc.). In that case, these bags are for you. If you don’t already have GIVI’s Monokey pannier racks, the Canyon Saddlebags may be a little pricey if they are all you intend to run. Still, for those wanting an assortment of bags and cases that quickly snap on and off the bike, there’s no arguing against the GRT720/GRT723 Canyon Bags and GIVI’s fantastic Monokey system.

Our Verdict

The GIVI GRT720 Canyon Saddlebags and matching GRT723 top bag proved to be a durable, convenient, and spacious set of soft bags for the back of beyond. And while we really liked the quick-release functionality of the GRT723 top bag, which is unique in the industry, the self-loosening top flap buckles were a bit of a downer. However, this only seemed to occur when the bag was not packed sufficiently with gear. Hopefully, GIVI upgrades the buckles on the top bag to their locking Duraflex buckles in the future or makes them available as an upgrade. Beyond this small flaw, the entire system offers numerous storage options and convenience features that can save you a lot of time and headaches when rooting through your packed items during your travels. 

GIVI Canyon Quick-Release Motorcycle Luggage System Review

While the need for GIVI’s proprietary rack system may make stepping into these a more expensive affair, taking the plunge will leave you ready to snap on a vast line of Monokey hard cases from GIVI when you’re not running the Canyon Bags. All of the GIVI racks also allow the hardware to quickly be removed if you decide to run more traditional bags using straps or hooks, and some even offer quick-release kits for the luggage racks themselves for those not wanting to tote the extra weight around when not loaded. Considering the competition, the GRT720 Canyon Saddlebags come in on the low side of the price spectrum at $659 (plus racks)compared to other semi-rigid, rack-mount saddlebags. The GRT723 top bag comes with a $495 price tag, and is unique with its ability to quickly release and attach conveniently like a top box. GIVI also offers a full range of Monokey compatible luggage racks for most popular adventure bike models. Side racks for our Royal Enfield test bike were $292 while the top rack was $134. 

GIVI GRT720 and GRT723 Canyon Soft Bags

What We Liked

  • Dead simple and convenient Monokey mounting/dismounting system.
  • Spacious and easily packed on or off the bike.
  • Durable/waterproof construction.
  • Modular allowing for additional bags to be added.

What Could Be Improved

  • No locking buckles on the GRT723 top bag’s upper flap.
  • Make it fully waterproof without inner bags.

GRT720 Canyon Saddlebag Specs

CONSTRUCTION: Highly-durable 1200D polyester construction with thermoformed back for rigidity, along with 1680D PU coating to resist cuts and tears.
WATERPROOFING: Waterproof Hypalon Internal dry bags with roll top closure system.
CAPACITY: 50L total (25L per side)
DIMENSIONS: 15.75″ L x 8.25″ W x 15.75″ H (each bag)
MSRP: $659

GRT723 Canyon Top Bag Specs

CONSTRUCTION: Highly-durable 1200D polyester construction with thermoformed back for rigidity, along with 1680D PU coating to resist cuts and tears.
WATERPROOFING: Waterproof Hypalon Internal dry bags with roll top closure system.
CAPACITY: 40L total
DIMENSIONS: 21.6″ L x 15.7″ W x 7.9″
MSRP: $495

Shopping Options:

GRT720 Side Bags

RevzillaTwisted ThrottleTour & Ride

GRT723 Top Bag

Twisted ThrottleTour & Ride

Photos by Ken Morse and Rob Dabney

Author: Ken Morse

While Ken’s two-wheeled exploits began only a few years ago, he’s no stranger to adventure. Since 2006, he’s been wandering all over the U.S. in various four-wheel drive toys, exploring as much hidden terrain in the backcountry as possible. Having straddled his first motorcycle in 2019, he quickly became obsessed and made the switch to two wheels. Now he spends most of his free time riding, wrenching and traveling on adventure motorcycles from his base in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.

Author: Ken Morse
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Kellen Cummings
Kellen Cummings
August 14, 2023 3:18 pm

Great review

Ken Morse
Ken Morse
August 14, 2023 4:06 pm

Thanks – A well made product makes the review process a lot easier!

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