Review: SHAD SH50 Topcase

May 19, 2014 View Comments by

Review: SHAD SH50 Topcase

A topcase can be a wonderful, practical addition to a motorcycle, though they come with a few inherent drawbacks. The first of these is aesthetics. Even the best looking topcases generally only detract from the overall style of your machine. The second is in performance. With their mounting point high off the ground and to the back of the bike, topcases move the bike’s center of gravity up and rear. This can cause handling problems of varying degrees, and is the reason why you should only pack lightweight items in the case.

However, depending on your bike and riding style, a piece of luggage like the SHAD SH50 can more than make up for these small detriments with its utility. To test the SH50 I installed it on the back of our long-term 2013 Yamaha FJR 1300 test bike. Installation was relatively straight forward, though the included instructions were cryptic and confusing (or maybe I’m just a tad slow). Luckily, it’s not that complicated so the whole process only took an hour or so. First to go onto the bike is a model specific steel mounting plate that bolts onto the rear rack just behind the passenger seat. Next, a plastic base attaches with bolts to the mounting plate. Finally, the case itself is mated to the base with a key operated disconnect system that allows it to quickly detach.

Once mounted, it’s clear that the SH50 hasn’t hurt the FJR’s appearance too much. The case’s gray color closely matches the factory paint and the integrated backrest makes the whole package look like an original part of the bike. Still, it’s hard to argue that the case has made the FJR seem significantly bigger.

But, as we mentioned before, no one buys a topcase for looks. It’s all about function. As the name implies, the SHAD SH50 provides 50 liters of storage, enough for two full-face helmets. In concert with the FJR’s built in side cases, the SH50 easily offers enough space for two people to pack for a long weekend. Just remember not to make it too heavy! (SHAD’s website simply lists the maximum load as 8 with no unit of measure. I assume kilograms being that they’re based in Spain.)

A three-position lock on the back lets you to open the case, one locks it, and one releases it from the base. A unique feature is SHAD’s color change system, which allows you to change the SH50’s hue by switching out a plastic panel on top (five colors are available). Other nice touches include a backrest for the passenger, complete weather sealing, and a big handle for carrying off the bike.

Priced very competitively with other topcases, the SH50 acquits itself well with good (for a topcase) looks, quality construction, and lots of useable space.

SHAD SH50 Topcase

Size: 50 liters
Colors: Black Matt, Black Gloss, Titanium, Silver, Blue, and Red
Price: $345 for Black Matt, add $49 for other colors

www.shadonline.com or www.shadusa.com

 

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About the author

There’s something relentlessly romantic about riding a motorcycle. I’m blessed to know that feeling. With a background in photography and a love for motorcycles, I’m interested in the beauty and honesty of the open road. You’ll find me riding Carolina’s roads on my Suzuki SV650.