Shad SH48 Top Case and SH43 Side Cases Review

(This Gearlab item was published in the July 2012 issue of Rider magazine.)

Last year I bought a Suzuki V-Strom 650, which is even better now that I’ve added SHAD’s large-capacity SH48 Top Case and SH43 Side Cases. These solid, premium hard cases are aerodynamic, well finished and of obvious high quality. SHAD offers a variety of color choices, as well as pretreated, primed cover plates that can be painted to match your bike.

Shad’s number designations identify the volume of the case(s) in liters. I’m now spoiled with the convenience of 134 liters (35.4 gallons) of total cargo space. Even better is that I can work the latches with one hand, and the top case’s handy press lock pops the handle up to reveal a hidden release that opens the case. My helmet, gloves and jacket fit into the 48-liter top case so when I’m off the bike, I don’t need to lug around my riding gear.

Using wrenches and screwdrivers, it took me, Mark and Greg about three hours to install the top and side mounts to attach the luggage, plus a trip to Radio Shack to buy connectors (not included) to wire the turn signals. The process would have been much quicker except that—while the instructions for mounting the trunk, mounting plate and side case mounts are excellent—they are written separately and don’t mention that a specific order is required when trunk and cases are going to be installed. We got it right eventually, but make sure you read all of the instructions before you start.

All parts fit together precisely, the cases can be popped on and off, and the latches/carrying handles work efficiently and lie flush against the cases. The top case holds two full-face helmets, and each of the side cases hold a full-face helmet—one side case holds my two-person tent and a Therm-a-Rest with room to spare. The side cases have elastic support bands and “trays” in the bottom that keep objects from tumbling around.

Shad SH48 Top Case and SH43 Side Cases
Shad SH48 Top Case and SH43 Side Cases

The combo of the SH48 ($299) and SH43 ($460) looks somewhat bulky, and because of the V-Strom’s muffler placement the side cases make the bike wider than a Gold Wing with them on. But having waterproof, lockable, functional cases for packing oodles of stuff is worth it. Bike specific fitment kits are extra ($184 for 650 V-Strom’s Side Master, $38 for Top Master). Included with the top case if you buy the side cases, too, is a cylinder replacement so one key will fit all three locks. An optional double backrest is $55. All cases have reflective panels and can be equipped with accessory LED Light Kits ($75). Shad offers a large selection of luggage to fit various motorcycles.

For more information:
Contact SHAD USA, 19096 NE 4th Court, Miami, FL 33179; (888) 9SHADUS;


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