When you need lots of storage, these cases deliver in spades.
Shad is one of the largest and best-known aftermarket motorcycle luggage manufacturers in the world. The Barcelona-based company makes a variety of styles of tank bags, tail bags, side cases, top cases and the hardware to mount those cases to just about all of the world’s motorcycle makes and models.
Shad has recently launched a new line of forged hardened aluminum alloy Adventure-style side cases and top cases it’s calling Terra. The aluminum is 1.2 mm thick for lightness and strength. The top cases come in two sizes — 37 litre and 48 litre — while the side cases are 36 litre and 47 litre cases. All cases come in silver or black. The hinges are stainless steel, so they won’t rust, and the case guards are made of durable ABS.
Installation of the side case mounting hardware was easy to follow — although, on the universal language installation diagrams, two of the bolts were transposed and needed to be switched. It wasn’t a big deal, as the bolts were shorter and longer and couldn’t be mistakenly installed. All bolt holes in the supplied heavy-gauge steel brackets lined up to the motorcycle’s mounting holes. Installing the hardware on both sides took only 40 minutes.
The mounting hardware for the top case didn’t line up perfectly, but as long as all the bolts were installed loosely and tightened up together, everything fit fine. Time will tell if there is any stress on the bolts.
The top box mounting hardware was not the most intuitive to find as the Shad website is either hard to navigate or it isn’t updated. For instance, the instruction sheet that came with the top box mounting hardware is titled BMW R1200GS ’13. I took that to be for a 2013 model, and the model that the kit was going on is a 1250, not a 1200.
Mounting the side cases and the top box to the bike is easy and all cases fit snug on the 20 mm diameter tubing so there wasn’t any rattling. Removing the original key cylinders and replacing them with three matching cylinders in order to use a single key was a quick and easy task.
A nice feature is that you always must lock the cases to get your key out, so you never wonder if you’ve locked everything up for the night. However, this also means you always need your key to get into the cases — a little annoying, but you soon get used to it. All locks incorporate dust covers.
Unlocking all the cases gives you access to each case’s integrated carry handle, which is conveniently tucked out of the way when mounted on the bike. The whole latching system and carry handle really is quite a nice and efficient system, and the whole process can all be carried out with only one hand. The carry handles all but disappear into the case when they are mounted on the bike.
Clamshell side cases do have their pros and cons. Of course, they work, but I’ve always appreciated the “gravity helps you load it” aspect of top loading cases as opposed to “gravity helps you empty it” when you open clamshell cases.
But that is not the situation of these Terra side cases, because of the very handy tray inside. The tray easily unclips and folds down to allow easier access for larger, inflexible items like a helmet (the TR47 easily holds a full-face helmet with room to spare). The tray also helps keep the contents inside when the case is opened. In addition, there are expandable inner liner bags for the side cases and the top box, and the TR36 comes with an inner mesh screen to maximize the load and to further ensure your contents don’t fall out. A mesh screen is available for the TR47 as well.
Clamshell cases are, however, easier to get your belongings out of, instead of digging down into deep top loading cases, so these Shad Terra cases feature the best of both worlds.
Size matters and these side cases and top box offer plenty of space to store your stuff. Maybe too much space? The larger TR47 (in my case, the left one) will absorb 47 litres while the TR36 right case (smaller because of the exhaust) is a 36-litre case. There is, of course, a weight limit, and generally speaking the more space you have the more stuff you’re likely to put in it. Each case is rated at a maximum of 10 kg — which is actually a fair bit of weight. The cases will easily swallow enough clothes and necessities for a lengthy bike trip.
The carpet-bottomed Terra top case comes in two sizes: TR37 or TR48. Again, the model numbers designate the size of the box in litres. I opted for the TR48 and the optional backrest for added passenger comfort.
The same 10 kg maximum weight applies for the top box, but there are cargo hooks to strap additional items on top so you need to keep the maximum weight in mind. Like the larger side case, the 48 litre top case easily fits a full-face helmet with plenty of room to spare.
I did find a little bit of water in the TR47 side case after washing the bike, the TR36 and the top box were completely dry, although a little water dribbled in the side case from around the seal when I opened it.
There is no question these bags are very efficient regarding how they mount on the bike and their locking and carry handle mechanisms, but they are big. If you’re in the market to purchase or upgrade your luggage and you need to carry a lot of belongings, you should include these cases in your research.
Shad Terra luggage is sold in Canada through Kimpex. For more information go to kimpex.com or your local motorcycle shop. The Kimpex website retails the TR36 side case at $529, TR47 side case at $567, TR48 top box at $564, and $152 for the aluminum top box mounting plate. The rest of the mounting hardware will vary depending on the model of motorcycle.