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BMW vs SHAD Motorcycle Lugagge

by Daniel Noble 29 Apr 2024 0 Comments

BMW vs SHAD Motorcycle Luggage

While there certainly is not a shortage of motorcycle luggage brands to choose from, the list of choices becomes even more saturated when the motorcycle manufacturer’s own luggage is added into the mix.

Many people do decide to go with the original manufacturer luggage whilst many others opt for the top boxes and panniers that are made by dedicated motorcycle luggage brands.

Take BMW and SHAD for example and there certainly are valid reasons why someone may side with either the named branding of BMW or SHAD who specialise in this area. However, in this particular case, there are a number of aspects to consider.

BMW’s cases can fit to existing racks and tend to integrate better with the motorcycle but they are also much more expensive, often can only be used with specific motorbikes and in fact, SHAD actually produce some of BMW’s luggage, meaning you are essentially paying for the badge. With that said, how do their specific cases stack up against each other?

BMW Vario Top Box vs SHAD SH59x

First up are what could be considered the jewels in each of BMW and SHAD’s luggage crowns, their expandable motorcycle top boxes. While both certainly make your eyes light up and your mouth water at the prospect of an expandable storage capacity, in a direct contest there is only one winner.

For a start, as the recipient of the Red Dot Design Award, SHAD’s SH59x features a capacity that ranges from 46-58 litres and vastly outweighs the 25-35 litres of the BMW vario. Sticking with the topic of storage volume, the SH59x boasts the ability to carry two full-face helmets while the Vario can only hold one.

The only saving grace for BMW in this case is their incorporation of a patented adjustable mechanism that allows the box to be expanded using just one hand. In fact, the only other feature that seems like a win for BMW is actually debatable. The motorbike’s ignition key can be used with the top box lock, however, the locking cylinder is sold as an extra while SHAD’s uses a separate key but it comes included.

BMW Aluminium Top Box vs SHAD TR37 Terra Aluminium

Turning attention towards each brands’ smallest aluminium motorcycle top boxes, it would be fair to say the only reason someone would opt for the BMW case is the fact that it has a BMW logo.

The best place to start as always when assessing motorbike top boxes, is the storage space and once again, the SHAD option gains an early lead. BMW’s aluminium top box features an internal capacity of 32 litres while SHAD’s TR37 boasts a volume of 37 litres. Without spelling it out too much, this means that even SHAD’s smallest box in their aluminium range has better storage capabilities than its BMW counterpart.

As for additional features, although both are waterproof, it is again the SHAD top box that pulls ahead. The TR37 comes with a retractable handle which allows for one-handed opening, closing, locking and dismounting while the BMW top box can only offer a carry handle as an optional extra. Meanwhile, this comparison highlights the fact that BMW’s locking system allows the ignition key to be used with the top box but requires the locking cylinder to be purchased separately while SHAD’s ‘smart locking system’ is included.

BMW Vario Panniers vs SHAD SH38x

Moving on to motorcycle panniers, this time it is BMW’s vario pitted against SHAD’s SH38x and although both are expandable, waterproof and available in aluminium and black options, that is where the similarities end.

While the BMW vario panniers offer capacities of 20-29 litres and 30-29 litres, the SHAD SH38x panniers feature a +70mm telescopic extension to expand by 40% for a total of 46 litres, meaning they simply have greater storage scope. In the same vein, they can also expand right back to down to their original size to better suit the exhaust side and retain the ability to filter through traffic, matching the smaller sizes of their vario opponents.

As well as having more versatile storage options, the SH38x side cases also come out on top in terms of security. Using either of SHAD’s ‘3P’ or ‘4P’ pannier fitting kits, these panniers can be locked directly to the motorcycle while also locking themselves to culminate in what has been deemed SHAD’s ‘double locking system.’ For comparison, BMW’s vario cases fit to their ‘bike specific holders’ which do not facilitate locking to the motorbike and for any form of security, you will be required to purchase their locking cylinder as an optional extra.

BMW Aluminium Panniers vs SHAD Aluminium Panniers

Last but certainly not least are BMW and SHAD’s aluminium motorcycle panniers and for the most part in this case, the comparisons echo the rest of their respective luggage. Although both are waterproof and there is not much to separate them aesthetically, it is once again SHAD who take home the bragging rights.

When assessing BMW’s aluminium panniers, it really depends which motorcycle you are intending to use them for. This is because for certain models, the pannier fitting kits come built in, meaning they have better integration with the motorbike, a clean appearance and eliminate the cost of purchasing a separate rack. Although having the kit included is a certain win for BMW, the majority of models do not have this and instead require the purchase of an expensive rack that is nowhere near as minimal as SHAD’s clean but durable 4P kits.

On that note, it would be unfair to give a clear verdict on the pannier fitting kits unless looking at a specific model of BMW. However, SHAD who come out on top in other areas. Their terra aluminium motorcycle panniers feature capacities of either 35 or 47 litres compared to the 36 litres of the BMW aluminium side cases, come with a locking system included and even add an inner net and foldable tray for organisation. They simply offer more bang for one’s buck.

Now, with consideration given to the pros and cons of BMW motorcycle luggage in general and their specific top boxes and panniers compared with their SHAD counterparts, what is the final verdict and who comes out on top?

While the BMW options certainly get a thumbs up for their ability to use the ignition key and the times they have a fitting kit included, there are too many uncertainties that mean they cannot compete with the incentives on offer with the SHAD motorcycle luggage cases.

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