What happens when you get a new motorbike? You want to buy lots of bits for it! For me, my new Benelli TRK502 X needed a luggage solution. Panniers and a top box were wanted for those long rides that are to come. People on the Benelli Facebook page were well ahead, the luggage company to look at was SHAD. More research and they were by far the best looking boxes on the market, with some neat features.
The selling point of these boxes is that a full sized helmet will fit into each and every box. Essential if you have a Pillion passenger. What’s the point of a long ride and for them to have to carry around their helmet where ever we end up? These SHAD boxes promised, great looks, good size, were light weight and had an aesthetic positioning. Next was the cost and how easy would it be to fit them onto a brand new Benelli bike?
The cheapest SHAD boxes I found were with Fast Bike Bits, I got the full set with fitting kits for just under £520. After the expense of buying a new bike, the cost to fit it out also has to be considered. The genuine Benelli luggage kit comes in at around €940 (Euros) and then another €200 for the TRK 502 X bracket. It does not look as good in the photos and where would the pillion put their helmet? SHAD was clearly going to win this round.
Fast Bike Bits
Ordering from FBB, they arrived within 3 days. Massive cardboard boxes filled my living room and I worried about finding enough space on the bike. The first chance I got I was out with my bike, a tool box next to me and enough enthusiasm to see it through. The fitting was actually far easier than I thought.
Fitting the Panniers
Looking at the new bike, unscratched and shining in the sunlight, I was worried about ruining a good looking bike. However I thought if I can do it, anyone can so I recorded the full fitting (in case anyone gets inspired to have a go as well).
Starting off with the exhaust side bracket, I thought this was going to be the worst one to fit. Actually it turned out the be the easiest one. The Benelli already had the bolts and holes I needed. All I did was screw in the top bracket and used the supplied nut and bolt to fit it to the rear peg. It was a doddle.
With the new found confidence, finding how easy it was, this was then copied on the kerb side of the bike. This side was even easier and was completed in half the time.
Both new pannier brackets was secured. Standing back I admired the new lines of the bike. I actually think the bike looks better with them on, even without the boxes fitted.
Fitting the Top Box
The Benelli TRK 502 X, already has a rear rack fitted and I thought this was going to be an easy and quick install. This actually turned out the be the most fiddly and time consuming part. It was not by any means difficult, but having to get a nut on a bolt in a tight space proved to be challenge.
There is a fitment plate supplied by SHAD, that drops on the rear rack, then a fitting tray is bolted to that plate. It sounded easy but it had to be done with the rear rack fitted to the bike, making access under the rack very restrictive.
Having to remove the rear light bar from under the rack as well and to have it dangling free, made it feel more of a challenge. Taking apart a brand new bike to fit the tray seemed wrong.
Fitting both the plate and then the tray onto the rack, I found the easiest way to get the nuts on the bottom of the bolts was to balance the nut on the end of my finger and use the turning of the bolt for it to catch. A little fiddly but not impossible. The bracket was on and the rear light bar was refitted before I knew it.
Just because the nuts gave some problems, I wondered about the rest of the fitment. All of the new bars and plates were really well made. The painting was looked and felt professional, the shape and finally the appearance was superb. Every single bolt hole lined up perfectly.
Very few tools were needed, a 10mm and 13mm socket and spanner, with a few Allen Hex keys and a screw driver, the job was easy.
When the new bars and brackets were fitted, it was now on to the next stage seeing how all my hard work was going to look with the SHAD luggage fitted. Now fitting the new boxes took a few seconds to work out. There are 2 handles. The big obvious one next to the lock gets the boxes on and off the bike. Then there is a more secluded one, for opening the case itself.
The SHAD panniers fitted like a pair of gloves, sliding on and off with ease. Pushing down the locking handle it gives a satisfying click. Grabbing the boxes and giving them a good hard pull, they refused to move. They were clamped tight to the bike. The same with the SHAD Top box, it seemed like there was no easy way to miss-fit the boxes, which gave me confidence that everything had gone right.
The final test was the vibration check. Starting the bike on its centre stand, I worked through the rev range, holding my hand on each of the SHAD boxes feeling for any rattles or weird vibrations. All felt like they were part of the bike and were solid.
Being that this was a small project during lock down, the real test has not yet been completed. However if the sun keeps shining and Laura is up for a ride to the coast, or a coffee shop in the Cotswolds, then I will be able to properly update this section then.
Until then, these SHAD boxes appear to be great. Half the price of the originals, they look better, were easy to fit and hopefully be more useful as well.