If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to get some carrying capacity, the new semi-rigid line of luggage from SHAD may be the way to go.
We’ve never been fans of soft luggage. Unless it’s packed to the gills, it looks like a deflated beach ball and flops around like a fresh-caught mackerel on a hot deck.
But not everyone wants big-buck, heavy hard luggage. Semi-hard (or semi-rigid) bags are the perfect compromise.
The trick is that you still need some type of framework to mount the bags; simply throwing them over the back of the bike won’t cut it.
SHAD recently announced a new semi-rigid lineup that currently consists of two different tank bags (E04 and E22); a backpack with an external helmet holder (E83) and the E48 Semi-Rigid Side Bags shown here.
The E48 is deceiving, because it actually appears relatively small or compact, but it holds an amazing amount if gear. That’s one of the benefits of semi-rigid motorcycle luggage — the thin walls and light weight provide a maximum size/weight-to-capacity ratio.
The E48 bags are currently available for the following popular motorcycles:
Kawasaki ER6, Z800
KTM Duke 125/250/390
Suzuki V-Strom 650, GSR750
Yamaha MT 07, MT 09, FZ7, FZ8, FZ9, FJ09
SHAD also has bike-specific mounts for those motorcycles, along with a “universal” carrier that attaches to SHAD side mounts if you already own some SHAD panniers and want to swap out occasionally (or permanently) for the E48 semi-rigid bags.
We installed the mounting brackets (part number S0VS62SE) on a brand-new Suzuki V-Strom 650 that is sitting on the showroom floor of Ellicott City Motorsports in Ellicott City, Maryland.
If you’re nearby, stop over and see the installation or better yet — buy the bike, it’s on sale and the bags are free!
Installing the SHAD E48 Side Cases
Each of the mounting kits for the E48 bags are specifically designed for easy bolt-on to any of the bikes listed above.
Installing the kit on the V-Strom 650 couldn’t be easier and should only take 10-15 minutes max.
The kit comes with replacement bolts, spacers and washers and you simply remove the 6 mm hex bolts that hold the passenger foot pegs on the V-Strom (two bolts on each side) and bolt in the side racks using the 5 mm hex bolts in the kit and you’re done.
I added a touch of blue Loctite to the SHAD 5 mm bolts because the stock 6 mm bolts had blue thread locker also.
No torque settings were listed, so I tightened them until they were…pretty tight. No need to overdo it, but I’d guess maybe 20 Nm?
The spacers that come with the SHAD kit fit into the large recess in the passenger foot peg hanger. Then the washers that come with the kit go on the outside. Tighten the bolts and you’re done.
The SHAD E48 measures about 45 cm long (18″) by 23 cm deep (9″) by 28 cm tall (11″).
Each bag has two zippers: one opens the bag and the other opens an expansion joint, which adds about 140 mm to the width at the top.
Just for kicks, we grabbed a size small HJC helmet off the shelf and as you can see below, it fits!.
That’s pretty amazing, considering that you can’t fit a full-face helmet in many/most hard panniers, regardless of size or price.
The E48 bags aren’t fully waterproof but each comes with a silver-colored waterproof cover.
On top of each bag are two straps that can be used to carry accessories or to tighten the E48 when the expansion panel is deployed.
The back side of the E48 has a large, flat pocket that slides over the mounting frame. Then there are two hook-and-loop tabs that secure the front and rear of the bag on to the frame wiring.
The bags have the typical wide hook-and-loop straps on top that fit under the seat to secure the side bags to the frame and the bike. Pull the straps tight and squeeze the hook-and-loop together and you’re done.
We had to push the rear strap forward a bit to fit the V-Strom seat back on the bike, but once the seat is on, the E48 panniers are actually very secure.
The E48 bags have some nice reflective piping on the outside that complements the shape of the luggage.
Also, each bag comes with two snap-on adjustable carrying straps so you can carry the bags over your shoulder or like a backpack. The bags also have a built-in (sewn on) handle for easy carrying.
To remove the bags from the bike, unfasten the hook-and-loop straps under the seat, then unfasten the small hook-and-loop straps that hold the front and rear of the bags to the mounting frame. Slide the bags off the frame and you’re done.
The E48 panniers have a list price of $149.00 and the mounting kit for the V-Strom 650 lists for $98.00. Other mounting kits vary between $75.00 and $98.00.
The SHAD E48 bags are very easy to install and hold a surprising amount of gear. They’re lightweight yet rugged and they look good; better, in fact, than bulky hard luggage on the mid-sized motorcycles for which the E48 series was designed.
The reflective piping on the outside adds to visibility but also gives a nice styling touch to the luggage.
You can outfit a bike with the E48 side bags and one of the new semi-rigid tank bags for about 1/3 the cost of a hard luggage system and you’ll probably have equivalent or possibly even more storage.
Bottom line? SHAD should have no problem selling boatloads of the E48 semi-rigid side cases.