I’ve just fitted some luggage on the BMW F800 R that I have recently bought, and its probably fair to say that there isn’t much luggage that is ever going to make a bike look much better – motorcycle luggage tends to be more about function over form than form over function.
Of course there are some exceptions where some bikes look better with luggage than others do, especially when it’s the OEM luggage specifically designed for the bike.
The only bike I have had with something close to integrated luggage, was a fabulous Candy Lime Green Z1000 SX with easy clip on and off panniers, and when the panniers were off the bike the retaining brackets didn’t look like the remains of some failed scaffolding project.
But as with so many things in life, practical requirements often mean a compromise is required and sometimes with bike luggage it’s a question of the least worst option that will get the job done.
So with the F800R it was a case of looking for something that had: reasonable carrying capacity; was a reasonable cost; could offer ‘backrest’ support/security for my wife and that could be easily removed when not needed and looked OK.
As much as I like my BMW motorbikes, the price of some of the after-market parts can be eye watering and leave you wondering about how the price was arrived at, and with the best part of £400 being required to buy a 28L case I’m not that loyal to the brand that I’ll drag the money from my wallet through my nasal pasages. .
After a good look round at products from the likes of Givi, Shad, Oxford, Hepco & Becker I opted for the Shad SH40 with white cover and fitting kit and all for less than half the price of BMW OEM case. As an aside I ordered direct from Shad UK- I could have saved a few pounds by ordering elsewhere but the Shad web site was a breeze to navigate, responses from customer services when I had a couple of questions were good and delivery was ‘next day’ (it’s probably worth pointing out that I already had the OEM rack so didn’t need to purchase that or an alternative).
Additionally I have bought Shad products before: a few years ago an SH37 top case and then in more recent years SH23 paniers and 3P fitting kit and on each occasion have found the products to be well made, at a good price point and all in all a good buy.
I’m going to write a separate post about various luggage options I have used over the years … which run to quite a few options on quite a few bikes, but for now there are some pictures at end of this blog of bits and pieces of the SH40 and then with it mounted on the bike.
I think I could have fitted it without the separate (two piece) metal mounting plates that go underneath the OEM rack and secure to the black moulded plastic carrier, there are a range of fitting bits and pieces in the box and if I used longer bolts then I think the small supplied ‘clamps’ would have done – but in my opinion it’s worth getting the fitting plates for a better finish, but if you want to save a few pounds you could probably do that.
In my case I have positioned the black plastic ‘box carrier’ about 5mm forward of where it really ought to have been for its neatest finish, but this was a deliberate choice so that I can use and secure a small 15L Givi Cargo bag for when I’m pretty much just carrying camera stuff or perhaps a change of clothes for an overnight stay.
I would have considered re-using the SH23 panniers that I have, but it seems that the smallest Shad panniers that can be fitted to the F800 are the SH36’s which I dont like as I think they are too big, although I think they are probably prefarable to the OEM ‘clam’ type of panniers for the bike – but as with so many things in life it really is a case of horses for courses and so what ever suits you and your bike is always the best solution for you. The clue to the capacity of the SH40 is in the name …it’s a 40L case and in my experience that’s plenty big enough for a couple of weeks touring Europe on your own and given that this years european trip was shelved due to the Corona pandemic then I dont really need to think abut this until next summer.
There are pictures of the Shad SH40 at the bottomof this post clicking on any one of them should open a scrollable gallery.
See this post for details of the Givi Tanklock fitting kit on the F800. If you want to check out other recent posts, see the following links:
Or check out the Lockdown Lookback – The Motorbike Years series