HONDA AFRICA TWIN

Top-notch top case

Motorcyclist - - Garage - —Zack Courts

be­ing that com­mut­ing is all I’ve been do­ing lately, I thought I’d em­brace it. Aeros­tich zipped, mod­u­lar hel­met buck­led, and…top box en­gaged. I know, I know, the top case is the toi­let pa­per of ac­ces­sories in terms of ex­cite­ment—then again, once you’ve used it you re­ally don’t want to go back to the other way, y’know?

This SHAD SH58X box (shadon­line.com; $400) is pretty in­ter­est­ing, ac­tu­ally, be­ing a hard case that ex­pands and con­tracts to fit the load. BMW fans will be think­ing, “You mean like my Vario cases?” Yes, is the short an­swer. There are three po­si­tions for the SH58X, con­trolled by two lock­ing tabs in­side the box that un­clip by hand and al­low the hinged side of the case to rise in two stages to house more or less cargo. The choices are 46, 52, or 58 liters of stowage.

In­stal­la­tion was about a 20-minute af­fair and easy ex­cept for a cou­ple of the nut/ bolt com­bi­na­tions that se­cure the base­plate to the in­cluded mount­ing brack­ets. There’s not a lot of room to get the Ny­loc nut threaded on to the bolt that comes down through the base­plate. A heavy dose of pa­tience helps.

If the ca­pac­ity sounds like a lot, it IS—SHAD’S largest op­tion, in fact—so I shouldn’t have been sur­prised when 46 liters was a lit­tle too big for small items. I’ve taken my fair share of pizza-de­liv­ery jabs around the of­fice, but when it came time to lug two jack­ets and a hel­met home, the SH58 swal­lowed it, no prob­lem.

The only other com­plaint is pric­ing. At $400, the X is no small pur­chase, plus if you hap­pen to want one of the three op­tional col­ors ($75) other than matte black—gloss black, white, or ti­ta­nium—or have a picky pas­sen­ger who needs a

back­rest ($100), you could find your­self sit­ting in front of a $600 top case.

On the plus side, the mount­ing brack­ets that con­nect the Africa Twin’s fac­tory rack to the SHAD base­plate are good for any SHAD case, from this SH58 all the way to the SH26. The base­plate is in­ter­change­able with SH50, 49, and 48 op­tions.

The size of the trunk isn’t so bad with the bags in­stalled, so for a combo of com­mut­ing and tour­ing duty the SH58 is a good op­tion. I should also say that I spent an af­ter­noon wan­der­ing around an OHV area on the Africa Twin, and my ap­petite for get­ting the AT dirt­ier can only be de­scribed as whet. A bit of tip-over pro­tec­tion is on the hori­zon, then, and some meatier tires so that the guys at the gro­cery store know I’m se­ri­ous about ad­ven­ture. Maybe I can even coax that Ari Hen­ning off the pave­ment if I call it a “scram­ble.”

wrist Zack Courts msrp (2017) $13,299 miles 6,331 mpg 50 Tail trunk up­date 3 mods

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