Ya Get What Ya Pay For
When I bought Bluey, I didn’t think about touring. I was more interested in day trips, or a braaap up through the hills. I surmised that I’d need to carry at least some water, maybe a first aid kit and the usual bits and pieces you’d take on a day trip. So I bought a 24 litre Givi tank bag and left it at that.
Within 6 months, The Pillion and I decided to ride a little farther afield and stop over night, so a top box and panniers (hard cases) were high on the wish/ want list. I looked again at Givi, but I couldn’t justify (or afford) the price tag. Granted they look to be quality gear, but they were waaay over my budget.
So I did some research and came up with a brand called Shad: From what I’d read, Shad supplies several motorcycle manufacturers who then re-branded the gear to reflect the company more accurately.
With that in mind, I forked out and bought an (SH)40 litre top box. I left the hard cases aside because, well, it was another $800, which I didn’t have.
Instead, in the interim, I opted to buy some soft panniers thinking that I’d come back to the hard cases at a later date. I traipsed off to my local motorcycle emporium and was steered toward X48 Oxford-1 soft panniers.
Now I understand that these are entry-level panniers, in fact they are labeled as “First Time Luggage”.
Oxford do have another model of soft panniers called “Life Time Luggage”, but as I thought I would only need them for maybe 12 months I opted for the cheaper “First Time Luggage” model.
I planned to use the soft panniers on our trip down to Sydney, we weren’t carrying a significant amount of weight. In fact each pannier had the following his and hers items :-
- 3 pair jocks
- 3 pair socks
- 3 T-shirts
- 1 pair jim-jams
- 1 pair jeans and
- 1 jumper (not a kangaroo)
Heavy items like shoes, toiletries and the like, were spread between the tank bag and top box.
It doesn’t matter if the product you buy is entry-level, or high-end kit laced with gold and impregnated with diamonds; You expect the product to be functional and last a reasonable amount of time under normal use; in my case 12 months or less.
In all, I estimated the panniers would be used maybe 3 or 4 times a year, if that. To say I was disappointed with the Oxford panniers would be an understatement.
They had traveled less than 1200 km (745 mi), over good roads and they started to fail in the seam/ piping. At the rate they were failing, I honestly thought they wouldn’t make the trip home and our smalls would be spread out all over the road between Sydney and Brisbane.
I ended up hooking high on the bikes frame under the seat with some bungee cords, wrapping it under the panniers and over the seat to try to gain a little more support for the trip home. This was over and above the usual securing points provided by Oxford which were already in use.
When I got home, disappointed, I again looked to Shad.
Previously, Shad had 2 models of hard cases available; (SH)42 and (SH)43 litre capacity, with a 5 kg (11 pounds) load limit (each). When I went to the Shad website this time, I was pleasantly surprised to see they had introduced a range of hard cases that used a 3 point fastening system as apposed to the rectangular frame previously used. The cases are smaller at (SH)36 litres, but the load limit is now 10 kg (22 pounds) each.
As these cases were so new on the market (literally weeks on the market), I called the local importer/ distributor and asked if they had any plans on getting the (SH)36 hard cases into Australia.
Indeed they did, said the bloke on the other end of the dog ‘n bone, but only 3 sets… to test the market; and I’d have to contact my local motorcycle emporium to pre-order a set if I wanted them.
So I did just that.
The hard cases are due in late January and I expect they will be just as good a quality as the top case I have, even though I had to do a minor mod for 2 up riding. This was more for rider/ pillion comfort than anything else.
Maybe I’ll do a review on it sometime, I might even review the tank bag as well just for giggles.