motorcycles, travel, friendship, respect… I may drift off into WTF-land at times so hang in there.

I Got Me A New Farkle.


Back on January 14 I wrote about pre-ordering a set of SHAD (SH36) hard cases and frames to replace some soft panniers that had failed after only 1200 km (745 mi).

Clicky here if you’d like to refresh your memory.

Last Tuesday I got a text from my local motorcycle accessories emporium advising me the hard cases had arrived.

Quick as a flash I was on the phone to The Pillion. 

Putting on my best Roger Rabbit ‘pwease’ impersonation, I asked if she could collect my new hard cases from said accessories emporium. Which she was kind enough to do.

She told me later that she was passing by that way anyway, so my pleading didn’t really have any effect.

SHAD (SH36) & Fitting Kit

That’s One Big Box!

When I got home, two large boxes were waiting for me in the garage. I opened the largest of the two boxes first and made sure the hard cases were undamaged, all was good.

After packing them away again, I unpacked the smaller box containing the fitting kit. Everything on the inventory was accounted for, and there was no damage, so I packed the bits and pieces away ready for the weekend installation project.

The Fitting Kit

The Fitting Kit

The fitting kit is a fairly simple affair, containing the support arms and other bits and pieces that may not be so obvious.

  • 2 plastic blocks which fit on the end of the support arms,
  • 2 indicator support brackets,
  • 2 rubber ‘O’ rings,
  • 4 cable ties,
  • 2 extension cables for the indicators complete with bullet connectors,
  • an assortment nuts, bolts washers and spacers.

Basic hand tools are all that is required for the installation.

Support Arm Assembly

Support Arm Assembly Parts

The photo above shows how the support arm and indicator brackets fit together. This takes all of 5 minutes per arm an requires only an Allen key to fasten the Allen bolts.

The photo below shows the assembled support arm.

Support Arm Assembly

Completed Support Arm Assembly

Note, the only piece of plastic in the fitting kit, is the block that supports the indicator support bracket. There is no weight in the indicators, so plastic works fine for this application. I suspect it offers some shock absorption to the indicators as well, but is probably not needed.


Spacer Sleeves

The support arms are held on at two points; at the grab rail and at the pillion foot rest.  SHAD supplies a series of 9 & 22mm  (3/8″ & 7/8″) spacers to assist with correct fitment and spacing off the bodywork.

In the photo above you are facing the rear of the bike looking down on the grab rail. The upper bolt in the photo shows the top box bracket and 9mm spacer previously fitted.

From the photo, you can see that the 22mm spacer won’t work in this instance because of the top box bracket. Using a thinner spacer won’t work either because the pannier brackets will rub on the top box bracket.

Spacer Sleeves

Spacer Sleeves

The solution is to use both 22 mm spacers and an additional 13mm (1/2″) spacer to pull the whole affair away from the top box bracket.

To achieve this, I needed to purchase some additional hardware.

  • 2 off 90 mm M8 hex bolts
  • 2 off 90mm M6 hex bolts
  • 2 off 13mm spacers, or washers totaling same.
Longer Bolts & New Spacers

Longer Bolts & New Spacers

Packing the pannier brackets out an additional 13mm isn’t as bad as it sounds (looks lousy though) because at the other end, at the pillion foot rests, you need to do the same thing. In all, the brackets are a total of 26mm (1″) wider than what SHAD intended.

The photo above shows the completed installation at the grab rail.

Bolts To Long

Bolts To Long

The pillion foot rests need to be spaced out (man) an additional 9mm on the forward foot peg bolt hole. The rear bolts are naturally spaced out with the top box bracket and the new pannier brackets, so no additional spacers are required.

The photo above shows the original spacer used with the top box bracket, plus a nice shiny gold one for the new pannier bracket.

Notice the bolt?

It’s too long.

The supplied bolt is 50mm (2″) long and digs into the plastic housing under the seat. I had the same problem when I installed the top box brackets. The solution is to either cut the supplied bolts down or use shorter 35 mm (1-3/8″) bolts.

Indicator Relocation

When the panniers are fitted, they cause the indicators to depress down on their stems. The solution is to relocate the indicators up and away with the supplied 200 mm (8″) long extension wires.

Shad makes this easy with the inclusion of bullet crimp connectors. Simply cut the original wire and insert the extension, wrapping the joints in PVC electrical tape (as per the SHAD installation instructions).

Personally, I prefer to solder electrical joints and use heat shrink to insulate the wires. This way they are less likely to rattle loose, or become corroded over time and the job looks much neater.

The one thing I hate about the indicator relocation is that it leaves two gaping holes on each side of the rear guard where the indicators once were.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do here, but the holes are going to be plugged. Probably with a bicycle reflector or some tough looking skull and cross-bones thing-a-mie.

Well maybe not the skull and cross-bones… you get the idea though.


SHAD SH36 Hard Cases

The cases themselves are nicely finished and are larger in volume than the old soft panniers, 36 litres vs 24 litres each. Plus they are water-resistant, lockable and can be left on the bike. This will give me a total of 136 litres of luggage capacity between the Pannier, top box and tank bag.

SHAD has an internal bag that fits perfectly inside each pannier too. I thought about buying some of these, but I reckon a couple of decent back packs would achieve the same result. Or I might pull the sewing machine out of the cupboard and look at it for a while; before asking The Pillion nicely to make the bags for me.

Another ‘pwease’ moment perhaps?


Panniers Fitted & Ready To Go

With Top Case

… And With The Top Case


The Cases Are About 100mm (4″) Wider On Each Side Than The ‘Bars

So after a bit of messing around with bolts and soldering wires instead of crimping them, this is how they look on the bike.

Pretty neat huh?

In all, the quality appears to be every bit as good as the top box I’ve been using for the last two years, they suit the bike well and because the pannier frames use the new 3P system instead of the old style rectangular frame, the bike doesn’t look like a Meccano set when the panniers are off the bike.

Can’t wait to load up for our next trip.



10 responses

  1. Neat job!


    February 11, 2015 at 6:14 AM

  2. Bob

    Very nice. Makes the Suzuki look really sharp!


    February 11, 2015 at 6:50 AM

    • You know, I never liked bikes with panniers when I was younger, not even saddle bags. Even now I use a postal throw over bag for local trips instead of the tank bag. But you’re right, Bluey does look the business now 🙂


      February 11, 2015 at 7:17 PM

  3. Looks great 🙂


    February 11, 2015 at 3:40 PM

    • Thank you


      February 11, 2015 at 7:17 PM

      • Good tip, although I think if I did that, she’d just roll her eyes and walk away 😉

        We used compression sacks too. They work really well. We also use the roll your socks & jocks into your T shirt method as well.


        February 12, 2015 at 8:12 AM

  4. Looking good.

    If you need to ask the Pillion to sew you some removable bags, make sure she can see you batt your eyes at her while you plead, it may help.

    We have even used compression stuff sacks in the hard bags. It helps to pack clothes and then dirty laundry into smaller packages.


    February 12, 2015 at 8:08 AM

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