Introducing Shad Terra’s Soft Adventure Luggage
This review is indeed a bit of a long termer—not totally planned, but it is what it is. Most of the products this rider is provided with or are procured personally are kept in use over the longer term; rarely does something become a ‘pass-through’. 1000 Kg Packing Machine
Admittedly, some things do go on the shelf for periods of time, especially if wanting to continue utilizing the product personally over time, based on its proven worth and desire to get the long-term perspective.
Some of these long-term perspectives are also gathered by loaning items out to other riders who are planning a major adventure to somewhere… and will continue to use the product or products over time and distance under a wide variety of conditions. And the ability to get continuing feedback is as valuable or can be vis-à-vis the original review…
This sets the stage for what I consider to be a most suitable candidate for a near to long term assessment—the (new) SHAD TERRA TR40 Adventure Saddlebags, with one of the first sets delivered into my winter-weary hands in early 2022—well before their official release; that’s OK, I can keep a secret…
It’s no secret that SHAD is continuing to build their Adventure sector market and given the success of the initial TERRA aluminum hard case line, the TR40 Adventure (soft) Saddlebags are a logical step; they expand and diversify the TERRA line with a soft luggage product while maintaining fitment compatibility.
See Also: All Motorcycle Luggage Reviews at wBW
And indeed, after eagerly unpacking the big box, the individually bagged TR40 products—soft saddlebags securely mounted to a 4P-fit mounting plate were pulled out for a first viewing, along with two (large) drybags for inner use and two add-on pieces—a fluid container harness and a slim roll-top drybag.
The home fleet, at the time, included two 2020 Beemers—an F 850 GSA Rallye (his) and R 1250 GS HP2 (hers), already equipped with SHAD Top Kit and 4P System Mount Kits that host either the aluminum-finish (hers) or black powder coated (his) versions of the SHAD TERRA cases as reviewed for wBW.
And with a 2022 Honda CB500X on order to facilitate adventure travel—as in banging around on gravel, dirt, and trails of varying quality with a smaller (lighter) machine, SHAD USA subsequently offered up a SHAD 4P System Mount kit (PN H-ICX594P) for the little one as their kit fits 2016+ model years.
So, another stage was and is truly well set for this (longer-term) review of the new SHAD TR40 TERRA Adventure (Soft) Saddlebags—let’s get the wheels turning…
NAD. S.L. was founded in 1973, with SHAD coming into being in 1992, which means they are celebrating 30 years of designing and producing OEM luggage products and seats for motorcycle brands along with a long and diversified SHAD-branded product line—one being the SHAD TERRA line that includes aluminum top and side cases and now the TR40 soft saddlebags.
Committed to engineering and design, NAD-SHAD offers solutions in more than 80 countries with a particular commitment to the ‘Adventure’ sector. And their first formal foray into this market segment, the TERRA aluminum cases, have been widely recognized with multiple international design awards.
The Barcelona-based company, along with a technical office and production centre in Shanghai provides Product Development from ‘start to finish’ along with innovative solutions tailored to meet client and customer needs.
NAD S.L. is a leading manufacturer of motorcycle seats and cases for the world’s leading OEM brands in the motorcycle industry. From the development and production centre in Barcelona products are shipped to motorcycle factories in Europe, the US and Asia.
‘We Are Doing Green’ is a highly visible corporate statement at NAD-SHAD with numerous internationally recognized sustainable actions incorporated into every aspect of company operations.
A particular initiative that consumers participate in directly when buying SHAD OEM or SHAD-branded products is the ‘SHAD FOREST’, an initiative contributing to reforestation and compensation for our CO2 emissions. This initiative is visibly identified by the bright green tags on every product.
Designed in Barcelona, the SHAD TR40 TERRA Adventure Saddlebags are soft-side bags mounted to 4P System Compatible mounting plates and offer a capacity of ~32L (+). Each TR40 soft saddle bag measures 49 x 38 x 25 cm (19.3 x 14.9 x 9.8in) dimensionally, with a maximum weight load of 10kg (22lbs) per bag.
A most noteworthy feature of the TR40s and one that is easily missed upon inspection is the ‘Double Locking System’ (patent pending) that (a) locks the bags to the SHAD 4P side mount frames and (b) prevents access to the inside of the bag – its ingenious and quite simple.
The highly abrasion resistant material used is REACH (EU) approved and OEKO-TEX Standard 100 compliant; the use of this material, along with production and marketing initiatives are all part of SHAD’s continued commitment to a safer greener world.
And the TR40 saddle bag material resists up to 1500 hours of UV exposure as well for less deterioration over time of the material itself and continued protection of interior contents. The bags have reinforced stitches and are solidly mounted to the 4P base plate, with all components and hardware replaceable—something found with virtually all SHAD luggage pieces.
Between the material and the large full sized ‘wide-mouth’ roll top closure, along with use of the included heavy duty inner bags drybags that measure 59 x 59 cm (23 x 23in) and also have full diameter access the user is provided with what should be a totally waterproof environment for contents as desired or when needed.
The keys and lock cylinder of the TR40 saddlebags are the latest premium version from SHAD similar to the components used for the TERRA aluminum cases that provide excellent security against theft. Also like the TERRA hard cases, an attached lock cover keeps dirt and moisture from entering the lock.
Based on material construction the integrated soft saddlebags would be very light, so most of the TR40 weight is due to the strong molded 4P-fit hard back plate, although the soft bag and solid mounting plate combination is still lighter than most hard case solutions and on par with other hybrid systems. It makes for a very strong, stable, and versatile pack solution.
As identified earlier, the TR40 saddlebag system solution includes two accessory items—a roll-top sleeve style dry bag and a bottle harness good for small to large-sized fuel or drink bottles.
To accommodate these two add-on pieces along with the myriad of containers that form the pack list for travellers—on or off the beaten path, upper and lower horizontal compression straps with reinforced pass-throughs on the front and back, along with two MOLLE insert sections on the outer side of each bag provide a lot of versatility and flexibility.
And we won’t forget the wide main straps with their reinforced pass-throughs and adjustable DURAFLEX cam-buckles; once the G-Hooks ends of these straps are secured into their recesses on the hard frame, the overlapping section of these straps are separately adjustable, allowing smaller soft gear containers or drybags to be added securely to the top of each TR40.
Wide roll-top straps (with keepers) utilize large DURAFLEX cam buckles and stitched closed-loop aluminum G-Hooks for adjustability and load security—everything tight and secure for a safe riding environment. Small reflective details improve visibility and unobtrusive padded carrying handles are an appreciated touch when carrying the bags.
And speaking of being appreciated, the SHAD TR40 product received an ABC 2022 (The World Of Mobility) award as reward for the product’s innovative design that focuses on solving key user requirements regarding adventure motorcycle travel while remaining true to SHAD’s long term environmental objectives…
The SHAD TERRA TR40 assembly is an adaptation of the SHAD 4P-Fit components used on the SHAD TERRA aluminum side cases with all the necessary shaping, mounting, and locking mechanisms integrated into and onto the 4P-fit mounting board or plate. Fitment compatibility with the SHAD 3P system mount is provided as well.
The original SHAD 3P or three-point system mount kits were first described by Rick in a wBW SHAD Sh36 Side Case Review in 2014 and we did a follow-on in October 2017 with a BMW S1000XR side and top case system review.
At EICMA 2019, SHAD announced the TERRA line of aluminum top and side cases, with initial TERRA videos revealing that the aluminum side cases were (seemingly) actually fitted to the existing 3P mount system; SHAD was quick to follow-up the initial TERRA product release with the new SHAD 4P (four-point) system mount that provides a more stable mounting solution.
Over-design and strength are hallmarks of all SHAD luggage products—both the 3P and 4P side frame systems utilize an industry-first 19mm tubing (originally steel now stainless steel) powder coated for durability with attached mounting arms or points depending on the specific motorcycle or range of models; and there are lots of variants for lots of motorcycles.
The 3P frame uses a horizontal top tube that bends down at the front with a reinforced front mounting point at the lower front, forming two sides of a rectangular shaping; the 4P continues that shaping by completing the rectangle with a continuance of the front vertical tubing extended to and along the bottom tubing and up at the back—completing the four sides.
Both the 3P and 4P mounts use two replaceable bumper pads positioned along the top frame as engagement points or rests for the side cases, while the 4P layout adds another replaceable bumper pad towards the back of the lower frame tubing. The cut-out shaping on the reinforced front vertical section is the front mounting or engagement point for the cases.
The original SHAD SH36/SH35 polypropylene side cases utilize the back and front top and front engagement points for the three-point or 3P fit, while the TERRA aluminum cases and TR40 pieces utilize the two top and front points along with a back bottom engagement for the four-point or 4P fit.
And while strength, stability, and security are what you get with either the 3P or the 4P mounting solutions, there is no doubt that the 4P layout is, by virtue of its design and distributed mounting approach, one of the strongest luggage mounting systems ever used.
The soft-side TR40 saddlebags are attached to a heavy duty back board or plate—a complex molded piece incorporating the mounting pieces, the pivoting assembly that engages the bottom of the upper tube and two smaller engagement (blocking) arms that lock the roll-top strap G-Hooks into place, creating the ‘Double-Locking System’.
Lifting one of the TR40 pieces up does reveal that the backboard or plate is far heavier than the lightweight soft saddlebag itself, but overall, each TR40 assembly (empty) is lighter than other similar sized and capacity pieces, as shown below.
Some basic weights (using a calibrated 110lb capacity digital postal scale):
The empty SHAD TR40 Assembly is 2.650kg or 5.84lbs lighter than the TR37 Aluminum Side Case and 3.100kgs or 6.83lbs lighter than the BMW Adventure Aluminum Pannier. When packed the TR40 soft saddlebag assembly is around two lbs heavier than the empty SHAD TR37 aluminum side case and about a lb heavier than the empty BMW pannier…
And everything on the soft saddlebag and 4P-fit back board or plate, mounting pieces and hardware is replaceable if needed—a design approach that this user really appreciates.
As shown in the photos above and below, the double locking system consists of the tube clamp assembly (activated by the assembly release or pull-out lever) and the roll-top G-hook security mechanism operated by the locking key itself. The basic conditions and actions are:
Note 1: once unlocked, the roll-top bags can be opened but the TR40 assembly remains secured to the 3P/4P side mounts unless the release lever is activated.
Note 2 : if the key is in the horizontal or unlocked position, it cannot be pulled out.
Installing or removing the TR40 pieces is like the process for the TERRA aluminum side cases with only the actual locking steps being different.
Note: sometimes a slight wiggle is needed to fully seat the TR40 onto the side mount frame—if it isn’t seated properly the release lever will not close fully (do not force this).
Once the bags are ready to be closed and secured, bring the edges of the rolltop together (folded in), use the small centre Velcro tab to secure the top edges and then roll it down tightly.
If not over-packed but with some compression possibly needed, align the G-Hooks with and push them into their housings on the back edge of the 4P-fit plate—push them in fully so the small pivoting engagement arms move freely for the locking action.
From this point, the key can be turned back to the vertical (up) that activates the pivoting engagement arms to lock the G-Hooks into place. The key can be removed, and the weather cap put in place.
Note: do not force the locking actions, always check that the TR40s are seated and that the G-Hooks fully inserted into their housings so that the lock functions properly.
Packing and accessing the contents of the TR40 saddlebags is not an issue—both the saddlebag rolltop and inner drybag rolltop feature full perimeter access which equals direct access to anything packed inside.
While most soft sided luggage can be expanded outwards or upwards to degrees to add some extra space (when needed), the TR40 layout isn’t totally supportive, due to the fact that the large aluminum G-Hooks are on (short) fixed-length loops which does restrict severe overpacking—not a bad thing by itself, but it can be impediment.
Thankfully there is some accommodation provided by the dual-role two wide main straps with their adjustable DURAFLEX cam buckles and strap wraps. Once the primary G-Hook ends are engaged and locked in place on the back frame, the overlaid strap sections can be loosened off and small soft containers or drybags secured on top of the TR40s.
If the G-Hooks fixed loops were longer or made adjustable—an approach seen on many other soft-side luggage systems, this would allow a couple extra inches of height to be used inside the TR40 saddlebag’s generous length rolltop without jeopardizing the dual-role of these wide straps.
But overall, the TR40 saddlebags do provide more than enough volume for the usual travel load of personal kit and riding gear. Everything is packed in smaller stuff sacks (water-resistant or drybags themselves) or large resealable plastic bags typically.
With or without the encompassing SHAD inner drybags used, one side is for the personal stuff while the basic tools or repair packs sit on the bottom of the second bag along with gear related pieces and/or any personal top-up—like the smallish, readily-accessed overnight bag.
No matter if using hard, semi-rigid or soft bags, it’s still wise to keep heavier tool rolls or pieces on the bottom of the panniers/bags – close and low to the motorcycle to minimize top-loading impacts and of course, gravity. Packing tightly is another mantra as it keeps things from shifting around that can put undue stress on materials and also impact ride/rideability.
Since putting the TR40s into use they have been loaded up to the hilt weight-wise on purpose and used that way for extended periods; I haven’t and don’t have any concerns over their strength and security.
Some users will always want, or need more side bag room though, but for this traveler, 35 to 40 L per side is more than enough, typically… thanks to decades of riding, clothing & gear rationalization and ‘you pack it, you carry it’ experiences. Besides, augmentation in the form of a rear top box and/or waterproof duffel bag is or can be de rigueur as well.
For weekend to week-long travel, everything for indoors and outdoors is packable in the two TR40s although the tent or its frame kit may end up across the back section of the seat. And besides, the SHAD TR37 TERRA Top Case (Black Edition) is usually along for the ride as it secures all the high-value and ready-access things and goes On/Off in seconds.
And in mentioning the overnight bag, the standard operating procedure or SOP, as done for any other form of travel, sees a small waterproof or water-resistant pouch or bag with emergency or overnight things packed and readily accessible, even if doing the wear-n-wash-repeat travel routine.
When doing the fluffy pillow and warm sheets thing and if the moto machines are viewable, close at hand and (always alarmed), this personal bag, along with the usual electronics, can be the only things needing to be brought into the room.
But if wanting or needing to offload to degrees, the TR40s make light work of this. Pull the weather cap off the locks, insert the key, turn it to the inside (horizontal) to retract the upper G-Hook locking arms. Removing the G-Hooks and main straps lets the roll top be opened up and the packed contents accessed, with the TR40s still secured to the frames.
If, however, everything is coming off, just pull the release lever outwards to release the bottom tube clamp mechanism, lift the bags up and away at the back to clear the top and front engagement points and done—seconds at most; assembly is almost as quick.
The only limitation to packing the TR40s are the short, fixed length loops used to secure the large easy to use aluminum G-Hooks.
The current layout does or can restrict getting full use of the soft-side saddlebags including its very long wide rolltop. It would seem to be an intended limitation to keep the bags from being overloaded; but it is still a limitation, and it detracts from overall versatility and flexibility that are hallmarks of most roll-top, flexible soft side luggage solutions.
But on a positive point here, between (literally) the wide main straps, the reinforced pass-throughs and adjustable DURAFLEX cam-buckles, the means to secure smaller soft gear or drybags is provided for the top of each TR40.
The front and rear horizontal straps function as side compression straps but the reinforced pass-throughs can be utilized for other things. However, a single or double row MOLLE insert on each end would work as well and add even more layout versatility.
The TR40s do have very visible reflective inserts as part of the outer side MOLLE layouts, but that’s it, at least that works. This is indeed an ongoing issue—not just at SHAD but for virtually anyone in the industry.
C’mon, laying in distinctive visible reflective pieces on any exposed area, especially for non-permanent/removable luggage pieces should be a standard to address conspicuity and safety.
Without getting into the many valid arguments regarding the need to keep your personal kit and gear protected (safe and dry), and in appreciating the approach taken by SHAD, I could still wish that the TR40 product used a single layer drybag or offered consumers the choice with another variant.
The means to provide an additional layer of security and waterproofness is indeed met in using the sturdy elemental resistant outer bag along with the equally sturdy roll-top drybag inner that takes little space but provides lots of protection.
Having the flexibility (choice) is very good for a broad spectrum of users, especially when considering the requirements for adventuring—locally or globally. But in using most of the SHAD waterproof and seemingly bombproof Zulupack products an ideal combination would see a 40L waterproof roll-top wide-mouth drybag mounted to the 4P-fit backing… a wish, perhaps.
As with the TERRA aluminum cases, the TR40 saddlebags with their 4P-fit layout are fully compatible with SHAD 3P side case systems as the top and front engagement points and the pivoting locking mechanism form an interchangeable mounting solution.
And unless continually banging around on bad roadways or off-road (not much difference in many cases) where four-point mounting and security is best, the slightly simpler and lighter weight 3P mount system would work very well for many adventures.
If you have SH36/SH35 cases or the TERRA aluminum side cases, you have even more versatility to go along with the TR40s. Moving from the off-road stuff to higher speed adventure touring? Swap the TERRA TR40s for the TERRA TR36 aluminum cases (in seconds) and away you go…
To say the garage is well-stocked with luggage pieces—hard, hybrid or soft, of varying design and various shapes would be an understatement. But most or much of it gets used during our riding seasons on various home fleet machines or is loaned out to those who have more immediate requirements…
All to say that despite there being no shortage of well designed, well made, highly functional luggage products at hand, the SHAD TR40 Adventure (Soft) Saddlebags are favoured pieces and if the opportunity came tomorrow to hit the trail for a longish adventure trip the TR40s would be going with me.
No, they have not yet been on that long adventure trip yet and yes, they are a bit more complex in design than most soft luggage kits but as a solution they also have some unique valuable features. And they have acquitted themselves extremely well—evidenced by the points identified in the Pro/Con point and a short observations section.
The SHAD TR40 (soft) saddlebags are a truly unique combination of a durable soft saddlebag and a formed hard backing board resulting in a (very) functional solution compatible with one of the best hard side case mount solutions on the market—the SHAD 3P and 4P systems.
Additionally, the TR40 system uses the ‘Dual-Locking’ feature to provide both security of the whole assembly, and security regarding access to the contents of the soft roll-top bags themselves. This locking solution isn’t, by virtue of the materials used, the equal of hard case implementations, but then the TR40s aren’t hard cases… and this unique SHAD approach works.
Bottom Line: The SHAD TR40 TERRA Adventure Saddlebags are unique in their design, features, and compatibilities, forming a most excellent soft side luggage solution with both an assembly locking feature and locking of the primary access straps and G-Hook fasteners. Even with the 4P-Fit mounting board that is compatible with the SHAD 3P and 4P system mounts the TR40 pieces are equal to or of lesser weight than basic soft luggage solutions.
Volume, durability, and usability are excellent although it would be nice to have a bit more height expansion with the strap layout. The included drybags provide a waterproof interior housing when needed with a negligible impact on overall capacity. Any noted observations are relatively minor and/or could be addressed by SHAD without much issue. The SHAD TR40 product is highly recommended.
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