Re: Top Case Recommendations for 2010 R1200RT
(Due to file upload limitations, I'm posting this four times, with different photos attached to each)
After research and comparison I decided to go with a SHAD top case. I ordered three different models so I could compare them. Here is my review of them. Hope you find it helpful.
The three cases I ordered were the SH46, the SH48, and the SH50. I actually got all three on Amazon, as they had some good pricing and I can return them via my local Kohls store if I choose and not pay any return shipping. (If you ever want to use this return path make sure that the seller of the product you are buying is Amazon, and not a 3rd party. I also don’t think they have rolled this out nationwide yet.) The SH46 uses a different mount than the 48 and 50 that is a bit smaller (see picture). Let me just say first up front that I thought all three of these cases exceeded the quality of the GIVI cases I looked at previously (see above). I thought the build quality of the SH48 and SH50 was even better than the SH46, which I believe is an older model. The SH46 was still good, but the other two felt even sturdier, especially the SH50 - which was simply rock solid and considerably better workmanship and quality than the GIVI cases I closely examined earlier. The locking and release mechanisms work in similar fashion on all three, but again the SH48 and SH50 were a bit better than the SH46. But I would definitely prefer even the SH46 locking system to the GIVI cases. All three allow you the ability to open the case without a key if you wish, a big advantage in my book over the GIVI cases. But more than that, the mechanism just seemed better made. Again the SH50 was especially nice. When you released the top it popped open just a bit, so you could open it with one hand instead of pulling the release with one hand and pushing it open with the other.
All three cases could fit two full face helmets (see pictures). With the SH46 you had to place the helmets on their sides, and there wouldn't be room for anything else. Both the other cases would allow you simply to set the helmets in base down, which was nice. Both also allowed some additional space for rain gear or something; the SH50 had considerable extra space. You should notice that the shape of the SH50 is more rectangular like a suitcase, whereas the other two are more angled, getting narrower in the back of the motorcycle. The SH48 makes up the lost space from this narrowing by being a little deeper. Depending on what you typically want to carry this could make the 48 preferable over the 50, but I thought for most situations the 50 would pack better. Both feel extremely sturdy without being terribly heavy. Backrests are available for all three of these case. The SH50 I ordered had one pre-installed. It looks like it will be decent and seems to be good quality.
I ruled out the SH46 because I thought it was just a little smaller than what I wanted. As the other two use the same mount I decided to go ahead and attach the mount to the bike. Based on feedback I received on this forum and elsewhere I decided to pay for Shad's custom mounting kit for the R1200RT. I'm glad I did. A bit of fiddling was needed to get the plates in just the right position but then it went on great. If you buy the RT specific mount you shouldn't need the other universal mounting hardware that is provided with the top case (at least not for an R1200RT). The mount seemed extremely sturdy and I have no concerns about its stability. I’ve seen some comment that drilling or alternate hardware was required in addition to this kit. I’m not sure what they did to require that, but no drilling or other modifications were required with this RT mount. I should also mention that a. the RT specific mount can be difficult to find (at least in the States), and b. the pricing of it varies considerably. In the time I've been looking at top cases it has been unavailable at times on Amazon in North America, and has also been priced as high as $89 (with a 1-2 month wait) and $37.49 in stock. When I saw it had dropped to that price I bought one immediately. Within days it went up again. It was difficult to find elsewhere (even at Revzilla, which carries lots of Shad stuff). The SHAD part number for the R1200RT specific mount is WORT19ST (they also make specialized mounts for a number of other bikes; check their website). If you are looking for one, be patient and look around some, and hopefully you won't have to pay $90-100 for it. But at $37.49 it was a no-brainer and definitely made for an easier (and I think also more secure) installation. The case mount looks decent when the top case is off (see picture).
As I only have a week left on my return option to Amazon, I have to pick one of these so I can return the others. For me it was between the 48 and 50, and I've pretty much decided on the 50 (unless someone provides some information to change my mind). It's a matter of personal preference which one looks the best. I would say the SH48 probably looks the best, but with the two-tone color of my RT (especially the side cases) it turns out that the SH50 style almost looks like it was made for my bike. The silver band around it is close to the color of my side cases, and matches the color of the top rack and some other components on the bike. So I suspect I'll end up with that one. I also like that the top of the SH50 is a little flatter, in case I ever want to strap something on top of it. There is also an optional rack you can buy for the top of the SH50 if you like, although it is pretty small.
My only complaint about all three of these, but especially the 48 and 50, is that when you have the case open the lid doesn't always want to stay up. It wants to drop back down into the closed (but not latched) position. This may get better as the support strap for the lid loosens or stretches a bit, but in the meantime it can be a little annoying. And I should mention one other caveat. If Shad's 58X Expandable case ever gets back in stock somewhere I would definitely look into that one as well. It is another $100 or more expensive over these cases, but the flexibility of it might be nice. But no one had it in stock in this past month while I was looking for these. In terms of cost, the price of these cases does move around a bit on various sites, so you might want to watch the market for a bit and wait for the best deal. The SH50 is the most expensive of these three (understandably as it is the largest), but it is a fairly big increase over the SH48 for just 2 liters of space (although again I think more usable space).
Check out the pictures for more details, and if you want to know something else I'll try to help. And maybe after I take this for a couple trips I'll post an update on how it performed on the road too.
North Woods Wanderer
2010 BMW R1200RT
2001 Suzuki SV650S