Long-Term Honda Africa Twin: Time For a Top Box

Adding more practicality to the most practical ADV on the market.

Honda Africa Twin
Wrist Zack Courts
MSRP (2017) $13,299
Miles 6,331 MPG 50
Mods Tail trunk
Update 3
Julia LaPalme

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 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.

MC Commute: Honda Africa Twin

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.”