Does Size Really Matter?

Review of the SHAD 37 Topcase
April, 2012

Scooters are fun, economical and (usually) cute. But are they really practical transportation? Yes. This question has been answered in the affirmative over and over in Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, it seems just about everyplace except North America. The struggle for scooters to gain acceptance as practical urban transportation continues in the USA. It’s my hope that scooters are gaining ground. To be sure, I still see plenty of monstrously big SUVs with a single occupant on the roads, but I also see lots compact cars, motorcycles and scooters on my daily commute.

It’s easy to see why the scooter-as-transportation idea has taken such a firm hold around the world. Scooters cost less to purchase than cars, get MUCH better fuel economy, take up less space on roadways and in parking lots, are easy and inexpensive to maintain and insure, and they make wonderful commuting and errand machines. Most scooters have storage space under the seat and many also have space on the floorboard or have a luggage rack in the front or rear (or both). Of course there are also luggage options for carrying your daily needs on your scooter. We’re going to take a look at a lockable, hard topcase from SHAD on one of the best of the 50cc moped-class scooter out there – the Kymco People 50.

I make no secret of the fact that I’m a fan of SHAD topcases. Their quality is excellent, I generally like their locking and opening mechanisms better than Givi (another popular brand) and SHADs are typically a better value than other brands. I have SHAD topcases on all my scooters (except my Stella) and they have demonstrated long-term reliability. OK, after all that rambling, let’s get to the “size” comment in the title – people seem to put the smallest available topcase on most scooters. The image to the left is of a People 50 with a SHAD 29L (L for liter as in 29 liters capacity). Certainly, the smallish 29L seems appropriate to the size of the scooter, but as we’re talking about practicality here, would something a little bigger really look all that bad?

The image to the right is of the same Kymco People 50 with a SHAD 37L mounted on it. Yes, it looks a little top-heavy in the back, but I don’t think it’s that bad. I have gone over the easy process for installing a SHAD mount in our review of the SHAD 40L with luggage rack and the mount for the 37 was just as easy to install. I selected the 37 size because I DID think the 40 was too big and looked awkward on a scooter the size of the People 50. This scooter is a bit of an experimental scooter for me and I’m focusing on supreme urban practicality. It’s a moped-licensed scooter that a person can ride without needing a motorcycle endorsement, and it can be legally parked in a lot of bicycle racks (in Minnesota). With the price of downtown Minneapolis parking in the $200 per month range, I wanted a machine that would be inexpensive to acquire and operate, easy to use without special licensing, and as practical as possible for transportation. The addition of good luggage is a major contributor to the practicality of this machine. Most people recognize that they don’t need most of the space in their car to haul “just themselves” and the same is true of that car’s luggage capacity. A scooter equipped with a case like the SHAD 37 will meet a large percentage of most people’s daily “carrying” requirements.


The image above shows the relative additional capacity in the SHAD 37 as compared to the 29. I can easily fit my XXL full-face Nolan helmet in the 29, but precious little else. The 37 takes my helmet AND a folded up armored jacket. More important for me, my messenger bag (corporate lunch box, man-purse, etc.) fits in the 37 but DOES NOT fit in the 29. The price difference between the SHAD 29 and 37 isn’t much – The 29 goes for about $125 and the 37 for about $155.

All of the SHAD topcases share a mounting design – one installs a mounting base to one’s scooter and then the case attaches and locks to that base. This is one big difference between SHAD topcases and many other designs that bolt directly to the scooter and ARE NOT intended to be frequently removed. As such, the SHAD is much more functional as actual luggage. Easy to take off and bring with you for loading and unloading. The cases both lock closed and lock to the mount for security.

The point of all this rambling? With a simple and inexpensive addition, your scooter can gain a lot of transport practicality. Just be sure you match up your real needs and scooter with the product you select. For me, the SHAD 37 was a great choice for a commuter-scooter.

In Minnesota, SHAD topcases are available at: Scooterville – Minneapolis.