The Spanish group is constantly growing: present in 80 countries, it produces both original equipment and the aftermarket
March 16, 2023
Who knows how many times you have opened and closed a side suitcase or a top case to store your small and large luggage, for short journeys or for – we like to think – intercontinental trips with your motorbike: well, it would not be a coincidence at all if the suitcases that you have mounted on your motorbike or the same saddle on which you sit every day was a product of the NAD groupowner of the SHAD brand.
The Spanish company – based in Barcelona – this year celebrates the half century since its foundation and invited us to take a peek at its production plants and its research and development departments, but above all to enter what is a company of global dimensions – in addition to the Spanish ones, NAD boasts factories in Indonesia since 2015 and since 2006 in China, just to be clear – but which is still linked to yours founder Jaume Xicola Gascón who has it created in 1973 in Mollet del Vallès.
Jaume Xicola Serrano – CEO NAD
Today the company is run by his son Jaume Xicola Serranonew CEO, and addresses the challenges of globalization and those of new mobility with awareness, aiming at design and innovation.
Any numbers? NAD mainly produces saddles and cases for the OEM market (ie original equipment) and its customers have prestigious names: among others, BMW. KTM, Indian, Triumph, Polaris, but there is an entire wall at the entrance to the Barcelona headquarters with all the partner or customer brands of the Spanish group on display.
Not an easy task to THEY: the manufacturers are certainly very demanding in terms of quality for the OEM, which represents about 55% of group sales (30% saddles and 25% suitcases) while SHADborn about twenty years later, is dedicated to the aftermarket (saddles, cases, accessories) and represents around 44% of the entire group’s sales. To give you an idea of the accuracy, many products are functionally tested one by one before being put up for sale to ensure perfect correspondence of the product to the project and optimal functionality. One by one.
This takes on even more astounding importance if we think that on the aftermarket level, SHAD’s reaction speed in designing and creating an ad hoc kit for a new motorcycle that has just appeared on the market requires very few weeks between the presentation of the novelty by the and the marketing of the dedicated kit, while as far as the OEM is concerned, the prototype approval processes and the continuous dialogue with the motorcycle manufacturer on the characteristics of the product inevitably lead to months of trials and tests to achieve the result of supplying the saddle or the original equipment suitcase.
Since 2020, growth has been constant and now the Group occupies more 400 employees and the Barcelona headquarters has an area of 30,000 square meters. For 2023, the forecasts are to produce about one million (!) saddles and about 650,000 suitcases, decidedly high numbers that have their roots at the end of 1994, when NAD – which already produced for local importers of brands such as Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki – start developing and producing OEM cases for BMWstarting from R1200C: from there, the doors of theinternational trade expansion which led NAD, 50 years after its birth, to become a world reference point in the production of saddles, suitcases and other motorcycle accessories.
In the NAD plants in Barcelona – where the whole research, development and engineering process takes place – 70% of the turnover is produced, with a particular emphasis on process control and its own technological development. The rest of the production is carried out in the branches, 25% in China and 5% in Indonesia, which has allowed the company to be present in more than 80 countries around the world.
What did we see during our visit? First one obsessive attention to detailboth in design and in production, e so much technology: to give you one of the many possible examples, NAD produces heated saddles for various motorcycle manufacturers and made the choice to obtain the production technology on his own which – understandably – asked us not to photograph in detail and not to film on video. Choice that led her to think about two different robotic machines with two different production techniques according to customer needs and production flexibility. Chapeau! All this with the continuous support and control of “human” activity.
The new E091CL bag
To celebrate half a century of activity, SHAD showed us and introduced a novelty for motorcycle bags and suitcases: taking advantage of the Click System already presented at EICMA 2022SHAD presented the only tank bag with a fastening system to the motorcycle that allows the bag to be removed from the tank with the simple push of a button, combining protection to prevent unwanted… access inside the bag itself, maybe during short breaks.
In fact, it takes advantage of the Click System removal speed (the writer was the proud winner of a challenge between journalists where he managed to unhook 8 bags in less than 9 seconds…) the new E091CL bag – evolution of the E09 – equipped with an integrated combination lock to prevent opening and/or access to the contents of the bag, ensuring greater safety for quick stops when the bag is mounted and secured to the bike. In short, almost the egg of Columbus for those who leave the bike with the bag on the tank while paying for the tank or, for example, enter a shop for a moment and don’t want to worry or for those who simply appreciate this additional security .
The safety mechanism on the tank of the 3CL
Three new bags
Ad April 2023 the new tank bags, the E03 (3-litre), the E09 (9-litre) and the TR15 (13-litre) will be available. The latter, equipped with external pockets for greater capacity and an expandable pocket to better adapt to the shape of the motorcycle tank, is included in the TERRA range, while the first two have been designed for more asphalt/urban use. All three are offered in two different versions, “C” (Click System) and “CL” (Click System Locked)the “CL” are therefore equipped with a locking mechanism to the tank with a key and all are firmly attached to the tank via the horseshoe support fixed to the crown of the tank cap itself.
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