Suzuki V-Strom DL1000 Build
The Suzuki V-Strom DL1000 – from the factory, the bike has no merit for true adventure.
Drop it, and the expensive fairings crack. Or the gear shifter breaks. Or the clutch lever reshapes itself.
I experienced all of these issues when I began taking the heavyweight Strom off road. And because I knew much more backcountry riding lay ahead, things needed to change.
This is how I discovered the German-based Touratech, a company I researched thoroughly before using its products. Its founder, Herbert Schwarz, a worldwide motorcycle traveler, began developing his own products in the late 1980s to withstand the abuse motorcycles endure on long-distance trips, both on and off road. Touratech is mostly known for their aluminum Zega panniers, the bags named after a small village in Zaire, South Africa, where Schwarz had extensively traveled.
Since releasing the Zega panniers in 1992, the company has developed into a worldwide presence in the adventure-touring market. Touratech even manufacturers the stock panniers that are found on the most sought-after adventure bike – the BMW R 1200 GS.
So in went the order for my unmanly V-Strom – crash bars, oil-cooler guard, a folding shifter peg, a headlight guard and hand guards with spoilers. I also ordered grippier Rallye foot pegs because there’s no doubt about it – the stock ones are rubber-covered, slippery pieces of junk.
It took about four hours to install everything. Be warned, though. For those who don’t have that much mechanical knowledge, the instructions are a bit vague. Take the crash bars, for example. They require two separate-sized spacers where each bar attaches to the frame, but the directions don’t tell you which size goes where. But it’s obvious once you began attaching the bars.
The instructions also don’t supply torque figures. Regarding the same crash bar installation, I simply looked at my 2002 DL1000’s manual for the torque specs to the corresponding bolts where the crash bars attach. My V-Strom needed 67.5 ft. lbs. on the engine bolt where the crash bars attach, and 30 ft. lbs. on the frame bolt.
Once installed, the crash bars not only protect, but also add a rugged look to the Strom. The bars arrive with a connecting rod that attaches both sides, providing for further stability. And unlike the complaints of other crash bars creating excessive vibrations at upper RPMs on the Vee, the Touratech products are solid.
Next up was the oil-cooler guard, which provides adequate cooling but doesn’t allow rocks or other debris to pierce the precious oil cooler. This protection piece is very significant to off-road riding due to the vulnerable location of the DL1000’s oil cooler.
Then the shifter peg, Rallye Foot Pegs and headlight guard were installed; all three of these items, along with the oil-cooler guard, had straightforward installation.
Touratech’s shifter peg simply replaces the stock shifter. The main link is made of steel, and the tip (where the foot engages) of aluminum. This tip is spring loaded to fold when either the bike tips over or debris hit it.
The Rallye foot pegs provide a much wider platform, and the tops appear like the edge of serrated knife. Even while riding through streams, my feet remain stable, not slipping like they would with the stock pegs.
And for those who do any off-road riding, especially with other riders, the headlight guard is a must. The steel grate-like guard doesn’t distort the light, and will provide much protection from rocks or other debris. And considering a stock headlight assembly costs over $300, the Touratech headlight guard is great insurance.
I finished up Strom with black hand guards. Again, installation was straightforward on these bark busters. Just remember to keep YouTube handy in case you have issues with bar-end weights like I did. I also installed the extended spoilers on the hand guards; it simply takes some drilling for their added protection against the elements. I initially was only using them for the colder weather, but keep them on year-round due to their added protection against rain.
Up until this point in my life, I never assumed I’d drop a bike so much, whether it was while practicing technique or sliding down a 100-foot embankment that appeared rideable. But with these added Touratech protection pieces, my V-Strom goes unscathed, ready for more adventure.
I’ve since traveled around 10,000 miles with these pieces, and although they were put through much abuse, I’ve had no issues with wear (pictures above show the pieces in their latest states).
As I said before, the stock V-Strom has no merit for true adventure riding. But with these additions, I’m taking a bike I paid less than $2500 for, and making it worthy for of backcountry abuse.
But there’s much more to do. Next thing to attack – the suspension, a taller windscreen and some luggage. Stay clicked to UMC for reviews on Wirth springs, a GIVI tall windscreen and the uber-cool Zega Pro Panniers.
Suzuki V-Strom DL1000 Touratech Accessories
- Crash Bars: $342
- Oil Cooler Guard: $62.70
- GD Hand Guards: $117.70
- Spoilers for Hand Guards: $29.80
- Folding Shifter Lever: $55.20
- Rallye Foot Pegs: $141.20
- Headlight Guard: $102.90
This review is part of the V-Strom DL1000 build. Click here for a Sargent seat review.