DIY Vee Skidplate - Pic heavy - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 15 Old 10-15-2019, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
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DIY Vee Skidplate - Pic heavy

Before my trip on the COBDR and IDBDR this past September, I knew I needed a decent skidplate. I'm a pretty big procrastinator and I'm pretty cheap, so that combo left me without a lot of options a few days before my trip. Nothing I found online was looking like it would be beefy enough for me, and nothing was up in the used market. I had been planning this build for a while, so I had the process in mind, and luckily it worked out. Anyone who has seen my winter projects thread knows I have had this on the list for a couple winters. Well, three days before my trip I finally started on it.

I have Givi crash bars, so the front mount was obvious. My first step for me was to find a place to mount the rear. I looked around and I know that most skidplates attach to the center stand mount but the brackets required to make that work seemed overly complicated and possibly a bit weak. I found that the side stand mounting bolt was nice and beefy, and there was an exhaust mounting point almost directly across from it. I measured, bent and drilled a piece of flat bar to span across.

Exhaust side:


I missed a pic of the sidestand side, but the mount rests on the inside near the bolt head. Both of the bolts had enough length that I didn't have to find longer replacements.


My plan was to take one large piece of scrap aluminum plate to make the entire thing, get a shape, cut it out flat, and bend the plate. So I set to work on making a template out of cardboard. I cut out a large rectangle for the base, and several smaller pieces to help hold the shape of the bends. I vice gripped the back of the rectangle to the rear mount, and made bends where I wanted the bend points, then used the mounting bolts for the front to hold it in place while I taped the other pieces to keep my angles. This was a painful step, but it really helped in the end.





Next I cut out pieces for the sides, so I could get the angles of the cuts right, and see where I wanted all my bends, and check for interference.



Once I got the cardboard template where I was happy with it, I flattened it out and transferred the shape to my aluminum plate.



I cut the plate with my circular saw, and also scored the plate at the bend lines using shallow depth cuts. This was important to get straight bends without a brake, and also turned out to be important just to get the plate bent at all. I also cleaned all the old paint off the bend an cut lines so it would be clean for welding later.



I also made a couple extra cuts on scraps so that I could test the bends and use it for some warmup welds.





I clamped the plate to the bike and started bending the bottom section. I used some scrap bits taped between the plate and the exhaust to help maintain the distance from the exhaust.





I drilled holes for the mounting brackets before I started bending the sides. On the rear I used countersunk flat heads so I didn't have anything to snag on rocks or whatever I come across.



Bending the sides was no small feat. I used a six foot piece of 2" square structural steel I had, plus my weight, plus the weight of the bike and a jack. This step I would do differently next time, but I still can't think of a better way.

I didn't get any pics of the bending, but here it is bent up:



I drilled a hole for the oil drain plug, and a the hole on the rear left is a clearance hole for the exhaust clamp that sits there.



I also drilled some holes for the oil cooler, this came out pretty cool.



Then I got to welding. I don't have a ton of aluminum welding experience, and it took me quite a while to get test welds I was happy with. And happy with wasn't exactly great, but simply strong enough, and not pretty. I was completely out of time, already a day late leaving, so I rounded out the corners and left the shape the way it was. I might shape it another time.











Here it is mounted on the bike, and how it stood for the entire month long trip. I left it unpainted. It took a few good knocks and scrapes but nothing cracked or broke. I used bicycle tube wrapped around the crash bars, but I didn't make any vibration dampenning for the rear mount. When I mounted it up, the clearance on the front was a little tight so over 7k rpm I can hear the exhaust hitting the plate, I'll make some adjustments over the winter, but it lasted 11,000 km including plenty of off road like this.

In the end I was happy with the build considering the time I had. I spent about two half days and one day that had a wedding in the afternoon/evening. If I were to do it again, I would prep the welding areas more, practice welding on more scrap, and modify the rear mount slightly. The rear mount has a spot where it sticks out a bit too far, it bends at a 90 where the plate bends at 45. You can see it in the last picture. That point still held up well, and I didn't snag it like I thought might happen, but it could be better.

I don't know if vibration dampening on the rear would help with anything, but I might play with that a bit.






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post #2 of 15 Old 10-15-2019, 06:26 PM
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That's cool! Did you think to try annealing the aluminium first? All those bends with the cuts would have bent as easily as cardboard if you did.
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post #3 of 15 Old 10-15-2019, 06:46 PM
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Nice job. And nice write up and great pics.
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post #4 of 15 Old 10-15-2019, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sullaha View Post
That's cool! Did you think to try annealing the aluminium first? All those bends with the cuts would have bent as easily as cardboard if you did.
I didn't because it was scrap and I was in a rush. Maybe an idea for next time, I work in the heat treating industry so I could get that done pretty easily.
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post #5 of 15 Old 10-15-2019, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stalky Tracker View Post
Nice job. And nice write up and great pics.
Thanks, I wish I had taken more photos, but I usually feel that way.

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post #6 of 15 Old 10-15-2019, 07:35 PM
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I did the same thing, using the same technique including the partial cuts to create bend lines, about 14 years ago. It worked great for nine years.

I also smoothed the welds and polished the pan, which in hind sight, was just silly.



https://www.vstrom.info/Smf/index.php/topic,1385.0.html
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post #7 of 15 Old 10-15-2019, 08:41 PM
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Beautiful job, VanIsleJay! Remember, function over form every time. I usually prefer to think outside the box and make rather than buy, too, and find there often isn't anything to be bought, anyway.

Oh yeah, nice coveralls! I have a bunch of the same ones! Got them in YVR. :-)

Cheers,
Glenn

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post #8 of 15 Old 10-15-2019, 08:53 PM
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that does look really nice
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post #9 of 15 Old 10-15-2019, 09:21 PM
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I see you used CAD .........."cardboard aided design". Paramount to the diy'er's success.

Excellent job. Well done!
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post #10 of 15 Old 10-16-2019, 01:08 PM
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That's great work. Your design reminds me of the awesome Enduro Guardian skid plates, one of which I have on my 2007 DL1000.

You're right about the rear mounting. The EG plate uses a similar bracket, attaching in the same places.

Mounting is where many aftermarket skid plates fall short. I don't like the ones that use the engine itself, or the oil cooler, as mounting points. A skid plate should attach to the frame or crash bars.

As for vibration isolation: my EG plate doesn't have any at front or rear, except for my highway pegs (which are Happy Trails). I might try some bicycle tube between the U-bolts and Givi bars in the front - good idea.

Did you have any trouble with fasteners rusting? I believe the hardware included with my EG plate was all stainless.
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