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Hi all,

My girlfriend and I are soon to head on a motorbike trip across South America 2 up on a Suzuki DL650.

I have done the standards mods- skid plate, engine guards, bark buster handguards. We will be travelling with happy trails aluminium panniers and tail rack and on the back will be a large waterproof PVC bag.

I'm planning to take spare brake and clutch levers (in case they break when I fall) and if I can find a cheap aftermarket gear levers, some of those.

Any other necessities? For most spares I think we can get them on the road and we want to travel light.

One thing I'm wondering about is stronger handlebars (alloy ones). Has anyone have experience with the standard handlebars and how they hold up in a fall? I imagine there will be a few occasions where we will fall and I need the bars to manage the weight? My current view is to start with the standards and if they bend a bit then upgrade while on the road.

I've spoken to lots of people and the Vstrom sounds like a very reliable bike, however you can never have to much advice so any thoughts would be appreciated. We're both very excited and keen to get on the road.

Cheers

Reece
 

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chain maintenance stuff, like master links. Head and tail light bulbs. A tire plug kit including a pump, and I would throw in a 19" tube--you could use it in either tire if you split it too much to hold air. A small assortment of fasteners, and some good quality duct tape
 

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Hi all,

My girlfriend and I are soon to head on a motorbike trip across South America 2 up on a Suzuki DL650.

I have done the standards mods- skid plate, engine guards, bark buster handguards. We will be travelling with happy trails aluminium panniers and tail rack and on the back will be a large waterproof PVC bag.

I'm planning to take spare brake and clutch levers (in case they break when I fall) and if I can find a cheap aftermarket gear levers, some of those.

Any other necessities? For most spares I think we can get them on the road and we want to travel light.

One thing I'm wondering about is stronger handlebars (alloy ones). Has anyone have experience with the standard handlebars and how they hold up in a fall? I imagine there will be a few occasions where we will fall and I need the bars to manage the weight? My current view is to start with the standards and if they bend a bit then upgrade while on the road.

I've spoken to lots of people and the Vstrom sounds like a very reliable bike, however you can never have to much advice so any thoughts would be appreciated. We're both very excited and keen to get on the road.

Cheers

Reece
Reece, depending on when you're leaving and if you have the financial resources, get a voltmeter and driving lights (if you don't have them already). Also, bring along extra fuses! And +1 to johnnail re: chain maintenance. Lube should be all you really need, but it wouldn't hurt to bring cleaner and a couple of rags as well. Oh, and a tool kit (you didn't specify if you have one already)!
 

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so exactly how does one get stronger handlebars that fit

Get rid of those stock handlebars. The wind blew my bike over and bent the bars but good.
so exactly how does one get stronger handlebars that fit

not being a smartass - just never had to swap handlebars before
 

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Barkbusters may well nix the need for spare handlebar levers.
Spare gear lever sounds good.
Tyre repair gear ~ definitely number one on your list.

Obviously, keeping it simple light & compact is important when riding two-up.
Voltmeter maybe. Can't argue with a spare taillight bulb. But I would nix the driving lights idea ~ you won't want to do much night riding [the hazard level is high & the view of the scenery rather poor] . . . . and the V-Strom is [thoughtfully] already equipped with a spare headlight.

Some decent supplementary tools (just a few . . . . including the 12mm widget for the front axle.
.
 

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I would avoid handlebars made of any kind of metal which is prone to fatigue. I know (don't ask) you can bend the OEM bars back into reasonable shape without cracking, especially if you use some heat, but I'm not sure aluminum bars will tolerate much of that. Any little taller mecanico shop down there can fix bent bars.

If you crash hard enough to bend them into unredeemable pretzels you will have more important things to worry about.
 
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Barkbusters may well nix the need for spare handlebar levers.
Spare gear lever sounds good.
Tyre repair gear ~ definitely number one on your list.

Obviously, keeping it simple light & compact is important when riding two-up.
Voltmeter maybe. Can't argue with a spare taillight bulb. But I would nix the driving lights idea ~ you won't want to do much night riding [the hazard level is high & the view of the scenery rather poor] . . . . and the V-Strom is [thoughtfully] already equipped with a spare headlight.

Some decent supplementary tools (just a few . . . . including the 12mm widget for the front axle.
.
If you choose carefully, the hex end of your sparkplug wrench will work for the axle
 

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That's what I thought when I saw it, but it did not fit. Maybe some do and some don't. I'm not sure it's strong enough, anyway.

A hex key that can be turned with any old piece of pipe for an extension -- or one's foot and body weight -- takes up little space and is dependable. Alternatively, I took the key (center) part out of a hex socket and fit it into a 12mm socket that I have in the kit for other fasteners.
 

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Make sure you can handle sitting on the stock seat for a long time. It didn't agree with the shape of me and I had to upgrade to a Sargent to make trips bearable.
 

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Hi all,

My girlfriend and I are soon to head on a motorbike trip across South America 2 up on a Suzuki DL650.

I have done the standards mods- skid plate, engine guards, bark buster handguards. We will be travelling with happy trails aluminium panniers and tail rack and on the back will be a large waterproof PVC bag.

I'm planning to take spare brake and clutch levers (in case they break when I fall) and if I can find a cheap aftermarket gear levers, some of those.

Any other necessities? For most spares I think we can get them on the road and we want to travel light.

One thing I'm wondering about is stronger handlebars (alloy ones). Has anyone have experience with the standard handlebars and how they hold up in a fall? I imagine there will be a few occasions where we will fall and I need the bars to manage the weight? My current view is to start with the standards and if they bend a bit then upgrade while on the road.

I've spoken to lots of people and the Vstrom sounds like a very reliable bike, however you can never have to much advice so any thoughts would be appreciated. We're both very excited and keen to get on the road.

Cheers

Reece
My wife and I traveled from Tulsa, OK to Peru this winter (Jan-Feb-Mar) on our '04 DL650. It was perfect in almost every way. I carried the usual spare stuff including tubes and ProMotion bead breakers in case a tire is damaged in a pothole. On a recent trip to Alaska (12K miles) I was surprised to find out that the toolkit does not have what's needed to remove the front wheel! So from now on I use my bike toolkit whenever I work on the DL (especially at home where I have an extensive tool collection) just to make sure I have what's needed.

The only accessory I don't see mentioned (and I didn't have) is driving lites. You never want to drive at nite down there but if you get caught out ...

Buck Swafford
 

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Just had Racetech gear popped into the forks and a Nitron rear shock. Big difference in gravel road feel, very planted,sounds silly I know, but the bike now goes where ever I point it with great feeling of control. I got the ironed out bumps as I expected, but the steering thing was completely unexpected. I recommend suspension upgrade. Was $2,500 NZ, so at $1NZ = 63c US the Nitron Racetek combo is good value.
 

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My SW Motech centerstand allows me to work on the rear wheel/chain, and by sitting on or tossing enough weight on the rear deck you can work on the front tire. Both attributes make it a nice thing to have on the road, away from a garage.
 

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In the tire department, check out Mitas E-07's. Long lasting and good grip on a variety of surfaces.

Sounds like you two will have a blast. Enjoy!
 

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I too would be concerned about "alloy" bars. If you do upgrade the bars to something thicker, why would you go for a metal that fatigues over time and may crack? I would be looking at thicker steel ones personally.

However, if you bend the bars a bit in a drop, then the stock ones could be bent back reasonably easily, to let you ride on until you can find decent help. Thicker bars will be harder to straighten if you drop and bend them somewhere a long way from a shop.

Personally, I would be making sure I had enough local currency to ensure I can get something fixed if needed, or else be able to fly myself home if everything goes too pear shaped.
 

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I have been carrying an agricultural tube with spar levers, 10mm allen wrenches, ratchet to remove tank, tools to remove front tire, tape, ty raps, etc. in 41 k miles I haven't used the first tool on the road. I keep the boy scout credo.
 
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