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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I’m about to buy a used Wee, and it’ll be my first.

Would someone be able to provide me a checklist of (or link to) the farkles recommended for a Wee to ride on rough/gravel roads, including a long trip in general? I’m planning a tent camping and hiking trek from CA to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, with some time in Canada, covering 15-20K miles, this summer/fall.

I’d like to protect the exposed bits of course, like oil filter and radiators, so some things are obvious, like guards for the engine and crash bars, but some are not obvious, like a fork brace.

I’d like to hear your thoughts, starting with the basics. I’m not sure what I’ll need in a tool kit and which spare parts to bring.

(My current ride is a 1983 BMW airhead, which is a completely different animal; I had a similar 13,600 mile trek on it last summer. I’ve tent camped for weeks at a time, so it’s the Wee specific stuff that I’m looking to understand. And, I'm not rich - I just prioritize my treks and live frugally.)

I realize my question is open-ended and broad, but any advise you provide to someone new to the V-Strom would be greatly appreciated. So far while reading the threads, I’ve found this site to be extremely helpful and it seems genuinely friendly, too.

Thanks!
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1 June 2009

First, a big THANKS! to
rcacs, honest bob, Wulf, awannabe veewee, XLonDL650, vaara, code, Black Lab, Tony T, Jonnylotto, MTNAdventureRider, graham downunder, PeteW, Spork Rider, DrDale, randyo, farmerlou.

I really appreciate your comments and suggestions. Cheers!

Hopefully, the pic shows my 2008 Flat Black DL 650 A, picked up with 7,800 miles on 30 May 2009. The next day, I shared the road to Santa Cruz and back from San Francisco with a friend. (The Givi cases will likely be traded for more substantial ones, per suggestions offered.)

I have mixed emotions about taking the Wee on my Alaskan trek vs. my R65. In an email I sent to a friend today:

"Compared to my old Beemer, the ride is so calm and relaxed that there's really no effort required to ride it. It's almost too easy, really. I wouldn't call it boring, but I'm not sure how to describe it. Maybe it's less involving, more disconnected. I really felt the 'work' of riding my Beemer, and there was always something innately satisfying about accomplishing a 3-4 hour ride, or riding 6-7 hours in a day on it, as it took physical as well as mental energy. It was tiring, in a good way.

"While I have no regrets about getting the Wee, in the back of my mind, I'm asking myself, Would I be more satisfied if I rode my Beemer to Alaska instead?

"It's odd, but I'm not excited about selling the Beemer. But I don't need two bikes so I guess I will. I don't know why, but maybe I'm accustomed to good things in life requiring more energy and effort to obtain, that they have to be earned and not easily given... The Wee seems to just give without question, and I had to persuade, cajole, stretch, and push the Beemer to do what I wanted."

I think that a big part of making my 13,600 mile trek on the naked Beemer last summer/fall was the physical endurance required to ride it so many hours for so many weeks, through 100+F deserts, 10F cold, a few miles of hail, 25 mile snow storm in the mountains... Those types of challenging times made the 1000 miles of cruising around Yellowstone for eight days in mild weather that much more savory.

My emotions are certainly mixed about leaving my Beemer behind. Attached are a couple of pics of the 1983 BMW R65.

Have you experienced this type of separation anxiety?!
 

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Welcome to the forum and the world of Wee!

If its rough roads you will be travelling, you will definatly want to upgrade the front forks. SonicSprings, Gold Valves and a fork brace should be at or near the top of your "must have" list. I have my front end set up with these componants, and I can assure you they really make a difference, especially on washboard surfaces.

Give Rich a call over at Sonic (www.sonicsprings.com) and Blair over at [email protected]. Both great guys and they will get you set up with what you need.

Cheers,
 

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Check out Pat Walsh at http://www.patwalshdesigns.com/guard.html. He has a very functional crash bar/skid plate combo that still allows servicing. (and it's reasonable. If you get the two rad screens, (no need to get a fenda extenda) and no need to worry about gravel etc. finding soft parts. The highway pegs are a nice convenience too. If I was going on your trip, I'm a patient (read slower smell the flowers type) that's about all I would get. The Wee is more capable than most give er credit for. Honest, Bob... PS. I just moved (up) from R1100RT to Wee 07. Your going to love it!
 
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I have the Givi bars and Amotostuff skid plate combo. It's a bit more expensive at about $380 but material and workmanship is excellent and it seems to protect the engine and tank/plastic parts very well.
http://wulfers.net/motorcycle/pictures/eveningride/files/page91-1002-full.html

I rode about 150 miles of gravel roads last weekend and heard many small tinks and several loud bangs of rocks hitting the skid plate. It looks great on the bike as well. I don't think I will ever need it for serious offroading but it is comforting to know it's there.
 

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Fork brace

I have moved from an Airhead BMW to a WeeStrom recently, and I haven't looked back! The Wee is a good platform to build on. Dealer support and parts availability or better also. I can't help out with the off-road aspect, but I would encourage the forkbrace option. My daily 120 mi. ride has been greatly improved by adding a forkbrace. Cross winds and semi airblasts are greatly reduced by the brace. I went with a Murphs, brace, but find the one that fits your needs. Sounds like a great adventure! Share your adventure with the rest of us who would love to tackle a ride like that! Ride Safe Ride Often Dave
 

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Let me start off by saying, I am by no means a die hard off-road vstrom rider. I've seen plenty of people put these bikes through some serious stuff. A lot of which are experienced mx riders that wanted something more road trip worthy to get to off beat trails and roads. However, I still get a kick when I read threads like this of some of the suggestions people put out there as "must haves" for riding dirt. Mostly because about 85 percent if not greater, of members of this forum have never actually ridden on dirt. Gravel, yes. Dirt, mud, sand? No. I've seen harley's do some pretty gnarly gravel roads and come out perfectly fine with less "protection" then what some of the people that do not ride even gravel, but have the stuff to do so on their bikes on this forum.

What it comes down to is how aggressive are you going to be? Gravel roads, mean you'll be shelling out less money then say true dirt or dual track trails, and of course single track makes it even more fun and spendy. Save up, because if you go die hard, you'll be replacing parts unless you decide to eventually go turning it into a motard style strom.

With that said...Sonic springs and the gold valve are by no means a "must". More a "want".:rolleyes: They help you ride more comfortably. That's like saying a beaded seat or something other then stock is a must.:rolleyes:

Plan on dropping your bike..it's going to happen. Get good gear, decent boots with loads of ankle support, shin protection, etc.

After you drop the bike enough and scratch it up, if you don't like how it looks..paint it. If you want the tough stuff then go with line-x or rhino liner. Do not buy suzuki handguards thinking they'll offer protection from anything but wind. Sure they'll push a small twiggly branch aside, but when it comes down to you bike getting dropped..figure on loosing them eventually. Your blinkers will more then likely go as well unless you replace them with a shorter stemmed turn signal (aka..the buell signals or flush mounts).

Skidplate and Engine guards will serve well and protect a lot of the bike if you buy the right stuff. I had a 08 with the swmotech crash guard. I'll never own another set of those, however, the bash plate is sweet! Vstroma.com makes an equally great bashplate (speaking from experience going over logs, large rocks, etc). Am currently running givi engine guards on mine..not sure if they're all that great or not. They saved the bike from a stand still drop on several occassions, but nothing moving as of yet (have them because they came with the bike. Have considered purchasing the HB bars though).

You'll find a lot of options out there to soup up your bike and lots of people will give you various pointers as to what they recommend. If it has been tested and worked, then go for those. Just because someone bought something and says they like it, doesn't mean crap unless it has done its job for them and will save you as well. ;)

As for the long travel rides....it's preference. The only thing you may want to consider as mentioned above is that if you're riding "off-road", givi plastic side cases probably are not the best idea. Jesse bags, pelican cases, or the like would probably be a better choice for durability. Same thing goes for other obvious luggage suggestions like the topcase.
 

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1 - Continental TKC-80 tires. They will give you a "secure" performance for all of the different road surfaces you will be encountering. They are excellent on dry and wet pavement and are designed for gravel roads.

2 - Matched fork springs and oil for your body weight, (with gear on), and the gear you are carrying. I use Sonic Springs.

3- Install a forkbrace. I use the Superbrace brand.

4 - If money is an issue, I would skip the Gold Valve Emulators.

5- Install a Fenda Extenda to the rear of your front fender to aid in keeping rocks from being kicked up into your oil cooler.

6- Skidpate. I use an SW-Motech brand.

7- Crashbars. I use the SW-Motech brand.

8- Centerstand. I use the SW-Motech brand

9- Handguards. Preferably ones that will better protect your clutch and brake lever better then the OEM ones do. The handguards also protect your hands from the weather elements and occasional debris, (whipping branch limbs.).

10- Heated handgrips. I use Symtech.

11- You may want to consider adding driving lights. They give you more visibility to other drivers and if aimed correctly, will light up the sides of the roads where deer, moose, etc. like to "play". I use PIAA 35w.

12- 12v outlet. I use Marineco.

13- GPS. You WILL need it. I use a Mio C-520. Don't worry about a GPS being waterproof or not. Just slip a baggie over it with rubberbands to secure it.

Carry the OEM tool kit.

Add to it: a 12mm allen wrench to remove the front axle. Small adjustable wrench. Phillips screw driver. Slotted screw driver. Small vise-grips. Needle nose pliers. Length of tubing for siphoning gas from someone else's tank, (seriously). 2 spark plugs. Spare clutch lever. Spare brake lever. Spare clutch cable. Electrial tape. Electrical "zip ties".

Tire repair kit: a pair of 8" tire irons, (and learn how to use them before you leave.). 12v air compressor. Tire plug kit. Spare valve stems. Spare valve cores. Valve core removal tool.

First aid kit.

If you are looking to install luggage, I highly recommend Pelican 1550 cases as side cases. They are waterproof and crushproof. The are less expensive then OEM or specific aftermarket luggage systems. If you go down, they act as huge frame sliders and keep the bike off of your leg and off of the pavement. I use SW-Motech Quick Release Racks. I use a Pelican 1450 case as a topcase.

Good Luck!

Barry B.

EDIT: Add handlebar risers and Moose, (dirt style), footpegs.
 

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Here's mine set up for an 8500km off road trip in 3 weeks.
I think most of the changes I made are visible.
 

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Wow, those are some gnarly looking tires!

Cheers,
 

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Fork Boots.

Don't you want to save the seals?

Rancho Shock Boots: P/N RS1952
 

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Here's mine set up for an 8500km off road trip in 3 weeks.
I think most of the changes I made are visible.

My setup is very, very similiar. The TouraTech skidplate cannot be beat. I absolutely abused mine last weekend and it held up with some very tough single track, high centering on big rocks on several occasions. It held up.

The Givi Crash Bars are also really, really good and they are compatible with the TT Skidplate.

I have TKC's for off-road tires.
 

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Look there are many things you can add but here are some you may not think of

Chain Oiler make your own or get a loobeman
Brush and rag to clean chain
Remove side stand and weld a plate to side stand so it dose not sink in soft ground, use your brain or someone else for this
Spare cluth and brake handles and bendable gearlever



BRAINS you need to remember that you achieve nothing by being five minutes faster if you end up in Hospital or break something on your bike


MONEY
 

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BRAINS you need to remember that you achieve nothing by being five minutes faster if you end up in Hospital or break something on your bike
MONEY
I have to agree with that, the DL's can run all day without killing the rider when you ride at 80% - riding at 110% and it'll get expensive.


Pete
 

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Rox Bar Risers

This isn't a "bulletproofing", but is appropriate for your intended purposes.

If you are anything like me, I like to stand up - a lot - on road and off. I have a truly screwed-up left knee (exploding patellar tendon in 06) and if my legs are static, things begin to hurt. It's one thing to drone on the slab, but if you are going to tackle hundreds of miles of gravel, your'e gonna want to spend some time up.

The thing that I really appreciate for this is my ROX bar risers. There are other brands, but none other that offer the adjustablity of the ROX design.

For normal street riding, I move them toward me, in roughly the same position as the gen-mar "up and back" riser. When it's time to go offroad, I leave my cut-down 6mm allen, an 8mm and 10mm wrench in my tank bag. It is a 3 minute process to move them up and actually forward of the normal mount position. This gets you hands off your thighs quite a bit, and makes comfort and control while standing much better.
 

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I'm riding the Trans Labrador Highway - at least 600 miles of dirt and gravel roads in July, as well as Newfoundland and Nova Scotia - probably about 5,000 miles total. Here's what I've got and will be doing:

Pat Walsh skidplate/crashbar
fork brace
Scotts steering damper
Caribou case setup
Continental TKC-80s (not on yet...)

I just installed Intiminators, which are similiar to the race tech emulators, but supposedly better and more advanced. Long thread in the Beasts section of advrider.com on these. I just installed them, so no reports from me personally as of yet. They were designed by the guy who developed the 'full-floater' suspension for Suzuki back in the day. might be worth at least looking into.

Also, sending my shock to Jay from Suspensions by Sasquatch. Jay makes the 'Strom 'non-rebuildable' rear shock rebuildable, and he can upgrade the valving and put on the correct spring for your weight and riding style. About 1/2 the price of an aftermarket or stock replacement shock.

One thing I'd highly suggest is to check and set your suspension sag before you assume anything about what is needed in regard to your suspension. It should sag between 1/4 and 1/3 of the bikes suspension, or about 1 1/2 to 2" in the case of a Strom. When I checked this, my front springs were fine, and I was actually set up with too much preload, while the back was way undersprung, and needed at least a better spring. many riders swap out the fork springs assuming they're the weak link and ignore the rear shock and spring, when actually all suspension setting should start with the rear shock.
 

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Metzler Karoo Ts are another dualsport tire option, slightly more expensive than the TKCs are but I believe they last longer and are cheaper in the long run

FWIW, I have a Karoo T on the back of my Vee with just shy of 7k miles, I haven't heard of a TKC coming close to that on a 1000
O.P. is on a DL-650.

I am at 6,000 on my front and rear TKC-80s and I think I will end up with 7,500 on the rear and 8,500 on the front. That is consistent with the set I ran last year.

A DL-1000 will definitely eat up tires, (and fuel), quicker then the 650.
 

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O.P. is on a DL-650.

I am at 6,000 on my front and rear TKC-80s and I think I will end up with 7,500 on the rear and 8,500 on the front. That is consistent with the set I ran last year.

A DL-1000 will definitely eat up tires, (and fuel), quicker then the 650.
I know the op has a 650, were in the 650 forum

if the average milage ratio holds true, and you get 7500 from a TKC on a Wee and 4000 or so on a Vee, I figger the Karoo Ts are a 10k rear tire on the Wee if I get 7k on a Vee


ya,the wee burns less fuel at lower speeds ...... however on the highway.....I don't believe all the reports.... I owned a SV650 once, I know better, what gets 55mpg loping around only gets 35mpg at high speed, my Vee only drops from 42 to 41



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