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Is a Radiator Guard Necessary for DL650 ?

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Hi Stromers;
I know this could be a subjective questions with regards to my 650 but thanks in advance for your opinion. I believe this thread applies to the DL1000 as well.
I have a K8 DL650 - Gen 1 and a AL2 DL650 - Gen 2 with Gladius Engine.
Both are over 100 000 km in mileage. Both of them do not have radiator guard for past 14 to 12 years respectively.
I use them mainly for long distance touring about 350 to 550 km rides per day; average trip 4 - 5 days each time.
I am contemplating whether to install radiator guards on both DL650. Both guards will cost me about USD38 in total shippped from China to me ....
I can install these guards myself
Below are pictures of my radiators without guards and the aluminum thin guards that I am aiming for:

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The oil cooler guard in 'B' is redundant in a way but theGen 1 guards comes as a set(2 pieces)

Both my radiators are still working fine without any leakage. My questions are below:
Will the installation of guards make the engine ran hotter because the radiator fins got less exposed front surface that
is in direct blast with the wind ?
Has anyone experience a damaged radiator due to an impact by flying object during a ride on a trip by acident ?
The radiators look big and exposed which leads me to the intention of installing these guards on both my Vstroms but I would not want to install them if they are not necessary.

Thanks again.
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I frequently ride gravel, forestry and logging roads. Put a Cosmo skid plate on mostly for oil filter protection. I repurposed a 5 gal paint roller screen/grid into a radiator protector but if I was staying on pavement I wouldn't mess with it. Sure, anything can happen, but the odds are rather low.
 

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Has anyone experience a damaged radiator due to an impact by flying object during a ride on a trip by accident ?
Yes. I had a rock puncture my rad on a paved road. Got a Chinese radiator guard after that. Ironically, after about a year and a half, the mount for the radiator guard broke - and put a hole in my rad.

It's now six months after the second repair and it's still going strong. No replacement guard yet but I'll be picking one up before my trip to Alaska in June.
 

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I had a BMW S100RR get a punctured radiator from a stone on a chip seal paved road in Idaho. I had no cell service and would run the bike until it got hot and then shut it down, cool it and then go. A royal pain in the rear end. Put a guard on it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Thanks guys so far for all the comments. I rides on pave roads 99.5% of the time but the roads on the mountain path which are quite remote are filled with potholes and lose gravel, basically these are unmaintained roads that are in bad conditions filled with loose rocks after years of rain and shine without maintenance.
Btw I removed the skid plates on both my wee because of ease of oil change and oil filter change and
to increase ground clearance to clear the tall road bumps in my country. I have front wheel fender extender to protect the base of engine.
 

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I don't have any problem changing oil and filter with the Cosmo skid plate, nor worry about oil filter damage from rocks/debris. I think the possibility of damage is higher to the oil filter than the high(er)
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mounted radiator.
 

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Advisable anyway. I ended up with a tennis ball sized ding in one of my rad guards and that was just road riding. And a big gouge in a cat food can I used as a temporary guard for the oil filter riding offroad.

It's not a certainly you'll damage either but it certainly could happen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I don't have any problem changing oil and filter with the Cosmo skid plate, nor worry about oil filter damage from rocks/debris. I think the possibility of damage is higher to the oil filter than the high(er) mounted radiator.
agreed but the cost of changing a damaged oil filter is USD9 in my country Versus the higher amount (USD300) aluminum Radiator. As for the lower engine casing, it should be quite thick and tough aluminum hence a dent on the engine casing is unlikely. Having said that, I am quite worry about the gen 1 oil cooler though, so I will change the OEM mesh cover to the smaller lower guard plate(better protection than the OEM mesh wire) of the gen 1 Aftermarket rad guard which comes as a set.
 

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agreed but the cost of changing a damaged oil filter is USD9 in my country Versus the higher amount (USD300) aluminum Radiator. As for the lower engine casing, it should be quite thick and tough aluminum hence a dent on the engine casing is unlikely. Having said that, I am quite worry about the gen 1 oil cooler though, so I will change the OEM mesh cover to the smaller lower guard plate(better protection than the OEM mesh wire) of the gen 1 Aftermarket rad guard which comes as a set.
The concern on the oil filter is not the filter itself, it's getting a puncture and oil pressure dropping to zero. I think there have been a couple accounts of ruined engines from this. At highway speed, damage can happen very quickly.

I have a guard on the oil cooler, but that's not foolproof either. I have had an oil line fitting leak, and they could in theory fail pretty quickly too.
 

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Way back when I had my V-Strom, I made a radiator guard for the bike. I figured "better safe than sorry". I'm glad I did; even though back then most of my riding was on pavement, I still found that the radiator area took a couple strikes hard enough to bend some of the metal mesh of the guard. The objects didn't seem that large, based on the damaged area of the guard, and I didn't notice the impacts while I was riding, but they would most likely have been large enough to cause some damage to the cooling fins, and maybe even poke a hole in the radiator.

I put a "skid plate" on the bike too; not because I was going to do any single track, but because the oil filter was just kind of hanging out there in space.

Being cheap, I made my own radiator guard out of the side of a 20 mm ammo can and a piece of expanded steel mesh from Lowe's.

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
thanks again to all contributors... I just ordered the rad guards for the wee and gee. Hope it can arrive soon from china... preferably before my next trip which would be soon after chinese new year..... Ride safe pls,,, all stormers
 

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Read a post a few years ago about making a radiator guard out of an office in/out file basket from Target. It was apparently just the right size a price.

I'm not going to bother with a radiator guard, but I did install an HDPE skid plate. It's not really robust enough for serious off-road riding, but for my on-road riding it has clearly saved my oil filter from possible holing. There are a couple of big gouges on the guard that would have been in the oil filter sans guard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yes. I had a rock puncture my rad on a paved road. Got a Chinese radiator guard after that. Ironically, after about a year and a half, the mount for the radiator guard broke - and put a hole in my rad.

It's now six months after the second repair and it's still going strong. No replacement guard yet but I'll be picking one up before my trip to Alaska in June.
I guess I will add rubber damper to the mounting of the guard to the rad to make the mount point less rigid so that it won't break easily
 

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I would advise that. The top "L"-shaped arm on the top broke and somehow lodged in the back of the radiator. Both of the repairs were relatively inexpensive ($30 and $120 Cdn) compared to the cost of a new stock Suzuki radiator ($$$).
 

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I used a piece of steel mesh from a welding supply store. They cut me a piece using their machine, would have taken me all day with a hacksaw. $2 for the steel, $3 to cut it to size, double sided tape on the tanks to stick it in place, 2 zip ties at the top for peace of mind. Unpainted as I didnt have a rattle can around. Has not moved in 5 yrs/45000 miles.
Mainly to keep smaller pebbles from denting the fins, I think bigger rocks would just bust the whole thing.
I had a similar setup on my SV650 for 10 yrs/86000 miles. Halfway through I removed it for cleaning and needed a screwdriver to pry it off, so I know that double sided tape is tough.
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