Considering that the underside of the Suzuki V-Strom has less protection off-road than a Harley Davidson does...so needless to say, we knew it would be our first upgrade to the motorcycle. The 650cc engine that is used on the V-Strom initially came from the SV650 street bike, and while it's a great performer, there's some things that need to be taken care of before you start venturing off the pavement like we intend. Luckily, Touratech has a full line of accessories for this bike, so getting a skid plate to protect the exhaust and oil filter was as easy as pie.
After you've ordered your skid plate, eventually a man in a van will come to your house, and he'll give you a box—it's likely going to be brown. Inside of that box you'll find this beautiful aluminum creation from Touratech. At your first initial encounter with the skid plate, it's quite apparent that it's a quality item with some legitimate engineering behind it. While we wouldn't consider it a bash plate for heavy-duty use, the fault wouldn't be on the skid plate, it would be on the limitations placed on Touratech by Suzuki's design of the engine. Again we'll say that the bike was never intended for "hardcore" off road use, and it's perfect for street-biased adventure riding.
Alright, now that you've spent plenty of time looking over the skid plate it's time to get down to business, say goodbye to that unprotected oil filter.
Metric wrench and socket set (Specifically 10,12,13,17 mm)
A second person to hold the motorcycle.
When installing an accessory with many parts, I often prefer to set them all out prior to starting to ensure they're all here. In this case I learned there were two nuts missing and was able to fix that before I started.
I then took some time to admire some of the finer details of the skid plate.
The skid plate has a cut-out to allow the skid plate to be placed as high as possible on the motorcycle.
The first few steps of the skid plate instalation don't require you to be working on the bike itself, so it can be done beforehand. You need to assemble the rear mount, which will eventually attatch to factory exhaust, and kick stand mounts. Please note the placement of the mount.
Press the metal fitting into the rubber vibration isolator.
Place the two countersunk allen head bolts into the corresponding holes in the bottom of the skid plate.
Place the vibration isolating grommets into the hole of the mount, and place a nut on top of the bolt.
Proceed to tighten the bolts equally.
Now, you can begin to assemble the front mount, which connects the skid plate to the engine by way of two factory mounts. Start with two small button head bolts and vibration isolators.
The rubber vibration isolators also protect the engine, as the rubber will fail before the engine case does.
Be careful to use the small button head bolts, not the slightly longer bolts. Once this has been completed, you can place the second piece of the mount on it.
Tighten with a 13mm wrench.
The completed product should look like this.
When installed, the mount goes around the exhaust, I believe this might be an issue if you have a larger diameter aftermarket exhaust.
You can then begin to install the rear mount for the skid plate. Do this by removing the 12mm bolt on the exhaust mount.
Also begin to loosen the 17mm bolt that holds the kickstand on. You'll need a second person to hold the bike upright as you'll be compromising the strength of the kickstand. This is the first bolt that you will want to re-install after you put the skid plate on. Don't initially tighten it all the way, but ensure that it is tight enough so the kickstand does not move, eventually your helper will get bored of holding the motorcycle. Once you've secured all the other bolts holding on the skid plate, check the tightness of the bolt again.
Replace the exhaust mount bolt with an allen head bolt provided by Touratech.
The factory bolt is not long enough to compensate for the addition of the skid plate.
The two front bolts are the last to be tightened with button head bolts.
So far we're impressed with the V-Strom 650, and the skid plate that we've installed from Touratech. It provides much needed protection in areas that critically needed it. We're now comfortable taking this bike onto the trail. We'll have a trip report soon with the bike. To see our initial thoughts on the V-Strom, check out the article here. [link]