More Upgrades

Bits and pieces keep trickling in, and I’ve almost been keeping up with them. I’ve suffered a relapse of my illness from last week, but I’ve still managed to make slow progress on my various projects.

The most important one is an SW Motech engine guard for the V-Strom. While I’m not doing any serious off-road riding on this bike, I still felt this was necessary because of the vulnerable oil filter location. It’s a canister filter, like you’d find on a car, that hangs on the bottom front of the engine. It might as well have a bullseye painted on it for any rocks or debris the front tire might kick up, even on a paved road. The bike came with SW Motech crash bars already installed, so I stuck with the same manufacturer for the engine guard.

It was during the installation that I discovered that the small oil cooler, which sits just above the oil filter, is NOT a standard part. I had a little trouble making the front brackets for the engine guard fit around it, because the bike doesn’t have this from the factory. After much deliberation, I ended up leaving the left side bracket off, which wouldn’t have fit without extensive modification or removing the oil cooler. Since the engine guard is a German design, it’s over-engineered and quite strong even without this bracket. I’d be concerned about damage if I was going to come crashing down on top of logs and giant rocks, but I’m not. It’s still plenty strong for the type of riding I plan to do.

Also, my 200-watt solar panel finally arrived, intact this time. Actually, even this one had a small bend in the frame that was only visible once I opened the box, but the solar panel area itself wasn’t damaged. I quickly bolted on the legs I saved from my first panel, plugged it into the trailer, and got charging.

The trailer battery was down to about 12.2 volts, almost its minimum charge, so I’m going to leave it plugged in for at least a couple of days to top it off. It should charge quickly since it’s just one battery instead of two, and because I’m not regularly running anything off it. I haven’t tested it on the van yet, but if it works here, it’ll work there, which will be useful as we get into the shortest days of the year when I’ll need to capture all the solar I can during the short time I have it.

Lister gave his seal of approval by tangling himself on the cord.

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