Bike Preparation
(Specs for off-the-shelf items are available via Google)

The motorcycle for this ride is a 2008 Suzuki DR650.

Changes made:
Fuel storage:

  • Larger 6.6 gallon fuel tank replaces stock (thread)


  • Loud horns replace stock
  • LED voltmeter
  • On/Off switch for low beam
  • Removed starting interlocks for sidestand and clutch
  • 12vdc outlet under seat, also 12vdc to handlebars & topcase
  • Veypor computer for RPMs, and speedo and odo with kilometers option

Chassis, suspension, comfort:

  • Wider foot pegs
  • Hand/control guards, sturdier bars & bar risers
  • Added Parabellum windscreen
  • Added side racks for saddlebags (1/2″ CroMo steel tubing)
  • Added top rack for top case (Turbo City rack with sideracks cut off)
  • Custom sidecovers (sheet aluminum)
  • Elka rear shock absorber replaces stock
  • Added case savers & skid plate
  • Zip-tied spoke intersections

Engine, carburation:

  • Added adjustable fuel mixture screw
  • Lighter exhaust replaces stock (thread)

Luggage & storage

  • Saddlebags are Ortlieb “Rack Pack” size large
  • Top case is a Seahorse SE-920
  • Custom tube & tire maintenance storage made from oval stove pipe (not yet finished, details forthcoming)
  • Wolflman Tank bag
  • Tank panniers
  • Rotopax 1-gallon water can
  • Rotopax 1-gallon gas can

I will add more details, especially about the side racks & bags, top case, side covers later.

Top Case Detail:
I butchered part of a sheet metal hand brake to make mounts for the top case.
Hand brake part:

That’s a big chunk of aluminum. The gap in there is 1/2″ — it fits over the top rack tubing perfectly.

Using an end mill, I milled out the diagonal part. Then drilled & countersunk holes, and through-bolted it to the case.

The front of the case/front of the motorcycle is to the right. The C-shaped aluminum channels slide over the top rack tubes. The tang of metal in the upper-left of the box will serve as a hasp to lock it in place. But first…notice that there is a handle at the top of the case? And the compartment where the retractable handle was located? I removed the extending handle, sawed off the very top of the handle, and epoxied it in place. In the remaining space I have: replacement wheel bearings, fork seals, spark plugs, JB weld, front sprocket, krazy glue, hi-temp RTV silicone, oil filter o-rings, oil drain plug crush washers, front brake pads.

The tang of metal slides over part of the rack, which I drilled to accept a padlock, arresting any rearward movement of the case.

Side racks detail:
My goal was to have a rack for lashing down the Ortlieb bags, and also carry Rotopax cans. They are made from 1/2″ CroMo steel tubing.
All of the following photos are of the left side rack.

The general dimensions are about 11″ x 21″ x 7″. All bends were made with a hand bender (with the help of a sturdy vise and a cheater bar). The D-rings from hefty steel pipe — sectioned and those sections cut in half. The 1/2″ pipe pieces were birdmouthed using an end mill, then everything was welded together.

I then added straps to four corners (roughly) of the rack:

The straps are 1″ tubular polypropylene webbing, reinforced with vinyl-coated 3/32″ steel cable inside. The cable loops were swaged with aluminum fittings and a hand swager.

The bags are held in place by a Masterlock “Python” adjustable cable lock, woven through the polypro/cable loops in a figure-eight shape:

It’s difficult to see, but I also added an adjustable strap across the two top straps to help tighten everything up.

This is the forward attachment point, joined to the passenger peg mount:

It is held in place with the pin from the passenger peg, the peg drilled & held in place with a kotter pin.

Rear attachment point, to a piece of aluminum that spans the rear fender:

In the photo below, the Rotopax mount is attached to the underside of the rack:

The racks are attached to the frame with these hooks:

The left piece mounts where the OEM toolkit used to live. The right piece goes over the frame rail. The top tube of the racks lays in the hooks, then the rack is swung into place, attaching at the footpeg and rear fender.

Sidecovers detail:
These were formed from .08″ aluminum. This is the right sidecover:

Made from the same aluminum as the sidecovers, this is bolted to the windshield bracketry, and was sandblasted to reduce glare. The forward edge is covered with trim so it doesn’t saw through the windshield.

Left to right: On/Off switch for low beam, 12vdc socket, Veypor computer, and cheapest waterproof watch I could find. The computer is attached to a block of delrin, which is bolted to the dash. The watch is attached with hook-and-loop tape. I painted the lower portion of the windshield with blue Krylon rattlecan, masking off portions so the turn signals are not obscured.

Let me say this: It helps…really have a good welder on your support team.