Adventure Motostuff Engine Protector
WHY? Protection. I'm sure that the Suzuki engineers know what they're doing, but I've never been comfortable with the sight of the DL650's oil filter and oil cooler hanging out on the front of the engine. Though I've added a Fenda Extenda to the front fender I'm still concerned about damage from flying rocks and road debris. On other V-Stroms I've used engine protectors from Pat Walsh and SW-Motech, but this time I wanted to try the unit from Adventure Motostuff. I wanted to use it in tandem with the Hepco & Becker crash bars so I ordered both items at the same time. Their web site is very clean and easy to navigate; I placed the order online and paid via credit card. The unfinished unit is $200 plus shipping but I opted for the black powdercoat finish, which was $20 extra.
SERVICE. Pretty good. Immediately after placing the order I received an email confirmation; shipping took a while as the bars weren't in stock. After a week I called their customer service line and talked to a real human being who was very helpful and gave me an estimated shipping date. I received a shipping notification in a couple of weeks and the shipment arrived at my door via UPS about three weeks after placing the order; that's longer than I would like to wait, but not unreasonable for an imported product. I'll assume that the engine protector would have arrived sooner since it was in stock. It was packed in a larger box together with a couple of other items and the packing job wasn't the best--one of the mounting flanges had poked through the plastic wrap and there were a few small scratches on the bars. The engine protector wasn't damaged and the damage on the bars was not enough to warrant a return, but I was disappointed in the packing job by a company that usually delivers better.
INSTALLATION. The installation instructions were very clear and well-illustrated and the average home mechanic should be able to manage this installation without trouble; working carefully and following the instructions it took me a little less than an hour to get everything buttoned up. Everything fit perfectly so there were no problems from the unit itself, but removing the sidestand retaining bolts was a bit of a struggle. Once that was done the other pieces fell right in place. I used Loctite Blue on the bracket mounting bolts and torqued them to the recommended specs. Here's another look at the finished product:
RESULTS. Really nice; I'm very impressed with the quality and construction of this item. It's made of 3/16" aluminum rather than the 1/8" material used by the competition and it has clean welds and a nice powdercoat finish. I don't know how the finish will hold up to the abrasion from flying road debris, but it looks great out of the box. I really like the looks of the this item and think that it works well with the overall lines of the bike. A few weeks after installing the protector it was time for an oil change; I'm happy to report that it was a simple process. Removing the two bottom bolts and dropping the rear of the plate took less than a minute and my oil drain pan fit under the bike without having to remove the plate completely. The oil drain plug and oil filter are accessible with the engine protector in place and there are drain holes in it, so it would be possible to change the oil and filter with it in place. It looks to me, however, like the inconvenience and clean-up would take as long as lowering the unit itself.
Worth the money? It's a mixed bag. I like this piece, it's well-constructed, it functions well and it looks great on the bike. It's just about the most expensive item of its kind out there, but I believe that it's worth the money. If you're on a budget or just don't want to spend $220 for this engine protector you have a number of less-expensive options available.