SW-Motech Skid Plate
WHY? From the very first time I saw a DL650 I was nervous about the oil filter's location; hanging out from the lower front edge of the engine, it just begs to be bashed by an errant rock or road debris. V-Strom owners quickly recognized this shortcoming, and the aftermarket soon responded by producing skid plates to offer more protection. I like the looks of the SW-Motech unit; it must be installed with the SW-Motech engine guards, so I decided to and install them both. I've had pretty good luck with the folks at Twisted Throttle so I decided to place the order with them. Their web site is clean, easy to navigate, and placing an order is simple; I paid via credit card, about $200 plus shipping.
SERVICE. Pretty darned good. Immediately after placing the order I received an email confirmation; I received a shipping notification the next day, the shipment arrived at my door via UPS a week after placing the order. Since most of that time was spent in shipping transit I consider that to be good service. The skid plate was packed very well and arrived with all hardware and instructions included; it looked to be very well made, lightweight but sturdy. Edges were finished nicely and the welds were straight and clean.
INSTALLATION. Installation of this plate and the required engine guards could probably be done by the average home mechanic with a good set of metric tools. After the engine guards were installed it took me about 30 minutes to get the skid plate in place. The dual-language instructions were just so-so, but did provide enough information to get the job done. It is important to identify and inventory all of the hardware first, matching it to the numbers on the installation illustrations. All parts fit well and required no modification.
RESULTS. This is a modification that I hope I never have to use. I like the appearance of this skid plate, as it integrates well into the lines of the bike and looks like it came from the factory (which it really should have). It should do a good job of protecting the front of the engine and the oil filter from flying road debris.
WORTH THE MONEY? Not for everyone. It's too expensive, but I chose this item because I liked its looks and the fact that it integrated with the SW-Motech engine guards. If you'd like a less-expensive (and quite unattractive) alternative you might try the Pat Walsh skid plate/engine guard combo.