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Old 06-27-2010, 08:44 PM   #1
markbvt OP
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The ADV-Strom project begins (yet another Thin-Strom)

I've been thinking for a while that I'd like to strip down my Wee-Strom a little, and various Thin-Strom threads on here had me liking that version of the Strom a lot better than the stock one.

So today I started tearing into the Strom in my friend Keith's garage and transforming it into something that might be a bit more nimble than stock for long gravel-road trips like the Trans-Lab. My aim was to retain the windshield and Madstad bracket if at all possible so that in cold/wet weather, I still get a reasonable amount of wind protection.

The first step was to remove the side panels and associated bodywork.


I thought briefly about leaving the stock headlight cluster in place due to its excellent light output, but I don't much like the way it looks, or the amount of weight that it hangs out over the front wheel. So off it came.


Keith and I spent a while going back and forth over options. I had a dual 4" headlight on hand and a bracket for mounting it to the fork legs, which worked well enough and looked good, but we couldn't think of any good ways to mount the gauge cluster and windshield. Also, the bracket did not impress me, and I doubted it would stand up to any abuse.

So that stuff came off, and it occurred to me to take a look at the metal bracket that the stock headlight was attached to. Not optimal, because it would be nice to have the headlight turn with the forks, but the stock bracket bolts right on, incorporates the windshield mount, and has plenty of places to mount the instruments and headlight. So I put it on and bolted the windshield to it to see what it would look like. (Apologies for the blurry photos -- guess it was darker in that garage than I thought.)


A little ridiculous, right? Sits kind of far forward. But it was late afternoon and I needed to wrap things up pretty soon (I really need my own garage), so I figured I could at least get everything in place on this bracket and make the bike rideable for the time being.

So the headlight got installed by using part of the not-so-great fork brackets attached to freshly-drilled holes in the stock V-Strom bracket. Huh, that doesn't look so bad...




The instrument cluster happened to fit perfectly against the bracket and zip-tied on for now very nicely.


Keith and I both agreed that we were surprised how well this solution worked. With the headlight and instrument cluster in place, much of the empty space is filled up, and it doesn't look goofy. In fact, it has a certain Mad Max kind of look to it, and the stock V-Strom bracket offers plenty of mounting options for additional items such as driving lights.








Later I put the stock windshield back on; it's a bit warm out these days, so I don't really need the Givi.


Several other people who've done the Thin-Strom thing have commented on how much it improves the bike's handling due to all the weight removed from the front end. In this case the difference isn't quite so dramatic because the stock headlight bracket weighs ten pounds by itself, but nevertheless, there's enough other stuff gone from the front that handling definitely felt nimbler.

I've still got a bunch of work left to do -- I need somewhere to mount my heated grip switch and Powerlet sockets, and it would be nice to have the headlights turn with the handlebars, so I'm still thinking of fork-mounting them. The stock V-Strom bracket is so useful that I'll probably keep using it, but I'm thinking of cutting off the central mounting post and finding a good way to fork-mount it instead. Might need to enlist the aid of a friend with a milling machine to make me some nice mounts.

Or I might figure out some other way to put this all together, but I'll need to lean on the fabrication skills of friends with workshops (one of the disadvantages of apartment living...).

More to come...

--mark
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Old 06-28-2010, 07:30 AM   #2
Kawidad
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Interesting, it does look Mad Maxish.
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Old 06-29-2010, 05:25 AM   #3
herrPezzel
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Sorry, but it just looks like a crashed V-Strom.
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Old 06-29-2010, 07:06 AM   #4
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And thus began the evolution of "Wall-E"...


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Old 06-29-2010, 09:52 AM   #5
markbvt OP
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Ha! I hadn't thought about the Wall-E thing. True...

No further progress on the bike the past few days, but I've been riding it, and it definitely handles better. Airflow is a lot smoother too, even at highway speeds. I'm mulling over various options for lighting, mounting, etc. Looks are secondary to functionality, but they do count for something.

I expect this will go through a number of iterations before I settle on one.

--mark
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Old 06-29-2010, 11:16 AM   #6
LukasM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BugKillr


That is exactly what I thought when I saw the pictures!

Always like the little guy, though.
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Old 06-29-2010, 12:14 PM   #7
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I'm sure a little bit of that increased handling and stability comes from not having this huge wing on the front of the bike either. The bottom plastic under the headlights creates quite a bit of lift on the bike at speed, if you haven't lowered the front a bit.

Better, but it still looks like you have some ways to go.
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Old 06-29-2010, 01:33 PM   #8
markbvt OP
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Yeah, it's just a start.

One of the reasons I like the idea of keeping that stock headlight bracket is that I can use the lower portion to mount a set of auxiliary lights. They'd just conveniently bolt right on and help fill up that empty space.

But that whole cluster still sits further forward than I would like. After looking it over again, fork-mounting the OEM bracket isn't possible because it would hit the tank well before full steering lock. I would have to do some major modifications to make it narrower. So I might conscript a friend with a welder and machine tools to help me construct a new bracket that would hold everything and mount to the forks.

I'm going to need to go for a ride after dark soon to see how those little headlights do. If their output is really bad, I may go back to the stock headlight cluster.

If anyone has any good ideas, I'd love to hear them. But if you just want to post to tell me I'm an idiot, please don't bother. I already know.

--mark
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Old 06-29-2010, 01:51 PM   #9
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I would simply go with two good lights and skip the aux. Easier to mount, less to break, less weight and less cost. If you stick HID kits in them you will have more than enough light.

For example you could get two 90mm Hella projectors and a VVME H9 kit for about $200. Just make sure you aim them properly so you don't blind other road users.
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Old 06-29-2010, 09:29 PM   #10
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I thought it looked good with the stock light unit.
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Old 06-30-2010, 12:53 AM   #11
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Swap one of the lights with a small HiD unit - and ppl will tell you "I didn't know BMW made V-twins " :lol:

As for the gauges/headlights , how about mounting the instrument cluster to the top clamp, then the lights to the forks...? That IMO would be the best for slimming it down - but maybe not for wind protection etc.

When I bought my Bonneville it had those exact same twin lights, they put out a fair bit more light than the stock (and terrible) Bonneville unit
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Old 06-30-2010, 08:12 AM   #12
markbvt OP
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I hung out at the local Bike Night till after 9:30 last night, so got to try out those little twin headlights on the way home, and they definitely work a lot better than I expected. I might still try bolting the stock headlights in place though to see what the bike looks like and what effect they have on overall airflow.

--mark
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My ride reports: Missile silos, Labrador, twisties, and more

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Old 07-02-2010, 08:30 PM   #13
markbvt OP
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A little more progress today.

Installed a Hyde Racing skidplate.


Installed wider, grippier footpegs.


Made a small dashboard for mounting the heated grip switch and Powerlet outlets. It's made from an old, damaged V-Strom handguard; cut it down with a Dremel and mounted it to the top triple tree using the same bolts as the cable stays.




Also, I won an eBay auction yesterday for a slightly bent stock V-Strom headlight bracket, so I'll cut that one down and use it as the basis for fork-mounting the headlights, instruments, and windshield. That should make the bike look a little less like Wall-E.

--mark
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My ride reports: Missile silos, Labrador, twisties, and more

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Old 07-02-2010, 08:47 PM   #14
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Noice! I too have the pegs and skid. What a difference with pegs that don't slip when a lil dew gets on em'.Cool build!
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Old 07-03-2010, 06:39 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BugKillr

perfect....
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