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Equipping the Bike - what's the best gear? Anything to do with the bikes equipment, saddlebags, etc. Questions on repairs and maintenance of the bike itself belong in the Brand Specific Tech Forums.
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Giant Loop Motorcycle Saddlebags & Motorcycle Tank Bags: Panniers, Soft Luggage for Adventure & Sport Touring

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Old 30 Mar 2013
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Another RTW DRZ Prep

Several years ago my wife and I decided to do a long trip. We have chosen to ride two DRZ 400s because of their versatility, simplicity and blendability. We have been picking away at the modifications and decided it was time to document the changes. My wife is 5'4", so our first task was to lower her bike. It was not a modification for the faint of heart because it meant chopping the frame in several places to achieve maximum lowering of the seat height. I calculated it out, drafted the parts on my CAD program, ordered aluminum and machined them. I sliced and diced the frame, welded the new pieces in and the subframe was lowered 1.5 inches.
A set of lowering links brought the frame down another inch plus. I sent the forks to Factory Connection to be dialed in for her weight including fuel, panniers, frame and gear. While there, they lowered the forks another inch. After all of these modifications, the bike is still very good travel but is about 4 inches lower allowing her toes to touch the ground. I will be adding more modifications as I go.
(Right now I am working on new panniers and their frames!)

Another RTW DRZ Prep-frame-one-modification-low-res.jpg Another RTW DRZ Prep-frame-two-modification-low-res.jpg Another RTW DRZ Prep-frame-three-modification-low-res.jpg

Darrin & Melissa
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Old 3 Apr 2013
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Fabricating the Pannier Frame

The idea was to fabricate a “free-standing” pannier frame in the 10 – 12 pound range. The thought was to have the load of the boxes being carried by a lower cross member “shelf” of the pannier frame and to keep the rear sub-frame out of the mix as much as possible (and keep the weight around 10 pounds!) I chose chromoly tubing due to the high strength to weight ratio and that it can easily be welded with a simple oxy-acetylene system.

Another RTW DRZ Prep-frame-in-process-low-res.jpg
Tubes fish mouthed and cut to length.

Another RTW DRZ Prep-frame-complete-low-res.jpg
Completed stand alone frame weighing in at 11 pounds.

Another RTW DRZ Prep-frame-install-low-res.jpg
The complete frame drops into place on the bike.
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Old 3 Apr 2013
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Attaching the Pannier Frame to the Bike

I designed the frame to bring the force of the load down the lowest point on the bikes frame by designing a new swing arm bolt with attachment bosses. The swing arm bolt was sent for Birdsongs Black-T Teflon coating. Between the Teflon and the grease fittings for the rear swing arm the bolt should not freeze in place between maintenance.

Another RTW DRZ Prep-swing-arm-low-res.jpg

Another RTW DRZ Prep-lower-attach-low-res.jpg

The load was brought to the highest point on the main frame by clamping as shown in the photos.

Another RTW DRZ Prep-upper-attach-low-res.jpg

I added a center load point attachment as shown.

Another RTW DRZ Prep-mid-attach-low-res.jpg

This design worked well because I only had to drill one hole on each side of the frame to attach it. The rest is attached through the swing arm bolt and clamping to the upper part of the frame.

Another RTW DRZ Prep-frame-attached-low-res.jpg
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Old 15 May 2013
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The rack look over complicated, one of the downsides of your design is that to work on the bike i.e. something simple like accessing the side mounted battery, you need to remove all of the luggage and the rack. I prepped a DRZ 3 years ago for a South America trip and made the racks in 3 parts (2 sides and a top) that bolted together, avoiding the need for full luggage removal.

One other point, your racks are quite large and mounted low down, I'd be concerned that on the lowered bike there's the possibility of the luggage and/or rack getting grounded when the bike's in a rut or similar.

Have you read this thread:
My photos: www.possu.smugmug.com
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Old 15 Jun 2013
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I share a bit of Steve's concerns, but it's your bike and your adventure, if you think this is the way to do it, then go for it!

I just bought an S subframe to put under my E model, then the original Suzuki side rack and then Magadan sofbags. Way "easier" than you r whole construction, but then I can't weld... ;-)

Please, do bear in mind that the less is better on a DRZ andtry to ride as much off road as you can with them as they are not nice bikes on tarmac...!

Currently EU to Mongolia and beyond on 2 DRZ400E...
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