Gravel Guard for the V - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-16-2010, 09:56 PM Thread Starter
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Gravel Guard for the V

Howdy folks, I thought I’d share with y’all my take on a proper gravel guard for running the V.

You’ll notice I didn’t refer to it as a skidplate. The primary intention of this component is to prevent debris impingement upon the engine case, exhaust, and oil filter, as a result of front wheel kick-up. Its secondary purpose is to reduce the possibility of damage (essentially denting) of the lower forward exhaust from an aberrant exposed rock on really rocky roads.

Nothing currently available, or soon to be available for the V fulfills the role of what I want. The designs from SW-Motech, Algard, JNS Eng, and the other Euro company that I can’t think of the name of at the moment all make stuff that basically only covers the very lower portion of the exhaust and the oil filter. They all also appear to mount directly to the engine case or the small steel case extensions used to mount the plastic lower fairing. These case extensions are attached with very small fasteners (I didn’t look at them close enough to determine which their exact diameter) mounted to cast AL. I have NO trust in the ability of such small fasteners mounted to cast AL to absorb or tolerate impact stresses. I don’t want to experience the situation that Gary did in the “Heading South Until the Road Ends” thread.

My Criteria
- doesn’t mount to the engine case
- provides full vertical coverage of the front of the engine and exhaust
- allows access to the oil filter and changing/draining of oil with out removal
- can be made with basic hand tools

Thought Process
After giving the V a thorough look-over, I decided that if I wanted to create the equivalent of an actual skidplate, I would simply need to attach two front and two rear mounting points to the SW-Motech crash bars, laterally connect the attachment points and then span the area with some sort of plate material. This was more than I wanted, as I have no intention of trying to manhandle a 450 lb bike on single track. For my purposes I realized that the section of the exhaust just aft of the exhaust collector would make an excellent mounting point for the aft end of a gravel guard. For the front end I chose to use a similar method to what I would use if I were making an actual skidplate. I did consider mounting the forward portion of the guard to upper exhaust tubes, such as one guard that is available for the V-Strom, but decided I wanted my guard to have a some “crush space” in the event of a heavier impact.

The Build
I settled on using 2mm diamond plate as it was easily available and easy to cut and shape given that I don’t have a shop and had to do everything in my apartment, with what I would describe and a very thorough set of hand tools. Also, AL will deform and absorb impact before any of components that the guard is mounted to. The other material I considered was heavy polyethelene sheet, which I could bend using heat. It’s very tough stuff, possibly an even better material than AL. In fact, there is a guard available for the V-Strom made of the stuff. However, I eventually settled on the AL since I have previous experience working with it, and essentially none with forming poly.

To reduce the “tinniness” or can-like quality of the of the AL sheet and absorb vibration (since it connects a portion of the engine – the exhaust – to the engine guards) I gave it two coats of Duraliner.

I left the AL sheet fairly wide, initially, as it bends aft to provide a “bumper space” for the lower side of the engine. This effectively reduces ground clearance a small amount in very sharp turns, but I don’t intend on performing very sharp turns in circumstances where this would likely matter. From the pics you can see that ground clearance is currently 7” when the bike is upright.

I used fiberglass exhaust wrap where the guard mounts to the collector to serve as a minimalist heat and vibration attenuator.

The guard is designed to allow a small amount of articulation between the three primary mounting points, to reduce the possibility of damage, in the event I am boneheaded enough to impact something hard.

I hope this inspires a few folks to come up with their own designs. My design is far from elegant, but very effective for its intended purpose. If I can do this with nothing but a drill, hacksaw, shears, and wrenches, anyone with any kind of shop could produce something fairly spectacular.

My apologies for the poor lighting in the pics, I didn’t get the install finished until just before dark.

- 2mm AL diamond plate
- Ľ” AL bar stock
- Kurayakan (sp?) 1 1/8 ” bar clamps
- fiberglass exhaust wrap
- stainless steel u-bolt
- misc fasteners/washers (mostly stainless, one set of yellow cad)
- Duraliner bed liner
Attached Images
File Type: jpg VGravGuard1.jpg (342.5 KB, 597 views)
File Type: jpg VGravGuard2.jpg (332.2 KB, 457 views)
File Type: jpg VGravGuard3.jpg (366.8 KB, 398 views)
File Type: jpg VGravGuard4.jpg (289.4 KB, 534 views)
File Type: jpg VGravGuard5.jpg (337.4 KB, 466 views)
File Type: jpg VGravGuard6.jpg (320.9 KB, 396 views)
File Type: jpg VGravGuard7.jpg (361.5 KB, 506 views)
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-16-2010, 10:58 PM
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Looks functional, if not pretty but you didn't intend it to be. Ascetics aside, my only concern would be the reduced airflow around the engine. Combine that with the restrictive airflow of your radiator guard and the raised fender and you might be risking over heating the engine. Just a possibility that popped into my mind but I could be totally wrong.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-17-2010, 12:53 AM
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I'm sure a few small holes would help in the event of overheating. Not pretty at all, but functional. I think if there was some sides on it it would be more appealing.

If I had the time and resources I would try something too...but don't count on any of that for another few years. Overall, good job EdNukey.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-17-2010, 09:32 AM
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Good job, Ednukey. Your "Gravel Guard" looks very functional. I love seeing people's home made farkles and for you to knock this together in your apartment is very impressive.

I have mounted my Algard to the exhaust in the rear as I never liked the way it mounted to the engine cases front or rear. Never had a problem, but still not too keen on it.
I also was trying to figure a way to mount the front of the Algard to my SW Motechs as it seemed to be the most solid and easily accessible point up front. Our bikes have very limited solid mounting points for a "gravel guard" and finding a solid mount I was thinking along the same lines as you. I had over engineered a solution to death using square tubing, bent and welded, where it actually became too heavy, too complicated and too ugly in the end and I never used it.

You, sir, are a genius. Your solution is simple and light and after looking at your pics, I ran out to the garage to do some measurements. I have a whole new plan now to spin your mount idea to my Algard.

Cheers, and thanks for posting.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 02:40 PM
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Well here it is.

I took Ednukey's mounting ideas for the front of his gravel guard and made a "extension" for my Algard. Now it's not bolted anywhere to the engine case.

The Aluminum plate has a 2 inch 90 deg. bend at the bottom to go under the lip on the Algard. Shaped it up with cardboard at first, had to fit it about 5 times doing adjustments.... and by adjustments I mean lots of grinding.

I already had the 1 inch clamps which I de-chromed and attched it to my SW motech bars. Drilled some holes in it for airflow and badassness, and voila!!!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Algard Guard 001.jpg (91.5 KB, 291 views)
File Type: jpg Algard Guard 003.jpg (109.1 KB, 340 views)
File Type: jpg Algard Guard 004.jpg (130.2 KB, 232 views)
File Type: jpg Algard Guard 002.jpg (121.6 KB, 378 views)
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-05-2011, 05:57 PM
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I think I like this set up a lot. good job - simple yet looks effective.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-05-2011, 08:17 PM
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I'm going the perforated SS sheet brazed to the exhaust route, and I just found this site, which has all kinds of cool metal in small quantities, perfect stuff for gravel guards whatever your method. Glad to see folks taking this issue into their own hands.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-06-2011, 05:54 AM
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Good work and if it serves the purpose, well done Sir.

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