GW250 Add-ons: Accessorizing the bike

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As mentioned in our earlier GW250 update, we managed to secure several of Suzuki Canada’s genuine accessories to experiment with on our long term GW test bike. The following will serve as an introduction to these useful bits.

We also received a few items from Aerostich that we’ll be using with the GW so we’ll include these items in this introduction as well.

Suzuki Rear Rack

This was the one piece that I was really waiting for in order to mount my much-needed Shad top box.

Behold, le rack...
Behold, le rack…

It may seem a bit pricy at north of $200. Don’t feel bad though; that’s more than $50 less than the MSRP for US customers. How often does that happen?

There are few less-expensive aftermarket racks available for the GW, but the one key difference in the genuine Suzuki rack is that its mounting system is much more robust. To me, the Suzuki item is worth the money as I often overstuff my Shad top box.

You’ve got to be committed to this modification though, as it requires drilling a large hole in the GW’s rear tail section in order to access one of the mounting points. This mounting point is not used on the aftermarket racks I’ve seen, which means they will not have the same load bearing ability as the Suzuki rack.

Well made with rock solid mounting, plus the grab handles are comfortable for your passenger.
Well made with rock solid mounting, plus the grab handles are comfortable for your passenger.

Honestly, once the Suzuki rack was fitted, which was relatively easy to do by following the supplied instructions and using the drilling template, I felt that I could stand on it and it would be just fine. The 5.5-kg maximum capacity seems extremely conservative based on the robustness of the build and the mounting system.

It’s worth noting Suzuki seem to be catching on with designing bike-specific accessories. Everything is well thought-out, so mounting these items is simple and effective. I was reminded of how nice it is to have perfectly designed accessories while later trying to mount my universal-fit Shad top box mounting plate onto the rack. As it was last year on the TU, I had to hit the hardware store to find some suitable bolts and nuts to allow for secure mounting, or at least I hope that will be the case…

I would have gone with the Suzuki top box and mounting plate, which of course is designed specifically for the rack. Unfortunately, the Suzuki GW250 box is a bit smaller and I truly like my Shad SH40 box, despite its tiresome mounting system.

Suzuki Centre Stand

This is simple – buy one!

Perfect fit. Built to last. Bargain price...
Perfect fit. Built to last. Bargain price…

It’s a no-brainer; for $65 you get an item that can be mounted in less than half an hour and is a perfect fit! And this one is almost half the price that Suzuki US charges. Go figure?

The only minor challenge when mounting the stand is stretching the heavy duty springs into place and wiggling the rubber stopper into the slot on the left tail pipe. A quick note: If you get a single-sided aftermarket exhaust, if they ever become available in North America, you’ll have to sort a new position for that rubber stopper.

It’s a great product – it performs as advertised, and it’s not expensive! Get one before Suzuki Canada follows suit with the US and ups their prices…

Suzuki GW250 Tank Bag

Designed specifically for the GW250, but not for larger cell phones. BTW, how many Suzuki logos in this picture?
Designed specifically for the GW250, but not for larger cell phones. BTW, how many Suzuki logos in this picture?

This one seems to have dropped off the Canadian Suzuki site but I confirmed with Suzuki Canada that it is still available at a price of $137.99. This continues the theme of undercutting our American neighbours.

This bag is designed specifically for the GW. It fits the form of the tank perfectly and, as the GW tank is metal, magnets are used to secure it.

It’s a well-designed piece of kit with the main zip opening into a decent-sized compartment with a Velcroed separator.

Inside, there is a slot for your cell phone with a clear plastic window to see what’s going on there while riding. The window seems ideally suited for an iPhone, but my bigger Google phone fits as well, although a bit of its larger screen gets chopped in the window.

I’d like to see an opening added for a power connection, as God knows, running your navigation system, or playing music on your phone is a battery-eater. Of course, you can run the cable through the zippered top, but it takes away from the shlickness of a purpose-built bag. Small point, I know.

Moving to the outside again, the back of the bag has a smaller, zipped compartment for things like keys and tollbooth change. Although not waterproof, the tank bag comes with a form fitting shower cap-type cover.

Finally, the bag has a rubberized grab handle for when you are off the bike, and you can even click on the supplied shoulder strap as required. One thing I’ve noted so far is that the shape of the bag makes it much more comfortable to use with the shoulder strap, as compared to the thinner, taller design of the Enduristan tank bag that I used last year.

Suzuki GW250 Engine Guard Set

Yep, engine guards.
Yep, engine guards.

The deals continue with the engine guard set, with Suzuki Canada undercutting the US pricing and bringing it in at a smidge over $200 before taxes.

Again, you may be able to find something cheaper in the aftermarket but after spending an afternoon at Suzuki Canada watching Kyle installing all the accessories and noting that he did not swear once, I’d go with the Suzuki stuff and avoid the headaches of installing something that may not bolt on as easily, or function as well.

Of course, I need to fully test all these products and I will, but initial impressions are very good for all of the Suzuki items we have installed.

They even pre-Loctite the bolts for you on this engine guard set. How thoughtful is that?

Saving money

Cheap as chips.
Cheap as chips.

If you have a GW, you may be tempted by some cheaper accessory prices if you go digging around on the ‘net. For now, I’m guessing there isn’t much to be saved in the end. Most of the aftermarket stuff is being shipped directly out of China, so I don’t suspect you’ll save much after you pay for shipping. This may change if someone in Canada decides to stock these parts, although that’s not likely.

If you do want to save money though, and were thinking of buying a GW250, Suzuki Canada is offering a rebate on the bike, thus dropping the price to $3799.00. The offer is only on until September 2. 2014, so act quick if you want one!

What’s Next?

When all the Suzuki accessories were installed I took a step back and announced to Kyle that we had just created an Asian-inspired adventure-touring bike! Check out the pics below if you don’t believe me.

Those of you that have read some of my motorcycle adventures in Pakistan will note that a fully-farkled GSA is not required to explore the world on two wheels, even if the roads turns to shit. In fact, you may be better off on something like the GW, especially if you are on a tighter budget.

I have no clue who this guy is, but he's now famous, being on CMG and all...
I have no clue who this guy is, but he’s now famous, being on CMG and all…

Think about it: The GW is a global bike so parts will be easily available in many of the far-flung areas. It’s proving to be a robust machine with enough power to travel highways easily. For $65, you can install a centre stand, and luggage and crash protection can be easily fitted. The GW also has tubeless tires, so tire repair is easier. It even has 6.5” of ground clearance, the same as Suzuki’s own V-Strom 1000. And the running costs are also considerably cheaper than a larger bike, but that goes without saying.

I could go on and on about the benefits of small capacity bikes but I think some of you may need further convincing, so I’m going to push the GW a little further than many will find sensible in order to discover if it is really as capable as I think it is.

The idea here is to keep the modifications to a minimum, perhaps nothing more than what we’ve already installed, and venture off the paved environment that most riders will generally think is the limit of its scope.

We received a few bits from Aerostich to help in this endeavor:

Snider’s Paintgard

This stuff looks useful. It’s a removable non-adhesive clear protective vinyl that can actually be reused.

As I want to install the Enduristan saddlebags and not scratch the side panel paint, this should do the trick!

Aerostich goody pack.
Aerostich goody pack.

Aerostich Stop and Go Pocket Tire Plugger

Compact and seemingly easy to use. Nice to have this kind of insurance, especially if you are getting off the beaten path.

Aerostich Mini Compressor

I had requested some CO2 cartridges with the above tire plug kit but it turns out that there is a restriction on sending CO2 across the border, so I got this handy compact pump instead. I’ll see if I can add anything to Warren’s review after a season of use.

Wish me luck!

Cheers, Mr. Seck

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