Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tool Tube for Wee: V-Strom DL650

(Suzuki DL650 V-Strom, rear view)

When I was searching for my next bike I knew that I wanted to have storage options. One of the first things I did was to research hard side cases for my V-Strom (Wee). There were two models to consider both based upon the same frame but different powerplants. You had a choice of the DL650 (Wee), or DL1000 (Vee). The ABS option is not available with the Vee and this model is now recently discontinued due to stringent european emission controls. Without factory identification there is only one sure way to tell them apart, by their exhausts. The Vee has dual exhausts while the Wee only has one on the right side.
If you examine the photo above you will notice the chrome exhaust tip of the right and only exhaust for the 650 model. The GIVI PL532 side case racks are more or less symmetrical leaving unused space on the left side which can be used for more storage. If you scan the forums I noticed that many 'Strom riders fit a "tool tube" into this area. Here is another view showing the view from the side

(Tool Tube)

It is more noticeable from the sides. This "tube" is made from standard DVW plumbing tubing & accessories. This tube is ideal to store tools, rags, wrenches, tire patch kits and other items which you may need in an emergency in order to get yourself back on the road. The bottom of the tube is permanently capped, while the top has a removeable end threaded plug. It is held in place with large diameter hose clamps strapped to the Givi Side Case rack.


It is a 4" OD tube cut 20" long to allow me to store my tripod. I decided that the tripod would be of more use to me than the tools. Actually I have storage under the seat where I keep a portable air compressor, tire patch kits, wrenches, screwdrivers, allen keys as well as the OEM factory supplied tool kit.


While this tube looks large it is not that apparent when the side case is attached.


I originally had the tube farther forward but it interferred with the swingarm while travelling at speed on a rough road so I moved it back a few inches.


The tripod is a Manfrotto meant for travelling. When compressed it is only 19-1/2" long and includes a ballhead. It will also easily fit into the storage compartment under the seat on my scooter, Kymco X500Ri or most backpacks. I believe that this particular model is the smallest tripod available from Manfrotto which can be extended to full height. It is stable enough to hold a standard dSLR


Here you can see that the tripod is not yet fully extended as the centre column is only about half way up but even at this height it is too high for me to use in this position.


From this angle you can get a sense of high this tripod can go. I use remote control to fire the camera(s). This was the setup I used when I met with Lance down in La Conner a few weeks ago. If I am travelling solo this will give me a chance to take my own self portraits as using the 10 sec self timer does not always give you the desired results.

From a distance you are hardly able to notice that the tool tube is there

(Wee with tool tube, hardly noticeable)


  1. Clever and nicely done. Toad would argue the tube is too big for his Visa and Triple A (automobile wrecker service in the US) cards. He could stash some porn and a large bottle of whisky in there, because of who he is.

  2. That is a great looking accessory and perfect for a tripod and other things. You got me thinking about making something like that for my scooter. After reading your list of stuff you store on the bike I am under the impression that you are just about ready for any need on the road. Is that air compressor the Sears one you mentioned awhile back that runs on the battery?

  3. Great idea Bob, and nicely shown. What's the model number on the Manfrotto?

  4. Looks like a great spot for a fishing pole as well.

  5. Just another thought: Do you think you could use it as a bazooka if needs arise? Do concealed carry laws apply up there?

  6. Mr Conchscooter:

    Some riders put 1 ltr aluminum fuel cannisters in them for extra range. I like the idea of bringing a tripod. before I used to bungee the tripod to the seat but was afraid that someone would "borrow" it without letting me know


    I am one who believes that you bring an umbrella so that it doesn't rain. If I have the storage room, then why not carry some emergency supplies.
    That Sears portable air compressor does not leave home. I also use it for the car tires, much more convenient than having to turn on my compressor and get all that rubber hose out. I have two portable 12v compressors. One I leave in the car and take on road trips, and the other I put under the seat of the Wee. If I am going out of town on my scooter, then I put it under the seat. Each machine is wired with those 2 wire trailer connectors. I use these to plug in my battery tenders and also in the winter they can be connected to a heated vest. I have also made a "patch" cable which has a standard 12v lighter socket to power "car" accessories and battery chargers for my phone and camera. I also have one of these car sockets installed on the Wee under the fairing for my GPS, or in an emergency, my air compressor.
    Carrying Firearms in Canada is very restrictive. I have a possession only and I can only transport from home to a "range" and directly back home when finished by the most direct route. You can not do errands and drive all over town with your firearm in the trunk. I used to have a FAC (Firearms Acquisition Certificate), which is required to purchase, and I can only sell to someone with a valid FAC making sure to record the number.


    I have several Manfrotto models and most are rock steady and well made, but too heavy and too big to lug around on my Wee. I picked this one up a few years ago. It is a Manfrotto 714B Digi. I find that it works just fine and it fits completely inside my backpack or small suitcase when travelling. I just did a google search and discovered that many have had problems with this model, but for me it works just fine and is the right size.


    I also thought about the fishing rod, just remove the reel first. I still have room under the 4" DVW tube to attached a smaller 3" tube for the fishing rod. Have to be careful to leave room for the swing arm to swing


    ps: I'm not sure about your bike, but on my Kymco I could make a couple of "L" brackets and attached a tube parallel to the muffler, using the heat shield bolts

  7. hmmm, 12v portable compressor. so small its under the seat? hmmm...

    im missing my sporty's hard bags. so much so im shopping road king bags for my bob now. this post reminds me of how much i prefer having tools, gear, like umbrellas (lol) with me!!! ;)

    you have a great storage setup bob. im quite envious...

  8. Great solution for carrying a tripod. Thanks for the idea -:)

  9. Ms M:

    I know you don't need extra storage for clothes, but you need room to bring your shoes.
    Lately I have been more concerned with correct air pressure in my tires. I had a life altering incident earlier in the spring where the tire was very low and while travelling in heavy traffic the tire became detached from the rim. I barely made it to the curb and the metal rim made contact with the driveway gouging it. When your tire is flat you cannot roll your machine. when I mean flat I mean the bike was rolling on the metal rim

    Ever since that day I check my tires more and I am not a fan of those hand pumps which require a million pushes to inflate the tire.

    Also if I am in a position of having to "air down" to get more tire contact, I know I can "air up" when I get back onto pavement.

    Chuck: I didn't have time to make the "tube" before our trip but my tripod fit into my top case

  10. The tool tube is very cool! I too have a Manfrotto but it is definitely a big one...wonder if something like this would be possible for it? Thanks for this thoughtful idea.