Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS | DOIN’ TIME

Long-Term Update: First service and a sensible storage option for the daily ride.

WRIST: Marc Cook
MSRP (2014): $12,699
MILES: 6,396
MPG: 42
MODS: Luggage
UPDATE: 3

First on this month's list was the Suzuki V-Strom's 4,000-mile maintenance, which is about as simple and straightforward as you can get. It's basically an oil change with a minor amount of inspection—chassis bolts, air-filter element, hoses, and coolant level—and is done in about an hour. Technically, you don't have to change the oil filter at this interval; it gets replaced at the 600-mile service and again at 11,000 miles. I didn't believe it either, so I double-checked the manual. This recommendation is for real!

Real or not, I'm too old school to change oil without doing the filter, especially since filters are cheap. So I pulled the old and screwed a new K&N KN-138 filter into place (knfilters.com; $16) and refilled the cases with Shell Rotella T6 5w-40 full-synthetic oil (shell.com/rotella; widely available at around $20/gallon). Suzuki calls for 10w-40 oil for my climate area, so the T6's viscosity is in the ballpark. Intended for diesels and not labeled as Energy Conserving, T6 has been one of my go-to oils for years; I've used it in several different wet-clutch motorcycles without a lick of trouble.

A TraX 38-liter top box mates to an SW-Motech Steel Toprack and carries a dual-USB charger pod (below). Maximum nerd score, yes, but totally convenient for daily commuting and weekend touring. The V-Strom handles all this junk with ease.

On the mod front, I fitted an SW-Motech Steel Toprack (twistedthrottle.com; $100) over the stock plastic rear rack, a straightforward installation. The rack uses the forward mounting points already employed by the stock rack and then uses a simple sandwich plate to locate the rear of the Toprack. Overall, it's a sturdy platform.

Onto the Steel Toprack goes a TraX 38-liter Evo ALU-BOX Topcase (twistedthrottle.com; $410 with one lock set). This is a nicely sized, extremely handy top box that looks the part on the V-Strom and combines with the stock Suzuki hard cases to give me lots of flexibility. In fact, the bike runs with just the top case most of the time, which only serves to reinforce the pragmatic-geek image of the usual V-Strom rider.

Because I always seem to forget to charge my iPhone before leaving the house, I installed a two-port USB charger (burnsmoto.com; $30) wired directly to the battery. It lives on a simple bent-aluminum tab stuck to the inside of the TraX case. Super handy.

At just under 3,000 miles, the rear Michelin Pilot Road 4 Trail is well on its way to squaring off and the front has begun to scallop, but handling remains okay—stolid but predictable. Next are side cases from Shad to test along with some additional accessories from Suzuki, including a lower fairing, hand guards, and heated grips.

A TraX 38-liter top box mates to an SW-Motech Steel Toprack and carries a dual-USB charger pod (below). Maximum nerd score, yes, but totally convenient for daily commuting and weekend touring. The V-Strom handles all this junk with ease.