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ADV BikesV-Strom 1000 Goes Full Bore Off-Road With New Upgrade Kit

V-Strom 1000 Goes Full Bore Off-Road With New Upgrade Kit

Hessler Motorsports kit adds legit off-road performance to the Big Zook.

Published on 03.30.2018

We don’t think that anyone ever confused a V-Strom 1000 for a desert racer – until now. Hailing from Germany, Hessler Motorsports focuses completely on Suzuki dual-sport/ADV machines. Their online shop offers products for the full range of Yellow bikes from small DRs to the V-Strom 1000, with some RMZ Rally stuff thrown in as well. What caught our eye, though, is Hessler’s latest full-bike build, the V-Strom Desert Express.

One of the main features of this overall build is that Hessler claims it is “the lightest two-cylinder travel enduro” available. Obviously, they must be talking about 1000ccs and up since there are smaller, lighter twin-cylinder ADVs out there (a few that come to mind are the V-Strom 650, BMW F 800 GS, F 700 GS, and Versys 300). Regardless, a stock V-Strom 1000 clocks in at a claimed 514 lbs (233 kg) and the Desert Express’ wet weight is a claimed 481 lbs (218 kg) which is a notable accomplishment. Along with a serious diet, this bike has upgraded and lengthened suspension, dirt protection, and bigger wheels pushing it from “light-duty,” to legit off-road capability.

Danell's record setting 53,000+ mile journey



Looking at the provided specs, the weight savings appears to be coming from a combination of replacing the stock battery with a lightweight lithium ion battery and a greatly simplified and slimmed-down subframe/rear fender section. Another possible weight savings is the rally seat. Stock seat foam is actually very heavy and by using a different compound of foam, an aftermarket seat can save pounds of weight that his high up on the bike (something to note: The rally seat is handmade and based on the Suzuki Genuine Accessories 34.6 high seat). We are also pretty confident that the Yoshimura muffler is much lighter than the stock can.

Danell's record setting 53,000+ mile journey
The rally seat is modeled after the tall seat from Suzuki, but is skinner. This doesn’t affect the overall seat height as much as the extra travel of the suspension.
Danell's record setting 53,000+ mile journey
The rear sprocket was bumped up to 45 teeth over the 41-tooth stock unit.


Performance wise, the motor is stock but they did change the sprockets to 45/17 from the 41/17. Obviously this will lower the overall speed but give the bike more power and response on the low-end, helping its off-road ability. Also, there is the aforementioned Yoshimura Signature R-77 Slip-On SS-SS-CF muffler to help the bike breath easier.

Danell's record setting 53,000+ mile journey
A Yoshimura muffler not only saves weight but should help in the power department as well.
Danell's record setting 53,000+ mile journey
A billet aluminum lower triple clamp adds precision to the front end while also probably shaving off some ounces.

Suspension and Chassis

Moving on to what really transforms this bike – custom long-travel suspension and a spoked 21/18-inch wheelset. The fork has been upgraded with Wilbers Performance Suspension internals and has an increased travel of 8.7 inches from 6.3 inches. The lower triple clamp is also an aftermarket piece branded with “HRT” which looks to be cnc’d aluminum rather than the stock cast piece. Out back, the stock shock is replaced with a Wilbers unit that has 8.7 inches of travel (6.3 stock), an external oil reservoir, and adjustable high- and low-speed compression. Upon request, a shock with hydraulic preload adjustment is also available. The wheels have Excel rims laced to Haan hubs.

Danell's record setting 53,000+ mile journey
The rear shock is replaced with a Wilber unit that adds 2.4 inches of travel for 8.7 inches total.
Danell's record setting 53,000+ mile journey
The 21-inch/18-inch wheel combo has Excel rims and Haan hubs that are narrower than stock that are able to accept more dirt-worthy tires.


Some extra bits to round out the build include a HRT aluminum and carbon-kevlar skid plate, Zeta levers, full-wrap handguards, shift pedal tip, and brake clevis and pedal, HRT crash bars with plastic radiator bumpers, Pivot Pegz, and a custom decal kit. If you already have a V-Strom 1000, any and/or all of these parts can be ordered “a la carte”, or if you have approximately 20 grand burning a hole in your pocket, you can buy the whole shebang including the bike (shipping not included).

Danell's record setting 53,000+ mile journey
Crash bars with cool plastic glide plates help protect the big V-Strom.
Danell's record setting 53,000+ mile journey
aluminum and carbon-kevlar come together for engine protection.

For more information go to

Suzuki V-Strom 1000 Desert Express Specs

Approximate Price: $24,662.37 (€19,999) – with bike
Sprockets: 45/17
Final drive ratio: 2.65
Fork: Wilbers internals, 8.7 inches of travel
Shock: Wilbers Type 641 Competition, rebound and high- and low-speed compression damping, 8.7 inches of travel
Brakes: Steel brake lines
Front Wheel: 21 x MT 2.15 “+ 90-90-21” M / C TT
Rear Wheel: 18 x MT 2.50 “+ 140-80-18 “M / C TT
Triple Clamp: HRT aluminum, adjustable steering stop 36 ° to 31 °
Battery: 12V 4Ah (power output 48 Wh) Lithium-ion with display, waterproof
Seat Height: 37 inches
Weight, tank full: 481 lbs.
Ground Clearance: 8.9 inches
Tires: Pirelli Rallycross
Exhaust: Yoshimura Signature R-77 Slip-On SS-SS-CF
Chain: DID 525ZVMX
Skid plate: aluminum and carbon-kevlar
Shift levers: Zeta
Handguards: Zeta full-wrap
Sift pedal tip: Zeta
Brake pedal and clevis: Zeta
Crash Bars: HRT
Foot pegs: Pivot Pegz

Author: Sean Klinger

With his sights set on doing what he loved for a living, Sean left college with a BA in Journalism and dirt bike in his truck. After five years at a dirt-only motorcycle magazine shooting, testing, writing, editing, and a little off-road racing, he has switched gears to bigger bikes and longer adventures. He’ll probably get lost a few times but he’ll always have fun doing it. Two wheels and adventure is all he needs. 

Author: Sean Klinger

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12 thoughts on “V-Strom 1000 Goes Full Bore Off-Road With New Upgrade Kit

    • Complete Bullshit. Vstroms are great but don’t put a ring in a sow’s ear. Pointless.

      Buy the bike off the shelf that you need, and if you are one of the few (000000.1%) that actually puts an ADV though the stuff you see in magazine ads, buy the KTM and save $8000 or whatever it is.

      • that’s right. Get what you need and have the joy of adding worthwhile improvements as you go.
        My 2014 Vstrom got a proper engine skid guard, a rise of 1 and 1/8 inches in the rear, crash bars, bar risers and proper hand guards. For that modest outlay it is a better bike than stock and has done 20K on various dirt surfaces.
        It’s nothing to impress the expensive boys with but enjoyable and quietly capable

    • too right – I just talked to a guy selling his 38,000 km 2015 KTM 1190R. A “selling” point was that it had brand new engine bearings.
      My poverty pack 2014 Vstrom 1000 has done double that mileage without anything apparently changing in feel from new. I like it more nearly 6 years on than when new.
      And best not mention the engine heat of those powerful adventure bikes (that he admitted was his main reason for selling)

      • I have a 2018 vstrom 650xt. Put 7k on it in one month easy. 80% road 20k off. Gravel, sand, dirt, etc.. it did it all. Dropped it more than a few times picked it up and kept going. Nothing to brag about. It just does the job. I was loaded down too. Ate And camped off the bike every night. I put my own upgrades on it because I know I’m going to keep it for years!


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