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ADV NewsNew HRT Upgrade Kits Give V-Strom 800DE An Off-Road Boost

New HRT Upgrade Kits Give V-Strom 800DE An Off-Road Boost

Hessler Rallye Team takes Suzuki’s new adventure bike to new levels.

Published on 03.27.2023

With the release of the all-new Suzuki V-Strom 800DE, the long-lived Strom line has gained its most dirt-worthy sibling yet. If this middleweight V-Strom has your interest piqued with its 21”/17” spoked wheelset and more dirt-oriented chassis, you’ll also be excited to learn of a new aftermarket option developed to take its dirty intentions to the next level, thanks to three new performance upgrade kits.

We have German engineer and custom rally bike builder, Stefan Hessler and his crew at Hessler Rallye Team (HRT) to thank. Hessler has a long history with Suzuki dual sports, adventure and rally bikes, and has long worked to pump up prowess in the V-Strom line. Back in 2017 Suzuki even invited HRT to build a V-Strom 1050 Desert Express prototype for EICMA in Milan. Hessler took the V-Strom 1000 to even higher levels in 2019, building a Desert Express RR rally raid version that took 4th at the famous Hellas Rally in Greece with Hessler at its helm, a shock of yellow biting the heels of a 1-2-3 orange finish.

Hessler snatched 4th place at the international Hellas Rallye Raid aboard his V-strom 1000 Desert Express RR. Photo courtesy of Actiongraphers.

ADV Pulse had the opportunity to ask Stefan Hessler about the new 800DE kits and his involvement with Suzuki machines, and we learned his passion for the brand runs deep. Growing up in communist East Germany he was obsessed with his hometown motorcycle brand, Simson, a company that would fail shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. In 1990, the young engineer got his hands on his first Suzuki, a DR 800S, aka the famous DR Big, and was literally off to the races.


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He rode in his first international rally raid in 1995, finishing 8th, and has carried on with rally raid riding ever since, always competing on Suzukis. At the events there would be inquiries about his customized mounts, and soon he was building bikes for other riders. Eventually, HRT became the world’s most extensive parts and mods shop for Suzuki dual sport and adventure bikes. Suzuki engineers have even visited Hessler at his facility in Breitenbach, Germany, where he says they grilled him on how and why he builds his Suzuki adventure bikes the way he does. 

Hessler says the new 800DE, which, by the way, in Suzuki-speak stands for “Dual Explorer” while the DE in the Hessler World has long stood for “Desert Express,” is the true successor to the original DR Big. “Of course we had to build a V-Strom 800 Desert Express immediately.” 

So, finally, what are these V-Strom kits about? What’s extra cool about HRT’s offerings is you can order the fully-kitted bike, you can also just buy all the parts as a kit, or buy each part individually. Hessler says his specialized shop will assemble your bike in Germany at no additional cost, while there’s no discount on kits that are not assembled in-house. Below are the three 800DE kits available for pre-order now and shipped worldwide (Note euro/usd conversions are approximate and change daily):

Level 1: Desert Express Adventure (DE-ADV)

Fully assembled vehicle: Suzuki base motorcycle + €1750 ($1883 USD)

This kit includes:

  • Decal set for beak, tank, side panels, fork, swingarm and rims
  • HRT Rallye Windscreen 2.08
  • ZETA hand guards and spoilers with HRT LED Kit
  • Rear conversion HRT with original V-Strom rear light and LED mini indicators
  • HRT Luggage rack and plate
  • HRT lightweight, high performance silencer by MIVV
  • HRT heat protection for manifold pipe

Level 2: Desert Express Rally Adventure (DE-ADVR)

Fully assembled vehicle: Suzuki base motorcycle + 3400€ ($3658 USD)

This kit includes DE-ADV upgrades:

  • Decal set for beak, tank, side panels, fork, swingarm and rims
  • HRT Rallye Windscreen 2.08
  • ZETA hand guards and spoilers with HRT LED Kit
  • Rear conversion HRT with original V-Strom rear light and LED mini indicators
  • HRT Luggage rack and plate
  • HRT lightweight, high performance silencer by MIVV
  • HRT heat protection for manifold pipe

Plus:

+ HRT Desert Express seat made by SW Motech
+ Desert Express rear side panels (narrow type)
+ Top shelf, individually tuned Wilbers rear shock, fully adjustable for rebound, low-speed compression, high-speed compression and hydraulic spring preload.

Level 3: Desert Express Rally Pro (DE-PRO )

Fully assembled vehicle: Suzuki base motorcycle + €4700 ($5057 USD)

This kit includes DE-ADVR upgrades:

  • Decal set for beak, tank, side panels, fork, swingarm and rims
  • HRT Rallye Windscreen 2.08
  • ZETA hand guards and spoilers with HRT LED Kit
  • Rear conversion HRT with original V-Strom rear light and LED mini indicators
  • HRT Luggage rack and plate
  • HRT lightweight, high performance silencer by MIVV
  • HRT heat protection for manifold pipe
  • HRT Desert Express seat made by SW Motech
  • Desert Express rear side panels (narrow type)
  • Top shelf, individually tuned Wilbers rear shock, fully adjustable for rebound, low-speed compression, high-speed compression and hydraulic spring preload.

Plus:

+ Revised telescopic fork with individual tuning and 20mm (.79 in) additional travel
+ Excel 2.15×21”  tubeless front rim for 90/90-21 tires; Excel 4.25×18” tubeless rear rim for 150/70-18
+ HRT Engine Protector in Dual Compound (carbon/aluminum)

Additional Options

HRT has a top triple tree with riser for enduro handlebars that’s ready for preorder, while a HRT tank protecting bar is in development. You can also add a lighter weight lithium-ion battery to your order.

Stefan says that the DE-PRO kit sheds 26.5 pounds (12 kg) from the total curb weight of the V-Strom 800DE to settle at 481 pounds (218 kg). The all-new 776cc DOHC parallel-twin engine, which is claimed to offer 84.3 horsepower and 54.5 ft-pounds of toque stock, remains unchanged because it “is a very cool engine with a lot of torque” already, and doesn’t require modification to enhance the V-Strom’s off-road competence. 

HTR also provides colorway enhancement options. Suzuki offers the base 800DE ($11,349) in Champion Yellow No. 2  or Glass Matte Mechanical Gray. The Adventure model ($12,999) comes in a third colorway, Glass Sparkle Black. Via the HTR kits you can opt for an enhanced yellow or gray version, a vibrant blue on blue scheme, bright red/blue, or the most striking, a red/white/black Marlboro design. Stefan says “classic orange” and “classic blue” colorways are also in the works. 

For more information go to www.dr-big-shop.de.

Author: Jamie Elvidge

Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.

Author: Jamie Elvidge
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Patriot159
Patriot159
March 28, 2023 6:51 am

Since the suspension and rims are the ‘heart’ of the upgrade IMO I’d be curious to see what those alone would cost. I’d also shop other suspension vendors if any are making stuff for the DE yet and compare price.
Not sure though just how many owners are looking at the DE for hardcore off road.

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