A known weak pointAmong the few known weak points of the DR is the left tab that normally holds the back of the grab bar. Under normal circumstances you will probably never even notice it is there. Mount almost any aftermarket top rack and you might soon experience the same failure we have.
But before I continue, I would like to elaborate on why I used “almost” in the previous sentence. Suzuki sells an OEM rack Part# 46300-32820-20H (See picture insert) that while a bit small for serious overlanders presents the distinct advantage of using two mounting points located on the brace that supports the fender (Arrow in the picture). This arguably a stronger mount but strangely enough none of the aftermarket racks we know of use it.
But back to our problem, riding into Antigua, Guatemala, I noticed that the luggage attached to the top rack of the Zebramobile was a lot wobblier than usual. We pulled over and immediately spotted the broken subframe bracket.
Taller de soldaduraThat’s is how you call a welding shop in Spanish. We were lucky to find a great one a few blocks away from where we stayed, right in Antigua historical center. Located at 2 avenida Norte, taller Meme specializes in car mufflers. While in his workshop we had the pleasure to see him build a car muffler from metal sheets and pipes, a wonderful experience in the age of catalytic converters.
While a bit nervous at first at the thought of altering our precious DR frames, we were put immediately at ease by the swiftness shown by our master welder in crafting a reinforcement bracket out of one of the thick scrapped metal bar lying around. I had to insist a bit to measure the alignment of the bracket and ensure the bolt would remain perpendicular. Saying that the tolerance was millimetric would be an overstatement but a few sparks later you could hand a donkey from the newly reinforced bracket.
As as matter of fact, we felt so good about the work that we proceeded to reinforce the Wolfmobile rear bracket as well.
Both brackets were both looking strong 7 months and 30.000kms later as we rode into Buenos Aires.