SV650 The Road to Reinvention

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SV650 N 2003

With many years biking experience on a variety of bikes ridden in all conditions – weather, physical, emotional – on road and occasionally track I realised I am looking for something new.


CBR 929 Fireblade 2001

My current main bike is a CBR929 Fireblade (John McGuiness review). A very nice bike but too pretty, too powerful, and too expensive to repair if I used it in anger and it went down the track (as happened with my previous Blade). It is an amazing bike that still make me feel good and smile whenever I take her out :).

This is great but gets me no closer to the something new. This is where HJP comes in. Having decided that as much as he likes track days, they are not so much fun on your own. To remedy this he decided to buy a couple of bikes, SV650’s which he could race to their limit on the track, but which could also be lent out to friends like me (win win).

The bikes came thick and fast, the first weekend after tentative discussions a 2004 SV650 S with 19k was sourced, the next weekend came a 2003 SV650 Naked (Visordown review) with 28k (SV650 Models). Although I have never been a fan of naked’s this one spoke to me, well, more like whispered naughty things in my ear. After a cheeky offer of an old XJ600 hanging around in my garage plus a few hundred quid a deal was struck and it was mine.

Looking at the bike it wasn’t in the best of condition (SV650 photos with issues highlighted), not bad as such, but it had a few scars from the road and from touring. I didn’t care, half the fun is in doing it up, and I had already started my long term plans for her rise to fitness, for now though it’s enough to get her mechanically sweet.

Taking stock of, well, stock

  • Handlebars, not original, and the bar ends have been cut to accommodate bar end mirrors.
  • Tyres might pass an MOT but will need changing before any serious use.
  • Chain and sprockets look neglected, will need a good clean at least.
  • Needs complete service including fluid change.
  • Dent in tank, not big but wood be good if can get it pulled.
  • Paintwork tatty on the rear from using panniers without a guard.
  • Rear axle and adjuster pretty rusty so need cleaning if not replacing.
  • Foot controls both sides are bent and need straightening, long term probably replace with rear sets.
  • Tail tidy added and integrated brake rear indicator. Also front carbon look mini indicators. All flash too fast so missing the relay.
  • Front and side of instrument panel scratched. A screen will hide this until a full re spray.
  • Exhaust is an after market Quill, will swop with the raucous one on the other SV.
  • Brakes on original lines and need a good clean out and probably new seals.

Purchasing and Nurturing

After deciding on the way forward the next step is to start getting together the various parts. Although before that there is some basic work that needs to be done. I have only been able to take it for a short run with the Heef on his SV650S (restricted tee hee) but the tyres meant handling couldnt be tested and a misfire was causing an issue too. So first step is actually servicing the bike and making her fit, if not pretty.

So far I have purchased the following ready for sorting this weekend.

  • Pilot Pure 2CT 120/60 and 160/60 from Moto Tyres £160
  • Hi Flo Air Filter from Ebay £16.34
  • Iridium Spark Plug x2 Ebay £13.99
  • Motul 5100 5l oil from Busters £24.95
  • Oil Filter from the Heef Club £TEA
  • Castrol Response 4 1l Brake Fluid from Ebay £7.99
  • Chain lube gel twinpack from Ebay £13.99

So total spend for service plus new set of boots is £237.26

2nd Gear and accelerating

Need to have another test ride to make sure everything is fit and then I think it will be the turn of the brakes to be overhauled plus a few bits need cleaning/painting to tidy her up and then into the mods.

  • Flat bars (some Renthals I got free in Heefs garage, need to check them though) with the S controls (clutch Ebay £15 genuine items/brake heef £TEA genuine item) and bar end mirrors (respray current ones for now)
  • Replacement tank – Purchased of ebay £25 (bargain find)
  • Front Brake and Clutch rolaclick levers
  • Flash regulating unit for led indicators – Heef pressie
  • Rear brake lever – Purchased off Ebay £15, genuine item
  • Gear change pedal (SV1000 03-07, SV650 99-10GSXR 600 97-03, GSXR 750 95-03, GSXR1000)
  • Solo seat Cowl – slightly undecided as have a Tail pack which I might use instead as more practical and move the solo seat to next year.
  • Exhaust hangar (SV650/80mm mounting centres,SV1000, GSXR?) and plaque on other side with ‘MCR Special’ on
  • Exhaust thorough cleaning – Wonder Wheels (Very strong)
  • Front forks upgraded springs – 9.5 weight spring with Silkolene Pro RSF (7.5wt) oil (emulators if required) Racetech – Suspension Oil Chart (its about viscosity not wt)
  • Replace fork oil and dust seals (some damage to dust seal, remove when spraying)
  • Replace rear suspension – ZX10R 06-07 (black and silver) 8.3 weight spring, adjustable (SV Rear Shock compatibility chart – bike 420lbs, rider 200lbs, gear 10lbs) – (How to guide)
  • Re spray midnight blue with a white muscle stripe with thin side stripe over top – using ProXL products
  • Braided hoses front and read
  • Brake rebuild using new seals, bleed valve, pins if needed
  • New pads EBC HH – FR (FA229HH EBC) FL (FA231HH EBC) R (FA174HH EBC)
  • Replace antifreeze
  • Chain and Sprocket 15/45 – 3.00 on a standard 525 chain and steel sprockets (GearCommander) – Currently on 15/45 – 3.000 standard (S is 15/44 – 2.933 standard) – cost for 520 is twice the price (£130+) and would not give any noticeable improvement. Alternative Sprocket Calculator recommended by Matt.
  • Radiator (if can repair current one (Ali welding), which is scabby so may replace anyway)
  • Right fork replacement (damage on end, ‘may’ be able to repair)
  • A Meter Visor came up on ebay (see below), they are like rocking horse poo so couldnt resist and purchased, coming from america) (American Microfiche parts). Will need to fabricate a bracket for upper stay as the US headlight bracket is different. Luckily with the plate being alloy it should be fairly easy to fabricate and will be covered by the cowl itself (Fitted nose cowl). Rough design for the plate (saves me £40 ordering from America).
  • Gear indicator with shift light – luckily had one (DIGI8, Blue) from a previous bike (Installation Guide, User Guide)

So total 2nd expenditure so far is £55

Next Generation

  • Change entire front end for a GSXR to get better suspension, brakes etc (GSXR compatibility)
  • Integrated instrument/fly screen (Meter Visor as fitted to American K5 onwards naked’s) – purchased, see above
  • High level race exhaust
  • Computer managed Instrument panel with custom functions like flashing for shift etc. Also custom rev counter background with a peak power section not just a red rev limit section.

So by combing the follow it will give birth to a Modern Cafe Racer (MCR) :-


GSXR front end swop + high level exhaust


Meter visor, belly pan and rear seat cover

Cadwell Park

Ever wondered why me and biker buddies do what we do, spend a fortune on bike tweaks and equipment while spending hours studying and practicing, well this is why 🙂

SV650 Full Specification

Engine type: 90-degree V-Twin, 4-stroke, DOHC
Displacement: 645 cc
Engine cooling Liquid
Maximum power output: 70 hp (51,5 kW)/ 9.000 rpm
Maximum torque: 62 Nm/ 7.500 rpm
Bore x stroke: 81,0 x 62,6 mm
Compression ratio: 11,5 :1
Combustion chamber: TSCC (Twin Swirl Combustion Chamber)
Fuel system: Electronic fuel injection
Venturi size: 39 mm
Air filter: Pleated fabric
Exhaust system type: 2 into 1
Lubrication: Wet sump
Ignition: Digital/transistorized, with Throttle Position Sensor
Lubrication: Wet sump
Oil capacity: 2,365 ml (2.5 quarts)
Starter: Electric starter
Transmission: 6-speed, constant mesh
Clutch: Multi-plate, wet
Final drive: #525 Chain
Frame: Aluminum truss-type
Overall length: 2 045 mm (80.5 in)
Overall width: 790 mm (31.1 in)
Overall height: 1 060 mm (41.7 in)
Seat height: 800 mm (31.5 in)
Ground clearance: 140 mm (5.5 in)
Wheelbase: 1 420 mm (55.9 in)
Dry weight: 165 kg (364 lbs)
Front suspension: Telescopic, coil spring, oil damped fully adjustable preload
Stroke: mm (4.7 in)
Rear suspension: Link-type, 7-way adjustable spring preload
Travel: 125 mm 4.9 in)
Front wheel: 17 x 3.5 inch Cast Aluminum 3-spoke
Rear wheel: 17 x 4.5 inch Cast Aluminum 3-spoke
Front brakes: 290 mm Dual hydraulic disc, twin-piston Tokico calipers
Rear brake: Single hydraulic disc, opposed twin-piston caliper
Front tyre: /60-ZR17
Rear tyre: 160/60-ZR17
Fuel tank capacity: 18 liter

Base Bike

This is how the bike arrived, there was some damage and some corrosion. Most of this will be sorted as part of servicing and upgrades with the remaining damage and corroded parts either repaired, restored or replaced.

The XJ600 thats now the X

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