My Shortypants SV650 ADV Mod

Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by Gypsy_Writer, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. Gypsy_Writer

    Gypsy_Writer It's all good!

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    What does a person do when their favorite bike in the last decade was a twistie road eating, lightweight, short, street bike, but they've found themselves to have a newfound passion for adventure camping? Modify of course! :clap

    Here's my conundrum: I am 5'3" on a tall day, like to go fast on solid pavement, and need a bike that will travel 100+ miles to the gravel without sounding like an angry lawnmower. Oh! And it has to be done for around $3,000. BUST OUT THE WELDER!

    This is my baby (well, the mechanical one). It is a 2001 Suzuki SV650 in the exact same color as the '02 I rode once upon a time and hated to have to sell. I paid a bit more for it than I would have liked, but still a decent deal.

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    The person I bought it from liked wheelies, so both fork seals were bad, and the leaking oil contaminated the brake pads. So, I spent a week ordering parts and spending the rest of my budget on things I could easily bolt on or modify to make it more dirt worthy. In the mean time, I LET my husband play with some fabricating with me (it is his shop and you try keeping a mechanic away from a modification project). :rolleyes So here are the first round of mods with his "help".

    First up was a little lower suspension. We had these left over from a severe seat height drop on the previous SV. They were too long for this project and too hard to drill through again, so we shortened them.

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    Next we needed to make riser/backers for those low handlebars. Short arms + long tank = laying down. But first we had to figure out what type, how to affix it, and then what to use. Hmm... Of course! A broken vise!

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    Cutting it to fit. I love playing with power tools! :evil

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    Stacking the materials together and thinking, "my God that is ugly, but functional. I wonder if it will be strong enough?"

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    Fitting them to the bike. They were a LOT taller than I thought they would be!

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    But, aside from having to buy a longer brake line, all the stock cables rerouted to fit perfectly. And, we got some pretty paint, so they actually match the bike ok-ish.

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    Here's my short self testing them out. By the way, when posing for a side shot picture, take all tools, keys, bolts, and other things out of your pockets. It makes you look like you have a beer belly. :eek1

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    That last picture had a radiator guard. Super cheap way of doing it is to get some thin gauge angle iron and expanded metal, cut, weld, and paint.

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    But, that was a lot of painting with the risers, and the guard, and the primer first, and all those coats. We got bored and we didn't have the parts to finish the fork seal job, so we built some luggage racks.

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    Ok. I know that was a LOT. And, we still have a lot more to do on it. But that is where the project is one week in. Hoping to have the fork seals and brake pads replaced, seal savers on, hand guards on, and front buttoned up either tonight or tomorrow morning. More pictures to come!
    #1
  2. dbarale

    dbarale Squiddly slow

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    Awesome! I'm pretty sure that those bar risers will be strong enough. :rofl

    Interesting use of a brake rotor...
    #2
  3. Gypsy_Writer

    Gypsy_Writer It's all good!

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    I know right?! :rofl

    We have a pile of random parts off other random projects and bikes laying around, so we decided to recycle. :D

    By the way, do NOT let a man in the shop during a fork seal job when you have the fork between your knees and are trying to pop the old seal out. This is what happens:

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    They take one picture, make a derogatory remark and then SNAP!

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    It was actually really funny, but I wasn't getting anything done with all the innuendoes. :rofl I had to kick him out of the shop to finish... Uh... popping my pipe? No. Um... Pumping my tube. Worse! :lol3
    #3
  4. opaque_machete

    opaque_machete girls wanna have fun

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    :lurk I'm in and waiting for more.
    #4
  5. L.B.S.

    L.B.S. Long timer

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    - This is great, the world would be a better place if there were more girls like you in it.

    - I had a vise snap right in half once, it really surprised me, to say the least. Hopefully your donor was a good brand name type, and not a cheap one like mine...

    - I might suggest running a file or grinder over the pointy and rather sharp looking edges of the brake disc corners.

    Have fun! :D
    #5
  6. Gypsy_Writer

    Gypsy_Writer It's all good!

    Joined:
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    :shog Thanks. It is a lot of fun and as much as I rip on my husband, he has been a great help throughout this project. :freaky

    Good point. They are a bit pokey.

    Unfortunately, I've done a lot of work on it but forgot to take pictures. :eek1 I'll have more up later though. I'm hoping a headlight guard shows up today that will add an element of ruggedness to it. :D
    #6
  7. theWolfTamer

    theWolfTamer Lupie on a Mission

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    :lurk
    #7
  8. elgato gordo

    elgato gordo KTMRFS

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    It's great to see two SV650's on the forum. Not many others attempting adventurizing these bikes.
    #8
  9. Gypsy_Writer

    Gypsy_Writer It's all good!

    Joined:
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    Ok. I did not get any pictures of the fork seal job, but I did it all by my own self and it was super easy with the driver tool I splurged on. :D

    Before I could do anything more though, I HAD to switch from the twangy country my husband insists on playing in the shop. :huh

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    Aside from that, I changed out the brake pads for clean ones and degreased everything that had been oiled and splattered by the leaking seals. Added some hand guards that presented an odd conundrum. It turns out that when you put a spacer between the grip and the clutch lever itself, the manufactured bends in the lever bottom out before the switch allowing your bike to start is tripped. I never received that memo. :augie SO, I disabled the system and it started fine! :D

    Next on the list was testing the difference between the stock springs, since I am keeping the forks, and the new ones I bought out of a different bike. I discovered that the VF1000R came with progressively wound springs that slide seamlessly into the 41mm tubes from the SV. All I had to do was build a 3.5" spacer out of PVC.

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    More power tools! :clap

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    After that, it was time to button it up! :deal

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    Husband helped. :freaky

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    Took it for a test ride!!!!

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    But, it looked lonely. So, here is the dear husband's F800GS then mine as it sits now and finally my 5 year old's PW50.

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    Finally, I tried it in the nearest twisty corners and our five acre off-road track that is more aggressive than any forest service highway, to test the suspension. :ricky

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    It handled beautifully! :wings I was simultaneously sad and ecstatic that the different springs worked fine as a substitute. It would have been fun to try different combinations of spring stiffnesses and lengths to find one that worked, but I am glad we didn't have to go to that extreme. There are more modifications in the works, but until I get more parts the project is at a bit of a standstill. :cry In the meantime, I am going to enjoy the bike as it is! :deal :1drink
    #9
  10. L.B.S.

    L.B.S. Long timer

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    :ricky :beer
    #10
  11. KEN PHENIX

    KEN PHENIX "CERTIFIABLE"

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    SOUTHEAST TEXAS
    EXCELLENT! A project is never at a standstill if you can ride it while waiting for parts. Call it an extended road test. I seem to do a lot of that. :lol3
    #11
  12. Gypsy_Writer

    Gypsy_Writer It's all good!

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    Let's try this again. My browser decided to shut down right as I was clicking "Submit Reply" and it will NOT open the page that had everything. Grr... I think I'd rather do another mod than trying to fight with technology. :cob

    Ok. Like I was trying to say, it has been a while since my last post, but we have been busy! I got my crash bars in from Belgium and they are a LOT beefier than the SW Motech ones looked, BUT we also found out why they were so cheap. The angles were a bit off. Time to modify!

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    Then we made a tool box (actually, the tool box came first, but I didn't have a solo picture of it, so you get both)!

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    The next weak spot on the bike was the forward protruding oil filter directly behind the front tire. On road it is not an issue (unless you are doing sustained wheelies, in which case you will starve your engine of oil and it will no-no-go-go), however, off-road it could mean a long walk. We don't have any chopping implement big enough to cut through diamond plate in the dimensions we needed, so... TIME TO PLAY WITH FIRE! Seriously though, playing with fire is BAD. We only use it as a valuable tool. :evil

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    Yep. Evil scientist in the shop!

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    Pretty sparkles! After everything was cut, it was time to weld again. :clap

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    And then grind...

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    After we primered it, we had to drill the holes for the U-bolts to attach the rock guard to the crash bars.

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    Here it is fitted to the bike before painting and grinding off the excess threads.

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    The top expanded metal was painted with the same hammered finish silver paint that I used on the radiator guard. The side angle iron got a coat of hammered black paint. And the bottom diamond plate was rubberized to provide a bit more protection from rocks.

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    I got a headlight guard and painted it black (because it came in chrome and just didn't look right), and my mother in law got me a ridiculously early B-day present, so we fitted those to the bike as well. Here is what it looks like now:

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    On the way I have new tires, a water rotopax, and a windscreen! :clap Hopefully in a few days I can bolt it all together and have it off-road worthy!!! :wings

    Thanks for following the progress! :ricky
    #12
  13. Gypsy_Writer

    Gypsy_Writer It's all good!

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    I forgot to mention that we came up with a few new engineering terms during the crash bar and rock guard projects. Things can be "crowbar close" or "screwdriver close" and we tighten bolts until... "yep, sure, that feels good." :rofl

    Sometimes the mods don't always line up just perfect, but it is still more fun than Facebook, so I don't mind! :lol3
    #13
  14. Future ten

    Future ten Been here awhile

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    That will make a great bike, don't add too much weight upfront and low though. Steel adds up quick.
    Can I send my misses to you for garage training ? Group rate maybe ? I know I can't be the only one
    That thinks you're awesome. Lucky guy
    #14
  15. Gypsy_Writer

    Gypsy_Writer It's all good!

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    :shog Thanks! I guess I could teach the girlie side of the garage ('cause caves aren't only for men?). :deal

    Don't give up on her! It actually took me a LONG time to be comfortable in a shop and with tools, and most of that came from the absence of testosterone. I know that sounds harsh, but when I was learning to weld and wrench I would shut down when a man came near. :eek1 It made me super self-conscious and all I wanted to do was get away because I thought that I was messing something up. I know, kinda crazy, but that's female psychology for ya. After a while I got more comfortable and can handle myself when the hubby is around. Still, there are times when it is better to just work alone (like when I'm trying to pop old fork seals out). :rofl She may surprise you yet! :thumb
    #15
  16. Future ten

    Future ten Been here awhile

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    Good stuff gyps, she is a trooper for sure. I don't expect her to weld that's my fun but she is actually a gymnastics coach and would probably beat me up if I asked her to change a tire anyways. What a lot of girls don't get is that the average guy (rider) finds it very cool. I say rider because there are too many out there that get intimidated real easy by a lady that knows her way around the shop. Good for you !
    #16
  17. Gypsy_Writer

    Gypsy_Writer It's all good!

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    Okay. I know. I'm a bad girl. I get you guys halfway through the project, finish it up, then abandon the thread in lieu of the beautiful weather. :shog HOWEVER, she's done!! :clap

    So, I got all the guards welded, painted, and in place. Then it was just a matter of tires and test rides. I went with the Full Bore M-40 Rear tire, but had to practice my tire patching skills before I removed the old street tire.

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    It was a LOT harder than I thought. Then the fun part of removing the old and putting on the new. Didn't get any pictures of that one, but here is the end result.

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    Wanted to test it. The rear worked great, but the front was still a semi-bald street tire that did not like oozie goozie mud.

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    The guard worked well though!

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    So, time to replace that front tire. Only problem was the fact that I am still running the stock wheels and finding dual sport tires in 17" leaves you with few choices. :(: So, I decided on the Shinko 705 because it is practically the exact same tread pattern as the Full Bore. And, the height of the tire made it the equivalent of a 19" tire instead of a low profile 17". PROBLEM! When it arrived in the mail I realized that not only was it a rear tire (so I would have to mount it backward inducing a wobble at high speed) but it only comes in a tubbed model in that size. :baldy But I am one tenacious stubborn woman, so we made it work. Here are a couple comparison shots.

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    New one behind the old one.

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    Side by side.

    Now, we get to the "fun" part.

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    Gotta love a press!

    Okay. I'm short, so don't laugh... much. Here I am attempting to get enough leverage on the damn thing. I'm not sure what I was saying, but I look pissed in this picture. Hmm, not entirely sure why. :hmmmmm

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    And, here it is on the bike, mounted backward. I don't feel like going into a gigantic explanation as to the importance of switching the direction, so I won't. But, if you are mounting a tire designed for acceleration onto a position designed for stopping, you need to adjust for the difference. And, yes. It does create a wobble at speeds over 60mph and will need to be replaced sooner, but at that time I think I'll just spring for the TKC-80 and not mess with this headache again.

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    And, here it is in the sunset all put together and ready for adventure!

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    It was a fun project and I learned a lot about the bike after tearing it apart so many times. I really do love the way she handles off-road. Given the limitations I had in her build, I think it turned out extremely well. If I were taller, I could have upgraded the forks and suspension pieces without worry. If I had more money, I could replace the wheels and get a set of TKC-80s in a proper size. However, I am short, so I had to make it function at a lower seat height. And, I'm not a millionaire yet, so I was working with a small budget.

    She is peppy, she is fun, she has attitude and class, and she can eat corners faster than my husband's F800GS. So it is well worth the effort. :happay

    Thank you for reading and I hope you are having an awesome Summer season! It is time to RIDE!! :ricky
    #17
  18. theWolfTamer

    theWolfTamer Lupie on a Mission

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    Great job! :clap

    Love seeing girl power. I think I'm a little inspired to work on my VX800 this winter.
    #18
  19. elgato gordo

    elgato gordo KTMRFS

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    Funny about the wobble. I mounted my Shinko the opposite way and no wobble so far. May be way different geometry on my build but you might try flipping it round. I like the tire for dirt roads and pavement. Like to spring for a TKC but not till I win the lottery.:rofl

    Guess I should mention no speed wobble on the pavement, I do get what I call a head shake after I hit moderate size bumps on a dirt 2-track.

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    #19
  20. B1

    B1 Carbon-based bipedal

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    congrats on the shorty pants mod! mine was more of a "longy pants mod". :lol3

    at this stage i've just put the rear tire from a DR650 on the front wheel (bridgestone trailwing) as that's what i had lying around and i have almost no money to throw into my conversion. like gordo, no wobbles at all at any speed, but then like his mod i do have dirt bike forks on which has lifted the front end and given it more in line stability.

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    #20