SV650 - time for a suspension upgrade

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by 650VTwin, Mar 10, 2009.

  1. 650VTwin

    650VTwin Been here awhile

    Jun 16, 2006
    I've been riding my '06 SV650 long enough (11,000 miles) for the suspension to feel a little worn out -- the ride is steadily getting harsher and less controlled. The SV's budget parts weren't top-quality to begin with, so I'm wondering now what is the most cost effective way to improve things.

    I've talked with a couple of shops in the area that do suspension work, and it looks like I could either work with the existing suspension and just replace the parts that are worn out or inadequate (fork springs, fork oil, etc.), or go with new parts (cartridge emulator up front, new shock in back).


    1. Is it more cost effective to tune up the stock suspension or to upgrade to aftermarket?

    2. If I do only one end of the bike (i.e., front forks or rear shock), which will make the most difference in ride plushness and control?

    3. Any specific recommendations for the SV? My riding is mainly spirited day trips on paved roads of variable quality (but I'd like to do a track day, too).

    Thanks for any advice!

  2. aceluck

    aceluck Been here awhile

    May 30, 2007
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    I had a 2004 SV on which I put about 26000 miles.

    After the first season, I replaced the rear shock with a GSXR1000 unit I picked up of ebay for 30$. IIRC 03-04 was the best years to look for.
    Easy swap to do, it only required minor modification (cutting) of the battery box to fit.

    At the same time, I also replaced the fork spring with stiffer ones more appropriate for my weight, and heavier fork oil. Cost about 130$ for the springs and the oil, got the work done by a friend. would probably be a two hour job at a shop. Budget considerations prevented me from doing emulators at the time, but most SVers agree that they are worth it.

    I guess it depends on your budget, but you can do it like I did and spend as little as 300$ and have a sweet handling bike, or spend as much as 2k and have a really really sweet handling bike.
  3. ACDNate

    ACDNate Been here awhile

    Feb 22, 2008
    Ocean Springs, Mississippi
    I'm in the middle of upgrading the suspension on my 2001 Bandit 1200s in a similar fashion as aceluck discussed. Busa rear shock along with lowering link to reset to stock ride height, and racetech fork springs.

    Everything I've read and shopped around for makes me think rebuilding is WAY more cost effective.

    Not sure what your local shops are telling you but you can do some pretty good upgrading of your stock forks to make them just about as good as high end aftermarket units.

    This guy does great work at great prices. Comes with years of experience setting up for street and track. He's got quite a few options for the SV...
  4. Marvin_ADV

    Marvin_ADV Been here awhile

    Apr 15, 2007
    Fort Worth, TX
    The stock rear shock is not rebuidable but as already stated you could get a used shock from a number of sportbikes, mostly GSXRs, ZX-636s and ZX-10s. Got to for more detailed info.

    Some folks go to an aftermarket shock: Penske, Elka, Ohlins.... I went with a shock from the aforementioned motocd website (Cogent Dynamics). More money than a GSXR shock but well spent. My shock was under $500 set up for my weight and riding style (looks like it is now $525). It is damping, preload, and ride height adjustable.

    Some folks upgrade the forks with GSXR forks but a lot of people (me included) do the spring and Racetech emulator set up in stock forks. They work great for about $300 if you do install yourself. If you go the GSXR fork route which is arguably better than the upgraded stock forks, it is more expensive than upgrading the stock fork internals but you can get some of your money back selling the stock parts.

    I would say just doing the front forks is a bigger difference than just doing the rear but the stock rear shock is not the greatest shock and it is best to replace it with something better esp. after 11K miles. I did both and I am very happy.

    Great bike and gets better with some better suspenders underneath it. Probably one of the best upgrades you could do to that bike.
  5. Eat the Peach

    Eat the Peach Been here awhile

    Feb 28, 2009
    Western Pennsylvania
    I also went with new springs and emulators coupled with a cogent dynamics rear and agree that it's money very well spent. After new tires, suspension is the best place to put your $ if you like to ride. There's a group buy going on for the cogent dynamics shock at at the moment. Excellent value shock and great service - if you've got the money go for it.

    If you can only afford to do one end, do the front first unless it's already correctly sprung for you (~160 lbs rider)in which case just changing out the oil might be all you need.