Suzuki SV650 adventure bike intermediate build
because the SV650 has a beautiful torquey ultra-reliable engine, and you can pick up them very cheaply. and i wasn't interested in a wee-strom DL650 because i don't like the look, the detuned engine, the size and the weight. and figured it would be a fun project.
HOW FAR TO GO?
from similar threads, i figured i had the following options...
EASY - just throw some dual purpose tires on the existing rims. guys have done this, but i figured the soft under-dampened front forks on the SV are bad enough on bitumen, let alone a dirt road.
INTERMEDIATE - adapt suitable forks from a dirt bike, dual purpose tyres on the existing rims, convert to single front disc and jack up the rear with shorter dog bones to compensate for the higher front.
FULL ON - adapt the triple clamps and entire front end from a suitable dirt bike, jack up the rear with shorter dog bones and a better rear shock, reroute the exhaust into a rally-style setup, create a subframe to move the footpegs down and forward and mount a bashplate to, remodel the tank and seat etc. possibly go to spoked wheels, or at least a 19 inch front wheel.
i decided to go the intermediate way due to a tight budget and being a bit of a mechanical noob. and the SV will only be doing easy dirt roads so i didn't feel the need to go too far with the suspension.
first, the front forks. there's a handy list of alternative 41mm front forks here. an advantage of slipping these into the existing triple clamps is you still have your steering lock and existing instrumentation all in place. got hold of a cheap pair of early XT600 forks that slotted in nicely. the springs were way too soft. pulled them apart and found each fork had two springs. i removed the short soft one and replaced with a long spacer. this increased the spring rate on the remaining primary spring and worked very nicely. it was under-dampened too so replaced with 12.5w fork oil which improved things up front.
next a front wheel. i wanted to keep the road wheels as is so i could change over if i felt like it. i had a pair of honda CBR250R wheels lying around. the front had a 310mm disc so i made up a caliper adapter plate to push the caliper out enough for the larger disc. messed around at the local wreckers and eventually found an axle that suited the XT forks, then machined spacers to make everything line up.
i wanted to keep the SV front brake setup intact, so back to the wreckers and came back with the front brake setup and four pot front caliper from a fireblade CBR600, and a single braided brake line. this wound up working really well. the stronger caliper still hauls the SV up very quickly on the single disc but is not overly grabby for dirt roads.
the honda CBR250R rear wheel was an easy fit. i needed 20mm spacers to move the rear disc further out, and just machined wheel spacers to suit. i thought it was important to keep the drive chain completely straight, so left the rear wheel slightly off-center... i knew from motarding days this wouldn't affect the handling at all.
tires? chucked a mitas E07 150/70-17 on the rear. the front was trickier as the CBR250R front wheel is only 2.5 inches wide. i had a trailwing 120/90-17 rear tire lying around and figured i'd start with that... the high profile takes the rolling diameter closer to that of a 19 inch front wheel, and i was hoping the comparatively narrow front rim on the CBR would give the correct tyre profile for cornering.
what else? i bought a generic motard front fender and made a bracket so i could bolt it on to the triple clamps. i machined some one inch spacers for the front bars and rolled them back for a more upright position. any higher than this i would have needed longer cables. i'm quite tall so i grabbed some upholstery foam, black vinyl and a staple gun to build the seat higher. it's just a rough job and may get it done properly if it works out in the long term. a kamel toe was put on the stand so the sidestand won't sink in the dirt. fitted some frame sliders that will at least protect the radiators from stacking on the road, but dubious about how much protection they would offer offroad.
HOW DOES IT HANDLE?
i had concerns about the handling due to putting dirt bike forks into road bike triple clamps, especially with the front axle now sitting in front of the forks. but it seems pretty good so far. it handles more like a dirt bike with a 21 inch front wheel on the road, it's less likely to tip into corners and feels very stable in a straight line. cornering on road actually works better riding it like a dirt bike too, lean the bike but keep the body upright. i still haven't done the dog bones yet to yet the rear end higher so will report back when that is done.
the front suspension is a huge improvement, on or off road. but i wouldn't want to push those 41mm forks too far so would certainly be taking it easy on anything harder than easy dirt roads. the rear suspension feels a bit too firm, but with limited travel it probably has about the right spring rate for my purposes.
ergonomics are good which is a big relief as i didn't want to have to try to move the pegs forward. not sure if other riders would agree, i'm very tall so i don't have to lean forward to reach the bars. raising the seat has helped get rid of the cramped riding position, plus i can always add a pair of those buell footpegs to drop down another inch (part number N0006.1AD at your buell dealer, click here for a piccie).
next steps will be a basic bashplate, shorter dog bones to kick the rear of the bike up an inch, make some fork protectors out of an old wetsuit to keep dust out of the fork seals, make a small fairing, and some kind of rear rack for luggage. and get rid of that huge exhaust! i hear good things about the danmoto jisu slip on muffler for the SV650 and at $130 posted i figure it's worth a try if it isn't too loud.
i found these threads very useful for research...
SV650 Adventure (AKA franken bike)
SV650 Wannabe Motard/Adventure Bike
Yet another SV650->Adventure build
SV650 ADV info thread
SV650 shorty pants mod
Nice looking ride...looks like you done good.:thumbup
Well, that seat needs attention but you know that. :rofl
You could get a genuine Alaskan Leather sheepskin seat cover and that will give it the real ADV look.
A skid plat/engine protection is a good idea even on gravel roads.
It is going to be a great bike and you will really enjoy it.
I have a wee-strom and I agree with you, it is too heavy, too much plastic, and too tall.
An SV is a great way to build your own.
[QUOTE=JagLite;20407086]Looks great! Well, that seat needs attention but you know that. :rofl.... A skid plat/engine protection is a good idea even on gravel roads./QUOTE]
yep, definitely have to do something with the seat looks-wise. :D very comfortable though, and i could sit right up against the tank which centered the weight nicely. will be knocking up a basic bashplate this week.
did a 250 mile adventure ride yesterday, very happy with the way it handled dirt roads, it felt very stable and everything worked nicely. just as well, as a kangaroo decided to jump in front of me and i ran over its tail so was within about 12 inches of disaster on the maiden voyage.
just for the hell of it, i tackled some gnarly bits and quickly found the limitations of the suspension and all that weight but if figure a v-strom would have had the same issues. so she will definitely just be a dirt road beast. tried a few tracks with very soft sand and that wide front tire just rides on top of the sand but i wasn't game to get enough speed up so just paddled through like a noob.
very impressed with the SV650 engine, so much torque and in tight sections the twin would pull from idle in a way singles don't like to do. then 70 odd horsepower on tap when you are back on the bitumen. i don't know why suzuki detuned this engine for the v-strom, it was very tractable and predictable in all conditions.
rigged up a basic bashplate. in keeping with the dodgy nature of the project, its just a piece of alloy bent to shape and u-bolts to bolt it to the exhaust. its only to deflect stones obviously and not meant to enable log hopping. :D
fits very firmly, just put some zip ties on in case the u-bolt nuts came loose for any reason.
next step was getting some shorter dog bones laser-cut to kick up the rear of the bike either one or two inches and compensate for the XT600 forks raising the front. if anyone wants a set of these dog bones, there was a minimum order of $120 so i got several pairs made for the same cost of one pair. if anyone wants a pair happy to do $30 plus postage. i set up a page here for easy paypal payment.
a quick test ride and it tips into a corners a bit more which works out well. i read somewhere that shorter dog bones slightly changes the geometry and the first bit of the shock travel is beefed up a fraction. might have noticed this but hard to tell, it's not much different if at all.
two inches higher is about the limit before the chain starts to rub hard against the rubber pad on the top of the swingarm so that's worked out nicely.
Very cool! I remember having an SV650 - what a hoot to ride - sounded great and good pep, esp with a little pipe, carb, and sprocket tweak. Nice and light too - I bet that is one fun ride now. Well done - keep on truckin'!
Anyway - keep an eye on that oil temp now with that bash plate blocking a bit of air to the oil cooler... although... I guess shouldn't be an issue being water-cooled and all, eh? Idk...
thanks, forgot to mention that... i was keeping an eye on the temperature but it still hovered around the usual 80c (summer here at the moment) and did the usual jump to around 87c if sitting still for more than a minute.
definitely lighter than a v-strom 650 but this does feel like a tank coming off the husaberg 570 so it won't be seeing much more than dirt roads. :lol3
not much else planned at this stage other than:
- make a pair of neoprene fork savers
- mount a gps
- make a small fairing
- possibly buy the buell pegs that drop an inch to provide more leg room
- maybe get one of those danmoto exhausts
- work out the best way to strap the camping gear on to the rear.
Great build thread! I'm in the process of slowly converting my SV650S into a bit more of an adventure/touring bike (though more so touring), so I'll be keeping a close eye on this thread for sure!
So far, I haven't done much as far as touring/adventure modifications go. I've mounted luggage (side cases and top case), some LED auxiliary lights, a DC charger, frame sliders (also for the purpose of protecting the radiator, though I'm not sure how much protection they'll actually provide), and a bunch of RAM mount stuff to hold GPS, phone, etc.
I just ordered everything I need to convert the dreadful clip-ons to handlebars, a Givi Touring Windscreen, the Buell pegs to lower 1", and I'll be having my seat redone by Spencer's Motorcycle Seats.
I put stiffer front springs in my stock forks (.90 kg/ml) with heavier fork oil (15 Wt) and replaced my rear shock with a ZX-14 shock. This setup is great for on the road for me (I'm 210lbs, plus the rear luggage), but it's less than ideal for bumpy roads. I've been seriously debating going the route you're going with new forks altogether. To be honest though, I don't know what I'm even looking for. If I do end up getting a longer set of forks, I may be interested in the dog bones.
I love your idea for a skid plate! I'm planning to do the Trans Taiga Road in Canada this summer (hopefully). It's a lot of gravel, but nothing difficult or technical. All I really want is something to protect against flying rocks. I've been trying to find a skid plate that can be easily adapted for an SV, but it seems there really are none, not even the ones for the Vstrom. This looks like a great solution!
Once I get the Buell pegs mounted and a few miles on them I'll let you know my thoughts on them.
EDIT: Also, thank you for the link to the 41mm forks list.
41mm forks makes it much easier, just slide them in and you've still got your steering lock. but apparently it's not too hard to adapt most dirt bike forks (see the sv650 adv info page here) and you can put upside down forks in which have less flex and much better damping etc than old forks like mine.
they will pretty much always have the axle in front of the fork so it will handle more like a dirt bike than a road bike e.g. less likely to tip into corners which makes for good stability on dirt roads.
the bashplate is holding very firmly after its first adv ride, could here stones pinging off it every now and then so good to know it's doing its job!
from memory, i think the s model has the footpegs mounted higher and a bit further to the rear than the naked SV? if true, could be worth seeing if the footpeg setups are interchangeable as it definitely helps to have your pegs as forward as poss...
As far as I know, that is the difference between S and N in the first gen and the '03 only year of the second gen. From '04 and up there is no difference between S and N as far as footpeg position is concerned. I think the actual footpegs (not the mounting brackets) are the same for all SVs, regardless of year or generation). I'm not 100% sure on this though, but this is what I gathered from doing searches at svrider.
At 6'0" I'm kinda tall, but not to the point that the footpeg position now is killing me. I'm hoping that dropping it down an inch will be about perfect.
i didn't bother messing around with trying to hook up the speedo drive, just using the speedo on the gps and keeping a log of how many miles i'm clocking up.
Ah, okay. If I go this route, that's something I'll have to deal with. I can't pass an inspection here without a working speedometer, and I think odometer as well. Damn govco!
shouldnt be difficult to get your speedo drive working though. if you use your stock sv650 front wheel, you have a 17mm front axle. so it will come down to which dirt forks you use. you could get the forks machined and threaded to just take the SV axle.
or if you are forced to use a smaller diameter axle, you'll just need to get alloy wheel spacers that are machined so that they can insert into either side of the front wheel and act as axle shims too.
are you sure a gps wouldn't count as a working speedo? most gps units have a speedo interface with a large speed readout and an odometer, often two odometers.
I'm pretty sure it would only count if it were an integral part of the bike. In other words, a GPS-based console. I could be wrong though. To be honest though, I wouldn't be happy not having a working speedometer and odometer on the bike.
Thanks again for the idea on the skid plate idea. I'll probably go out and grab some aluminum sheet metal tomorrow and work on getting one cut and bent together!
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