Evolution SV

  The Evolution of a Suzuki SV650


We’ve all got that ‘mate’ who is going to buy everything but ends up buying f**k all.

When a ‘mate’ came to me to see if I could get him an SV650 to go racing, I managed to turn him up a pretty clean standard 2002 model with very low miles.

She had an intermittent electrical problem (which turned out to be a faulty coil) and the insurance company decided to write her off as Cat D!

Perfect donor bike, straight as a die and lots of potential to be unlocked in the sweet v-twin engine.

One year later and the track-day tool never materialised with the money, so I was left with a functional but uninspiring piece of blue Suzuki plastic.

I always liked the SV’s tubular chassis, it’s like something Ducati may have produced, a styling feature in its own right.

The SV is a very well put together bike and when the engine is permitted to breathe, the SV sounds pretty awesome.

 The trigger finger was getting itchy... the grinder recently had a new cutting disk fitted...

Bazza, our classic bike mechanic was by now sufficiently aghast at the thought of cutting this “perfectly good bike”.

His hands were thrown in the air and that signalled the start of the build.

Street Scramblers are all the rage, and I love them... probably one of the only times in my life where I am bang on trend!!

Strangely enough, a quick trawl of the internerd didn’t show up anything inspiring in the SV + Scrambler realm... let’s see what we can do about changing that.

First thing was the strip down. Boys-a-dear... there is some amount of plastic, screws, clips, springs and fasteners holding the Suzuki together, but when we got the blue bomber stripped of unnecessary clothing, she actually looked very attractive.

When you are building a street scrambler, the rear is always the defining feature. Easy to get wrong, so I took no chances and let the world of Moto-X guide me.

I wanted to keep the bodywork simple, not too many moving parts and something that could easily be changed in the event that the bike kisses the ground.


 We took a few moto-x tail pieces, offered them up and it was a pretty old KTM SX125 tail that seemed to fit.

The nice little side pieces moulded as one unit worked well.

A quick bit of hacking and welding and we had a sub-frame to mount the tail-piece on.

A piece of black mesh was all that was needed to fill the small gap to the frame and it looked pretty smart.

We re-routed the gubbins up under the seat, fabricated a new box to house the electrics and fitted an ultra light slim line Lithium battery as we were limited in space.

Up front the clip-on’s went into the growing pile of salvage parts and the top yokes were drilled to take a set of risers and flat bars. Careful not to over-extend the existing controls, we didn’t want the hassle of extending throttle, clutch, brake and electric lines.

Keep it simple!

 The bike already had a pretty good stance so we elected to leave the steering geometry alone.

A set of fork gaiters were fitted, a few bits and pieces added and the front was nearly complete.

Inspiration can come from strange places.

Our shop is pretty busy and we sell a lot of new and used bikes.

Obligatory head scratching was well under way as we tried to decide should we run with a front guard or leave it bare.

I ride an old Harley panhead and my front guard is a rag... whereas I’ve the kind of face that looks better covered in road grime, the new owner of the SV may not.

We tried lots of different front guards but they just didn’t float our boat then a lexmoto 125cc ZSX rolled into the shop for its first service.

We’d sold the bike a few weeks previous and if I’m honest, I never paid that much attention to it.

I noticed a neat little hugger over the rear wheel and the more I looked at it, the more I liked it.

A quick call to Lexmoto and the hugger arrived, was offered up and bolted to the front of the SV... looks like it grew there!

The original thinking for the headlight was a ‘flat tracker’ style number-plate with two little round headlights mounted in it. But the clearance between headstock and forks would not facilitate the spy-ball lights so we changed tact.


Instead we got a moto-x number-plate, made a few mods and got it mounted to the bike. A small cut-out at the bottom allowed us to fit an old style rectangle headlight with a flip up visor which sits right down on the front mudguard.

A nice pair of TKC80’s were fitted to freshly painted rims, a bit of a kick-up put in the exhaust which holds a little carbon end-can and completes the look.

Only thing we had left to decide was what colour to paint her.

We swung wildly between flash and flamboyant to the mundane. After much discussion, I ignored everyone else and went for gloss black with KTM orange go-faster strips outlined with silver pinstripe.

There was almost divorce over the front number-plate, Emma was adamant that the orange was overkill and spoiled the look of the bike so when she wasn’t looking, I put the orange on and added the lacquer... please tell me she wasn’t right!

The SV sounds amazing and you really struggle to keep the front wheel on the ground. This is a proper hooligan machine, it looks mean and aggressive and does not disappoint.

We tweaked the cams on the bike to get a bit more torque out of the punchy v-twin engine. Only problem when riding is, your knackers do take a bit of a pounding thanks to the aggressive angle of the custom made leather seat. But hey... I’m married... so I don’t need knackers anymore!!!


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