George McConnel's Racing Pages

Race Prepping the SV650

This SV650 came to be mine

Before I started track prepping
The SV650 is ready for a street ride.
after I purchased it from my friend Jeevan. He had owned it for a couple of years and wasn't really riding it much lately. There were some issues with it when I bought it, but it turned out to be a really good deal once I took care of some engine trouble. The rear piston had detonated due to overly lean fuel mixture and pieces of it were missing. I bought a set of pistons from eBay that allowed me to replace the one that was detonated and have another as a spare. Everything else went back together just fine and now the engine runs well. I put a couple thousand street miles on it before really putting it to the test on the track though, just in case.

I sold my old, disabled Gold Wing for a song, just

My RC51 watches from the sidelines, wondering
why I'm wasting my time with that Halfabusa.
trying to clear some space in the garage and get a little money to spend on race prepping the SV650. Then I found this deal on a kit that I decided was worth getting. It came with very nicely prepped plastics and a tachometer / idiot light set as well as a Garves faring stay. Basically it was everything I needed minus a tail section and a windscreen.

Much of the early effort I put into this was in carefully checking my wiring so that (1) I knew for sure I was tapping into the correct wire on the harness, and (2) I knew the circuit worked as expected when each component was done. I used a wiring diagram for reference, but it wasn't always easy to tell for sure how to connect things. I didn't want to take any chances on messing anything up in the process.

I began by removing all the street plastic. Having had the faring off before I already knew how to get that part done quickly. Disconnecting and removing the instrument panel, lights and stock faring stay was relatively straightforward, although I went to some unnecessary effort in removing the lights from the assembly at first. I then realized that all I really had to do was disconnect the wiring harnesses and take out the two bolts that secured the faring stay to the frame. The entire assembly came out as a unit. Sweet!

The "Racing instrument panel" is just a 5" Sunpro tachometer with some idiot lights mounted on some L shaped plastic. The Sunpro tach comes

The "Instrument Panel" - A Tach and 4 idiot lights.
with a ring clamp and hinged mount so mounting it on the Garves faring stay was a snap. The wiring diagram showed which wire was connected to Cylinder 1's coil so I used it as input for the tach. Since the SV650 redlines at 10,500 the 10K Sunpro dial is all I really needed. As a bonus the Sunpro tach has a shift light that you can set anywhere easily. Just hold one button down and turn the other button until the needle points where you want the shift light to come on. I set it right at 10K and it works great. To be fair this part was real easy because the previous owner had rigged most of this up before. I added the fuel idiot light to the mix which is why it sticks up by itself.

What you can't see in this picture is the big nest of barrel connectors just behind the tach. There are eight connectors back there, which is really a lot, and each wire is labeled with a tag on both sides of the connectors so I can reconnect them. That adds up to a lot of space they take up, which isn't so bad for the current application but I have a strong hunch all that crap won't tuck nicely inside the street faring when I decide to go back to street mode. My plan is to use pair of 9 pin "D" connectors (like old fashioned RS232 connectors use) to clean up that mess.

The idiot lights in the picture are: Red=Oil, Green=Neutral, Blue=Water Temp, Yellow=Fuel. The shift light is actually inside the dial of the tachometer but it's hard to see in the picture.

I then removed the stock passenger footpegs and mounts. Since the right passenger footpeg mount doubles as the exhaust hanger it was necessary

The fabricated exhaust hanger.
Looks sturdy enough...
to replace that functionality with something else. I fabricated an exhaust hanger out of 1.25" flat steel, which I bought at Lowes for about $6 for a 4 foot piece. I used it in several places during this project. I used an angle grinder to cut, shape and smooth (where necessary) the metal, and a bench vice to bend the metal for the exhaust hanger pieces. I used the original (street) exhaust hanger for reference when figuring out where to bend and where to drill.

Unfortunately, Suzuki decided to use the stock undertail for more than just a pretty cover. It combined the functionality of a battery carrier,

The ugly (but functional) undertail
a rear fender, a mount for the turn signals, a mount for the license plate and a protruding light to illuminate the license plate. Those last three aspects of the undertail were just going to be in the way for this project. I fashioned an undertail from an old ready-to-be-discarded rubbermaid storage box lid. I used the stock undertail as a pattern and cut this plastic using a pocketknife. My plan is to pull it back off, sand it and see if I can get some black paint to stick to it.

The bodywork kit I bought was used and the previous owner had crashed, evidently destroying the tail section and damaging the faring upper. He had repaired and primered the upper before putting all this stuff in storage. So I didn't have a tail section.

Fortunately for me, sitting nearby was a set of rashed up plastic that I had (mostly) destroyed in the gravel trap at Barber while it was

This undertail used to be on my RC51.
mounted on the RC51 two years ago. The tail section had been scuffed and cracked, but it was still intact enough to be used in a pinch. I considered this to be a pinch. Cutting off a couple of places that wouldn't fit at all was all it took to make this tail work on the SV650 at least temporarily. If I decide to keep it I can actually make it look almost original by using the street covers for the sides where it doesn't cover the guts. You'll see more of what I'm talking about in the next pictures.

Here is more of my fabrication work on display. Using the same steel stock I used for the exhaust hanger I made brackets to secure the tail

Securing the tail section.
section. I bent the front of each bracket down towards the frame using a C clamp and an adjustable crescent wrench. This way the tips of these brackets can't catch on my leathers or pose a puncture hazard in the event of a crash.

You can see the bike's internals behind these brackets, but it's not anything I'm worried about especially at first. I plan to spend some time over the winter cleaning it up and making it look prettier. Anyone who knows me would quickly recognize that "pretty" isn't the name of the game for me, especially as pertains to racing equipment, but I do plan to make it look nicer than it does at the moment.

If you look closely at those bike internals, just over the rear shock you can see the battery cradle I made. This was fashioned from two 5" L brackets I also picked up at Lowes. I bent one end of each bracket to wrap around the bottom of the battery and drilled holes in the tips so I could bolt the plastic undertail I made onto each of them, completing the carrier for the battery. The L brackets are bolted to the flat surface that formed part of the original battery carrier.

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