Wednesday, 1 August 2012

SV Island Racer

Been flat-out the last 4 weekends getting the bikes ready for the ManxGP. A few months ago I was thinking about how I can improve the SV650. The front-end has always been the weakest part; spindly non-adjustable forks and seriously crap brakes with floating calipers.

Ba-bling ba-bling!
Also, one of my fork legs was bent at a funny angle, but I only ever noticed it when bimbling down the access road after doing a lap of the TT course. I still had the original Ohlins/Brembo front-end that came off Candy before her rebuild. "Perfect!" I thought. Turns out not to be so easy...

Suzy gets introduced to her new front-end...

I spoke to quite a few so-called fabricators/engineers... they all shied away from the ideas I had. No-one was really up for it or just too busy doing more exciting stuff. I'd almost given up on getting it done when by chance I got referred to Steve Mann.

Works of art! Proper machining showed how out of alignment standard, modern Japanese stuff is.
Steve has an awesome workshop down the road from me in Stony Stratford and works mainly on old brit bikes. He just love bikes in general and is an ex grass-track racer - so understands racing. He even used to build his own frames. He's a great fabricator. With his lathe, mill, welders, spray booth and many years experience, there isn't much Steve can't do.

It all just fitted right in!

Some proper stoppers and wheel - no mucking about this year!

The thing about customising is that you change one thing and it has this domino effect. I thought I'd save a bit of dough by not doing the usual GSXR swap and use parts I had knocking about. I landed up spending about the same... but do feel slightly better that I'm a conscientious recycler. Besides, I'd far rather hand over the money to an engineer who is a skilled craftsman, an enthusiast and has passion than to a Chinese factory (Suzuki). Steve stopped counting the hours he'd worked on getting it all right. A swell guy! Hell, he's even coming over to the Manx now!

Lookin like a proper racer with clip-ons...

...that are 'borrowed' off Candy. Times of austerity.

On Saturday, with many hours of Steve's help, I finished the front-end conversion. The SV now has a bad-ass, wide-boy, ohlin-forked, brembo-calipered, oz-wheeled, k-tech-tooned pukka front-end. AND I still havn't changed the geometry at all. So, in theory, she should now be one sweet-handlin, mega-stoppin, superquick-lappin island racer.

Ooooh, yeah! Now we're talkin!

Just can't wait to open those old-skool carbs up down Bray Hill and see if it's all worked!


  1. killer!!!! yeah def a domino effect for sure. i thought i was hot shit just throwing in race tech springs in my stock forks. really jealous! good luck racing!