Part two of the hack diaries….

The  Story so Far

Following our survey of the winter hack market , we took our own advice and shook hands over a £1050 Suzuki SV650 (as described in part one).

Bearing in mind that a big part of the hack ethos is buying late autumn to sell early summer (for obvious reasons), you have to be very weary of investing too much in the bike post purchase.  If it’s for keeps, that’s a different story: but  the fact is that purely for hack use, our SV required just a single modification, albeit a significant one – the addition of a decent screen to deflect some of that winter wind blast. A visit to the Skidmarx HQ in nearby Weymouth yielded three options, two of them being height variations on the classic round headlight mounted screen, as seen on XJRs, SVs, and the occasional Monster.  However, Skidmarx have recentlty introduced another contender, the angled Delta screen, which looked less staid and functions at least as well as the classic shape – job done.

Arguably, the hack purist would have left the modding right there, since nothing else was obviously required in the simple terms of a decent A to B conveyance. This was, after all, a 15k mile machine, albeit one which had taken an unscheduled rest on its side at some stage. For a shade over £1100 including the screen we’d found a long MOT bike ready to take us through winter, with every prospect of recovering that money in the spring.


However…  the little SV is one of those rare ‘budget’ bikes which has serious fun potential. It seemed criminal not to liberate a slice of that, so we decided to go a little bit further than would have been the case had we been following a truly spartan regime. Many SV owners embark on  modding as a matter of course: it is a bike built to a price,  meaning there are a number of areas which respond well to erm, judicious input…

One of the reasons the SV gained a reputation as a ‘girl’s bike’ was simply because its low ride height accomodated shorter legs without fuss. Which can present issues for any six foot plus rider. Since the pegs were already prone to the odd scrape, dropping them further was not an option. Judiciously building up the saddle was the favoured solution: Saxon duly obliged us in this department, as they have on past occasions.  The bike was immediately more relaxing to ride.  The only downside with the mod is being too ambitious: a saddle can suddeny turn into a horrible deformity if you’re too ambitious. For that reason, Saxon recommend a conservative approach.

The day after the visit to Saxon,  a bg reader offered us a shorter pair of rear suspension dog-bones, giving a one inch rise to the rear end.  There were two reasons for accepting this generous offer: firstly , you can sharpen up the steering without adjusting the rear shock (since we were happy with the latter, we wanted to leave it as found). Secondly, depending on the bike, you can achieve a small rise in pilot ride height:  since we’d been cautious building up the saddle, a further lift wouldn’t have gone amiss. The combination of re-worked seat and raised rear gave the pilot 1.5 inches  of extra height and sweetend up the responsiveness of the bike into the bargain. We now had an SV that wasn’t dedicated the short arse, and felt really sweet into turns without compromising straight line stability – a bit more sit on, and a bit less sit in. Result.

We’ve decided to do two more mods and then ride the thing through winter. A report on those next time, with an overview of the mods as a whole, plus a complimentary visit to the dyno. And some well overdue pix….

SV 650 2002 MODS:

c/w ART end can; Delta screen from Skidmarx  (£60) ; Saddle mod by Saxon (£40); Dogbones from £16 on ebay.

online SV:  www.sv650.org


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