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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For any tips, ideas, or snarky commentary go to the comment thread.

Here is my stock 2006 SV650 in Candy Napoleon Blue before I started laying my inexperienced hands on her last summer.

The only customization it had when I bought it:
Steve's TRE mod ($30)
My initial mods were of the visual kind:
  • idiot sticker removal
  • Fender eliminator by eBay seller creese1 ($60 incl. 4 LED indicators)
  • Flash controller relay to reduce blinking rate of LEDs to normal frequency ($15 x2; I had to buy 2 since the first one burned out after first use and I missed my return window on Amazon)
  • Turn signal adapter and cable plugs (back, front, and plastic adapters to hold front LEDs to headlight brackets ($7 x3 on Amazon)
  • Bikemaster Daytona handlebar (much higher and wider than stock; $23)
  • Oury Street grips (very thick and soft, $13)
  • CNC Folding & Extending Clutch & Brake Levers (decent quality; $31 on eBay)
  • Bar end mirrors (Chinese knock-offs that won't last more than one season, but for $9 shipped on eBay it doesn't really matter to me; visibility is great when mounted angled forward)
  • K&N air filter (Yes, I know, newbie mistake since it is not a good air filter, but I'm still enjoying the gurgling sound it produces at 6k RPM for now)
I made 4000 miles in my first season as a real biker and rode until January 1st before it got too cold for me in NYC.
That's how she looked then:

The following mods were originally planned and are currently in progress:
  • front fork rebuild with Sonictech springs (0.90 kg/mm spring rate for my weight of 185 lbs naked) and 15wt fork oil ($120 for spring & oil, $100 for OEM seals, dust cap, plastic fender, etc. --> much cheaper if you get your fork seals non-OEM)
  • rear shock of 2006 Kawasaki ZX14 from eBay ($50) --> I would have preferred a ZX10 rear shock, however they go for north of $120 these days and the spring rate would still not be optimal for me. So:
  • new Hyperco spring for rear shock with 500 lbs/in; perfectly sprung for my weight (as ZX14 is better for riders above 220 lbs)
  • front and rear wheel bearings ($35 from
  • chain: BLUE - EK 520MVXZ (520 conversion) & sprockets: Superlite RS7 Steel 15/47 teeth (vs. 45 stock, i.e. faster acceleration with slightly reduced top speed) --> 520 Conversion Kit - SUPERLITE RS7 Steel Sprocket Set with EK Chain & black sprocket nuts is $180 at Sprocket Center
  • exhaust muffler by FUEL F1R Road, black stainless round: great sounding, beautiful looking muffler from a small UK company; even with the 50 GBP shipping charge it's just a bit more expensive than Delkevic, cheaper than M4 and comes with lifetime warranty and dB-killer
  • Exhaust hanger in black from eBay, seller railsideperformance ($37 shipped from Canada)
  • Seat cowl from; this is actually an OEM part! ($171 shipped to US from The Netherlands at current € rate)
  • Spencer's Seat Modification with Supracor (keeps stock seat shape but improves seating position, $75 plus your own shipping costs)
  • Bikemaster Superbike handlebar: while I enjoyed the relaxed seating position with the Bikemaster Daytona, I want to switch it up a bit and also narrow the bar by 1" on each side (with a pipe cutter) ($12 on Amazon)
  • Bikemaster Heated Grips: $40 on sale at Amazon; for nearly half price of the Oxford grips same functionality just without the automatic shut-off; however, I just need to find a way to plug them in the spare connector in the headlight then they switch off with the ignition.
Beginning of March I had the brilliant idea that I might as well do all the mods I want to do now and be done with it. Then I had the vision to have the bike in just 2 colors: the beautiful candy blue stays on but the rest is painted black as much as possible.
I found a reasonably priced powder coating shop and took off all the small parts and the clutch, water pump, and stator covers and all foot rest assemblies. I should get the parts back sometime his week.

Also, I thought I might as well customize my Combo Meter and install Teeriver's Multibot, the Illumiglo convertible gauge and last but not least change the ugly orange display LEDs to blue.
So, after checking my tappet clearance (which is still in spec after 40k miles), draining the fluids and removing all parts that needed removing, here we are:

I currently have a bit of a problem, since I had the brilliant idea to replace the front exhaust pipe (unnecessarily in hindsight), and as so many before me, broke off the 2 studs. Now I'm having a crash course in penetrating oil, cutting oil, and various ways of bolt removal (broke off one screw extractor already, now on with carbide drill bits, left hand drill bits, drilling, tapping and possibly Heli coiling... fun stuff at the end of April...).

Stay tuned... She should come back together piece by piece any day now...

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I tried to get out those broken front exhaust studs today:

Blasted them with Freeze-Out (20 secs), followed by Liquid Wrench, tapped them lightly with a hammer, and then... the wooden block under the engine dropped and the whole front of the bike came crashing down. :disappointed:

Word to the wise if you have a bolt that may be corroded: follow the steps outlined in this article before you start monkey-wrenching and you'll hopefully never break off a bolt willy-nilly.

Luckily the Abba pivot stand held up and the drop was stopped by the oil filter, so no real damage done. The bike is surprisingly light right now, so after I struggled for a bit myself, trying to get the wooden blocks placed under the engine again, I was finally able to stabilize the bike with the help of a friend who was also working on his bike in my garage...

After that episode it was time to move on and get the rear shock and rear wheel back on the bike, so the Abba stand could hold up the bike by itself again and I didn't have to rely on those flimsy blocks of wood.

Surprisingly, I got a few things done in the end without any major incidents:
  • cut off the plastic tool box with a dremel (I have no factory tool set anyways)
  • new rear shock installed; had to cut off about 2mm of the lower mounting bolt so the rear cushion rod had enough clearance
  • new rear sprocket mounted
  • rear wheel installed with new wheel bearings
  • reflective rim tape from CustomTaylor33; left side sloppy, right side a'ight; I'll definitely do a better job on the front wheel tomorrow
I'm just happy I didn't completely f*$# up my bike today and got some stuff mounted back on, and the bike secured on the stand again with the swing arm strap.
Here's her good side right now:

With my phone's flash:

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
the monkey wrenching continues...

Here are some updates:
  • installed the front foot pegs, brake pedal and gear shifter without problems
  • installed the blue EK chain; all went well until I riveted the master link. The ultra-cheap chain riveter from eBay was not able to rivet out the master link pins. The rivet rod seems to be too soft. So first thing once my bike runs again is to have it properly riveted by my friendly neighborhood shop with some professional tools...
  • installed the freshly powder-coated black clutch cover; this time more or less without a hitch
  • installed generator cover also in black; but here I ran into another problem: when the cover was back on the bike, the generator cover plug was stuck. It barely moved forwards or backwards, so once again, I monkey-wrenched it out... With the result that I'm now having stripped threads in the cover and the plug:

In hindsight I should have removed the plug before bolting on the cover.
Other than having to buy a new generator cover, plug, and having it powder-coated again, I currently don't have a solution to fix this. If you have any ideas, please leave them in the comment thread.

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
the monkey wrenching stops with this post

There is no way for me to get the stripped plug to thread onto the cover so I found myself a used generator cover for $25 on eBay and will just have that powder-coated again for a total of $60. Still cheaper than bringing it to a machine shop I guess. That's the price for being careless.
That was hopefully the last time I'll ever lean on a bolt, especially one with threads made of aluminum...
I'll also make sure next time to lubricate the threads with anti-seize, thread in the plug fully and torque it up BEFORE installing the cover. I then won't touch that cheese plug again until the next valve clearance check in 15,000 miles.

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
rear shock & spring replacement

In case you're wondering about my rear shock:
The Kawasaki ZX 14R (and ZX 10R) rear shock is the exact same length as the stock shock, but with the bonus of being fully adjustable.
The problem is that ZX14R's spring rate is 545 lbs/in, which is only optimal for riders weighing in at 220 lbs or above. I'm aspiring to weigh less than 190 lbs before summer is in full swing, so a spring rate of 500 lbs/in is optimal. Check Penske's Racing Shocks Spring Chart to determine the correct spring rate for your weight.

I then sprung for the Hyperco spring on eBay and was nearly delivered a 1500 lbs/in spring! It was advertised as a 500 lbs/in spring, but as it turns out, the serial number revealed that it was a 1500 lbs one. Luckily Hypercoils stopped making them recently and my seller notified me they couldn't fulfill my order. I went to the manufacturer's website and after a few phone calls got the right Hyperco spring from Hoerr Racing Products.
In the case of my spring, the serial no. is HYP187A0500 (with '7' being the length in inches, 'A' the inner diameter of 2.25in, and 0500 the spring rate).

A big thanks belongs to user GWS, who had posted a great tutorial some years ago on how to do this replacement and where to get the spring collar, which is required when not using a Kawasaki spring:

To do the actual spring replacement you'll need a spring compression tool. After buying a car sized one which did not work at all, I got the Tusk Shock Compressor Tool on eBay for $38 shipped. Not too cheap, but then again, cheaper than going to the shop, and way more fun too.

After nearly losing a finger (be careful when loosening the compressors, they will tend to slam into each other), here's my result:
before installation with the collar spring

after installation, ZX14R spring below

And yes, as has been mentioned many times in this forum, you will have to remove a plastic shield in front of the battery, held by 3 screws; and you will have to either cut the bottom mounting bolt by 2mm or use some washers to enable the dog bone on the right side to have enough clearance. All in all a simple job even a noob like me can't mess up too much.

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
It's been a while since I truly worked on my bike, mainly having to do with the frustrating experience of not having being able to get those #$%damn exhaust studs off, and also that I've re-discovered bicycle riding which has had the nice side effect of doing my body some good...
Anyways, after lots of head-shaking from various local mechanics and looking at at least $200 to get those studs drilled out at the shop, I followed the advice of one mechanic (who would have charged $700-800 for the drill job), and just got myself a used cylinder head for $75. It's clean, the valves seal fine and it's from an SV with half the mileage as mine. Replacement to follow this week, once I finally have all the new gaskets and O-rings.

In the meantime I put the front forks back together, which was an easy job, once I had figured out how to properly use plastic pipe as a seal driver. So here they are, powder coated in black, new gaskets, seals, o-rings, Sonic springs 0.90 kg/in and 15wt fork oil:

The Sonic springs are a couple of inches shorter than the stock springs, making it necessary to cut a new spacer and have a different fork oil level (110mm vs. 91mm stock). There are good instructions provided by Sonic Springs for all that. With these springs there is basically no pre-load when the adjusters are turned to position 4, making the threading of the caps back in less error prone (I still marked the beginning of the thread with a pointy piece of tape though). Looking forward to experiencing them in real life soon!

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
After much procrastination I finally got enough courage to change out the cylinder head. With the factory service manual and Haynes manual it was not that hard in the end.
Things I learned doing this procedure:
  • put the frame spacers in before tightening the engine bolts
  • get a spare set of dowel pins for the head, as the old ones are very hard to get out without scratching them up
  • the 4 long engine bolts need to be oiled up on the threads and the top; this is critical!
  • next time I'll also change the cylinder bottom gasket; the manuals don't say it's necessary, but just for peace of mind.

While I had the piston exposed, I decided to remove the carbon deposits:

After 1 hour with loads of WD-40 and elbow grease:

Once the head was back on, the cams correctly aligned, the valve covers back on and the cam chain tensioner re-built (used new gaskets and o-rings for pretty much everything), I checked the tappet clearances and they are now at the tighter end of the specifications; so it seems I'll be good for a looong time.
The front cylinder head is from an engine with 15,000 miles and the rear is the old one with 41,000 miles but the clearances are nearly identical. So by all means, check your clearances, but if the engine has not been abused I assume you won't need to adjust your valves before 50-60k miles.

With that being done my spirits were lifted and I started to finally make some serious progress in getting my bike back together.
This is how she looks right now:

Recent additions:
  • FUEL F1R muffler; polished stock front exhaust with 24h soak in vinegar, multiple applications of Barkeeper's Friend, rub with aluminum foil (not sure if that did anything), and finally metal polish
  • new steering head tapered bearings: factory torque settings are way too high for these bearings; so I just tightened them so pull force required to move the handles is 350g (spec is 200-500g).
  • frame sliders and USB charger installed
  • reflective rim stripes
  • adjusted STV (secondary throttle valve) on throttle body; both were a bit uneven, so definitely something to check; I'll do a complete throttle body sync procedure once the bike can be ridden

I can finally see the end now! I hope she'll be ready this weekend...

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
After much procrastination and research I have finally gone ahead with modding my gauge cluster. My plan is to:
  1. change the color of the display, indicator lights, and needle from amber to blue (& red for the needle)
  2. install Teeriver's Multibot which adds a gear indicator, volt meter, and speedo healer to your OEM display;
  3. install Illumiglo lighted display; in my case I have a white faceplate during daylight and black with blue letters at night; price is $60 on eBay for DIY installation or $140 from Bluegauges with installation (mail-in service).
Switching out the LEDs turned out to be a bit difficult as they are glued to the board. After carefully destroying a few LEDs,I eventually figured out that you can melt the glue by using a heat gun at low setting for about 1 minute. So basically, carefully wick all solder from the LED then apply heat and they come off quite easily.
Very helpful in this were Chewy's 6-page conversion instructions from his instrument bling service page (only available in the UK, I recommend having him do it if you can).

After wicking the solder and destroying the first LED manually (and scratching up the board a bit
), see the two dots between the contacts, that's the glue that makes this process just a wee bit harder:

After the 3rd scraped off LED I finally decided to try it with the heat gun. Using aluminum foil as a heat sink to protect the gauge, I was able to melt the glue in 1 minute (heat gun on low setting) and the LED would then come off:

After removing the LEDs for the display (6 on the bottom), the indicators (2), and the needle (2):

The metal electrodes of the LED usually remained stuck on the contacts, I think that's because there was still a bit of solder that kept them connected. So I had to carefully scrape those copper parts off. In hindsight, using the soldering iron is preferable to scraping. Patience, young padawan!
To remove the glue residue I used a 50/50 mix of ethanol (in my case nail polish remover) and 91% alcohol on Q-tips. It did not seem to have much of an effect though. Then I went over it again with contact cleaner and compressed air.
Finally I could go ahead with soldering 9 blue LEDs and 1 red LED to the gauge. The red LED was placed on top of the center section and is supposed to illuminate the needle only at revs above 4,000 rpm. Before that it will be blue. This was an accidental mod by ADVARP which I thought turned out great and took the liberty to adopt for myself; see his thread here with good infos.
I first applied flux and solder on one side of each contact, then placed the new LED on the solder, melted it and pushed the LED down; then I flowed solder on the other side of the contact without disturbing the LED, making sure there was enough solder to flow slightly under and up the sides of the LED to ensure complete contact.
Here's the result:

Soldering on Teeriver's Multibot was an experience in dealing with tiny 30 gauge wire (i.e. 0.25mm), tiny resistors and precision soldering.
The wire for the gear indicator needs to be tapped into in the center of the bike, which is easy thanks to the awesome Posi-tap that Teeriver provided. On the other side the wire already came with the appropriate terminal and plugged directly into a spare connector on the main gauge cluster plug. Easy peasy!
I was able to pull the cable through the inside of the harness on the last foot using a length of zip tie as a make-shift fishing wire. The rest of it was zip-tied on top of the main harness. I may find a way to route it inside the harness at some later date. Thanks to the Posi-tap the tapped wire can be removed and re-connected at at any time without disturbing the tapped wire. A real nifty invention I must say.

I'm more of an intermediate beginner when it comes to soldering and this project is not for the faint of heart if you're not that experienced in soldering...
Luckily I found a local community workshop that had professional equipment. Many thanks to NYC Resistor in Brooklyn!
They let me use a microscope and an electronically controlled iron, which made the task a lot easier. It is quite astonishing to see, how precise your hand can move within tenths of millimeters if you have magnified vision.
While I probably didn't make professional grade solder joints, it looks to me they might hold up for a while. Here's the end result:

The Kapton tape I got from eBay is not of the stickiest variety, so I was flattening it out with a plastic spatula (from my smartphone repair tool box). We'll see how it will hold up...

Illumiglo is up next...

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Alright then, Illumiglo was up last to complete my gauge cluster mod.
The install is straight-forward and consists of carefully placing a lighted face plate over your stock one and on top of that the face plate that you are facing.
To do a better job than I did, I would recommend that you clamp down the invidual sections on one side and peel the adhesive cover off from the center out. Use a plastic card to smooth it out and hopefully you won't trap any air bubbles.

To power the face plate I decided to follow the example set by ADVARP and solder the wires to the switched power for the ignition (Pin 2, orange-green cable) and the ground wire to either Pin 8 or 16 on the other end of the pin rows.
I may eventually route the power through a proper relay so I don't risk burning a hole in my ignition wire if that converter fails... (maybe that's not a realistic danger though)
In the picture you can also see the purple wire (Pin 7) which is used by the Multibot gear indicator, normally this connector is empty.

Next step was to find room for the massive DC/AC converter. The one I had was too large to fit directly under the PC board itself, so I had to route the wires through some vent holes to the outer housing.
I used Posi-connectors to connect the power wires to the converter. This made things much easier when putting the cluster back together. Also, I have a quick way to remove/replace the converter should it break down...
The outer housing has a lot of space, and I planned to glue the converter with high-quality 3M double-side tape to the inside, however, the angled surfaces prevented a good hold. In any case, once you put the housing back together, the converter seems to be held in place by the surrounding protrusions.

When attaching the tach needle again, I just turned on the ignition, and then placed the needle directly over the "0" mark. This was a great tip from another forum post and it seems to be correct, as when I turn off the ignition the needle will rest against the needle stop after a few seconds. Turning the ignition back on brings the needle back to "0" each time. Getting the tach needle back in the right place, was concerning me, but this little trick made it very easy. Now if the needle would just light up...

So here is how the gauge looks right now in the dark:

  • Multibot seems to work (see the 'n' for neutral, and "126" for 12.6 V battery level)
  • blue LEDs and blue Illumiglo gauge look awesome!
  • but the voltage converter makes a high pitched noise; seller of Illumiglo says that is unavoidable unless they use an even bigger converter; this sound shold get drowned out by the engine noise anyways
  • the tach needle is not lit; I will have to investigate why that is....

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)

I can barely believe it, but after much procrastination, frustrations, a couple hundred hours of late nights in the garage and on the interwebs researching, I have finally put everything back together and was out on the road last night for the first time in 11 (!) months.
It was sublime...
The Fuel exhaust sound (baffle removed) is a deep rumble, loud but not obnoxious, riding at 5-6 k rpm is a symphony, on engine braking I can now hear the occasional pop when the PAIR valve opens up, but that only happens on soft engine braking in low RPMs. So I assume, once I'll get the hang of it, I can create popping sounds at will. [update: pops occur when engine braking at 3k in 3rd gear and 2.5k in 2nd]
The 47 teeth rear sprocket conversion seems to have made the bike jump like a panther from the stop line. I've been doing tiny power wheelies, but it's still manageable even for a noob like me.
The suspension is much firmer now but feels more planted and the bike seems to always stay level, even under hard acceleration or braking. I haven't even adjusted the suspension yet, so I'm very happy with it for my purposes, i.e. an intermediate skill level.
I've also installed the heated grips from Bikemaster ($40), a USB charger (glued to the frame with 3M double-sided tape)) and hooked it all up via a relay (see here and here) and terminal strip with jumpers and multiple fuses to separate it from the main harness. I recommend investing in a crimper tool with a ratcheting mechanism (like this one) as it made crimping all the connectors a piece of cake. I bought 3 of the cheapo crimper ones before and they're all garbage compared to this one.

I might post the wiring setup later, but let me just show off the bike for now:

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
some more pics

I've been on a couple of rides around town and it's been great. The new exhaust note is a deep, warm bass with the occasional popping if I downshift in low RPMs. It has totally changed the character of the bike and I love it.
The suspension is firmer and the whole bike feels much more planted and confidence inducing. I've started to lean more in curves just because it feels safer now.
The 2 extra teeth on the rear sprocket have, at least subjectively, made the bike respond a bit quicker, and going regular highway speeds feels faster now as the engine revs a bit higher. And yeah, power wheelies (small ones) are now possible when taking off from the stop light.
The heated grips are a game changer, as I'm positive I won't have cold fingers anymore no matter the temperature. Even in the middle setting they're nearly too hot already. By the way, I've splurged on a heated jacket yesterday, so I'm planning to ride through the winter, except for snow and ice days of course.
The Multibot features (gear indicator, volt meter, speedo healer) are great, especially since I don't shift up into the imaginary 7th gear any longer. In order to make the gear indicator work properly though, I had to remove Steve's aTRE mod as it was changing the voltage read-out leading the gear indicator to display two gears below the actual gear (e.g. 6th was displayed as 4th, etc.).
Finally, as nice as the belly pan looks, it is in a very vulnerable spot, and as fate had it, I hit a patch of tar gravel on my 2nd ride in NYC which chipped off some paint from the front edge. :angry5: I should have bought that vinyl wrap I was thinking about...
Anyways, here are a few more pics from my first rides:


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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
mo' pics and plans

I've been clocking over 600 miles and here are some experiences with my customizations:
  • chin spoiler: I recommend protecting it with vinyl foil or similar as I already have some chipped off paint due to tar gravel hitting the leading edge
  • heated grips: the ridges on the throttle tube did not offer enough surface area for the glue to hold, so I sanded them off. However that ended up being too thin for the grips. The grips slid on without any resistance. Luckily, liberal application of super glue was enough to make the grips stick, for now... I may have to wrap the throttle tube in plumber's tape to thicken them and re-glue the grips (until then I'm always bringing tape and glue with me on my rides...). UPDATE: the grips still stick to the tube after 1k miles.
  • heated gear and generator capacity: the generator output at idle is too low to compensate for the power draw of the USB charger, heated jacket, and heated grips on medium settings. The engine has stalled a number of times now when I was in stop-and-go traffic due to low battery voltage. Thanks to the voltage meter on my Multibot I can monitor the drop and raise the RPMs to 2k when the voltage goes down to 11.9 V. That is enough to keep it from stalling. Quite annoying though, so I'll just turn off my heating accessories from now on when I'm stuck in NYC traffic.
  • LEDs for tach needle: the needle is still not lit even though I have replaced the LEDs twice now; at this point I don't know what the issue is and will probably have to sent the gauge to a professional, i.e. Scott at for inspection; he does it for $75 or less.
  • suspension: I increased the pre-load on the front to the middle setting which has improved handling. I suspect I will have to do that on the rear shock as well.
Some more recent pics:

For now, I'm done with customizing my bike. Once we'll have ice and snow on the ground, I'm planning to do a few more things though:
  • brake caliper rebuild with new seals and Speedbleeder nipple valves
  • stainless steel brake lines (Galfer or Hel, ~$150, expensive... not sure if it's worth it...) and sintered brake pads
  • fork mounted turn signals ($85 from New Rage Cycles)
  • tail light with integrated turn signal indicators, clear or smoke ($30, low quality but easy to replace and cheap) --> maybe not since the quality of these lights seems to be questionable; but they're so cheap, so I may just install them for ****s and giggles
  • tank grips by Techspec --> that's a maybe as well, since I can hold on to my tank just fine with sheer muscle strength; once I'm doing track days it might be a different story; I rather have my tank nice and clean
  • exhaust wrap in black --> probably not since it makes a mess of the pipes; and to keep them black I'd have to re-paint it regularly...
  • ColorRite paint to fix scratches on tank, frame, & rims --> thinking of having paint correction done by a professional, it all depends on $$$ (Colorrite paint set would cost me $117 already, so may be worth going to a shop instead...)

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
list of customizations

My customizations front to back:
  1. custom combination meter: blue LEDs for display, indicators and tach needle; Illumiglo gauge, Multibot by Teeriver
  2. steering bearings (tapered) and seals by All Balls
  3. Auxbeam LED Headlight Bulbs F-S2 Series (Amazon, $33 for a pair) --> recommended on this thread; they are cheap and very bright!
  4. dual waterproof USB 3.1 A charger (Amazon, $11)
  5. Bikemaster Heated Grips
  6. Bikemaster Superbike handle bar (cut off 1 inch on each side)
  7. aluminum shorty levers, foldable & extendable (eBay)
  8. triangle side mirrors (eBay)
  9. FIAMM Freeway Blaster LOW Note horn
  10. wires for heated grips and USB charger are routed through a terminal block directly to the battery. A relay that is triggered by the ignition, i.e. license plate light, controls power. All accessories have their own in-line fuses.
  11. rebuilt forks with OEM seals and new Sonic Springs 0.90 kg/mm and 15wt PJ-1 fork oil
  12. chin spoiler by Pyramid Plastics
  13. polished front exhaust pipe
  14. new seals & gaskets for engine covers, water pump, front cylinder head
  15. K&N air filter
  16. K&N oil filter, Rotella T6 5W-40 synthetic oil, magnetic drain plug
  17. frame sliders with long bolt, Krator (eBay)
  18. powder-coated rear sets, front sets, clutch cover, generator cover, radiator covers, front forks, steering stem brackets, handlebar risers, headlight brackets & rim by Arcanemoto
  19. used shock from a 06-11 Kawasaki ZX-14R (drop-in, same length as OEM shock)
  20. rear spring by Hyperco HYP187A0500, 500 lbs/in and spring collar from to make it fit to the Kawasaki shock
  21. high reflective blue rim tape by customTAYLOR33 (Amazon)
  22. wheel bearings and seals for front and rear by Boss Bearing
  23. chain & sprocket conversion to 520; 15/47 gearing (2 up in the back) with EK 520MVXZ blue chain and Superlite RS7 steel sprockets set
  24. exhaust muffler by FUEL, F1R Road 350mm black stainless round, with black mounting bracket
  25. exhaust hanger by railsideperformance (eBay)
  26. Spencer's Seat Modification with Supracor
  27. OEM seat cowl by
  28. LED flash controller 7-pin by screamfox (amazon), UPDATE: this controller just died after just a couple of months of use; it may have to do with me power-washing my bike; ordered a new one from Amazon seller iJDMTOY
  29. fender eliminator and LED indicators by creese1 (eBay)

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Staying warm

Cold Weather Riding
As I'm planning to ride as much as possible this winter (I missed out on riding most of this year after all), I got myself some accessories to stay toasty, or at least avoid painful rides. Here's what's been working for me in multiple rides in the low 30s F/ 0 C.
  • Bikemaster heated grips
  • Hotwired heated jacket
  • Freeze-out base layers (long sleeve top, long johns, glove liners, boot liners, and balaclava) + Uniqlo heattech long johns (yes, I wear 2 long johns)
  • Scorpion Trey Pants
  • Sedici Alexi 3-season jacket
  • Dainese Carroarmato Gore-Tex boots (close-out deal during Black Friday)
  • Tourmaster Polar Tex winter gloves
So as far as number of layers, we're talking:
  • feet 3-4 layers: 2 socks (wool & windproof liner) in a windproof boot --> no more cold toes! UPDATE: I still got cold toes after 3 hours on a recent ride in 35 F/ 2 C weather, so I'll be adding another layer: silk socks
  • legs 4 layers: 2 long johns inside a 2-layer riding pant,
  • upper body 6-7 layers: T-shirt, long sleeve shirt, heated jacket, (Freeze out top,) insulated layer, rain layer, outer shell
    note: I don't really use the long sleeve top in most cases, as I can just crank up the heated jacket...
  • hands 1-2 layers: winter gloves, glove liners + heated grips --> no more numb fingers!
    note: My hands will still get cold after a few hours of riding, but never to the point of hurting. I usually don't use the glove liners with my winter gloves as they are warmer when the fingers have some room inside. They work well with my regular summer gloves however.
  • head & neck: a windproof balaclava is enough
This setup is maybe overkill but being cold at highway speeds in the dark is pretty dangerous if you ask me, and no fun at all... The Gore-Tex boots with the windproof socks have been the solution to my frozen toes and there's no need for heated pants at all.

Running heated accessories on this SV

My bike has stalled a number of times in stop-and-go traffic when I had my grips and jacket running. The battery can discharge in a matter of minutes if I'm not careful. However, once the RPMs are at 2K or higher there is no problem whatsoever, and at normal riding speeds my volt meter shows a full charging level (14.5 V) at all times. So contrary to what I've read on the interwebs, you can run heated gear on an OEM stator, just turn it off when you're stuck in traffic in the city.

The heated grips pull 4 Amp/ 48 W max; the heated jacket pulls 8 Amp/83 W max. My lights and dash pull about 3-5 Amp/ 36-60 W (all are LEDs). So we're already at 17 Amp plus whatever the 2 spark plugs need during the engine running...

The SV's stator has a maximum output of around 23 Amp/280 W at 5,000 rpm (approximate, as I wasn't able to find verifiable numbers). As you can see the 12 Amps from the heated accessories use up about 50% of the maximum capacity, so I assume at lower RPMs I quickly overpower the generator and start drawing from the battery. And even at max. stator output I'm close to the edge.
Luckily I rarely have to use the maximum settings on the heated gear and, for the time being, I do not need any more heated accessories (pants, gloves) as my current setup should be good enough for riding on ice-free roads.
But just a word to the wise if you're thinking of getting heated gear. It can work, just make sure you only turn it on when your engine is above 2k RPM.

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
new Battery

I suspect the Yuasa battery is nearing its end of life, which would explain the above-mentioned issues as well. When cranking her up the voltage now drops to under 9 V sometimes and the battery quickly discharges from 12.6 to 11.9 V with my heated gear running. Given this may still be the original battery, it's about time anyways. I wonder if a new battery will hold up better with my heated gear.

Instead of shelling out $70+ for another Yuasa I am testing out a Gel battery from Chrome Battery for $33 (shipped!). It is about an inch taller than the Yuasa battery but should fit accd. to Amazon reviewers, has a neat digital display, comes from a US company with 18-month warranty, and is slightly more powerful than the Yuasa. However it's also over 2 lbs heavier. If the battery will crap out right after the warranty is over, I won't have lost much money and I'll just go back to Yuasa.
Turns out my old Yuasa battery still has some life in her. I first installed the Chrome Battery and checked the voltage drop at start. I ran my heated grips for a few minutes to bring the voltage down to 12.4 V, then started the engine a few times and watched the multi-meter for the lowest voltage at crank:
Yuasa: 9.1 V
Chrome Battery: 8.8 V
I will return the Chrome Battery. If it is that low, brand-new, I have not much confidence it will last for a long time. I guess I'll ride my Yuasa till it consistently drops below 9 V at start and then just get a new Yuasa.

Left side pic with blue chain from my last ride before the arctic chill on 24-Dec:

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849 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Re: my dream in Blue & Black with tons of OEM mods (2nd Gen)

My riding season is slowly coming to an end so it's time to look back at my first full year of riding and upcoming projects:
  • my bike has over 51,000 miles now; I rode nearly 10,000 miles since January; that includes a 3,100 mile trip NYC to Nova Scotia & the Cabot Trail in August.
  • had a minor crash in February that damaged the tank and scratched the front fender; frame sliders did a great job, and the folding eBay clutch lever was completely unharmed; I will install folding levers on every bike from now on.
  • the saddle bags i used for my road trip scratched off the paint on both rear covers
  • I ended up buying a new Yuasa battery which solved all my electrical problems; running heated gear and accessories is not a problem anymore (always above 13V even at low idle).
  • replaced the rear tire after 12,000 miles, the front is still good for another 5k; they're Shinko Raven 009, no complaints.
  • I will order a new tank and plastics (got insurance money for the crash) to make her look new again
  • I'm about to re-build my front and rear brakes with new seals (AllBalls racing), braided lines (Venhill), and new front rotors (Bikemaster/NG Brakes, see my post in the workshop section).
  • I will install a dark rear light with integrated indicators. It's an eBay special ($28), but unlike others comes with reflectors
  • Finally I'll splice in the Smart Brake Module that lights up the rear automatically whenever you decelerate; I will use Posi-taps instead of the supplied quick splice terminals however.
  • the front forks are too harsh going over short bumps, which we have many of in NYC, so I may spring for Racetech's gold valve emulators ($120) to finally get the suspension sorted on a budget. My custom ZX14 rear shock has been amazing though.
The only problems I've had this year:
  • Vibrations started to get annoying in June. After checking everything I suspect it's down to the front rotors being at their thickness limit of 4.0mm, hence new rotors.
  • Sticky ignition: this is likely due to using WD-40 by the previous owner and myself; I have cleaned the lock cylinder with brake and contact cleaner, and used a small amount of PTFE/dry lube for lubrication. It's been smooth for over a month now. I did however buy a new ignition key and lock set on eBay but have not installed it because I do not like the flimsy keys it comes with.
  • FI light lit when turning ignition on: this turned out to be error code c42 ignition switch. I took the entire switch assembly on the right handlebar apart, removed corrosion from all contacts and applied dielectric grease. No more issues since.
Other maintenance items:
  • Re-check the steering head bearings since they feel a bit loose; I may change the tapered bearings out to the old-school roller bearings since the tapered ones have been a pain to get in the sweet spot of 350g pull resistance.
  • Compression & leak-down tests; I lost nearly 1.2 l of oil on my 3k mile road trip which included long stretches at 90mph/7-8k RPM. But it turns out the main reason was that I had not tightened the oil filter enough. I did it by hand, but you really have to give it your all with two hands to tighten it properly. So I was incredibly lucky twice for not having crashed with a dripping oil filter and for not having destroyed my engine, since I only noticed my oil loss after my return home...
    With that negligence corrected, the engine only burns about 100ml oil/1k miles, which I think is fine. I may do some major surgery changing valve seals and piston rings if the leak down test turns out to be bad. It would be an interesting project, but would only do it if really necessary.
Here is my favorite photo of her from this year:

My build thread | Instagram:

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Brake system rebuild

End of December I installed new front rotors, rebuilt the master cylinders in the front and the rear, and switched to the Venhill stainless steel braided brake lines.
Lessons learned:
  • get the master cylinder pistons as a set with the o-rings already installed. I re-used my old pistons, and while mechanically fine, it's a huge pain getting the o-rings on without damaging them.
  • getting the cir-clip in and out of the master cylinders requires some finesse; the trick is to do it in one single motion while the cir-clip is inside the groove of the piston (front), the rear is easier; when done right it's easy, when done first, it's way more difficult than it looks since these cir-clips love to jump off the pliers (and made me crawl on my garage floor for an hour until I found them).
  • don't be stingy and get new brake caliper pistons with your rebuild kit (cheaper that way too); mine have some corrosion and tiny scratches, so still usable, but I will change them out with my next fluid change; should have done it right away.
  • take your time to soften the thread-locker of the old rotor bolts; after breaking one hex socket, I heated up each bolt for about 60 seconds with a heat gun on low, and they all came out beautifully.
  • new rotors take about 800 miles before reaching their full performance level, and in combination with new brake pads, the brake performance for the first 200 miles is very weak (downright scary in fact). But then again I used budget parts, you may be able to shorten the bed-in process with OEM or higher precision parts.
  • the vibrations I experienced are gone with the new rotors; glad that this got sorted out.
  • for lubing up the slide pins I used Sil-Glyde in the front (which is NOT silicone-based as advertised but rather mostly Castor Oil) and Super-Lube in the rear pins, as it seems of higher quality to me with silicone base and PTFE content. The manual calls for Silicone lube, no idea why that Castor Oil product has become so widely used. I shall see which one holds up better.
Notice the cut-outs around the inner diameter. That's the 3rd gen OEM style:

Rear brake master cylinder
Easy job once you have the o-ring on the piston:

Front brake master cylinder
Same as above, but getting the cir-clip out/in is a bit harder since the recess is much deeper (you could get special cir-clip pliers with a longer reach, but it works with the standard ones after a bit of practice):

Front brake caliper rebuild and braided lines
I used Suzuki OEM caliper fluid and dust seals, AllBalls Racing rebuild kit, and cheap Sixity HH sintered brake pads (all four for a total of $20!!!), they've been holding up fine so far. If I notice any degradation I'll break down and get the EBC ones (which are $80 in comparison....).
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