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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I see this come up every once in a while, so I figured I would throw some of my opinions/ perceptions out there. I have been painting and repairing race bodywork for a little over 5 years now, and have seen just about every make, model and brand out there. There are some that I haven't, but the most popular brands I have covered many times over.

Starting off with some definitions:
Durability- how well the product "holds up" after extended use without deforming or breaking simply from riding and transporting the bike. Also can refer to how well it stands up to minor collisions or slow low-side crashes.
"Crashability"- how well the bodywork holds up during/ after a crash. "Excellent" crashability would be bodywork that stays in one piece or has limited tears after a major get-off. This equates to how easy a set of bodywork is to repair after a crash. Less broken or missing pieces = less time to repair, which = less money spent on repair work.
Flexibility- the fine line that makes bodywork flexible, without cracking or breaking. You don't want too much flexibility because then it wobbles and flexes while riding, but enough to have "give" during minor collisions or crashes. Corners of bodywork should never be flexible, and for this definition, we'll only speak of parts that aren't corners. If the corners are flexible, go get your money back! :tard:
Finish- refers to the quality of the product as delivered. Poor finish = lots of sanding, some bodywork, some cracks in the gel coat, bubbles between the fiberglass and gel coat, etc
Fit- Simply, how well the bodywork kit fits on to the bike without modifications or extra brackets. Also refers to how well the bodywork fits as compared to the OEM plastic set.


Starting off with "the best":

In no particular order, these 3 are the best in all the above categories. I am leaving price differences until the end, because sometimes, that is the real determining factor in what you purchase anyway:

Attack Performance, Armour Bodies and Sharkskinz all are "excellent" in all of the above categories. As I have mentioned in previous threads, the Attack Performance are the only ones that are delivered "ready to paint". The others require some prep and sealing prior to painting. That is the one thing that separates these three, otherwise, it's a toss-up between the three in the above categories.
The brand "OPP" is supposed to belong in this group, I hear. I have not painted a set, nor have I repaired a set, so I am only going by feedback I have gotten from a couple of friends- they also supplied the bodywork for team EMGO Suzuki a couple of years ago (they may still).

Multitech- If you can find it, buy it! It belongs in the above group, but it's not being manufactured any more. If you can find some of this stuff that has not been repair into oblivion, I would snatch it up. The '01-'03 GSXR bodywork they made was very good for the SV. A little wide, but not too bad.

Catalyst Composites, Beasley Fiberglass, Cheetah and GP Composites (Morse Racing). Different companies, but the same issues. Durability is good, but both are too flexible. Fit is also good, but not *as good* as the above three. Catalyst sometimes goes in the complete opposite direction, and they end up too brittle or stiff. Finish is good, both come primered and sanded pretty well. Crashability in both could be better, but is "good enough" by most people's standards. Certainly not bottom of the line equipment, but could be better.

Hotbodies- Not sure what happened to them over the past year and a half or so. The stuff they are making now is horrid! The new stuff is thin, brittle, fits terribly, finish is just *ok*, crashability is terrible (but not the worst, believe it or not), and durability is bad (but not the worst). They are slowly making their bodywork "the worst of the best" by pricing the bodywork close to the high-end guys, while the quality is on par with the Ebay guys.

Airtech-Streamlining- Good fit, OK finish, durability is bad, but not the worst, quality is OK, crashability is the WORST. The tendency of this bodywork to actually shatter upon impact, makes it terrible in my eyes. There is (most of the time) little chance of repairing this stuff without missing several pieces. Some people get lucky with it, and the crash keeps most parts together, but not most people.

Pit-Ek- This is the crap they sell on Ebay. It is thin, brittle, fits terribly, quality is poor, finish is OK at best. Also shatters upon impact. Sometimes it is thick and brittle, but I have not found the quality to be impressive at all. Good stuff for the occasional track day participant.

Godfather- If you see this for sale, don't buy it unless it's cheap and in "like new" condition. There is nothing much good to say about this product. They used to make decent stuff that was on par with Hotbodies, and cheaper- but about 1.5 years ago, they sent their production to Mexico, and made enemies of all their customers by selling them pure junk. The older Godfather stuff was pretty good, but it went away. This would be OK stuff for the occasional track day participant.

Now for price$$$


(most expensive to least, prices found on their web sites, sets including fender) Prices are retail + shipping.

Sharkskinz: $875
Cheetah: $829
Armour Bodies: $799
GP Composites: $790
Attack Performance: $765 (No SV, '04/5 GSXR 600/750 kits)
Catylyst Composites: $760
Opp: $680 (No SV, '04/5 GSXR 600/750 kits)
Beasley Fiberglass: $672 (No SV, only '01/3 GSXR 600/750 kits)
Hotbodies: $649
Airtech-Streamlining: $495 (their race SV kits are an "aquired" taste...)
Godfather: $450
Pit-Ek: $370 shipped off Ebay (no web site found)

Now, you have to decide if you want to spend money for all the good things about the more expensive bodywork, or, if you want to save the money and hope that you won't find out about the bad things about each. Notice too that some of the more expensive bodywork on the list, does not share the same good qualities as it's similarly priced competitors.

There are some things that the more expensive sets offer, that the less expensive do not. You can bet though, that once you cross the threshold of $700 retail and below, you will definitely begin to sacrifice quality.

The most cost effective way I have found to get on to the track with good bodywork, is to buy USED. Most of the time, the guys selling the bodywork will have it repaired somewhat, and most of the time, you can get it with a decent paint job on it.

Most important question to ask when buying used is- "How many times has it been repaired?", followed by "Who did the repairs?". Multiple repairs mean that they are getting rid of the bodywork because it is "done". If a car bodyshop did the repairs, you can bet that they used copious amounts of Bond-O on it.

Please feel free to comment on this thread to keep it at the top, PM or email me for any questions or if you have information to ad to it.

Here is my second gen with '04/5 GSXR 600/750 bodywork project:

http://forum.svrider.com/index.php?topic=78527.0

Here is the first gen with the same bodywork as the second gen project:

http://forum.svrider.com/index.php?topic=80290.0



*Disclaimer

I am posting this in hopes of helping those with questions, or are concerned about how to spend their money wisely. The cheaper bodywork can work perfectly well for the occasional track day participant, but probably not very well for the full-time club racer.
I am not trying to bash any one product, but show the shortcomings and strengths of the products that are out there. This is also from my personal experience, but is backed up by many years of repairing all of the above brands, as well as painting them when they arrive "new". Take it for what it's worth, personal perspective and experience, then, do some more research by talking to others!
 

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Thanks for posting this! I only wish you had done so a year ago. Those with older NoSoHotBodies seem to like it and say the price/quality trade-off is reasonable. I can see why they think I'm overly critical of my new NotSoHotBodies.

I'm going to print your post and put it on the wall in my office as a reference guide.

Rob
 

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I'm getting ready to purchase some bodywork for my 06 sv650s and I was going to get Hotbodies because of the price. Also, with the saved money I could buy things like new fork springs or other goodies. I have a mechanic friend who is going to help me put it on, and I'm not painting it right now (yes, FUGLY!) .

Do you think the hotbodies is not worth it even though I will be able some other stuff with the saved money?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My $.02?

I would buy the Pit-Eck bodywork for less money if that is your objective. The Hotbodies I have seen is the same quality as the Pit-Eck, and in some cases, it is fitting better.

If saving the money is your objective, you're doing about the same with the Pit-Eck quality wise as Hotbodies.
 

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I would not recommend HotBodies based on my recent experience fitting it up and having to repair it in the process, and a comment a friend of mine just made that one crash and you can kiss it goodbye. He ran Sharkskinz when he was racing as and AMA Jr. Expert and his comment was you crash, put another screw in the Sharkskinz and you are good to go.

If I had it to do over, I would buy something better than HotBodies.
Rob
 

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This thread looks like a good canidate for a sticky and/or FAQ entry. It's nice to see a detailed first hand account of all of this from one source.
 

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hey i got a question...i just picked up a 2000 sv650 with a gsxr750 front end. how would i go about fitting full body work to this bike? do they make a fairing stay for the nakeds? anyone?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
jsstritz said:
hey i got a question...i just picked up a 2000 sv650 with a gsxr750 front end. how would i go about fitting full body work to this bike? do they make a fairing stay for the nakeds? anyone?
Use the same process as above, all the first gen SVs use the same frame, the boss for the fairing stay is there on the frame neck. Use a GSXR fairing stay, I use the '01-'03 fairing stay for the "generic" SV bodywork since that is the mold most of them use (Hotbodies, Sharkskinz, GP Composites).

If you want a good fit though, use the '04/5 GSXR 600/750 bodywork. You have to live with the ram air inlets in front and the case cover cutout on the left side, but they fit much better than any of the SV "specific" sets. The Sharkskinz SV set may be the exception to the rule on that in most cases, but Sharkskinz have issues with aftermarket exhaust.

As for the "bang for the buck"? You can't beat Attack Composites. They are less expensive than the Sharkskinz, the quality/fit/finish/crashability/repairability has no equal. Sharkskinz come close, but they finish on the 'Skinz is not as good as the "ready to paint" Attack bodywork sets.

Bang for the buck? Can't beat Attack Composites, they're like sore peter- hard to beat!
 

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AH!

Thank you for your comprehensive and well crafted post. Exactly what I was looking for.

:notworthy: :eek:ccasion14:

*cracks open wallet to buy some (discounted) Sharkskinz*
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Finally, I found a company that makes AWESOME bodywork for a bargain basement cost!

This stuff is as cheap as the Ebay brands (after shipping and what-not), but actually fits and is very well constructed!

Cycleskins is the brand. I plan on doing a write-up for our endurance bike's bodywork when I get it done. All there is to say is "Wow"!

It is constructed in the same manner as Sharkskinz/ Attack Composites, with a tight weave fiberglass cloth and vacuum system, not the cheap fiberglass mat like the Ebay brands.

The only difference is that you'll have to do some sanding and priming to get it ready to paint, unlike the Attack Performance stuff that comes ready to paint, and the Sharkskinz that has a bunch of primer on it that is ready to sand and paint.

PM me or email at [email protected] if you're interested.

Right now, the only gen SV this is available for is the second gen. For the first gen, I'd still use the GSXR bodywork from an '04/5 600/ 750.
 

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Awesome post....really good information! I've only been painting and repairing race bodywork for 2 years but my exp. is almost word for word what you wrote with the exception of a few you mentioned that I haven't had to deal with.

Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Awesome post....really good information! I've only been painting and repairing race bodywork for 2 years but my exp. is almost word for word what you wrote with the exception of a few you mentioned that I haven't had to deal with.

Thank you!
Wait until you see the Cycleskins. If you do paint/ body, you'll appreciate the construction and ease of repair. Your customers will too since it won't take you very long to repair and the cost should be translated down to them :thumbsup:
 

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After just fitting HotBodies (I got it at about half price, so I jumped on it), I would say that if you're going for either decent looks or good quality in any form, it's just not worth it.

$200 extra for Sharkskinz is a drop in the bucket compared to all of the screwing around you have to do to get HotBodies to fit correctly. And even then it looks like crap.
 

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Awesome write up.

Thank you for passing this info on.
After reading your last write up about using the GSXR 04/05 600/750 bodywork on a Gen1 I found exactly what style I wanted.

I did some digging around other forums and this other company's name kept coming up and everyone was saying good things about them. http://www.tromexonline.com but as I have not had the chance to test/confirm, I'm still thinking I may just go with the Cycleskins that you're offering. Especially if I can get you can patch up the stator cover in the lower fairing like you did with your Gen1 that you've shown in the previous thread.

We'll see, I've got to get the rest done before I make it look decent.

Thanks again for the great write up!
~Terry
 

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Wait until you see the Cycleskins. If you do paint/ body, you'll appreciate the construction and ease of repair. Your customers will too since it won't take you very long to repair and the cost should be translated down to them :thumbsup:

I'll have to check them out, right now I do grid work/sometimes paint for zoomzoomtrackdays and they are have sharkskinz as a sponsor so luckily I worked on them primarily for the instructors. I've had a bit of luck with Sharkskinzs, they seem to be really really well put together. The fit on them is top notch, but a buddy of mine just bought a set of Catalyst Composites sooo I will report when they get here :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'll have to check them out, right now I do grid work/sometimes paint for zoomzoomtrackdays and they are have sharkskinz as a sponsor so luckily I worked on them primarily for the instructors. I've had a bit of luck with Sharkskinzs, they seem to be really really well put together. The fit on them is top notch, but a buddy of mine just bought a set of Catalyst Composites sooo I will report when they get here :)
Yup, Catalyst makes some good stuff, but they are more "brittle" than other brands. S

Sharkskinz? Make no bones about that they are one of the best on the market, but not "the" best when you look at everything. They're also the most expensive by a longshot. They fit well, are well constructed, and have some super secret agreement with most manufacturers to get the newest bodywork before the bikes even are available for sale to the public (I think)!

superwormy said:
After just fitting HotBodies (I got it at about half price, so I jumped on it), I would say that if you're going for either decent looks or good quality in any form, it's just not worth it.

$200 extra for Sharkskinz is a drop in the bucket compared to all of the screwing around you have to do to get HotBodies to fit correctly. And even then it looks like crap.
For sure the Sharkskinz are worth the extra cash... but $200? Try an extra $500 to get them.

I have some personal opinions about bodywork, but I tried to keep them out of my original post.

In my opinion, if you want the best bodywork made on your bike, and care what it looks like, you can't beat the Attack Performance, bar none. They are about $200 less expensive than Sharkskinz, constructed just as well, have fit better than Sharkskinz have (especially lately... not sure what's going on with them over the past year), and come READY TO PAINT. Scuff, tack, shoot. It's that easy. The only drawback is (and I don't think it's worth $200) is that Attack isn't making SV specific bodywork.

For the simple sacrifice of a bit of finish work, you can spend about $200 less than the Attack (Attack retails for $656- $745/ set +shipping, Cycleskins retails for $500 +shipping, and yes I offer discounts to SVRider.com members on either brand) and get Cycleskins. The only drawback to Cycleskins is that they don't make the first gen SV bodywork, only the second gen.

Again, for first gen, the GSXR bodywork ('04/5 600/750) fits like butta- so either Attack or Cycleskins can cover you there.

Check the prices, read the guide I posted, then ask around. Decide what works best for you and where you want to spend your money. Personally, I think the Cycleskins are the best deal going- way better than any other brand of comparable price, and certainly "on par" with the most expensive stuff where it counts.

IMHO, my $.02, etc, etc.
 

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Very good info. I think you are correct about Sharkskinz, they must have an "agreement".... half way thru 06 I think I painted my first ever bodyset for the then brand new R6 yammi, I had never seen any race bodywork for that bike up to that point, but sharkskinzs had them.

They are pricey, I have got to check out cycleskins.
 
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