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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, I just wanted to say how much I enjoy these forums, and how much I have already learned from being here. I finally have a question that I would like to ask some opinions on now, so here goes.

I have a 2003 SV650S with about 4000 miles on it. I just bough this bike a few months ago with 3600 miles on it. This is my first streetbike, although I have borrowed a CBR600F4 and a R6 before for test rides. I also have a KX125 and started riding that 3 years ago. So needless to say I am pretty inexperienced as a road rider (yes I did take and pass the MSF basic rider course). So with that being said, here is what I am wondering about: When I ride I occasionally feel a slight wandering sensation in the rear of the bike, like it is tracking some grooves on the road or something, except I really havent noticed any grooves, just regular tire rutted asphalt, and sometimes concrete. It is slightly unnerving not knowing what this sensation is, if I knew for sure it was nothing to worry about, then I wouldnt. At first I though maybe some kind of bearing wear, so I put the rear end up on a stand and tried to move the wheel, but all seemed tight. I double and tripple checked tire pressures, and front and rear are right on spec (yes I used a high quality accurate guage). I only seem to feel this sensation while riding straight. When it starts to do it, I have had no trouble doing a quick zig zag manuever, and it feels completely solid while doing that.

So the questions I am looking for answers too:
1. Is this normal, and does your bike do it too? If so can you tell me what causes it?
2. Is this a characteristic of the tire that will go away with new rubber, or does it still do it regardless of the tire used?
3. Should I just not worry about it and relax?

I am getting this bike ready hopefully for a road trip in June, so I want to be sure there are no hidden issues lurking.

Thanks in advance for the help!

Kevin
 

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How old are the tires?
Have you done a COMPLETE maintenance since getting the bike (oil, adjustments, tighten bolts, tighten chain, etc)?
What's the air pressure in the tires?
 

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No to all three questions.

silversx80 is correct, you need to do a complete maintenance of all the items he mentioned, particularly verifying torque on the critical fasteners. You can download a shop manual that has a torque chart in it.

Just for laughs, pull a tape measure from the swingarm pivot to the rear axle on both sides. The mesurements should be within 1/16 of each other.

If the tires are worn flat that can cause some of what you describe, maybe.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Tires are the original 2003 Dunlops that came on the bike, which is one of the reasons I inquired about new rubber feeling different. Although they appear to be in excellent condition from the outside, you never can tell how they may have degraded through the years.

I run 33 front 36 rear as the manual and plaquard on the bike both reccomend. I weigh 225-230 + riding gear.

I have not gone through the bike and torqued anything yet, that is on my list and will probably be the next thing I do before I ride again. I do have the shop manual, and I even printed it out (whew!). I have done lots of other maintenance so far, including oil & filter change, coolant flush, also adjusting idle & fast idle, inspecting & cleaning air filter, adjusting clutch & throttle cables, and inspecting hoses. Chain is clean & lubed, but have not measured it yet. I will get to the remainder of the inspection and maintenance items ASAP.

I dont know if it came off as such, but this is an intermittent problem, some roads it does it, and some it dosent. Usually seems to be at higher road speeds (roughly 35-40 mph and up), never noticed it in a subdivision yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
If the tires are worn flat that can cause some of what you describe, maybe.
Well, with about 4000 miles on them, they are starting to get a little bit of a flat spot. Maybe if none of the other checks turn up anything that could be it? Like I said, when it does it, I can do a zig zag and all is solid, so that would m make sense to me since it is no longer on the flat spot.

Still wouldnt mind hearing other opinions though and if any one else has had a similar experience as their tires wear?
 

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I dont know if it came off as such, but this is an intermittent problem, some roads it does it, and some it dosent. Usually seems to be at higher road speeds (roughly 35-40 mph and up), never noticed it in a subdivision yet.
Vibrations are odd things, percieved vibrations are even more odd. They'll appear to be intermittent, or perhaps road conditions amplify or mute existing issues. Your tires are almost 7 years old (may even be older) and need replacement as soon as affordable. As andy said, check the measurements from the swingarm pivot point to the rear axle on both sides.

Wind and road crown can affect how the bike behaves, but I don't think that's the problem here.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Vibrations are odd things
Just to be clear on this to, its not so much a vibration as a squirmy hunting and wandering type sensation. It is still smooth when it is riding, just squirmy.
 

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It could be that the previous owner ran the tires with very low pressure and wiped out the sidewalls. I've experienced tires that looked fine, but the sidewalls were shot; replacing them was the answer.

Checking the mechanical stuff first is the right sequence of priority.

One thing for sure, eventually you will find the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It could be that the previous owner ran the tires with very low pressure and wiped out the sidewalls. I've experienced tires that looked fine, but the sidewalls were shot; replacing them was the answer.

Checking the mechanical stuff first is the right sequence of priority.

One thing for sure, eventually you will find the problem.
There is a pretty good chance something like that could have happened. The guy I bought it from claimed he changed the oil & filter every year, and he kept the bike nice and shiny, but I think that was about all he knew about maintenance. All of the things I did (coolant flush, throttle cable, clutch, etc... were done because they were never done before or were terrible out of adjustment, etc.) It would not surprise me if the tires were run low on air. I bought it in the winter, so he wasnt riding it, but there were less than 10 psi in each tire when I got it from him. Could have been from storage, could have been from neglect, cant really say.
 

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My old GS550 did this when I got it from the previous owner. It turned out to be caused by a too-tight chain with some frozen links. After you adjust the chain tension, rotate the chain at least once all the way around and make sure all the links move independently. If they don't, you might need a new chain.
 

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There is a pretty good chance something like that could have happened. The guy I bought it from claimed he changed the oil & filter every year, and he kept the bike nice and shiny, but I think that was about all he knew about maintenance. All of the things I did (coolant flush, throttle cable, clutch, etc... were done because they were never done before or were terrible out of adjustment, etc.) It would not surprise me if the tires were run low on air. I bought it in the winter, so he wasnt riding it, but there were less than 10 psi in each tire when I got it from him. Could have been from storage, could have been from neglect, cant really say.

@ 3600 miles when you got the bike is was just barely at is first recommended maintenance (3500-4000)after the initial 600 mile service, I wouldn't expect to see any maintenance

in your first post you mentioned "rutted asphalt"

I don't think anything is out of the ordinary, if it wanders with tires inflated to recommended pressure on smooth pavement, then be concerned
 

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I didn't notice the low mileage...good catch, RandyO. But since the bike has _existed_ for so long, things could still have rusted/bound up, no? Not that I'm rooting for it to be that way, I just remember how frustrating it was to diagnose a similar problem when I had it.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
@ 3600 miles when you got the bike is was just barely at is first recommended maintenance (3500-4000)after the initial 600 mile service, I wouldn't expect to see any maintenance
I have to take issue with this statement, as the mileage intervals are only 1 aspect of it, there are also times in months given too, and if I am to understand it correctly, maintenance should be to the time or mileage, whichever comes first. So granted the mileage may be low, but that was no excuse for things like not adjusting the idle speed (which was too low), or changing the coolant (which was the original) or adjusting the throttle cable (which had roughly 1/4" slack in it) or adjusting the clutch cable (which did not start to disengage until almost touching the left grip with the clutch lever). And certainly I dont think it is a stretch to say items like that are indicitive of someone who did not pay close attention to maintenance items like tire pressure.

Kevin
 

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You are probably using the recommended PSI, but for your weight you probably need to increase it. They usually recommend adding 5 PSI to the rear tire when riding with a passenger, so at 250 with gear I would try that.
 

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the tires are old as the hills and no doubt hard as rocks. they should be replaced as soon as you can even though they look good. by all means, check the various adjustments and maintenance items, but i'm betting the old tires are the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
You are probably using the recommended PSI, but for your weight you probably need to increase it. They usually recommend adding 5 PSI to the rear tire when riding with a passenger, so at 250 with gear I would try that.
Actually, the manual recommends the exact same pressures for 2 up use as well, so I'm not sure who recommends the +5?

The rear already feels pretty firm when going over bumps, I'm not sure I would want to add any more air, but I might try it just as an experiment to see the difference.

Certainly I am not opposed to new tires, thats why I questioned it originally as a potential source of a problem. I will do the suggested maintenance checks first, but likely will put new tires on it before to long if nothing else turns up.
 

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I have to take issue with this statement, as the mileage intervals are only 1 aspect of it, there are also times in months given too, and if I am to understand it correctly, maintenance should be to the time or mileage, whichever comes first. So granted the mileage may be low, but that was no excuse for things like not adjusting the idle speed (which was too low), or changing the coolant (which was the original) or adjusting the throttle cable (which had roughly 1/4" slack in it) or adjusting the clutch cable (which did not start to disengage until almost touching the left grip with the clutch lever). And certainly I dont think it is a stretch to say items like that are indicitive of someone who did not pay close attention to maintenance items like tire pressure.

Kevin


fyi, clutch cable is NOT how you adjust the clutch on the SV


time does not make cables go out of adjustment use does, like i said, it's just coming up on the milage that those things would be checked, so, the coolant had been the engine longer maybe longer than is should, big deal, why did you buy the bike if you have that many complaints

low tire pressure on a 7 year old bike with 3600 miles is not indicative of someone that ignored anything, its indicative of someone who never rode and let the bike sit a lot, tires loose pressure for no reason other than sitting

I'm one of the biggest proponents of routine maintenance on this board, but you don't have to overdo it either

don't expect a 7 year old bike to be like brand new just cause it has low milage
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
fyi, clutch cable is NOT how you adjust the clutch on the SV


time does not make cables go out of adjustment use does, like i said, it's just coming up on the milage that those things would be checked, so, the coolant had been the engine longer maybe longer than is should, big deal, why did you buy the bike if you have that many complaints

low tire pressure on a 7 year old bike with 3600 miles is not indicative of someone that ignored anything, its indicative of someone who never rode and let the bike sit a lot, tires loose pressure for no reason other than sitting

I'm one of the biggest proponents of routine maintenance on this board, but you don't have to overdo it either

don't expect a 7 year old bike to be like brand new just cause it has low milage
Alright, I know we dont know each other, but this seems to have taken an awckward turn here. I think one of us might be missing what the other is saying here.

I adjusted the clutch as per the Suzuki factory manual, which is a cable adjustment. If you know of a different adjustment, let me know, but I dont think the manual would be wrong here. And I dont see why anyone who rides a bike would neglect adjusting something like the clutch just because it wasnt "time to do so", even though it was painfully obvious it needed it.

You also convieniently ignored my mention of the throttle cable being so far out of adjustment, which in my opinion is not only bad maintenance, but also dangerous to ride.

I dont think adjusting the clutch and throttle cable before the scheduled interval when they show obvious signs of being out of adjustment are overdoing it either as you state.

I did mention in a previous post already that I was unsure if the tire pressure was low from lack of maintenace, or simply because it was not being used. I am certainly aware of that possibility and did not overlook it. All I said was that I would not doubt that it could have been an issue with such other simple items as listed above also not tended to.

Changing the coolant was not hard or expensive, but I was merely pointing out that it had not been done, and that that was just one more indicator that maintenance (or lack thereoff) could be an issue here with the tires.

I bought the bike because I am not afraid of doing the work that was not done and getting the bike back in top shape. I got a deal on the bike that I thought justified the amount of work I needed to do to it. I am not complaining about my purchase, I was simply looking for some ideas and suggestions about what to check and change here. I'm not sure how this turned into you defending the previous owner and his maintenance routines, but I was simply stating facts of what I knew was done, what I knew wasnt done, and some probabilities of what may not have been done as a result. I felt this information was in response to and supportive of the information being exchanged here on topic. I was not complaining about the bike or its previous owner, just trying to share what I knew to help diagnose this issue.
 

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I bought my '03 650 'S' a year ago with fewer miles. You're on the right track with your maintenance. By this time, you and I are already due for radiator hose replacements and a list of other similar replacements brought on simply by age. My hoses are good, but I'll likely do a replacement in the not so distant future.

I didn't see the mention of brake fluid being changed. I'd highly recomend that be done. I bought a Mighty Vac for the job and it's great how fast and easy it is to do. I had so much fun that I did my Nighthawk and my Polaris Utility Quad at the same time! I thought my SV's brakes were sh!tty....they're GTEAT now that I have fresh DOT4 onboard.

As for your "squiggle", I'm guessing a crap tires. Mine were crappy OEM's, too. I pulled them off at about 4000 and put on a set of Dunlop RoadSmarts. I'm enjoying those now and have about 4000 on them. They are wearing very nicely and I have a long way to go before considering their replacement. The 2ct was even great on the track when I did a Precision Cornering Workshop course 2 weeks ago.

Good luck with your new machine! I'm loving mine!

btw...did you get the fastest color, Sonic Silver?
 

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