So, a few days ago, I was idly chatting with my mate Lippy on Facebook about this and that – it’s a regular Sunday evening thing really. We’ll start talking about bikes in some form, and just see where the conversation goes. I’ve idly spent many happy Sunday evenings just talking rubbish about bikes. Anyway, last Sunday, a group of us were chatting away, when Lippy mentioned that he had a lead on an SV650 in need of restoration, for £250. Now, call me optimistic, but that sounded like a challenge if ever there was one, so I instantly responded with “I’ll have it for that”, having never even seen a picture of it. The very next day, I got a photo:
Well, doesn’t look *that* bad, right? I mean, the paintwork is, well, not to my taste, but looks presentable enough. The motocross bars? Errr, no thanks. They’re going in the bin. That headlight unit looks like a prop from a 50p remake of Star Wars or something. That’s going to follow the bars into the same bin. And that exhaust looks to be terrifyingly, shatteringly illegal, even for race use.
Now, it’s safe to say that I wasn’t really looking for a project bike. I’m skint, after my car shat itself a few weeks back. But I have a massive soft spot for SVs, especially after racing the fabulous Darvill Racing SV at Jurby last year. So, I started putting together a plan to get up to Birmingham to collect it, and trying to work out what to actually do with it. The first part of this plan of action was made very easy when Foz dropped me a line, saying “I’ve got a van, happy to pick it up and drive it over for you”. So, earlier today, Foz and his son Bobby turned up, and we unloaded the SV, and got it out into the sunlight. We then got on with the important business of drinking tea, eating bacon & black pudding butties, and then having another cuppa to wash it down with. Foz & Bobby then headed back home, and I started to put together a plan of action.
First thing, obviously, is to see if it runs. And there are myriad reasons that I’m not even going to attempt to start it yet. Firstly, the wiring is quite horrifically bodged in places, and really needs a good going over. I have a spare ECU and loom, but I suspect that whatever was causing it not to run is down to electrical bodgery, rather than an ECU failure. And I’m in the very happy position of having some mates with excellent knowledge of the SV650, having either invented the Minitwins race series, or built, from the ground up, some very competitive bikes. Already I’ve had some brilliant guidance on where to start looking for lack-of-sparky-action problems. Secondly, the fuel system needs a good seeing too. The carbs are pretty gunged up, and really need a good stripping and cleaning up. And, finally, I need to check to see if there’s any oil in there…
Secure in the knowledge that this is a 20yr old Suzuki, and therefore pretty much every fastener will be seized, I dived in. And it’s safe to say that this bike has had a very hard life. Bodge upon bodge was unveiled, and while some of them just need cleaning up and putting back together properly (like the wiring for example), some will require either some fabrication or looking for s/hand parts (footrests for example) and at least one bodge is irreversible, and may cause a few headaches later on – one of the front fairing mounts has been removed. Bother. But, of course, none of this matters if I can’t get the thing running, which is where I am now. The airbox and carbs are currently off. The engine turns over when cranked by hand. And the wiring is being methodically checked, and un-bodged where necessary. It’s going to be a good while before it runs, as there’s a lot more un-bodging to complete, but it’s all therapeutic work, and will keep me out of mischief for a while.
Assuming it does run, what am I going to do with it? I did, for one moment, think of turning it into a trackday bike. But, that would be epically stupid, as I don’t do trackdays. No, this will go back on the road. And I’m not going to just stick a stubby seat unit on there and call it a café racer. No, that’s been done with a million other SVs. And it’s certainly not going back on the road with the existing paintwork on there. Plans will come along, I’m sure. I’ve seen some things that I like the look of, but I’m not going to start thinking about bodywork and paint yet. There are too many other things to think about right now. And if it’s beyond a financially sensible repair to get it running again (I suspect it’ll be fine, but I’m being pragmatic about this), I’ll just sell the parts on, and get my money back.
So, I’ve ended up with something that really, should be on the scrapheap. It should have been there a long time ago. It’s loud, gaudy, and in this day and age, of no use at all. Yet, inexplicably it’s been given a second chance, no doubt to be kicked and sworn at repeatedly. There are so many better options available. Really, there is no good reason to take this path at all. I know it will let me down when tough questions are asked of it.
Now, what should I call it?
Postscript: Thinking about it, and I know I probably shouldn’t do this, but I’m going to keep a running total of costs, and a wishlist of things that I need. So, here goes:
- Bike: £250
- Bucket of deox
- Industrial strength degreaser
- Willpower of a saint
- Penetrating oil
- Impact driver
- Haynes Manual. (Already have the workshop manual as a .pdf, but I find the Haynes manuals to be useful to have alongside the workshop manual)
Once I’ve proven that the motor works, the wishlist will start to include things that I actually need to progress the next stage of the rebuild. But for now, until I hear the motor running, I’m not going to buy anything.