When I picked up the SV, it was immediately apparent that the clocks needed a lot of sorting out. Well, it was immediately apparent that pretty much everything needed a lot of sorting out, but the clocks in particular, as they fell off when I wheeled the bike out of the van. The back of the housing was smashed, there was a large grommet missing which exposed the circuit board to the outside world, three of the four mounting lugs had been hacked off, and the loom appeared to be about a metre too long.
I didn’t worry too much about this initially, as there was no guarantee that the moribund piece of wreckage would ever need the services of a tacho, never mind a speedo.
But, time moved on, and as detailed further down in the blog, the bike has now got to a point where it runs, and I needed to consider the electrics. In order to do that, I needed to mount things like the clocks and CDI, which is how we ended up here. The first thing to sort out really was whether to stick with the standard clockset, or put on something aftermarket. The advantage with going for aftermarket stuff is that you can drive the speedo from a GPS signal, so no need for a speedo drive from the front wheel. Also, there’s about 20 years of development, so a modern clockset will look nicer for sure, and probably be more accurate. However, pragmatism overcame artistic vision in this particular case. I decided to stick with the stock set (at least for now) as I’ll be doing a lot of hacking around in the loom later on, and if anything doesn’t work, I’ll know that it’s down to my loom bodgery more than an incompatibility between the bike and the clocks. Also, a set of clocks with smashed glass but good internals and backplate came up on eBay for a tenner, so it was a simple matter to combine the good bits of both sets into one good set. Besides, the stock clocks don’t look too bad anyway, and my personal preference is for analogue speedo and tacho rather than digital. All in all, it wasn’t a tough choice.
Having decided what to mount, I now needed to mount it in the right place. In order to do this, I started by replacing the frame. Yes, really… I think I probably mentioned this before, but one of the previous owners of the bike had hacked off one of the mounting lugs from the headstock. This is such a monumentally idiotic thing to do that I just can’t for the life of me work out what the thought process was that went into that decision. Maybe they just got a new angle grinder and were wondering what to do with it. Anyway – a very nice second-hand frame was picked up, registered in my name, and the bike was built up into the donor frame. The old frame was sold on eBay for 99p, collection only. And now, six weeks later, it’s still sitting in my shed waiting for the buyer to come and collect it. But anyway, I digress. Now that I had a frame with the right mounting points, I needed something to join them to the clocks. This was actually made pretty easy, as the company that makes the bodywork I want (more on that later too) also make an SV650 specific clock mount to suit the bodywork. An order was placed with the help from my friend Michael, and I got a mail in return saying that it would take about two weeks to fabricate. I also got a bill for the (very) thick end of 100 quid. Did I mention that it came from France? Hence the requirement for a French speaking friend, and the large bill courtesy of shipping and the current ruinous exchange rate. However, the order was placed, and I sat back and waited. Sure enough, about three weeks later, a large box turned up with the clock mount/fairing stay. First impressions weren’t that good really – the welding wasn’t the best I’ve seen, and the mounting holes were badly aligned.
Rather than send it all back again, it was an easy enough task to clean it up. Besides, I quite like an excuse to get the Dremel out and make lots of noise and sparks. The frame also needed a little attention from the angle grinder to get things to fit nicely, but nothing to write home about really. Once I’d cleaned up the welds and spatter with the Dremel I gave the whole thing a good scrub with a Scotchbrite pad, cleaned it again with acetone, and then stuck a couple of coats of etch primer and satin black to stop any rust forming, and this is where we are now:
I’m rather pleased with that. The mount will no doubt need to be knocked around a bit to fit the bodywork, so that finish is only temporary. It’ll get a proper coat of paint when the time comes. But it’s good enough for me now to finalise the position of the clocks, so work can begin on the loom. But that’s for another time and blog post. You’ll love the title for that one… One thing that I wasn’t really expecting was the necessity to drop the clipons by 40mm to clear the fairing stays. The seat was thrown on temporarily to check the seating position, and it’s safe to say that this bike will never be a great long-distance tourer unless you have the build of an orangutan with an extendable neck. I don’t, so I suspect this bike will be used mainly for the odd Sunday hack with a few trackdays thrown in for good measure. It’s definitely going to be road legal though – I’m not going to make a trackday only bike.
So, what next? Well, as mentioned, I can start getting stuck into the loom now – I have all the connectors, crimps, loom tape etc. etc. that I need. I can at least work on the front end, and finalise the connectors to the clocks and controls. Also, it’s time to order the bodywork. I’ve agonised long and hard over this, as it will be by some way the most expensive aspect of this build. But, for every other bike I’ve restored, I’ve always skimped on cosmetics. Function over form, every time. This time, however, I’d like to make something that doesn’t look like I’ve just recovered it from a scrappy and crashed it three times on the way home. So, a nice set of very expensive bodywork will be ordered in the next day or two. Gulp. Hope I don’t louse it up with the paintwork.