The Awful Cost

Now, I guess, is as good a time as any to tot up the current running cost on the SV650:


Bike £250.00
Starter solenoid £11.00
Resistors £1.00 (for 20)
Frame, yokes, swingarm £11.00
Fork lower (bent) £15.00 (wasted)
Scrap forks for spares £22.00
Air filter £0.00
GSX-R shock £0.00
V5 £25.00
Fork seals £12.00
Tie-rods £0.00
Rear brake hose £0.00
Various carb screws £0.00
Assorted allen headed fasteners £4.00
Front wheel spindle £10.00
Fork oil £11.00
Alternator cover gasket £3.00 (yes, really. Genuine Suzuki gasket for three quid).
CR8E spark plugs £0.00 (found an old pair of CR9E in the garage. These will do for now).
Oil filter £6.00
Sold fork leg -£17.00
Clocks £10.00
Sold frame -£1.00
41mm Clipons £0.00 Just as well – they don’t fit.
Oil £0.00 (taken from spare)
Exhaust gaskets £0.00 (had them for the TRX rebuild)
Exhaust studs (42 x 8mm) £6.00
Rear caliper, footrest, m/cyl £28.00 (bit of a risk)
Disk bolts £0.00 (bodged with stuff found in the garage)
Clock & top fairing mount £97.00 Faaark. Exchange rate disaster.
Clutch pushrod seal £5.00
Sold ZXR750 bodywork -£38.00
Head and base gaskets £40.00
Valve oil seals and camchain tensioner gaskets £20.00
Connectors, cables, loom tape £80.00
Bodywork £570.00 Gulp.
Battery £70.00
Steel £12.00
Clutch lever and mount £12.00
r/h switchgear £15.00 (eBay disaster – you’d have thought I’d have learned by now)
Grommets £5.00
Handlebar grips and throttle tube £12.00 Another breathtakingly cheap Suzuki genuine part.
Fairing, screen and seat bolts £31.00 Blimey. That’s more than I paid for the frame.
Clutch cable £13.00
Clipons £20.00
Fibreglass fixings £33.00
Gear shift rod £9.00
Caliper seals £12.00
Tygon tube £10.00
Brake pads £44.00
Brake hoses £66.00
Rear lights £10.00 (Bit of a gamble at that price, but probably modifiable if they turn out to be guff).
Running total £1,555.00

Some of the stuff on there is surprisingly cheap – I’m still pleasantly surprised at the cost of the OEM Suzuki stuff, like the head and base gaskets, and the handlebar grips. Other things always get overlooked in any budget, but end up costing quite a bit – that eighty quid for electrical cable, connectors and tape and stuff for example. Sure, I could have bodged it with a bit of insulating tape and a few spade connectors, but it still would have cost fifty quid, and probably failed the first time it rained. And brakes are *always* more expensive to sort out than you first think. Pads, hoses, fluid, fittings front and rear will always come to a couple of hundred quid at least.


You’ll notice that there’s no costs for labour in there. So far, I think, I’ve been able to do everything myself, apart from machining the rear paddock stand bobbins – stand up and take a bow Mr. Robin Szemeti for the lathe work there. I can’t think of anything else that I’ve farmed out to unsuspecting friends. I may enlist some help with the paintwork though. Well, not so much the actual painting, as that’s easy enough. More the choice of colours. I’m catastrophically non-artistic.

There’s still stuff to buy. Expensive stuff too. Tyres for a start, and I’ll need a chain. And some indicators come to think of it. And paint – that’s also a non-trivial cost, even if I keep the design simple. Still, I reckon I’m just about going to scrape in under £2K in the end. I can look at this in two ways – cheap for a well sorted bike with refreshed top ends, new tyres, and a custom set of bodywork and paint. Or expensive for a ShiteOldSuzuki. Whatever, it’s (so far) provided me with many happy hours of work and cups of tea out in the garage, which was the main point all along and continues to be so.


She’s Lost Control

(Working title: Bloody hell, won’t *something* please fit and work first time?)

I have a feeling that this could be a bit of a long one, so best go and get a cuppa to fortify yourself. It’s safe to say that this episode of the bike’s development has required lots of tea on my part.

Controls. Those parts of the motorcycle that you, dear rider, interface with. Specifically handlebars, footpegs, clutch, throttle, brakes, and gear lever. And although I suppose it’s true to say that you interface with the seat unit too – we’ve already written about that bit. Onto the other controls – now that the bodywork is all in its final resting place, I could start to work on these. So, where shall we start? Well, I guess it’s best to start with the easy bits that don’t move, right? Footpegs and handlebars. It’s important for me to get these in a comfortable place as I want to use this bike as a daily rider. The footpegs came from Sol’s Katana when he upgraded to a lovely set of Harris rearsets, and came with a set of mounting plates that were almost, but not quite, entirely useless (more of which later). They didn’t fit the mounting points on the SV frame, and even when bodged in place with a couple of clamps it turned out that the pegs were so high and far back that I’d never even make it to the end of the road, never mind to work every day. Back to the drawing board then… I bolted the original mounting plates back on and stuck the bent original pegs on that came with the bike. These were in the right kind of place, but there was no way I was having them anywhere near the bike permanently. Besides, the r/h mounting plate was bent anyway. However, a few minutes with the angle grinder soon had the left hand footpeg and gear lever mated with the original mounting plate, and bolted back on the bike. This fitted perfectly, and was in just about the right place. Off then to eBay to pick up a r/h mounting plate (still connected to the rear brake master cylinder – more of which later…) which was similarly modified to fit the r/h footpeg. Finally, with an unholy combination of the aftermarket pegs and OEM mounting plates, I had the pegs mounted, and in the right place. Blimey. That was a trial. But I knew that the handlebars had to be easier, right?

I had a set of 41mm clipons that came in the box of bits from my mate Druid, with the comment “no idea what they’re from, but they should fit”. And they did! Perfectly! First time! Wa-hey! Tea to celebrate. This celebration lasted as long as it took to turn the bars lock to lock, and notice that the clutch lever was clouting the speedo. They only way to fix this was to move the bars so far down the forks that, again, there was no way it would ever make a journey of longer than about 23 metres before I required the services of a chiropractor. Bugger. So, I threw away the aftermarket clutch lever and mount that came with the bike, and again, off to eBay to pick up a standard clutch lever and mount. This was better, but still on full lock clouted the speedo. I decided to have a look at a standard set of SV650 bars, and sure enough, they were pulled in a bit closer to the fork legs than the clipons I was using. Hand in pocket time *again*, and a pair of standard clipons was ordered. Finally, I could get the bars in the right place, and have full lock to lock movement! Hooray! This little episode was about as much fun as it sounds.

Now I had the footpegs and bars fitted, I could fit the throttle tube and grips, right? Well, of course, the throttle tube that I had was butchered by the previous owner, and anyway the r/h switchgear was a bit shagged. You can guess what’s coming next can’t you? Yup, off to eBay we go, and, well, within 30s I’d found a set of r/h switchgear, complete with throttle tube and cables in what looked like excellent condition for a good price. Brilliant! A stroke of luck at last! Of course, when it turned up it came without the cables or throttle tube, and the seller just decided to ignore my emails asking why it didn’t match the photo or description. Twat. By now, I had the right hump, so I had another cup of tea. And looked at the fantastic Robinsons Foundry website. As luck would have it, the throttle tube and grips were on sale, so I picked up the pair, OEM, brand new for 12 quid. While waiting for them to arrive I thought I’d clean up and lubricate the existing clutch, choke and throttle cables, which all went to plan.

Finally then, we had the footpegs and handlebars in place! Tea to celebrate I think, as fitting the clutch cable would be a cinch, right? Well, no. Of course, when one of the previous owners converted the thing to those ridiculous Raleigh Grifter handlebars they needed to fit a longer clutch cable. Sigh. New clutch cable required then. At least when it turned up it fitted easily enough. I fitted the choke and throttle cables at the same time, and in an attempt to lift my mood I threw some petrol in the tank and hit the start button. After a bit of churning while the floatbowls filled up it fired, and sat there on a fast idle on choke. I wanted to take this opportunity to check the charging voltage and in a nice turn of events it was sitting at a nice 13.8 – 14.1 volts depending on revs. This is a little lower than I’d like ideally, but better than the alternative, as any more than about 15V would spell disaster for the LiFePO4 battery now fitted.

Finally, I thought I was getting somewhere. Pegs and bars, throttle and clutch sorted. Just brakes and gear lever to worry about, and how difficult can that be?

Remember earlier when I said that the r/h footpeg mounting plate still had the master cylinder attached? Well, I now know why. I tried everything to get the bloody things separated. In the end, the only way was to grind the heads off of the stupid little domed socket headed bolts, and take the two apart that way. That left me with the problem of getting the remnants of the bolts out of the master cylinder. There were attacked with just about everything in my arsenal, but in the end I just had to weld a sodding great nut on the end and get a big socket on there. Why did I need to separate them? Because of course, the master cylinder needed remounting to fit the rear brake lever… A bit of CAD later, and I had a pattern for a little bracket, but I couldn’t think of what to make it out of. And then I remembered those utterly pointless footpeg mounting plates that I’d thrown in the corner all that time ago. It needed a little bit of planning, but eventually I found a way to cut the bracket out of the old r/h mounting plate, so in death they have given new life to the bike 🙂 With everything remounted it was time to rebuild the caliper, fit everything, and bleed the system. Everything fits and works, but it does need a bit of finessing to get everything just so. For this, I need to take it all apart again, and find a slightly smaller spacer and a shorter clevis pin for the connection between the lever and master cylinder. But that can wait for now until the shakedown tests are complete. I may decide that I like where things are and just tidy up a little bit, rather than moving them inboard a few mm.

So that was the easier of the two brake systems sorted out with only minimal action from the angle grinder, slitting disc, MIG welder, impact driver and teapot required. It was probably about about this time that I got stuck into a few bottles of cold beer. Just as well I’d run out of vodka, else I’d be a raging alcoholic by now.

I can’t do much about the front brakes for now, as I need to order the hoses, so that left me with just the gear lever to sort out. Out of the bits that I had kicking around, absolutely nothing fitted. At all. Once more to the angle grinder, dear friends, once more… Of course the gear shift rod fouled the frame, so I needed to move it outboard just a millimetre or so, and this required modification of the gear lever and shift arm. And anyway, the shift rod is about 65mm too long, so that needs remaking, and I don’t have a left hand tap, or a way to cut and sleeve what I do have, and really, by now, I’m just getting a bit bored of things not fitting. I suspect my neighbours are getting similarly bored at the continual sound of angle grinding and hitting things with hammers too.

I’m off to buy that bottle of Reyka.

Sorry there’s no photos for this update – but really, there’s nothing worth photographing. All this effort of modifying and changing pretty much everything is just to get things in the places they should have bloody well been in the first place.