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  • Bob LoCicero

Building an SV650 Track Bike

Build a track worthy Suzuki SV650 ride for $2,500

Suzuki SV650
Suzuki SV650 donor bike

Building a $35,000 track bike isn't difficult. Pay knowledgeable people for their advice, buy what they tell you to and watch them bolt it together. If you turn the wrenches yourself, you can make your $35K go even further. But how easy is it to build a track worthy ride for $2,500?

At Motorcycle-Vermont our funds are limited. We don't have lavish sponsors or a rich aunt to bankroll our project. Not deterred, we asked local experts and racers and they assured us that $2,500 was sufficient.

The ingredients of an inexpensive track bike are these: one used sport motorcycle; friendly experts who are willing to give you free advice; and time to source and assemble the pieces yourself.

We are lucky enough to have a local expert, Miles Hubert of MotoFab in Bristol, as an advisor. Miles helped us find a used, slightly "ditch-modified" 1999 carbureted SV650 for $1,500. This bike will serve as our platform.

Miles also introduced us to Bill and John Tansey, road racers in the Loudon Road Racing Series. These two expert class racers know enough about SV setup to fill a notebook page with their first answer. As we spoke to them in the LRRS paddock in October, it was clear that have studied the SV and know the tricks to make it go fast and light.

The stock SV650 is a solid bike, built to a budget. Like many lower cost stock machines, the engine is solid, but the suspension is tuned to standard street riding and isn't suitable for the track. For our project we will need to completely replace the front-end and rear shock.

Our SV experts told us that a front end from a 2000-2003 GSXR-750 or a 2001-2003 GSXR-600 will fit our bike and suit our purposes. For the rear, either a Penske or Ohlins fully adjustable, cartridge shock is required. The rear shock will need to be re-sprung for our lightweight female rider, Jean.

The suspension components are the most important items, since suspension is often more important the motor - especially at Loudon were we do most of track days. We will also need a plastic body kit, exhaust, brake upgrades, rear-sets and clip-ons.

When Miles ran some numbers with us, it was clear that our $2,500 budget is a challenge. Our source for these parts will be Craigs List, the SV Riders forum, friends and eBay. To offset costs, we will take off unnecessary components and sell them. In addition to providing cash, this will reduce the weight of the bike to the essentials.

Follow us over the winter months as we give you updates this project. Our goal is to have bike ready for the first Fishtail Riding School track day in April 26, 2010. And, if you know of anyone selling any of our donor parts, please let us know!

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