Barkley disconnected the Power Commander, used his Teka to remap the stock Suzuki injection unit with what he figured would be good settings, and we went back to the dyno. I was not totally convinced after the dyno run: It read exactly the same as before. The proof, though, was in the on-track pudding, and Saturday morning the bike felt way faster, and I knocked a whole two seconds off my previous best in one shot--though I was helped by a good tow. The bike felt a bit flatter in the midrange now, and Barkley tweaked the fuel map with his Teka and slipped the secondary butterflies out of the throttle bodies. Evidently they can lag behind what your wrist requires at times, and that was possibly contributing to the flat spot. In the afternoon session, the SV ran better again, and I posted the same lap times, but without any tow. Things were looking up.
After a final check on the dyno before the heat race (74.8 hp), we put the little SV on the scales only to find it a few pounds below the 365-pound weight limit. I was shocked, because when I had weighed the bike at the shop it was well safe. We loaded up with fuel for ballast, swapped the Pirelli Supercorsas for a fresh set, and I gridded up for the heat.
A set of Bickle Racing tire...
A set of Bickle Racing tire warmers ($425) proved invaluable in the cool Georgia morning practices. An integral thermostat prevents overheating, and a small light shows when the warmer is working. Excellent service for the Pirelli Supercorsa DOT racing tires was provided by California Race Services (800/620-1277, www.crstires.com) at the Willow Springs rounds, and Trackside Racers Supply (828/235-8400, www.tracksiderracersupply.com
) at Road Atlanta.
This nifty K&N oil filter...
This nifty K&N oil filter has a hex stub welded on to ease removal (and make it easy to torque to the correct setting), as well as a small hole for safety wiring. Silkolene provided an array of fluids, including Pro-4 Plus 100 percent ester synthetic motor oil ($13 per liter), brake fluid, chain lube and fork oil. A K&N reusable air filter showed a small improvement over stock on the dyno, but we ended up hogging out the stock unit for almost a full horsepower gain over even the K&N. We also pulled the stock airbox snorkel, which made a big difference to midrange power without sacrificing top-end.
Because of my lackluster performance in the qualifying rounds, I was gridded on the fifth row, and to add to my workload, I got a poor start. Twelfth after the first lap, I worked my way up to seventh at the end of the six-lap heat. I was still intimidated in traffic, and not at all ready for the level of aggression that was obviously required. Last year's SV Cup winner, Bradley Champion, easily won the heat race, while the top riders were turning '35s. I had dropped well into the '36s, though--if I could get a clean start and stay with the front group, I would be all right in the final. Anxious for every advantage, a phone call to our VP rep resulted in a can of MR9 ($20 per gallon average retail), the top VP rocket fuel, and one last trip to the dyno showed that was good for another horsepower.Sunday--race day--the butterflies were especially busy in my stomach, but I was determined to use as much aggression as the other riders. From the third row, I got a good start, and while Champion eased away from the field, I hung with the group battling for second. I really wasn't making any friends this time, as whenever someone showed me a wheel I would slam the door on them, and I was not giving up anything without a fight. Barkley's work--and the MR9--had paid off, as my bike seemed to be the fastest of the group of four I was with, and for a moment of glory I was in second place. It would all come undone midway through the race, however, as I missed a downshift barreling into the uphill Turn Five after being shuffled to the back of the quartet, ran up on the curbing, and lost touch with the group. Try as I might, I couldn't gain back the ground lost, and I ended the race in fifth. There was drama after, however, as Champion was disqualified on the post-race dyno run (he actually ran out of gas and couldn't make the required runs, but then went over when the best-available race gas--MR9--was put in). That bumped me up to fourth in the final standings, meeting one of my goals for the project--a top-five finish--but I just missed out on my other goal: My best lap time in the final was a 1:36.068.
While I had a boatload of help with the project, it says a lot about the fairness of the Cup finals that someone can take a lightly modified SV--and I hadn't been anywhere near the engine's internals--and post a decent result. The phone is not exactly ringing off the hook with factory offers after my fourth-place finish, but a good result for a, um...younger rider could well be the stepping stone to bigger things. There is definitely more attention paid to the GSX-R finals--run under similar rules--and placing well in one of those races would surely garner some attention, as a list of past winners shows.
A Yoshimura RS-3 full exhaust...
A Yoshimura RS-3 full exhaust ($650) and Dynojet PC III USB Power Commander ($329) were good for a four-horsepower increase over stock. The high-exit stainless-steel pipe with a stainless-wrapped canister gave the SV a nice V-twin sound, and saved weight.
The finished product, with...
The finished product, with sturdy Sharkskinz bodywork ($873) painted by IZYK Design Works and topped off with a Zero Gravity Double Bubble windscreen ($75). The Sharkskinz bodywork includes a one-piece upper, oil-retaining lower, one-piece seat cowl and front fender. Everything came primed and ready for paint, predrilled, and with nice quarter-turn fasteners already installed. The company also offers an upper fairing and tailsection for street use, which retains the stock lights and passenger seat. As with the bodywork, the Zero Gravity windscreen came predrilled.
This dyno chart shows our...
This dyno chart shows our test bike before and after modifications. VP's amazing MR9 rocket fuel makes a huge difference in both midrange and top end.
I can't say enough about how much fun racing the little SV has been. For a bargain bike, it works really well, was stone reliable for more than 800 miles of racetrack punishment, and is arguably a better learning tool than a bigger bike. With the growing popularity and aftermarket availability of hop-up parts, there is a huge potential for modifications and a number of classes in any given organization that the 650 could fit into. Let's see...a couple Hayabusa pistons, a GSX-R front end and some mag wheels...those 748s better watch out!
Building The 2004 Suzuki SV650 Motorcycle: The Little Bike That Could
While our local WSMC rules allow for practically unrestricted modifications for the SV Cup qualifying class, Middleweight Twins, the Cup rules themselves are somewhat stricter. Modifications are unlimited, with the exception of wheels, brakes and forks, and bikes must pass postrace dyno and weight limits. While we had some ambitious plans for our little SV, the end result was surprisingly close to stock and easily duplicated.