Stay Stoked: Finland’s Antti Eloheimo builds an SV for street-tracking…
In 1999, Suzuki introduced the SV650 for the emerging naked bike market, featuring an oval-tube alloy trellis frame and liquid-cooled 90° V-twin with 64 rear-wheel horsepower on tap and plenty of midrange torque. Riders and motorcycle journalists lauded the punchy V-twin engine, and that wasn’t all:
“The SV650’s ride is even better than the engine. Forget fancy cycle parts like adjustable suspension or riding modes, instead the Suzuki SV650 has a super-light feel, accurate steering and assured suspension and brakes.” —MCN
The SV650 would go on to spur the rebirth of the “lightweight twins” racing classes in many countries and outsell the Honda and Kawasaki machines that once dominated this class of machine.
Although the SV650 has something of a cult following both on the street and track, we haven’t seen that many of them customized. That’s where our friend Antti Eloheimo of Finland’s Stoker Motorcycles comes in — a lover of surfing, snowboarding, mountain bikes, and motorcycles, whose passion for fast bikes can be traced back to his first ride with his father:
“The sheer fear mixed with excitement induced by the acceleration and trees rushing by in my peripheral vision left a permanent burn in my heart towards fast bikes.”
In 2019, we showcased Antti’s first build, the Stoker S-RR — a wrecked Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6RR rebuilt for the race track, sporting the numbers of Kawasaki legend Gary Nixon and making a statement with its bold 60s Le Mans racer curves against the angular, faceted design of today’s supersports.
Now Antti is back with the Stoker STR, a flat track-inspired ’00 SV650 built for his daily commute:
“I love all sorts of race vehicle aesthetics: the race numbers, sponsor stickers, and no-nonsense way of doing radical machines that go fast. But what race bikes are not is comfortable in everyday use. And I wanted to build something easy, fun, which wouldn’t hurt your body after a few kilometers.”
Antti says he’s always liked the beefy tube trellis frame of the 1st-gen SV650 — later generations went to a cast diamond truss — and he hadn’t seen well-executed street trackers from the platform.
“I built this for myself as a daily ride, to slide around here and there.”
We love how the STR looks like one of the race bikes from the AFT SuperTwins class. Below, he gives us the full details on the Stoker STR, along with more gorgeous shots from photographer Iiro Muttilainen.
Stoker STR: In the Builder’s Words
The bike is 1st gen Suzuki SV-650 (year 2000).
Always liked the beefy trellis frame, but haven’t seen well-executed street trackers from this very popular bike that people have modified to all kind of uses from road racing to dirt — due to its great engine and handling. I built this for myself as a daily ride, to slide around here and there. It’s my second bike I have built in my small garage under the shop name of Stoker.
Stripped all the unnecessary stuff to save weight, so dry weight around 160 kg.
Custom designed and made by me:
Rearsets that bring the footpegs 10cm forward to ease sliding
Handmade body/seat unit (epoxy composite)
Modified original gas tank to be 10cm narrower and 5cm lower + slightly more room underneath to give more air to airbox.
Side panels and rear section (aluminum sheet)
Underbelly (aluminum sheet and 3D printed grille)
3D printed radiator covers
Lowered bike around 5cm
Painted all of the parts
Race number plates
Pullback risers and Neken flat-track bar
The smallest e-approved rear light I could find and build the shape around it.
ZX-10R rear shock
New internals and preload adjusters for the original fork
Braided brake lines
Projector front light
Tight gearing and DIY quick throttle internals
The engine is kept stock for reliability as a daily street tracker for the commute (fully street legal).
The hardest thing in the design was to get the curve from the top of the tank to the tail to be as shallow as possible without raising the seat height too much. A rider needs to be able to move weight forward to keep the front tire weighted on corners and have room to move back on the straights. Plus nailing this line meant that overall aesthetically the bike looks balanced like a good tracker should.
Getting this line low was also important, since I’m using 17” tires instead of the 19” ones that give a naturally lower appearance to the upper section of flat track bikes. To visually beef up the smaller wheels, I made black wheel covers to fit the rims I painted black. I had to modify the gas tank to be a lot lower and narrower, plus added a bit more room underneath for the airbox intake. The sides of the gas tank cover have 3D-printed air intakes that guide the air. The tail section has vents to offer some of the hot air coming from the upper cylinder to escape since the sides of the bike are covered.
I also wanted to have everything fully street legal, so even the incline of the registration plate is carefully designed under the tail, and these 99-02 year bikes were the last ones that didn’t have e-approved exhaust so no restrictions to modifications. I also added an underbelly to beef up the visuals of the front of the motor and offer a bit of protection to the front spark plug area from water spraying from the front tire, which is a common problem with SVs. The fairings I designed so that they would look great even without the race number plates.
I love all sorts of race vehicle aesthetics: the race numbers, sponsor stickers, and no-nonsense way of doing radical machines that go fast. But what race bikes are not is comfortable in everyday use. And I wanted to build something easy, fun, which wouldn’t hurt your body after a few kilometers. The saddle looks hard but is quite comfortable to sit on. Might be that I have got used to road racing foam seats.
Alongside motorcycles, surfing, snowboarding, and mountain bikes are what I’m stoked about — which probably led me to pick the name Stoker for my workshop, which I started three years ago.
Follow the Builder
Photographer: Iiro Muttilainen