A Sportier SV from Roman Juriš…
Introduced in 1999, the Suzuki SV650 was destined to become one of the most beloved middleweight twins of the modern age. While the bike wasn’t particularly outstanding on paper, the bike earned the love of new and veteran riders alike.
“It set a high bar for standard motorcycles everywhere, because it did everything well and seemed to love it. The SV happily served everyone from first-timers to old-timers, many of whom kept them on as long-timers. It’s the rare motorcycle that can be both a first and a forever bike.” –Cycle World
Our late correspondent, Rick Brown, chose an SV650 as a preferred track day rig, and the bike was sometimes compared to the Ducati Monster due to its trellis frame and V-twin engine:
“The Ducati is a Ducati, after all — gorgeous and characterful, yes, but also expensive to buy and maintain, and without the strongest reputation for reliability. This is where Suzuki could enter the fray with the SV650 — similar in style and concept as a middleweight sport-bike powered by a V-twin engine, but with lower-cost components, and a much more reliable engine.” –Motofomo
Strangely, however, we rarely come across SV650 customs, so this SV from Slokavia’s Roman Juriš piqued our interest, especially since it’s such a functional and performance-oriented build.
Builder Roman Juriš had recently completed his JSA 650RR when his son bought a brand-new SV650 S (the variant with fairing), and Roman fell in love with the bike:
“I was fascinated by the bike. When my son wasn’t riding it, I was. I drove 5000 km in a year and decided that I too would buy an SV, but not new — slightly crashed for rebuilding.”
Roman mounted a set of upside-down forks from a Suzuki GSX-R600 SRAD (he’s since updated to a Yamaha R1 set), and the single-sided came courtesy of a Triumph Speed Triple:
“I finally got the swing into the frame, even though it was a little too wide in the beginning. A few cuts in the right direction to taper, a bit of precision milling, a few welds and there she was.”
The tail is also from an SRAD Gixxer — about 4.5 pounds lighter than the SV unit — and the single-sided swingarm left room to run up an undertail exhaust. As for the livery, Roman is a fan of what he calls combat colors — our favorite new phrase:
“I’m a little older, and in the days of my youth, motorcycles had ‘combat’ colors. I find the current machines a bit boring compared to them. Black wheels, black (originally aluminum…!) frames, black plastics. Maybe I could make a similar black (=boring) design, but I didn’t want to. And so I bet on the “Suzuki” white / dark-light blue combination…”
All in all, Roman’s SV650 has the well-executed look of a factory special, as if Suzuki had decided to offer a higher performance version of their beloved V-twin middleweight. Even better, the bike performs great on the circuit and in the mountains:
“It is not a problem to ride with a knee down on the asphalt — been a few times to the circuit on this bike. I’ve also been on a trip to the Austrian Alps several times. I was packed ‘lean’ without side cases and the ride can be enjoyed even with a moderate load.”
Below, we talk to Roman for the full details on his ultra SV.
Suzuki SV650 Special: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
Since childhood, I had a desire to improve something, to invent. Maybe when I was 6 years old, I started assembling paper models of cars, first according to instructions in magazines, and later I drew the plans myself. When I was 8 years old, I built a mini go-kart (without engine) from old wooden boards for downhill driving. The definitive birth of a motorcyclist occurred when I was 13 years old. In autumn, my father brought (the price of one bottle of vodka) an undriveable wreckage of a Jawa 50cc motorcycle. During the repair, I learned an incredible amount about motorcycles, and in the spring I was already riding.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
Suzuki SV650 S, year 2003.
• Why was this bike built? (Customer project, company promotion, personal, etc.)
My son bought a brand-new Suzuki SV650 S and I was fascinated by the bike. When my son wasn’t riding it, I was. I drove 5000 km in a year and decided that I too would buy an SV, but not new — slightly crashed for rebuilding.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
I wanted a front USD fork, a single-sided swingarm in the rear, and an underseat exhaust.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
I installed a front USD fork from a Suzuki 600 SRAD. Attaching the original brake calipers to the new fork required motard-like duralumin adapters and a few small modifications and products were needed even though I wanted to keep the original front wheel.
The single-sided swingarm comes from the Triumph Speed Triple. That was less of a problem, because the three-cylinder engine has a wider chassis than the slim V2 concept. I measured everything and calculated carefully whether it would fit there. I had to cut the swingarm lengthwise into two parts, mill off about 25 mm, and have it welded again.
The original system of the suspension also had to be fine-tuned. I have a Kawasaki shock absorber in the back. If the muffler is under the seat, the motorcycle has a beautiful slim silhouette.
The original tires were replaced with new Continental RaceAttack tires. Continental is not one of my favorite brands, but on the JSA and my son’s SV, Contis were perfectly fine and we had nothing but good experiences with them.
And of course the “Suzuki” color combination had to come. But not ordinary, just a few simple lines. I wanted the painting to underline the sporty (not racing) nature of the motorcycle.
I’m a little older, and in the days of my youth, motorcycles had “combat” colors. I find the current machines a bit boring compared to them. Black wheels, black (originally aluminum…!) frames, black plastics. Maybe I could make a similar black (=boring) design, but I didn’t want to. And so I bet on the “Suzuki” white / dark-light blue combination. A little bit of “golden” can’t be missing on any machine of mine, aluminum on aluminum, spice it up with red…
• Does the bike have a nickname?
In our language, it is “esvéčko” (esvéétschko). This is the literal Slovak pronunciation of the abbreviation “SV”. Other examples:
KTM = KáTéeM
BMW = BéEmVé
• Any idea of horsepower, weight, and/or performance numbers?
The engine is standard only with a K&N filter. Changing the exhaust pipe slightly changed the values, but my friend fine-tuned the map on the dyno.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
The SV is a very friendly bike. Mine has a good front fork (currently from a Yamaha R1), a stiff rear swingarm with a better damper than the stock one. It is not a problem to ride with a knee down on the asphalt — I’ve been few times to the circuit on this bike.
I have been on a trip to the Austrian Alps several times. I was packed “lean” without side cases and the ride can be enjoyed even with a moderate load.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
I am slightly proud of the final performance of the swingarm.
• Is there anyone you’d like to thank?
My friend from the machine shop did a great job on the milling, and the other one on the aluminum welding.