No sooner do we write about building your own custom re-purposed motorcycle from somewhat humbler beginnings than we get a comment from Lawrence Somma about his SV650 that began as a pretty basic bike and ended up winning Best of Show at the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show. Nice work!
Back in 2003, he bought this used 2001 SV, the standard model, nothing fancy but a nice bike for scooting around and having fun. But after a bit he noticed a few shortcomings like the fairly basic suspension and brakes. Some guys might look for a new bike but Lawrence saw another SV650 with a GSXR front end and a single sided swingarm and figured if someone else could do that, maybe he could change a few things, too.
Lots more plus many photos below:
He had originally tried Race Tech cartridge emulators in the forks but seeing the custom SV started him thinking something more was in order. He had a talk with the guys at Kolb Machine & Fabrication in Kingston, NY and with some creative ideas and a bit of cash they came up with the bike you see here.
I’ll let Larry describe the work:
We wanted the bike to stand out from the Naked Sportbike pack and these days that means having an interesting headlight arrangement. This one was sourced from Ghezzi-Brian in Italy, the MotoGuzzi Custom House. http://www.ghezzi-brian.com/
Scott Kolb designed the far out but highly functional exhaust arrangement. Inspired by the Buell and Bimota Tesi 2D, Scott went for mass-centralization and at the same time filled in the awkward space below the forward facing cylinder. At first people tend to recoil, then they start to warm up to it .. then they start to really dig it. Most people anyway.
Scott and his boys also fit a VFR single-sided swing arm and mounted a Ducati 916 wheel to it complete with Penske shock and Ti Spring. They grafted on a complete GSXR600 front-end complete with radial brakes and handlebar mounts. They rebuilt the sub-frame, relocated the battery and basically did 1001 other little details before they were finished.
Always the contrarian, I went for a paint job which is based on the stock paint (but much nicer than stock) rather than something overly “show bikey.” The paint work was done by Sean Lezotte at Connecticut Cycle Refinishing http://ccrbike.com/.
We showed the bike for the first time at the NYC Motorcycle Show at the Javitts Center. We won the custom sportbike class and inspired by our success, went on to win the national competition as well.
In the end we took a budget bike and transformed it into a high spec naked sportbike. I can report that it goes as well as it looks. We got it dialed in on a local dyno and it makes around 77hp. Our pipe makes good low end and midrange while not losing anything on top. Perfect for the street.
It is retired from the show circuit and is now my primary street bike. I have ridden it almost every weekend this season. It now feels like a $25000 exotic and is a ball to ride.
That’s a great example of what I was talking about. A basic bike turned into a great ride and a show winner, too! What’s not to like? Of course, you don’t have to go to quite this far to have a sweet ride but you could go even farther if you wanted to, after all, it’s your bike. Make it perfect for you.