Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 Winter Upgrades

I have a lot planned for the SV over the shot winter break.  I made a list as shown below, and some are already complete, some are in progress, and others will be just nice-to-haves for the time being.  Here's a breakdown with completed items struckthrough
  • Quick turn throttle tube - Complete
  • 520 chain and sprockets - in progress. Rear sprocket installed
  • 4 piston front brake calipers – Calipers and brackets in hand
  • Aftermarket ECU (Powercommnder III or Bazzaz FI/Quickshift)
  • Oil change, check spark plugs, check fluids
  • Captured wheel spacers – rear in progress, front parts in hand to do with brake upgrades.
  • replace rear spool bolt - Complete
  • Lap timer – XT Ultra Lap
  • Replace front brake reservoir hose (schedule with new calipers) - parts in hand
  • Spring clip for rear axle nut - Complete
  • safety wire & pliers - not needed for track days but will be required when I/we race the SV
  • Upgrade brake pads and rotors - need to order pads. Will forego rotors for now
  • Woodcraft clip-ons - future planning
  • Check lower triple/steering-stem for straightness
  • Lightweight upper faring stay
  • Lightweight sub frame - future planning
  • Extra levers, pegs, gas tank, etc.
  • Sculpt/lower/firm seat pad
  • Spare Dzus fasteners
  • Tire warmers
Possibly more to come later as I make progress.  Some track days start up in February but work and personal schedule (and cold weather) will prevent me from going until March.  Plus I don't run tire warmers yet so it's pretty hard to warm up the tires when the air and track are cold.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Almost lowsided

This is probably the most dramatic thing that happened at the track this year.

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Great 2012 Track Season Comes to a Close

2012 turned out to be a lot of fun.  I ran about 8 track days and a handlebar never touched the ground.  Well, not unless you count when the SV tipped off the rear stand and fell over in the paddock that one time! 

After about the 2nd track day I moved out of my novice level comfort zone to run intermediate (level-2, middle, etc) sessions at MSR Houston.  I was afraid that I’d be one of the slowest bikes on the track when I moved up to the faster session, but I was pleasantly incorrect.  I turned out to be as fast or faster then most of the other bikes in the corners and mainly get passed by pure power on acceleration or in the straights when the best speed I can muster is easily 15-30 mph slower than the inline fours or big twins.  Now I’m working on my passing skills since almost all of my passing is done on the brakes down to the apex or mid-corner by carrying more speed. 

Now that there’s a few months before I get to a 2013 track day, I’m using the down time to make some modifications and upgrades to help me get a little better drive out of the corners, and well as improve my ability to brake harder and deeper into the corners.  There will be more on those efforts later.

On an SV it aint the power, it’s the strategy.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

More SV mods

The rearsets worked VERY well.  LOTS better grip and feel than stock.  And I still have room to move the pegs up and back about another half an inch.  I’ve done 2 track days with them so far, and about 2 or 3 more coming in in the next 30 days.

Per the recommendation of the "professional" racer at the last track day, and after paying attention to what he said he saw on the track, I'm putting a steering damper on the SV. I think it'll settle it down a bit in the corners and add some stability during acceleration and deceleration.
Instead of spending several hundred $$$ on a high-end unit, I'm going the simple route. I found a damper from an 07 Gixxer 600 on ebay for less than $30, including shipping. It's over $400 new.  And to make it fit, there's a guy on the svrider forums who machines the necessary hardware to mount it. One piece attaches to the same location that mounts the upper cowl/cluster/headlight stay for the fixed location. The other attaches to the lower triple at the left fork tube. I already bought the parts from him and the mounting hardware is installed.
The damper has a drain/fill port that I can change the damping rate by changing the viscosity of fork oil. It seems that most people are happy with about a 15wt oil. I'm not sure how that compares with what came in the damper.
So, I grabbed from 15w fork oil. Now I just need to get a small piece of tubing to fit the raised part where the plug goes in. The tubing I had was too small ID.  Just need to fill the damper, test fit it, and then tighten everything up.

And while I was messing with the forks, I got out my calipers and set both both fork tubes exactly 10mm higher in the clamps than stock. They set them that height when I had the forks rebuilt, but then in some work, I let them drop down to about 7-8mm so I put them back tonight. After making sure the steering damper works well, I can probably drop them another 2-3mm before it just starts getting too unstable. OR I can change the ride height in the rear a few mm.
Then I also lowered my clipons 10mm below the top clamp. We'll see how that feels at the track (probably 7/28, but 8/4 and 8/11 for sure). I also got a new, clear windscreen, so I may be able to mount my camera at the front of the tank for some video showing the cluster and out the front. I'll try to test all of that this weekend. I'm going to modify the airbox a little for better airflow as well as raising the front of the tank about 10mm. Pretty standard things in the SV world.

Monday, May 7, 2012

New RearSets

I found a good deal on SV-specific rearsets from SV Racing Parts and they came in today.  They look REALLY nice.  They appear to be machined out of solid aluminum, have a great range of adjustment, and just look really sharp.  I should have great clearance now since these don’t have peg feelers like the stock pegs.  I’ll have them mounted and tested in time for hopefully my next track day on June 3.


Monday, April 30, 2012

Update for the last day of April

I just didn’t have time to go out to MSR Houston for the annual Fastline MCS Motohouston BBQ.  I’ll have to check the forums and see how the day went.  I know that one buddy had somebody trailer his motorcycle down so he could take his Lamborghini to the track.  I bet that was fun to watch (and listen to).

My schedule for May is already packed with events and travel so it’s almost certain that I won’t be able to make any track days this month.  Hopefully June will open up a little even though it’s going to start getting pretty hot by then.

The SV is still ready to go.  I want to pull the right footpeg bracket off because it’s slightly bent and see if I can straighten it.  If it breaks in the process I’ll probably just get a new set of adjustable rearsets.  They’re not any more expensive than replacing stock parts, and if you get the right ones, they will be more durable than stock and still able to replace individual pieces as necessary down the road.

Lastly, I may look into a lap timer that is compatible with the beacons they use at the track.  The guy that I buy a lot of my SV parts and accessories from has a basic unit that he designed and sells for under 50 bucks.

Oh, and my kids are anxious to dive it a big stack of stickers that I have and decorate the original gray of the Armour Bodies race plastics that I have installed.  I have no intention of doing any painting but a VERY light sanding is all it takes to make the surface smooth for the stickers to adhere to.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First 2012 Track Day Complete

The SV performed well.  No issues at all.  Worked very hard on my racing line and started picking up on braking and turn-in points.  I was intimidated by MSRH at first knowing that it would have higher track speeds than I was used to at the other track I ran at last year.  However after working on my lines I felt very comfortable.  The instructor for my groups even asked after the second session if I had been there before because my lines looked good.

Anyway, it felt good to get back on the SV and I fell into the groove pretty quickly.  After lunch I decided to only run 3 of the 4 afternoon sessions so that I didn’t get too tired.  That was a good choice.  On the third run I felt smoother and more relaxed than any other session and was trusting the motorcycle more and more.  Even though it felt like my lap times were several seconds quicker I didn’t tire out as quickly.  So apparently smooth and steady are as beneficial to the rider as it is for the motorcycle!

The next available track day is April 29, but I’m not sure if I will be able to ride in that one.  I’ll have to see how my schedule works out.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Track time

Ready to do my first track day of 2012.  Running at MSR Houston with Fastline MCS.  Done a lot of work to the SV so I’m riding in the Novice class.  I’ll get some relatively slow speed sessions in so I can watch for any problems before they become big issues at higher speeds.