Valve Clearance Fun

Valve clearances is not the most fun thing you can do with an SV650.

That said, its really not that hard. Here is what I did:

  • Remove seats
  • Remove Tank
  • Remove front fairings (See next point)
  • Drain Coolant and remove radiator (you probably need to replace the coolant anyway on this service, worth it for easier access)
  • Remove Valve covers

Now we can begin! Checking the valve clearances is well documented in the proper Suzuki manual, simply a case of rotating the engine to a set position on using feeler gauges to find the clearance. I was not the most happy person in the world to find all 4 rear cylinder valves were 1 thou too tight. Things got better when the front turned out to be in spec.

So then its cam chain tensioner out, and cams out, tappets out (keeping them very carefully labelled!) and finally you get to the shim, a small piece of steel 7.48mm in diameter and available in 0.05mm increments of thickness. Some quick cross referencing of your current clearnace and shim size with Suzuki’s SV Bible and then you can order the new shims from the interwobble.

I now have the shims, and fully plan to remember to take photos tonight when i start putting the thing back together. After that, this is a job I can ignore for another 15,000 miles :-) .

Commuting in the wet

Today was the first properly wet day that I have commuted into work on the motorbike for. Getting motivated was tricky, but I parked my car in a seriously small space last night and did not fancy trying to extract it either so the bike won ;-) . I have a ALDI armoured waterproof jacket which does a good job, with the lining zipped in today I was warm and dry. I have not yet bought equivalent pants, so it was my leathers with waterproof over trousers. My gloves and boots do a good job of keeping the water out and I was comfortable all the way. My neck is the only unprotected area and I plan to buy at least a Buff to my collection of gear for riding.

My Alpkit Gourdon 20 rucksack maintains its 100% waterproof record – an excellent bit of kit by a great company. The tank bag with rain cover also did its job, allowing me to bring in a full set of work clothes.

All in all really not a problem. More money saved, more time saved and more time spent on the motorcycle which I enjoy. Commuting is going well! Its still hammering down anyway, so I’ll be back out in the rain in half an hour.

Motorcycle Commuting

I have now been commuting 20 miles each way to work on a 125cc motorcycle for about a month now. I have come to some conclusions:

  • It’s cheap – 110mpg
  • It’s fast – filter through the traffic
  • It’s more fun

What I really wonder about is why so few people use motrobikes to commute. Travelling in South East Asia recently you see huge numers of motorcycles – Vietnam has very very few cars but millions of little Hondas. I’m saving money, the enviroment and also saving all the lazy people in cars a bit of time as I’m not making the queues 5m longer.

First of all here are the rough costs:
Bike: £400 for a 2000 Suzuki GS125 – simple, reliable and capale of doing 70mph flat.
Clothes: £100 odd for second hand Leathers, boots new gloves and a cheapo rain suit.
Luggage: £50 for a waterproof rucksack and a simple magnetic tankbag.
Helmet: £50 for a basic flip front lid.
Insurance: £110 for the bike in Harrogate.
CBT: £80 for a days training.
So thats less than £1k all up, and the bike should fetch most of what I paid when I sell it.

Running Costs, Weekly, 40 miles per day, 99.9p for unleaded
Car (1992 Golf GTI) – 32mpg = £27.90 in fuel
Bike (Suzuki GS125) – 110mpg = £8.25 in fuel
Thats a big saving of £19.65 per week, or £943 for 48 weeks per year of work. That covers the full cost of the bike and equipment after year one of commuting – including tax (£15), training and insurance. In year 2, the savings would be around £800. The bike needs servicing every 2500 miles – a liter of oil, a filter and some mechanical checks cost the DIY mechanic around £10, so thats abig saving as well.

There’s more to come on this issue. One of the major concerns is horrible weather. Thus far my water proofs have been fine, but the purchase of a nice waterproof / warm / protective suit will be nice before winter. I’m also interested to see how economical the XJ600 I have my eye on will be on my commute.

General News

Not posted since my Birthday, but quite a bit happened… I moved to Harrogate for a start. I had to get out of the Parents house, so managed to negotiate a move to our Leeds office and move in with friends in Harrogate.

The side effect of this has been my purchase of my first motorbike – a Suzuki GS125 from Mat. Hes got the GSF600 Bandit now :-) . Since getting it I’ve travelled 1000 miles on her, averaging 111mpg and generally enjoying myself. It takes 10-15 mins off the typical commute as I can ignore Queues in the main. Obviously there are some issues like all the extra kit I needed to buy for riding it, but I got some good deals from eBay etc. The rain sucks, but not as badly as I had feared.

I have passed the Theory Test now as well, and start my Direct Access Course tomorrow. Bring on the 500!

Download festival was good. No puctures were taken however. Climbing Helvellyn for the Summer Solstice was fun, but ended up in a surreal 50 people in a grey dawn in a cloud kinda way. On the plus side some nice people offered us sausages off the barbie (at 4am). Driving the Kirkstone in the Golf with its new engine mounts was FUN – nobody got in the way (aside from Sheep, who don’t count).

I’m back on the diet as of today also. Fun fun fun, but 13 st 4 lb is a bit of a FAIL.

Dry Suit Course

Did my PADI dry suit speciality last Sunday with Tigerdive. Capenwray was mad busy!

The day started off poorly as we were bent over and rogered for £27 each just to get in – £15 to ‘register’ with Capenwray and £12 to dive. The school really should have told us about this… Pure luck that Mat had cash. I never do.

After breakfast we finally found the school. Tricky as the usual big yellow van had broken down. It took till about 11am before we hit the water for the confined dive. The aim here was to do a fin pivot and hover on a 2m platform. I had a lot of difficulty with this.. I was overweighted with 12kg and therfore could not hover in a position i felt comfortable in. To get neutrally bouyant meant having lots of air in the dry suit and the neck seal was a bit loose for me. This often ended up with air dumped into my hood :-) . I eventually passed this phase and we went back in.

After a snack we were back into the first open water. For this we were sent out with someone who was doing an adventure dive for his Advanced Open Water, so we would be assisting in a search and recovery dive to make it more interesting. This dive went well with some patterns, working with a lift bag etc while maintaining neutral bouyancy. This time I had 8kg and was struggling to stay down in some of the exercises… When swimming around with a DSMB towards the end of the dive, I lost bouyancy control – dumped the air from the suit, emptied lungs but still came up. Probably underweighted.

The final dive we only just made tot he water before the gates were closed. Capenwray was so busy that air fills were taking an age to get done. This time we descended onto the wessex helicopter and did the roll procedure to correct excess air in the legs of a drysuit. after this we swam over the the transit and metro they have dumped in the quarry, this was an interesting dive that allowed us to begin exploring Capenwray. Finally we did a scuba unit removal and refit on the surface, followed by weight belt removal and refit. I suck at the weight belt, again because of the way i float. The sooner I can get my own kit and get everything trimmed out to my satisfaction, the better.

Overall a good course and an interesting venue. Just be aware of the extra costs (especially if you have never been to Capenwray before) and make sure you know where to meet the school.

Delamere Night Ride

Made it to Delamere last night for a ride with a few guys from Craig’s work. This was my first time there (in this decade) so I was interested to see what its like. Flat was my first impression! There’s some small rises and a wee bit with some interesting drops and steeper stuff – the loose soil and lack of grip were a new challenge compared to trail centre grit and stone.

My lighting rig held up OK. Currently running a 10W halogen on my head (homebrew MR11, overvolted 20%) and a tesco C cell Cree 3w on the bars. I was totally out gunned by Jan with his homebrew triple LED rig. Oh Well. Lets not get into an expensive arms race here eh?

Riding went well, until we got a little lost and Rich detoured into a ditch, removing his rear mech, snapping the dropout and bending the chain. One new singlespeed conversion later we got our bearings and headed on out of the woods, snagged a McD’s and I got a class run from Formby home – Golf thrashed without remorse ;-) .

Lee Quarry is on the list for the next night ride.

Trails Alien in Edinburgh

Simply awesome.

On another note, the BeOne is still untested – I went to Llandegla, but about 10 miles away a con rod came through the bock of my Mums Saxo (Borrowed as the Golf was in the middle of a bit of work). 30k thats done and then bang. I WILL get out at least one day this weekend. Hopefully both as theres a Delemere bash on Sunday morn.

BeOne Nirvana 1.0

So here it is: my new bike. It’s not actually new though – its just the frame that I bought from CRC with all the bits from the Rockhopper on it.


The frame is a BeOne Nirvana 1.0 with 100mm rear travel, linkage operated RockShox Monarch 3.3 air shock. I made an impulse buy here – this is the frame that BeOne use on their £3k full susser, but in the sale at CRC for £260. Seemed like a bargain and I have been wanting full sus for a while so I went for it.

First impressions are good – the frame is nicely welded, and looks like it should be mega strong. The shock seems to do its job – I’m new to this air stuff so time will tell. All the XC stuff seems to not have coils these days ;-(. The frame weighs 2.9kg which i guess is OK – the Rockhopper frame was 1.8kg in comparision.

The build was easy enough as all the parts from the rockhopper fitted without issue. The frame was supplied with a Richey integrated headset and an allen key seat post clamp. I ditched that for QR anyway. I was tempted by a new chainset, but no more cash right now. This means I’m still about 5 years behind with my square taper BB! The rear disc mount was straight as well which is a bonus with my very picky Hope 4 pots.

Heres the rough Spec Anyway:

  • BeOne Nirvana 1.0 frame
  • RockShox Monarch 3.3
  • RockShox Tora 318
  • Hope Enduro 4 brakes (205/185)
  • Charge Spoon Saddle
  • Rest is all 2003 Rockhopper

Hopefully get down to Llandegla for a shake down tomo. I already had to nip out to Halfrauds for a shock pump. Not bad at £20 – wiggle wanted the same and I would still have a flat shock until Tuesday….

More work on the Golf

Over the Weekend I managed to sort out the broken door lock barrel, strip and clean the throttle body, replace the spark plugs, cut the airbox for more flow and remove a few other bits hat need to be out of the way of the impending cam belt change.

The belt turned out to be rather looser than it should be, so I don’t want to run it until I get the new belt in. So that delays the oil change a bit.

I also need to do the following:

  • Check and possibly replace the dizzy cap, rotor arm and HT leads
  • Check the gearbox oil level
  • Clean everything :-)
  • Install the sub amp wiring
  • Sort out why the headunit isnt getting a permanant live
  • Fix the parcel shelf hanger
  • Investigate either an alarm or remote locking kit
  • Look at fog light options

Should keep my busy for a while! Lets hope this weekend is dry. No chance of an early spring is there?