Screwball – SFV Racer Project – Part 1

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Since the SFV (Gladius) came out I’ve wanted to do something with that frame. I had this idea of taking a Ducati 999 gas tank and mating it with the SFV frame for a Ducati look. I purchased a salvage frame and gas tank from a 749. At first it seemed the gas tank would mount up semi easy. The other challenge of the tank is fuel delivery. The thought was to use a 1st gen SV harness and carb system. Put a simple petcock on the gas tank and cover the hole for the 999 pump. Things change…

SFV650 Frame Ducati Gas Tank
(I would love to revisit this gas tank in the future)

Placed both a 1st gen and 2nd gen SV650 gas tanks on the SFV frame. The 1st generation SV gas tank actually mated very well with the lines of the frame. The 2nd generation SV tank could utilize the SFV rear tank mount with front mounts are just a bit off but there was a huge gap from the tank to the frame. I decided against both the SV tanks and the 749 tank. As much as I want this bike to be cool, I NEED it to be ride-able at first. I want to know how a SFV could feel while remaining somewhat of an SFV and using a different gas tank would eliminate that. The hunt was on for an SFV650 gas tank and it was not easy. There are very few parts around for them and even fewer gas tanks. The same few on ebay remained on ebay for a long time, but $300+ was not in my price range for a tank. Finally one popped up for $150 and I pounced. We are still waiting for that to arrive.

Suzuki decided to make a front end swap more difficult on the SFV Gladius compared to the GSXR front swap on the SV650. A fork swap on the SV650 was very simple as the SV and GSXR shared a similar steering stem and bearing set up. The SFV650 on the other hand had to be different. The stem is 20mm longer and finding one of these has been near impossible. So that leaves my good buddy Zoran at He produced a beautiful custom stem that mimics a GSXR unit but 20mm longer. The bike can now be fitted with any GSXR front end. That would be a bit too easy…….


Instead a set of Ducati 999R forks popped up on ebay for a steal. Time to call Zoran again. He took a set of GSXR triple clamps and machined them to accept the larger 999R Ohlins forks (53mm top / 56mm bottom ).


I want to eliminate weight, but not yet. The standard SFV swing arm is made of steel and very heavy. The 1st generation SV swing arm, made of aluminum, weighs roughly 8lbs less than the Gladius unit and works with the SFV frame. I will eventually test between the two assemblies.

sv650 swingarm in SFV650

While I grew impatient for the SFV gas tank to arrive, I wanted to see how the 2013 GSXR600 SBK race tail would mount and it’s near perfect. At least it is with the SV gas tank. We can only hope the fitment is as easy with the different fuel trank.

After a lot of time and some help from Andy Palmer, the wire harness was complete. What started out as a completely stock harness from a 2003 SV650 is now bare bones. Only thing left is what is required for the bike to run properly. No rectifier, no fuse box, no relays, no gauge wires,and a couple resistors where some sensors would be; the harness is 650 grams less than the stock unit. To finish it all off the front mount battery box from TWF Racing will be used eliminating everything from the tail except the ECU.

SFV SV650 race harness
The STV plug will go into a simulator supplied by TWF.

sfv650 gladius wire harness

SFV650 SV650 Side Mount Battery Box

The power plant is all up in the air, have a few options. The full orignal style M4 system from a 1st generation SV bolted up to the Gladius extremely well. This is one of the coolest systems out there and am very pleased to see it work. For those wondering, not all the SV exhaust systems will work on the Gladius. 2nd Generation Yoshimura system will work but the 1st generation Yoshimura system will not. The 2nd Generation M4 system will also not work. The rear header will either run into the frame or linkage.

sv650 m4 exhaust on SFV650

Part 2: Motor and Body.

This post has already been read 3153 times!

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