A tour of the SVS

I was up at Alice’s a little while ago, doing the usual tire-kicking and bullshitting, and a guy started chatting about the SVS. He was very impressed with the amount of personalization that I’ve done to my bike. Well, I think his exact words were “You’ve sure got a lot of crap on that bike,” but anyway.

So, I thought it’d be fun to take y’all on a little tour of my bike. We can call it the 2004 Where My Paychecks Go Tour. I’ve put relevant older pictures in, too, so it’s sort of a trip down the SVS memory lane.

First, let’s step back and walk around the bike. I’ve highlighted everything that I added.

Yeah, that there’s a lot of crap. What’s it all mean?

Well, first off, there’s the front of the bike. I bought this Women on Wheels window decal at the 2003 Ride-In in Prescott, Arizona. Akili got one, too; we stood out in the parking lot in the 110-degree heat trying to get the decals just right on our windscreens. Akili was being a total perfectionist, and kept positioning it, and re-positioning it, over and over, smoking and grumbling and swearing at the decal.

Moving on to the righthand side of the SVS.

I put these little cat stickers on my bike about 3 years ago. Peter and I used to eat at this Round Table Pizza by his old house; we’d go there probably 3 or 4 times a month, and the owner knew us. Anyway, they had one of those machines which sold stickers for 50 cents. I must have spent twenty bucks on that machine before I finally got two red kitties. I had a silver one on my old black helmet, too. It amazes me that this sticker has lasted, in perfect condition, for three years.

The frame sliders were a present from Peter for my 26th birthday. I have grave instructions from both Peter and the salesman he bought them from to never test them out. I don’t think I have…yeah, it’s been over a year since the last time I dropped the SVS. *knock on wood*

This is Incarnation #2 of the 12v socket. Incarnation #1, as we remeber, met with a fiery death at the Grand Canyon last April. The (now-fused) 12v socket’s primary reason for living is to power my Garmin GPS V.

The battery tender hook-up is a fairly new addition to the SVS. I had an old battery tender that I’d modified to also use the 12v socket, but I wasn’t convinced that it worked properly. I ended up using a Helimot gift certificate to buy another battery tender, which plugs directly into this little guy. Pretty cool.

I bought the gel seat from fellow Wind Dancer Sara in late 2001; she’d bought it for her naked SV, but didn’t like how it felt.

I can’t remember when I got the little magnetic tank guard, probably right around the same time. Naturally, the tank is pretty scratched up all around the guard. 😉 I need to replace it, actually — it, um, started melting off during our ride to/from Prescott last summer. The glue on the magnet was no match for the Mojave Desert in July.

The Woodcraft brake pedal is courtesy of dingleberry; the stock brake pedal was trashed when I was rear-ended in June 2002, so I went with the aftermarket replacement.

The SW Motech centerstand was a Christmas 2001 present from Peter.

The Yoshimura RS-3 race can is also thanks to dingleberry. The accident caused a small (~quarter-sized) gouge on my stock exhaust, and I convinced the Progressive claims guy that this would lower the resale value of the bike. Since the Yosh pipe ended up being about $200 cheaper than an OEM replacement, I bought that and a new set of tires. Thanks, dingleberry!

I still don’t have a decent picture of the flames; they’re almost impossible to photograph. I had them done on the spur of the moment while in Prescott for the WOW Ride-In; a pair of girls from Illinois were hand-painting bikes, and were doing really beautiful work. I asked for something subtle yet interesting; they more than delivered. Jenny also had her BMW R1200C painted.

I think that does it for the righthand side; let’s move on to the rear view.


There is absolutely zero reason for the clear taillight (and LED brake lights) other than that it Looks Really Cool.

I bought the “Girls Kick Ass” sticker, along with a few others, from BikerDecals.com way back in 2000. Another of the stickers I bought, “REAL women ride motorcycles” ended up on my car.

I probably don’t need to explain the license plate to anyone, huh. I first got this plate for my Nighthawk, way back in 2000. I moved it to the SVS sometime in mid-2001. The license plate frame comes from the Wind Dancers 2004 holiday party, probably because I tend to overbook myself from doing stuff for the chapter. 😉

I joined Sport-Touring.net in November 2001, and had, really, no idea what I was getting myself into. 😉 What started out as just a cool message board has blossomed into a literal community: it’s sort of like the online version of Cheers, for serious motorcyclists. We don’t always agree, we have our fights and sometimes we stomp off, but we always come back. I’ve yet to meet a single person on those boards that isn’t considerate, intelligent, and compassionate, both on and off the motorcycle.

On to the lefthand side of the SVS:


Another view of the awesome centerstand.

The SW Motech quicklock siderack mounts are the most recent functional addition to the SVS. I put them on at Tony and Steph’s a few months ago; I haven’t even taken a trip with the Givi hard bags yet. Soon.

I got the hugger before my Southwest desert trip in April 2003. I really like the hugger, but getting it was a bit of nightmare, as the company was in the UK, and never felt like answering their phones or answering their email. The plastic cracked while I was on the road; Peter and I ended up cutting up an old Rubbermaid garbage can and epoxying the pieces behind the bolt holes on the hugger for reinforcement.

The lefthand cat sticker hasn’t fared as well as the other. The original sticker got mucked up during some long-ago maintenance — I think while replacing the alternator cover gasket — and the replacement just isn’t as good. It’s shiny, instead of matte, and, as you can see, tears easily. This makes me sad.

The lefthand frame slider has, surprisingly, the same story as the righthand one.

The controller next to it is for my Gerbing heated vest. I like having the variable-temperature controller, since I get cold so damn easily.

If I remember correctly, the flush mount turn signals were one of the very first mods that I made to the SVS. This is because I managed to drop the bike turning into the Aftershocks parking lot, on Peter’s birthday, a month after getting the motorcycle. Naturally, there were 832947234 people there, and I spent the entire Doc Wong clinic pouting in a corner and feeling like the World’s Largest Retard. The drop put a crack in my fairing and busted up the stock turn signal, so I got the flush mounts to cover the fairing damage.

The handlebar swap was my first major modification to the bike. I know I did that in September 2001, because I’d bought the Hawk GT clip-ons from a guy in Canada, and they were delayed at the border by the terrorist attacks.

This is both the most recent addition to the bike: a bear bell! Steph got it for me for my birthday this year, to celebrate our upcoming Alaska trip. See, the bear hears the bell and gets scared and runs off! It’s been working so far; I haven’t had a single bear scare in my garage or along my commute since I put it on my bike.

One last part of the bike: the dash!

I put the HotGrips heated grips on because I was still in physical therapy in winter 2002, and I couldn’t wear both my wrist braces and thick bulky gloves. Smartest decision I ever made. Every bike I ever own from now on will have heated grips.

The stick-on Formotion thermometer was added after the ride to Prescott. It was just too fun to crowd around Lily’s Harley at gas stations and see the thermometer needle buried at 120F. The thermometer is, truly, hours of entertainment. Now I always know exactly how miserable I am!

The digital clock face is another holdover from the Nighthawk — sort of ghetto, but it works and it’s waterproof. I believe it came from Target.

The frog is the unofficial mascot for Women on Wheels; there’s a long story there involving a Ride-In, live frogs, and peoples’ bathtubs. Suffice it to say that WOW members often leave each other little gifts of frog paraphernalia. This little sparkly guy was sitting on my bike after a monthly meeting last year; he’s been riding with me ever since.

The knobby thing on the handlebar is the RAM mount for either the GPS or my camera. I love the RAM mount. My whole bike would be covered in them if I could.

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6 Responses to A tour of the SVS

  1. Peter says:

    And there’s a motorcycle somewhere under all that stuff too!

  2. carolyn says:

    Actually, I don’t think there is anymore — I think the crap has become self-contained. 😀

  3. Linda says:

    $20 on stickers?
    Sheesh – have you never heard of Michael’s? :: grin ::
    L. – contemplating putting smily faces all over Arnie to cover the scratches 😉

  4. Nelson says:

    Where are the hards bags?
    I WANT TO SEE HARD BAGS!!

  5. Javier says:

    Hey carolyn. Do you happen to remember wich model of RAM MOUNT are you using? I’m planning to put one of these on my ’94 zx6e and don’t want to get the wrong one.

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