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Discussion Starter #1
I managed to import a 1989 XRV650 RD03 from Thunder last year. As far as I know, it is one of five RD03s in North America right now (there may be more, but they have not come up on my radar yet). That makes this not only a wonderful bike in its own right, but a very rare machine that deserves to be well taken care of. Upon receiving the bike and riding it for a few months, I decided to restore the bike to near-showroom quality. Here’s the story...

The day I received the bike (after around 9 months of paperwork and waiting!):



You can read about importing the bike to California here. It took quite a while and could not have been done without Thunder and Stormforce8’s help. I’m grateful that they seem to be as enamored with these bikes as I am! Prior to selling me the bike, Thunder had the engine rebuilt, so the restoration focused on the fuel system, electrical, frame repairs, wheels, body work and finish.

Here are a few of the trouble areas:







A bigger list of issues:
  • Just about every plastic panel had cracks/holes/deep scratches from years of proper use :)
  • The tank had a few dents
  • The frame needed some welding for broken tabs
  • Wheels didn’t have too much rot, but the anodized finish was faded and worn. Spokes were rusty too.
  • Engine paint was faded, stained and chipped.
  • Paint was faded/scratched
  • Persistent fuel delivery problems (tracked down to dirty carbs and a bad fuel relay)
In addition to solving those problems, I decided to also:
  • Upgrade the suspension while maintaining the original look
  • Upgrade the headlights to use stronger H4 bulbs
  • Replace dozens of worn parts with new or refurbished parts
Tearing the bike down:




Refinishing the engine:








Refinishing the valve covers:




Powdercoated parts:






Reassembly begins:




A new Nitron shock from Rugged Roads (compared to the original shock):




Bodywork and paint


As I mentioned earlier, just about every plastic panel and the tank itself needed repair before I could repaint them. Many hours of sanding, fiberglass, bondo and sweat followed. Here’s the full set after all the prep work and with primer:




Painting this bike was the toughest I have done yet: five colors and 14 decals! Being a designer by trade, I created the decals and had them printed by Image Works:




Next came many hours in the garage paint booth. I gained a new appreciation for the precision masking that it takes to get this right! Here’s a pic while I was masking the dark blue coat of paint:




After all the colors were applied, I clear coated everything:




Then came the decals:






After all the decals were applied, I put several more coats of clear on top. The last step for the paint was to cut and buff the clear for a smooth shine:




And here’s the final result!




Still a few things to do here and there, but I am having too much fun riding the bike to bother right now!

Thanks to Thunder, Stormforce8 and many other forum members who helped me with advice during the restoration. Next stop will be a motorcycle show or two to educate my fellow Americans about the Africa Twin! Then I plan to ride the piss out of it! :toothy10:
 

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Thats a spectacular re vamp of a fantastic icon. You must post some of the reactions from un initiated locals :D

Ps, why did you chose image works?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I went with Image Works on Thunder's advice. I'm sure there are many shops in the states that could have done a good job of course. Stormforce8 was shipping me some parts and he was nice enough to accept the decals and include them in the shipment.

I must say, Image Works was great to deal with and the decals were of excellent quality (I sent them an EPS file and they set everything up for me). Price was great too.
 

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I went with Image Works on Thunder's advice. I'm sure there are many shops in the states that could have done a good job of course. Stormforce8 was shipping me some parts and he was nice enough to accept the decals and include them in the shipment.

I must say, Image Works was great to deal with and the decals were of excellent quality (I sent them an EPS file and they set everything up for me). Price was great too.
Ah, that makes sense. I use image works and they are round the corner from where I work, nice helpfull people and good quality product. I think I put Thunder on to them.
I was suprised and intrigued about someone from so far away using them.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I was surprised and intrigued about someone from so far away using them.
I rely on recommendations a lot. If someone is happy with a company, I'll give them a try! Tell Graham at Image Works I said hi! :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
The color is a little saturated in the pic. The original engine side covers on the 650 engines had what I would call a "faded copper" color to them. I searched high and low to find engine paint in that color and came up empty. I could have had them powdercoated, but I wasn't keen to tear into the engine after Thunder had it rebuilt. Then I had an idea...

I found the color I wanted made by duplicolor. I used engine paint primer, then sprayed the non-engine copper paint and then covered that paint with clear engine paint (effectively sealing the copper paint with high heat paint). I did a long-term test on the header guard to see if the paint would stick after a few hundred miles. No problems at all!
 

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I rely on recommendations a lot. If someone is happy with a company, I'll give them a try! Tell Graham at Image Works I said hi! :thumbup:
Will do, he will be doing some decals for the campervan this spring.mand the great thing is I will drive it round there and they will apply them:D
 

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Wow that is some quality work. Sure wish I had that know-how to speed up the process on mine up here in Oregon. I could use some more detailed info on how you repaired the plastics, as I will have to do the same on mine.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Wow. That's a pretty great idea there. Did you hit the whole engine with the clear?
I did. It is not a super glossy clear. I would call it 75% gloss. Enough to keep the engine looking clean, but not super reflective. Probably slightly glossier than how the engines came from the factory.
 

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Wow that is some quality work. Sure wish I had that know-how to speed up the process on mine up here in Oregon. I could use some more detailed info on how you repaired the plastics, as I will have to do the same on mine.
You and I are in a very small club: RD03 owners of North America! I count yours, one in Alaska, one in New Jersey and another in Canada.

Repairing plastic isn't too hard. I use fiberglass or fiberglass resin alone for holes and significant cracks. Sand away the excess resin and then apply bondo to smooth out the surface. When it comes to bondo (a bad word in some restorer's minds) there are two types. Normal bondo works great on tanks and plastic parts that won't flex at all. It is pink. "Bumper bondo" or flexible bondo is what I used on parts that I knew would flex a bit. Here's an example...

The disk guard had a large scrape and hole in it when I got it. I carefully fiber glassed the back of the hole and then filled in the front of the hole with flexible bondo. After a bunch of sanding and a few more applications of the bondo, the surface was perfect and ready for paint.

There are plastic welding products out there, but I haven't had experience with them.

Feel free to PM me and we can exchange contact info. Us RD03 owners need to stay in contact! :thumbup:
 

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That is jaw droppingly gorgous.

Fantastic job you've done there, one that you deserve many accolades for at the shows you intend to attend.

Thanks very much for sharing :thumbup:

Steve T

:cool:
 

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Absolutely fantastic work there

Well done matey
 

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You and I are in a very small club: RD03 owners of North America! I count yours, one in Alaska, one in New Jersey and another in Canada.

Repairing plastic isn't too hard. I use fiberglass or fiberglass resin alone for holes and significant cracks. Sand away the excess resin and then apply bondo to smooth out the surface. When it comes to bondo (a bad word in some restorer's minds) there are two types. Normal bondo works great on tanks and plastic parts that won't flex at all. It is pink. "Bumper bondo" or flexible bondo is what I used on parts that I knew would flex a bit. Here's an example...

The disk guard had a large scrape and hole in it when I got it. I carefully fiber glassed the back of the hole and then filled in the front of the hole with flexible bondo. After a bunch of sanding and a few more applications of the bondo, the surface was perfect and ready for paint.

There are plastic welding products out there, but I haven't had experience with them.

Feel free to PM me and we can exchange contact info. Us RD03 owners need to stay in contact! :thumbup:
Great info. I also went through some of your other restorations on Flickr... those are stunning man. We will absolutely be in contact, though I bet the flow of questions will be very one way, heh...
 
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