July 10, 2013

Honda RC45 Fairing Repair

The RC45 is arguably the most desirable Honda ever made. Between 1994 and 1999 there were just 200 of these made and finding a used bike in good condition today is a very tall order indeed.

The bike ticks all the boxes – fuel-injection, DOHC, 118bhp, 749cc V4, a single-sided swingarm, six-speed gearbox and an aluminium twin-spar chassis. In competitions it carried home some illustrious prizes including John Kocinski’s triumph at the WSBK championship and Jim Moodie’s glorious circuit at the Isle of Man in just over 18 minutes at an average speed just shy of 200km/h.

The 1994 RC45 we were asked to restore looked like it could still go some but it desperately needed some major repairs to its fairings and fuel tank. Some bright spark had resprayed the fuel tank the wrong colour for the RC45 and nearly all the fairings had splits or heavy scuffing in the plastic.

The front fairing had fared worst of all. It had long wide cracks in the plastic that called for some heavy duty plastic welding to reinforce it from behind.

Once our repairs had been made invisible to the eye we sprayed the plastic parts with an adhesion promoter before applying primer. This is essential for ensuring the paint adheres perfectly to the surface.

The RC45 was sprayed in 3 different colours – white, red and blue. We lacquered over the paint to create a shine and to seal the colours off. We needed next to apply graphics and the lacquer ensures that no marks from this would damage the colours or undercoats.

Applying graphics is a highly skilled job and one that takes a steady hand and the patience of a saint. It can take as long as half a day to get the graphics precisely placed and with no bubbles. How do we do it? Well let’s just say you need the correct liquid solution, applied with a trigger spray by someone who has done this sort of thing for many, many years.

The graphics applied were not laminated – this would not provide the desired smooth finish with edges so fine you can hardly feel them. To give them that glossy finish – and to protect and seal them – a final layer of lacquer is applied over the panels.

Aiming as ever for a faithful restoration we left the tailpiece without lacquer to give it that characteristic matt look. It’s an important touch because now this flagship bike is truly restored to its former glory most other riders will only ever get to see the back as it cruises on past them.


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