Well it’s been a very busy couple of months for me and this is the first time I’ve had chance to put digits to keys, thanks for being patient!
June saw Del and I getting very moist together whilst looking after the Queen and her subjects at Royal Ascot. The weather was so bad; my handcuffs which I keep in my right boot holster had rusted shut! Just what I needed when the time came to show one drunken race goer the error of his ways. However me, Del and the twelve other Black Rats had a good time but worked long days.
A week after finishing Ascot, I then helped Police Henley Regatta for five days by ensuring the temporary one way system was “violator” free and by making sure the visitors attending the event arrived and left with little hassle. What a contrast in climate though! It was so hot that each of the BMW RT1200s developed the same fault. I think it was due to the combination of hot temperatures, slow speed manoeuvring and rough ground that caused each of the rear hub seals on the shaft drive systems of the BMWs to start to leak oil. Thankfully the leak wasn’t bad enough to drip onto the rear discs but the fault had me twitching I can tell you. If you are an RT owner, I wouldn’t worry too much unless you decide to ride around for hours at a time at 2 MPH over gravel and in high temperatures. Thankfully the fault on all three bikes hasn’t surfaced again and our resident workshop motorcycle technician Tony has given the BMers a thorough check over and the all clear.
Now onto this month’s maintenance article.
Back in January this year when the snow was thick on the ground and a group of us from Taplow Traffic needed to have a two wheeled “Fix” we decided to visit the Bike show at Birmingham’s NEC. Whilst “mincing” round the exhibition and laughing at the individuals who had clearly commuted to the show by car but for some unknown reason decided to get changed into full leathers and walk round the stands carrying their crash helmets, I spotted an interesting demonstration. A couple of guys from a company called Venture Shield were demonstrating how easy it was to fit their paint protection product to a demo fuel tank. I watched with interest as they sprayed what appeared to be soapy water onto the tank, laid the protective film across the surface, glided it into place and then squeezed the surplice water away with a square piece of rubber. I have to tell you I was sold on the product straight away! Once the protective film had been fitted they then produced a set of keys and whilst appearing to use force, attempted to scratch the painted surface. I then looked closely where they’d tried to deface the paint but it was totally clean, all I could see was a tiny ripple in the protective film. The demonstrator then peeled off the film and began to lay a new piece in its place. I looked closely at the surface of the new layer and could just make out a faint line around the edge of the film where it meets the paintwork. Could it be that easy to protect your pride and joy from stone chips, sun fade and scratching? I spoke to the seller and they advised me that their product which has a five year guarantee was easy to fit and their bike specific kits covered nearly all models of machines.
I purchased a complete protection set for my Honda Blackbird there and then. Grant, my bike Skipper also brought a kit for his Aprilia RSV a bike which you don’t see every day but Venture Sheild had the cut film in stock. The precision cut kit which is pictured below comprised of the following protection areas for my Bird.
Both mirrors, headlight, front nose cone, upper and lower fairing edges, centre lower fairing behind the front wheel, front mud guard, both sides of the tank and a centre tank pad.
I think you will agree, all the above areas are prone to stone chips, wear and rubbing. Also included in the package were full instructions, a spray bottle with additive and a rubber block squeegee.
Well I left it until a couple of weeks ago before fitting the protective film; this was due to the outside temperature. Any painter and automotive stylist will tell you that any kind of decals should not be fitted to bikes or cars when its cold, the adhesive will not adhere correctly.
The solution in the provided squirty bottle is measured correctly however if you lose the bottle or you run out, the demonstrator stated that all is needed is a mixture of fifty parts water to one part baby bath solution. I followed the instructions to the letter and relied on previous experience of applying decals to paintwork when I used to work in a bodyshop. I thoroughly cleaned the paintwork, dried it and then for good measure cleaned the area again with spirit wipe. The trick with working with this product is to soak it thoroughly with the solution. I chose to apply the Centre Fairing lower section first. I cut the section out, soaked the outside face and wetted my naked finger tips (do not wear latex gloves). Whilst separating the vinyl from its backing, I repeatedly soaked the adhesive side and the surface of the area to be covered. Once separated, I then laid the vinyl onto the surface and slid it easily into place. Once correctly positioned and this I cannot teach you, it just comes with practice, I began to lightly run the rubber block over the film and started to expel the solution from between the painted surface and the adhesive side. The skill is to keep the slippery vinyl in place whilst squeezing out the moister. Yes it does take time, yes the vinyl will move slightly and yes you will swear at first however persevere with it because you will master the technique. This is why I started on the section of my bike where it is relatively hidden.
After expelling all the moisture that you can see, I then went over the outside of the vinyl again with dry paper to collect the remaining dampness. It does take several hours to dry thoroughly though so you will not see the final result until much later.
I then carried on with fitting the film to both side fairings and the headlight. I’ve decided not to fit the product to the nose cone or mirrors just yet because I have a couple of stone chips on all three pieces and want to have the paintwork corrected before fitting Venture Shield. If you do have quite large stone chips and decide to fit Venture Shield, the product will sink into the chip and will not look the best however maybe that’s just me being fussy.
I tried to photograph the fitted product on my Blackbird but the captured images did not show the product at all, it’s that discreet!