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RG500 restoration

Discussion in 'Modifications and Projects' started by jbonevia, Mar 8, 2009.

  1. Hi Everyone,

    I've made a few posts already about my bike but i thought i would do this one to document the semi-restoration it is going through at the moment.

    I bought the bike from a mate in melbourne about 12-18 months ago now, mechanically it's great, from what i can tell it's had some tuning/engine work done in the past so i am not going to touch any major apart from addressing a clutch drag issue.

    Bodywise it was not so great, it had been painted in the past in the original colour scheme but it looked like a quick job, the paint was peeling off the fuel tank, colour stripes that were supposed to be decals were painted on but masked up poorly. Many of the plastic panels (fairings, side covers, tail piece) were cracked or missing mounting tabs. In short it needed work!

    This is a pic of what it looked like when i got it:

    I've got a hangup for keeping things original. To me it is so much better to see an old bike that looks exactly as it would have when it rolled off the showroom floor rather than one that has been painted in non original colours. I'm sure not everyone agrees but that's my opinion!

    Rather than repair my damaged plastics i decided to get hold of good second hand ones, RG500 parts are fairly hard to come by in Australia but fortunately Japan has a good supply of reasonably priced parts, their domestic RG400 was pretty much identical body wise, and i have a friend who lives in Japan who helped me out.

    I sourced the following over few weeks of searching:

    side covers: http://dealerforums.com.au/rg500/images/side_covers.jpg
    single seat cowl: http://dealerforums.com.au/rg500/images/seat_cowl.jpg
    lhs fairing: http://dealerforums.com.au/rg500/images/lhs_fairing.jpg
    rhs fairing: http://dealerforums.com.au/rg500/images/rhs_fairing.jpg
    tail piece: http://dealerforums.com.au/rg500/images/tail_cover.jpg

    All were in great condition, no cracks or damage. I also picked up a brand new NOS bellypan set. I couldnt locate a decent upper fairing/nose cone so i stuck with my original one, also apart from the paint, my fuel tank was in good condition so that was re-used as well.

    I then went on the search for all the decals that i would need. Fortunately as well i had a mate who worked at a suzuki bike dealership, one night he let me sit down and search for every RG500 decal i could get from Suzuki Australia, unfortunately some decals were no longer available and i had to go aftermarket. I got onto these guys: http://www.reproductiondecals.com and ordered a full RG500 decal set from them, i didnt use the whole set, just the decals i couldnt get from Suzuki.

    Once i had the panels and the decals i hunted down a spray painter who could do the work. High on my criteria list was one that had attention to detail and would be able to do a 'as new' job.

    I ended up going to Troy from MCR in Tullamarine, Melbourne. I spoke to him on the phone a few times and we discussed exactly what i wanted. What sealed the deal was that he is a fellow RG500 owner and his bike is the exact same colours as mine, so he could use it as a reference to paint my panels exactly the same. I boxed up all the panels and sent them down to him via courier. The brief: "take as long as you want but do a top job"!

    I kept in regular contact with Troy and he finished the job about a week and a half ago. I went down to Melbourne and picked up all the panels and he did indeed do a top job. Every panel has been painted, on the outside and on the inside. The attention to detail was excellent, right down to spotting and repairing little things that i hadnt even noticed. Troy took the liberty of getting some of the aftermarket stickers re-done as he wasn't happy with the colours they were printed with, he is going to send them up to me and i'll stick them on.

    Although pictures do not do the items justice, here is a photo of the painted fuel tank:
    Fuel tank:

    And this is the tail piece painted:
    tail piece: [​IMG]

    Now it's assembly time!

    The bike looks like this at the moment:
    Sad looking bike:

    I've started by putting on the heat shielding for the tail piece. The exhausts run right inside next to the plastics, so each side has some aluminum backed heat shielding stuck to the panels. Each piece was covered in overspray from the original spray job a previous owner did, so i am scraping clean each one before sticking it back onto the new plastics. I've done one side so far:
    Tail piece heat shielding: [​IMG]

    I'm using a gel adhesive from bunnings thats good up to 130 degrees C, hopefully thats enough to keep it stuck there!

    The heat shielding for the side covers is looking pretty sad at the moment, it's some sort of glass fibre insulation with an aluminum foil covering, this is one of the worst ones:
    Heat shielding: [​IMG]

    I'm in the process of sticking on new foil before re-attaching them to the side covers.

    I'll post up more progress as i go along, it might take a few weeks working a couple of hours each night but i'll get there eventually!

    Oh, i've just bought a RG250 as well, intended to be my daily rider. It's a '85 HB Replica model. Came with quite a few bits an pieces, i used to have a HB replica about 10 years ago and i've been on the lookout for another one for a while now. This came up on ebay so i grabbed it. It's still in Melbourne at the moment i hope to get it up to Sydney and on the road soon:
  2. I want to hear this baby run. Very nostalgic machine.
  3. both amazing looking bikes, I'll be definitely interested in seeing the 500 in it's final trim :)

    Keep up the good work
  4. high quality work there!!
  5. Good for you, those 500 strokers will be like hen's teeth one day. And I agree original is best.
  6. Hi johnno....Id like to thank you for your patience as our main stream stuff keeps us run off our feet and jobs like these take quite a bit of time,so thanks mate appreciated.Also thanks for the kind words and glad your happy with the job mate....I felt honoured to do the parts on such a lovely machine,looking forward to seeing it all together.Thats a ripper of a W series RG250....Id love to have one of those!keep up the good work!However.....i think your missing something ;)

  7. ahh very nice Troy, you'd better keep your eye on that helmet next time i am down or it might go missing!

    I might end up getting you to do the same treatment on the RG250 at some stage, not for a while though, i'm going to enjoy riding it first!

    Just send me those decals and i'll be a happy man :)
  8. Nice, RG500's are an awesome piece of machinery. I'm dreaming of a tuned RG500 engine in the aprilia =P~
  9. Getting there slowly, got all the heat shielding attached back onto the panels and have put the rear and side panels back onto the bike.

    Couldnt resist putting on the tank and chucking in a litre of petrol and firing her up. She started pretty easily considering the last time she ran was probably 4-5 months ago now.

    I've spent a bit of time cleaning around the chain and swingarm, there was years of built up chain lube and grit stuck all over the place, to be honest i really need to pull everything apart to clean it all properly but not having a bike stand (and keen to get back on the road) is preventing this.

    Plenty of work still do go:

    Some surface rust inside the tank that requires attention.
    Mount the rest of the panels and sort out panel alignment
    Stick on a few more decals
    I'd like to paint the brake calipers and sort out some oxidisation on some alloy parts but again that might be a future project.

  10. Nice job mate, she looks great :)
  11. God DAMN that's clean.

    I'm terrified of 2-stroke 500s, You're a braver man than I! Have a ball with it!