Special thanks to Mitchell Patrie for creating this section of the FAQ

Is there anyway I can keep the paint from getting scratched by my riding boots?

position.jpg (59965 bytes)

Mitchell Patrie prestondrake@comcast.net has used his talents to create templates that you can use to protect your RT's paint from being rubbed by your pants or boots.

Mitchell says "I don't know if anyone else has this problem, but my boots are abrading the paint between the kick panel and the knee pad, especially on the shifter side. I now have two pieces of vinyl on each side of the bike; they fit great, and they're invisible from five feet away. For the best results, it's important to be systematic about how you squeeze the air out from under the vinyl so you don't end up with any trapped bubbles.

The big piece (shin.jpg) fits on the rear facing area between the kick panel and the knee pad. The left and right side pieces are mirror image; the angled side is the bottom, and should be positioned about 12 mm (1/2") from the top of the kick panel. The little triangle-shaped pieces fit on the protrusions that touch the insides of your calves; the pointed end faces the rear of the bike. For the piece that goes on the right side, there is a cutout so that it can fit around the throttle screw access hole."

After using these for two months,  Mitchell reports "So far the pieces are doing a great job on my bike. The vinyl is getting a bit scuffed and discolored, which means my paint (and steer head) are indeed being protected. The vinyl can readily be replaced as needed; fixing scratched paint ain't so easy..."

The  drawing of the RT (position.jpg) at the bottom left, shows the positions of these pieces in red.

position.jpg (59965 bytes)       shin.jpg (103908 bytes)            calf.jpg (76031 bytes)

If you would like to use these patterns, click on the images above and save the image file to your hard-drive. The dimension shows how big the template should be when it's printed out. After you download the image, use a graphics program to open the file and print it. Microsoft Photo Editor (included with Office 97) prints it at the correct size. Adobe Photoshop doesn't get it right unless you go into the image/image-size menu and manually set the width or height as required. The simple image viewing program included with Win95/98 (start -> programs -> accessories -> imaging) prints it at the correct size without any trouble.

The area around the ignition is always getting marked up from keys rubbing on the aluminum. Is there a good way to clean it and keep it from getting scratched or turning black again?

Finally an answer from Cary Littell! <littell@pacbell.net>I have found that aluminum polish works pretty well, and once you get the black residue and the scratches off, I recommend covering it up using some sticky vinyl or other covering.

If you visit a local sign shop, such as the franchise store "Signs USA" where they make commercial banners, you can purchase clear or colored vinyl. Mitchell Patrie prestondrake@comcast.net had trouble finding any at a sign shop, but found that the plastic was available at his local bikeshop - its the same stuff racers use to put numbers on their bikes. Mitchell is an expert with CAD, and set up a REAL template for your use. Thanks Mitchell!

Drawing22.jpg (89184 bytes)

If you would like to use this pattern, click on the image above and save the file to your hard-drive. The dimension shows how big the template should be when it's printed out. After you download the image, use a graphics program to print it. Microsoft Photo Editor (included with Office 97) prints it at the correct size. Adobe Photoshop doesn't get it right unless you go into the image/image-size menu and manually set the width or height as required. The simple image viewing program included with Win95/98 (start -> programs -> accessories -> imaging) prints it at the correct size without any trouble.

Individual results may vary, so ensure a good fit before you peel-off the backing and apply the vinyl!

I am using clear on my RT, and its pretty much invisible!

George Westcott gwestcot@iamerica.net has another idea beside plastic film: "In the past I have used, instead of a plastic film, a piece of old neoprene mouse pad that I epoxied (2 part) into place. I cut a template from a piece of cardboard and traced it onto the pad. I then trimmed it to fit. You can use either the black side up or if you have a favorite pattern or color, you can use that side up. An added benefit to the neoprene over the plastic film is that if you have a lot of keys, the neoprene quiets the rattling from the keys."

I have not extended the Front Fender. How can I keep my lowers from getting all scratched up?

If you have not been willing to shell out for the extended fender, Mitchell Patrie prestondrake@comcast.net has come to our rescue with a template and instructions for putting a cover on the "chin" of the fairing behind the front wheel.

Template - Chin Guard.jpg (213778 bytes)

Template

Template - Chin Guard Instructions.gif (12936 bytes)

Instructions

If you would like to use this pattern, click on the image above and save the file to your hard-drive. The dimension shows how big the template should be when it's printed out. After you download the image, use a graphics program to print it. Microsoft Photo Editor (included with Office 97) prints it at the correct size. Adobe Photoshop doesn't get it right unless you go into the image/image-size menu and manually set the width or height as required. The simple image viewing program included with Win95/98 (start -> programs -> accessories -> imaging) prints it at the correct size without any trouble.

The full template is wide enough that you have to print it out in two halves and then tape them together along the centerline. Ideally you would cut the guard from a single large piece of vinyl; if you don't have a piece that big, then you can cut the guard as two halves and then try to align them on the bike. The inner set of lines is for the smaller template. If you ride on a lot of gravel-strewn roads, you may want the larger template; otherwise, the smaller one may give satisfactory performance. The larger template is a big complicated piece to put on, so I practiced a couple of times and came up with a procedure that seems to work OK. The basic steps are illustrated in the instruction image: the numbers and arrows indicate areas to be applied and smoothed, and the order in which they should be done. It's important to get that back edge lined up properly, which is why it's the first step; once that's done, everything else should line up pretty well. The last step, wrapping that big tab under the bottom of the panel, is also important, because it helps stretch the rest of the bottom edge around those compound curves. Best bet is to use all four of your fingers, start from the base of that tab, and gradually smooth the whole thing down, keeping those edges nice and tight to pull things into shape.

I really recommend sacrificing some vinyl for a practice piece as I did. Once you have it cut out, stick it to some carpet several times to dull the adhesive so you can remove it from the panel easily after you're done practicing and have satisfied yourself as to exactly how the final piece will fit.

The area at the rear of my tank near where it meets the seat is always getting scratched. I don't want to diet.  How can I protect the paint?

Once again, Mitchell Patrie prestondrake@comcast.net comes the rescue with a template to protect the paint in this area: "The rear of the fuel tank is an area that jacket zippers, belt buckles, and tank bags seem to touch with distressing frequency. Considering all the other templates I've cranked out, I figured this was another area that was ripe for application.

This template is intended to fit at the back end of the center panel on the top of the fuel tank, directly in front of the saddle. The last 1/4" of vinyl is supposed to wrap around the back edge of the tank. If you've got reasonably flexible vinyl with good quality adhesive, you should be able to make it lay flat and stay there, even over that compound curvature. As with the other templates though, I recommend cutting a test piece first and dulling the adhesive by sticking it to carpet or fleece several times. Once you've confirmed that the size is right and that you'll be able to make it lay down over that curve, then go ahead and cut/apply the final piece.

Click on the image above for a full size version. The template should be sized right to print out correctly. If it doesn't measure up to the listed size, feel free to adjust the dpi setting using your favorite image editing software.