New Plastics and Graphics Kit
Somewhere along the line I decided I was going to move away from the traditional 690 look. I had found a graphics kit that I could customize on Taco Moto’s website of all things. Taco Moto is know for some pretty cool things that can make a KTM better but almost all of it is technical parts aimed at the Off Road crowd.
I knew what I wanted in general design. Lighter in color, perhaps a splash of blue, topo lines and their Moto Forecast Kit was right in the ballpark. The model bike seemed to be a 350 but there was an option that suggested I could modify for most any KTM model. I filled out the form and got into a email conversation with their graphic designer. We came up with a basic design idea that worked for me. I say basic because I didn’t want a bunch of sponsor logos, but I did want my website address shown prominently. Unfortunately, the only bike she could show a sample on was the 350 on the website and not on a model 690.
That’s close enough to get a good idea, right? So we added an Aufroad.com to the radiator shrouds and she sent me a final proof. The actual pattern looked like this:
You can see the fork guards at the bottom, the tail piece to the left with a spray can on it, the front fender above it, the the headlight shroud. To the left and right are the body side panels, with the Taco Moto on the swing arm protectors.
Looks great! Print it, said I.
I had all new plastics from at least three different websites coming. All of it was stock KTM, but I was more concerned with parts being in stock – hence the three different places.
I got the plastics and then got the graphics kit. It’s high quality, thick stuff. Just what I wanted.
I started with the front mask. I decided I was going to use what is called the wet method. Spray bottle, Isopropyl alcohol, water, and a few drops of dish soap. Get everything wet, then start squeegee’n all the water out. The water lets the vinyl stick a little but not hard, so there’s plenty of wiggle still. The heat gun also helps make it more flexible and event stretch a bit.
This is when the problems started.
I knew right away that the front mask was designed right BUT I was also running the KTM Powerparts windshield. That meant that most of the vinyl would be behind the windscreen so I decided to cut the vinyl where it would have gone under the shield and then put that part on top of the shield.
You can see it’s not a perfect match but I got it pretty close. Besides, it’s a dirt bike, right?
I didn’t like the way it cut through the middle of the two bolt holes so I trimmed it down just below that to clean it up.
Next up was the front fender. I noticed right away it was made for a different fender. It was close, but not quite the same shape. I marked out where it looked to match closest and put it on the same way. Most of it was going to get covered by a fender bag anyways.
See, we can adapt.
I then cut all the remaining pieces out and had them on the table.
It was a little hard to visualize which piece went where so I started taping them to where I knew they fit. That helped a lot.
That’s also when I noticed I was missing a big chunk. On the right rear, in the white plastic area that goes over the black tank, I was missing this one block.
Looking back at the proof, I can now see it’s right there. That blank empty hole!
Well crap! I went back to the Graphic Designer at TacoMoto and explained that there was a missing piece which she didn’t catch either. There was also an issue with my fork guards not matching either. She said they would work on it and get back to me.
The rest of the bike went on with little issue. I did get better stretching and making the vinyl do what I wanted with practice. I also noticed the KTM wasn’t printed in the same spot on the left as it is on the right side of the bike. If I didn’t mention it you probably would never notice.
Next up I tackled the Radiator and protecting it a little better. I had already installed the lower crash bars which are great for dropping the bike. I wanted to protect it from roosts too. 99% of my riding is done on lonely back roads but LAB2V had 450+ riders roosting each other for 500 miles.
Flatland Racing makes a fabulous grill guard that is also a side impact protector. Slavens had one in stock and so it was ordered!
The Flatland Grill is beefy! The stock radiator grill weighed in at just under 200 grams while the beefy aluminum monster was 5 times the weight!
I also ordered Samco hoses and clamps for the bike. These are high quality silicone and can take much more abuse than the stock ones.
Wait! Those are BLUE? Yup! After I started with the new graphics I could then have a few sprinkles of blue here and there. Like the Vanasche Case Saver. Yet another quality protection piece that could have come in any color but I chose blue for contrast.
You’ll notice that not all is blue. The Hammerhead Billet Shifter I did in orange. 🙂
In the rear, I had broken the license plate holder and the larger under fender that held the turn signals. I rewired them while I was in there and mounted a fresh couple of blinkers (they’re cheap). You can see the spray can in the graphics kit better here.
STOP! New Brakes Ahead!
Next up was new brake pads. Galfers in the HH material are my choice for hard riding. I had a set of greenies on the shelf but wanted the HH and CycleGear had a pair in stock so Yay!