Plastex Plastic Repair
Plastex Plastic Repair Kit
by "Smalls" for webBikeWorld.com
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They say there are
two types of riders: those who have gone down and those who
will go down. Figure on an accidental drop or two, or someone
backing into your motorcycle. As your eyes survey the damaged
plastics, your mind calculates replacement costs while your
blood pressure skyrockets.
Cracked and broken fairings are expensive to replace. The
solution? Repair it yourself with a Plastex Plastic Repair
Okay, here goesÖI
have to suck up my ego and tell the story about why I needed
to buy a Plastex Plastic Repair Kit.
It was Labor Day and Iíd been looking forward to a ride with
my Dad through the twisties up one of the local mountain passes.
We had taken a wrong turn and we were in the mountains, in an
area I was unfamiliar with. To get back on track, I had to do
a tight, right-hand turn. Thick trees and brush blocked my view
of what was on the other side of the turn.
As I went around the corner, several things hit me at once:
the road turned to gravel, became an incline, and was bordered
by a ditch. My attention was suddenly divided and my head wasnít
completely in the game in the first place. Not good. Luckily
I was going slowly, and I decided the best approach was to stop,
back up a little bit, line the bike up and then go.
I stopped -- or tried to -- I still donít know what I did
wrong, but suddenly I was face down in the gravel with my foot
pinned under my bike. I was shocked because I had been putting
my feet down to stop, then was on the ground. Iím still not
sure what happened: was it the gravel...Too much front brake?
Were my bars still slightly turned from going around the corner?
Or all of the above?
I felt pain radiate through my foot, thought it was broken,
and rolled over to look at my bike. I donít know if I was more
upset at my error, my hurt foot, or my broken turn signal and
cracked fairing (Insert scream here!).
Thankfully, I always ride with full gear and had on my
TCX Womenís Sunray Boots (review). The weight of the bike
sprained my foot, but it would have been much worse if Iíd been
wearing sneakers. There I was: shaken, cold, with a throbbing
foot, and facing at least a ninety-minute ride home.
Lesson learned: donít push yourself. If your head isnít in
the ride, donít ride! If youíre cold, you arenít focused;
you canít react as quickly. The accident was completely my fault;
I was foolish, distracted, and didnít turn around all the times
I wanted to. Iím very lucky it wasnít worse.
So in typical "Smalls" fashion, that's my long
background story to lead into the review!
Removing the fairing.
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Many owners think
that the plastics on a motorcycle are actually fiberglass, but
theyíre not. At least none are to my knowledge.
The inside of my Ninja 500 fairings say "plastic".
Iíve read many stories of those who repaired their fairings
with a fiberglass kit, only to report that the repair cracked
again as soon as the plastic started to flex. Plastex Plastic
Repair Kits are unique because the powder and the liquid in
the kit actually becomes plastic when combined. And here's the
beauty of it: there is no mixing ratio to follow, so you canít
mess it up!
Tim, the owner and product designer of the company, informed
me that Plastex makes a very strong bond. He said if a repaired
area is damaged again, it is more likely to crack next
to where the Plastex repair was made than on the original crack
-- the repair is that strong.
By the way, Plastex is a family-run business and the customer
service was a testament to that -- talking with Tim was like
getting help from a friend and he gave me several tips when
I placed my order.
Each Plastex Plastic Repair Kit comes with powder, liquid,
applicator needles, and other containers necessary for its use
and application, along with an instructional DVD. A molding
bar is also included for molding small replacement parts.
Powder and liquid refills, molds, and repair cloths are also
available individually. Several different kits are available;
the kit shown in the photos is the Standard Clear Plastex Kit.
As long as the lids are kept tightly on the liquid to prevent
evaporation, and itís not stored in direct sunlight or high
heat, Plastex has no shelf life and is good indefinitely. Plastex
can be sanded and painted, by the way, and is available in many
kit sizes and colors.
Grinding the crack on the inside of the fairing.
Prepping the Plastics
overstate the obvious, remove the pieces that need to be repaired.
This was interesting on my Ninja 500 since the upper fairing
is one large piece from side to side, so I had to first remove
the mirrors and disconnect the turn signals and headlight. This
required a couple of basic tools, like a Phillips screwdriver
and a 10 mm socket wrench/ratchet.
Enlist the help of a friend to hold the fairing so as you
take off the last screws it doesnít hit the ground and cause
more damage. When I first started prepping the plastic, I left
the headlight in the fairing, but the weight of the light made
it difficult to work with the fairing so I removed the light,
Per the instructions in the Plastex kit, the back of the
crack to be repaired should be filed down to a "V".
This allows the Plastex to form a strong bond all the way through
the material being repaired rather than just forming a bond
on the surface of the crack.
I used a Dremel tool to file the back of the fairing. I tried
a couple different Dremel tips and angles to find what worked
best, and ended up switching to a flat disk to get more control
over the width of the cut I was making.
Filing the inside of the fairing was a little challenging
because the Ninja 500ís top fairing is one large, U-shaped piece
and was awkward to work with. Plus, one of the cracks was on
an inside corner which made it difficult to get a good angle
with the Dremel.
The bottom edge, where a piece of the fairing had broken
off completely, was much easier to file down. Also, make sure
the back of the area being repaired is clean -- remove any dirt
and paint down to the bare plastic.
Since my fairing was cracked where the turn signal is inserted,
Tim suggested I reinforce the area with fiberglass cloth. If
a fiberglass cloth strip is being applied for reinforcement,
itís vital to also clean and sand off the paint where the strip
will be placed; I used sandpaper for this part.
Once the back of the fairing is prepped, use clear packing
tape and tape the front of the pieces together, being careful
to line up the cracks so no gaps show. The tape not only holds
the pieces in place, but also prevents any Plastex from running
through the crack onto the front of the fairing.
Inside of the fairing with the Plastex applied.
the product in a well-ventilated room because the chemicals
in the Plastex repair kit have a very strong odor. Even though
it was chilly outside, we ended up opening a window to vent
I watched the instructional video to get a feel for how to
apply the product. There are two different ways to apply it:
The powder can be squeezed into the crack, and then liquid applied
over it (I thought this was the easier method).
Plastex can also be applied by placing a drop or two of liquid
into the container of powder, then picking up the resultant
ďbeadĒ with the tip of the applicator needle and placing the
bead in the crack while adding more liquid, then repeating.
If fiberglass cloth is to be placed over a repaired crack,
cut the cloth to size and place it on a piece of packing tape
(sticky side up so the cloth sticks to the tape). Cover the
cloth with Plastex Plastic Repair Kit powder, and then squeeze
drops of the liquid onto the cloth until the powder and cloth
Pick up the tape and cloth and invert over the repaired crack,
applying pressure on the tape to smooth any bumps and bubbles
out of the cloth, then remove the tape.
Let any repairs sit at least an hour before removing the
tape off the front, doing touch-up painting, or reinstalling.
Before (L) and after (R). The crack still shows, but the fairing
is solid again, which is what counts.
The repair on the
piece that had broken completely off the Ninja looks really
good -- a smooth crack in the paint on the surface is all that
is visible. A little sanding and touch up paint would hide it
Once the Plastex was completely dry, I used a drill to cut
through the hardened cloth that covered the hole where I needed
to reattach the reflector.
The area around the turn signal was a little trickier to
repair with a nice smooth edge because of the location of the
crack and all the tight curves around the opening. But this
was my error because I think I didnít tape it well enough; this
turn signal opening was difficult to work around.
But based on the overall results, and especially with how
good the repair looks where the piece had broken completely
off, this is a product I would recommend.
Plastex Plastic Repair Kits are easy to use; the repair dries
quickly and is very sturdy. I tried to flex the piece back and
forth to see how strong the bond was, and it was definitely
solid (Side note: your fingernails donít have to be painted
to match your motorcycle when doing repairs!).
From start to finish, it took me less than an afternoon to
have the repair done and the fairing back on my bike. And it
cost me less than $40 US including shipping!
Repair Kits can fix cracked or broken plastics for a fraction
of the cost of replacing them. Itís easy to use, cures quickly,
and looks a heckuva lot better than duct tape or zip ties.
Plastex is available in black, white, clear, and a variety
of other colors.
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Technical, Repair and Maintenance Articles
Product Review: Plastex Plastic Repair Kit
|Available From: G.T.
|List Price: $13.95
Ė $244.95 (for a master shop kit)
colors and kits.
||Made In: U.S.A.
Date: May 2010
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From "W" (5/10): "First
off, I enjoyed the article. Well done, and it mirrors my experience
with using Plastex as well.
One minor nitpick: The different
colors that come with the basic kit (white, clear and black)
are not just different colors. The instructions state that the
black is specifically formulated (with graphite?) to be used
in areas of higher temperature.
In my experience, the black plastic is much more brittle
than the white and should be generally avoided unless the temperature
resistance is needed (inside a fairing next to the engine).
For bigger jobs, I invested in an actual plastic welder.
It's a bit harder to use, but the results are quite worth it,
in my opinion."