When I picked up the ZXR, it was sold to me as having a ‘cracked fairing panel’. Caveat emptor and all that, but here’s a photo of the ‘cracked’ panel:
Now, call me pernickety, but to my mind, that’s broken. Not cracked. I mean, it could be considered that there was a very large crack that caused a large lump to fall off on the M62 into the path of a Norbert Dentressangle lorry. But still, it’s broken. Not cracked. This bugged me, not because of the missing lump in isolation, but because that missing lump contained the mounting point for another panel that keeps the worst of the slime and rubbish from the road from the oil cooler, filter, and associated gubbins. I looked around on ebay for another panel. One came up for seventy quid that was cracked (actually cracked, not broken) and had been painted by Stevie Wonder using bitumen and a hosepipe. Amazingly it sold as well. Another one popped up (and is still there) for £125. It’s immaculate. Really, it looks brand new. And it’s a complete bargain, as these panels cost £500 each in 1989. But, no matter how much of a bargain it is, I just don’t have £125 right now. Well, I do, but I’m spending it on beer and curry rather than wasting it. Also, remember what I said earlier about wanted to repair what I have, rather than just buy new stuff? That still holds true.
And then, my good pal Keef came to the rescue. He’d picked up a pair of indescribably scabby panels from a workshop on the Isle of Man, and shipped them over to me for nothing. At all. Completely gratis. Keef, if you ever read this, you are a gentleman of the highest order, and officially the Nicest Bloke in The World. I briefly considered painting this pair of panels, but once I’d had a good look, it was apparent that the l/h panel was actually in worse condition than the one I already had. To fix it, and repaint it, would have cost considerably more than the £125 for the immaculate ebay one.
But, crucially, the lump that was missing from my panel was still in pretty good shape on the new panel. So, very carefully, I measured up, lined up, marked up, had a cup of tea, re-lined up, and re-measured, and cut the matching lump out of the new panel to graft into the existing one. It took quite a bit of sanding, but eventually, I was left with this:
Now, I know from previous experience that glassfibre really doesn’t bond too well to ZXR panels, so I got out the angle grinder and flap wheel, and roughed up the surface for about 10cm either side of the join. I then cut some aluminium mesh and glass cloth to cover the area, mixed up some really properly nasty epoxy resin, poured it over the area, and left it 24hrs to set. Obviously, this looked bloody awful once I picked it up and turned it over after everything had cured nicely. But, importantly, it was bloody strong. Once again I got out the angle grinder and flap wheel, and cleaned up the epoxy that had run through the gaps on the front. It now looked like this:
Well, looking on the bright side, at least it was the right kind of shape. As for whoever painted the panel to look like a canary suffering from jaundice, well, the less said the better. Anyway. I broke out the tub of P38 (I used to have some really nice, lightweight filler with aluminium flakes in it that set quickly, was easy to use, and easy to sand, and took paint really well, but I lent it to someone and never saw it again. Sadly I’ve also completely forgotten what it’s called, so I’m back stuck with P38 until I can find some more ), slathered a load of it over the join, waited a couple of hours, and then sanded it as flat as I could be bothered. There’s no point in spending a huge amount of time on this, as the rest of the bike isn’t a concours specimen, so I’m just going for the “looks OK from a distance” kind of fix. A quick spray with some plastic primer I found in the garage, and we’re now here:
Which kind of looks OK. From a distance. Which is exactly what I’m looking for, so that’s good. I’ll pop down to Halfords tomorrow to find a gunmetal kind of paint that almost, but doesn’t quite match the original. Again, that’s OK by me, as you can’t look at both sides at once to see the difference. And besides, as the sidestand is Donald Ducked, the bike leans over so far that nobody is ever likely to notice the mismatch unless they’re picking the bike out of a gravel trap somewhere.
 PS. Just did a bit of searching, and it’s Dinitrol 6030. Highly recommended. Will buy some more myself, in readiness for the inevitable earth-sky-earth-sky-carrot-field moment.