I love taking photos of interesting and colorful places in Texas. For that reason, I do a lot of solo riding, as group rides don’t offer you much opportunity to pull over and take pictures. Texas runs the gambit on photo ops, including bluebonnets, fall colors, sunsets, bridges, mountains, rock formations, wildflowers, even cactus… you name it. I do what every avid motorcyclist does; I always include my motorcycle with the aforementioned as a backdrop. I rode my 2002 ice blue-Marrakech red, K1200RS for 133,000 miles, and many photos included this bike. That blue/red paint scheme always just seemed to jump out at you.
I traded in my old friend last February, which by the way never left me stranded, for a thunder gray/silver 2011 R1200RT. Well, needless to say, the RT just didn’t show up in pictures as I would have preferred. Soon after the purchase, I ordered a new Corbin seat with Ferrari red piping, just for some color. Well, this made me think… hey, you need more red on this bike!
So I began to examine the bike and looked at what I thought I could do myself. Well, it didn’t take long for me to realize that someone with no painting experience was just about to make a disaster out of a very nice motorcycle paint job.
I had previously used local automotive painter and classic bike restorer, Jason Small, to repaint the cowl on my RS, which was cosmetically damaged due to a parking lot tip over. The kind that occurs when the rider fails to “make sure the side stand is fully down” as we teach in the BRC. (I’m an MSF RiderCoach.)
So I contacted Jason to see if he was interested in handling this project for me. I knew it was a touch of red I needed to add to the bike, I just didn’t know where or how much. He took one look and suggested we start with the rear lateral trim panels, and paint the lower half to see how that sets off the piping on the seat. I don’t always run the system cases, so that sounded like a good place to start. Okay, I thought to myself, thanks for picking the most difficult plastic on the bike to remove. But hey, it’s wintertime, so what else have I got to do?
“What color of red?” Jason asked, as we were standing in my garage. I pointed at my 20-year-old Pinarello racing bike, which is Ferrari red. So the color was set.
Now, I could remove all the plastic on my RS in my sleep, especially after almost 10 years and 133,000 miles of service. But this bike was still new to me, so this was uncharted territory. I carefully removed the rear panels and Jason took them to the body shop where he works. This motorcycle painting gig is what he does when he has slack time at the shop.
After several days, the finished panels were done and reinstalled. This color works! Immediately we both realized the front end of the bike now needed some red. So again, he suggested painting the mirror covers. “And how about that front fender?” he asked. “Not the whole fender, just a pointed triangle.” That’s interesting, I thought to myself. But now I’m on the Internet trying to figure out how to remove those mirror covers. (This is also the procedure you use to replace the turn signal bulbs.)
With the mirror covers and front fender now painted, those system cases now looked like they belonged on someone else’s motorcycle. So those guys were next.
With the cases painted, and a small BMW roundel added next to the reflector just for accent, one more stripe was needed to complete the front of the bike. So the upper lateral trim panel was next. These panels remove with four screws each, but then all the attachments, including the audio controls, also had to be removed. About now I’m asking myself, “Will I figure out how this all goes back together?”
The one good thing about BMW bodywork is it always goes back with the same exact fit as when it was removed, no matter how many times it’s disassembled. This time was no exception, and the audio worked!
The finishing touch, which I consider makes my RT the perfect BMW, was the Texas roundel. It’s simply a decal I purchased online. It comes sized just for that size BMW roundel and cut into four sections. The only problem was their stock is strictly for BMW automobiles. So I spent some time checking out various models of BMW cars in parking lots while out running errands. I finally spotted a Z4 one day, measured it and bingo – it was the same size.
In phases, we finally came up with this finished product. All items now freshly painted, lightly sanded and with a layer of clear coat applied. The cost of this project was roughly $500 and took approximately two months total as we also worked around holidays. How many hours? Who knows? I want to give credit to Jason, my painter, who came up with the paint scheme.
I think my new RT paint scheme turned out pretty amazing, and now it certainly will stand out in the pictures I shoot around the Lone Star state. Motorcycles are instant conversation starters, no matter if the other party rides or not. But this bike, with this paint scheme, goes off the charts now. Members of our local Dallas club, the Lone Star BMW Riders, were very impressed and complimentary, and I love it when I hear, “Wow, who’s bike is that?”