The Great Plastic Debate
There have been many things said about the current range of Vintage Dirt Bike plastic replacement panels available. Some good, some not so good, some by well informed individuals and some by the not so well informed much of it being third hand.
To clarify some of the myths there are two different manufacturing processes used to make these panels. Injection moulding and Thermal vacuum forming. Various bike manufacturers used either of these methods but generally the Japanese used injection moulding. Some of the early European bikes used the vacuum forming process.
Injection Moulding requires very expensive tooling and very high production run numbers generally making it prohibitive to reproduce using this method, on the other hand Thermal Vacuum Forming whilst being much more labour intensive has a cheaper tooling cost component and can be manufactured in much smaller numbers.
The two major companies producing most of the vacuum formed product in the market today are Maier Plastic and DC Plastics. Maier plastic is a smooth glossy Polypropylene plastic and DC use a satin finish high density Polyethylene fade resistant (except opaque) plastic. I
t should be noted that vacuum forming does not produce clearly defined sharp edges and lines like the original units and that any moulded brackets on the reverse side are not possible, both companies make some items that are not quite correct, be it fit, finish or colour. DC plastics have been very proactive recently improving the finish; it’s now not as grainy and they have been working at remaking many of their old moulds for a better fit also their plastic is paintable and a deep high gloss, if required, can be achieved by the application of a clear coat finish.
We also stock some Injection moulded products, namely Yamaha TT/XT500 parts manufactured by Kedo of Germany and Yamaha YZ ‘77-79 parts manufactured by Vision Plastics here in Australia, both these ranges of plastic are exceptionally high quality reproductions.
Here at VMX unlimited we stock all the above mentioned brands so the choice is determined by your own expectations, if you’re not happy with your choice we will gladly exchange it for the alternative. Please contact us first so we can discuss the alternatives. The only other option is to keep looking for that elusive NOS part.