Well, not exactly. The aftermarket cowls fit pretty well, but they are not of the quality, or fit and finish of the OEM cowls. Alhough, at half the price, one wouldn’t expect them to be. The fastener locations were very good. They all lined up pretty well. The gauge of plastic, much thinner than the original cowls, was a bit more fragile. There was flashing in a few places, and weak spots in some of the extremities of the different cowls. There were some tabs that seemed a bit flimsy.
We began with the front, nose cowl. It was the most particular piece to install and had the most hard-to-reach spots. It also had supporting brackets to attach. It took about four hours to get it to the best fitment possible. Once we had that one on, the bike started to look better immediately. It looked like a bike again.
The next job would be the lower side panels. They tab under the main side panels. Since they were first, it was a breeze.
One thing we knew we’d have to do was figure out what to do about the sound-suppressing and heat deflecting foam. The inner surface of most of the cowls had open-cell foam adhered to them. This is primarily for sound suppression but, around the engine hot areas, there are also heat deflectors. All of this had to be remedied with the new cowls before we could install them.
We made a trip to a hardware store to buy a roll of foil-clad foam. We used it in a couple of places but, in most of the cowls, we reused the OEM foam. When we couldn’t reuse the OEM foam, we had to carefully fillet out the the OEM pieces to use as templates to cut the new foam. We attached the foam to the inside of the new cowls with silicone adhesive.
We had spent most of Saturday fitting the nose cowl, prepping the cowls for installation, and making sure we had the work staged for Sunday morning, We had a discussion and came up with a plan for how to proceed.
We worked about thirteen hours on Saturday, with a two-hour break for dinner. After dinner, we spent a couple more hours in the garage getting the new exhaust canisters installed. Marv got a real steal on a full OEM exhaust system. Since the canisters were all we needed, he resold the rest of the system, and brought the actualized cost of the new canisters way down.
Sunday, July 22nd
I turned 48 today. Other than that:
We started about 8 am. We ate lunch around 1 pm, and decided to make a trip to the hardware store. We picked up a few fasteners which we would end up not using, and another tube of clear silicone.
We were glad we’d saved all the scraps and pieces of the old cowls. We would have been trying to come up with a lot of specialized fasteners had we not had the old cowls to cannibalize. The new cowls came with six fasteners for mounting the front turn signals, and no more.
By the end of Sunday evening we had all of the main cowls on, the tail fairing restored, and a good idea of what was left before us. I expect to see Marv on his bike at some point on Monday. He had his riding gear with him.
Monday, July 23rd
Monday morning we had another early start. Both Marv and I enjoy working on our bikes, but I’m pretty sure both of us have had enough to last us a while.
Here, you see Marv taking a break and doing his nails.
We finished up with the installation of the front fender and the tank close-outs. Nothing was a ‘snap’, and each cowl presented us with a different problem.
We finished up and rolled the bike off the lift at around 2 pm. We then went in the house for lunch and a short break.
I eventually pried Marv out of the recliner and got him to make a short test ride. I was sure the bike would function properly, but I was curious if there were any rattles or pops. I was also curious if Marv would notice any difference in the suspension with the new forks.
After around 60 or so miles, we pulled into the garage and cleaned our chains. It was a job well done, and I think we were both glad we did it.
After three days of walking around on the concrete floor at 10 hours a day, my dogs were tired.