THE BIKE: R80 RT of ‘82 vintage
OUR PART OF THE PROCESS: Wet Spray Painting
THE GOAL: Transformation into a Street Scrambler fit for Steve McQueen!

This month we were honoured to be part of a massive 200 hour project undertaken by Pete Hodson and the talented team at Side Rock Cycles. For those of you who don’t know, this outfit is an absolute phenomenon in the field of bike customisation.  With 16 projects now completed and two bikes shown at the BSCM show last  year, these guys seriously know their stuff.

For this particular project, the owner of the R80 RT was very clear about the vision he had for the bike. Quite simply, he wanted a Street Scrambler fit for Steve McQueen himself – very chunky and solid with a metallic looking finish that would be nothing short of perfection.

Phase one of the project involved the R80 RT being completely stripped down.  Following blasting, the frame, swinging arm and wheels were then powder coated in satin black. The forks were treated to new springs, new seals and a slightly heavier oil. At the rear, new Hagon shocks were added.

In line with the brief from the customer, chunky profile trail tyres were then fitted to provide outstanding off-road grip and a pleasant on-road experience!

The project then moved on to phase two as the Side Rock Cycles guys expertly worked their way through the following tasks:

Taking the engine apart for a full inspection
Treating it to new rings, timing chain kit & crank seals
Fitting K&N style filters for the re-built carbs
Replacing the standard airbox & top engine cover with a one piece cover
Containing the smaller Gel battery in a bespoke alloy box to conceal wiring
Adding a spot lamp to the crash bars for those guilty night time trails…
Toning down the new chrome headlamp, Acewell speedo/tacho & shortened alloy mudguards
Fitting a new pair of chromed “Mettisse” style handlebars to nail that “off road” character
Creating a bespoke and high level stainless steel exhaust
Aqua blasting the new exhaust for a matt finish and fitting a black reverse cone muffler

It was now time for Wicked Coatings to step in with our custom painting expertise.

The initial concept for the paint was to strip the tank to bare metal, without the use of abrasives so we could then create a distressed bare metal look. A racking roundel and Number 5 was to be painted on and lacquered with a special direct to metal paint system.

However, once all of the old paint had been painstakingly removed this highlighted some fundamental issues with the initial concept – namely some small dents and abrasions in the tank that couldn’t be removed, despite our best efforts.

In the true spirit of Wicked Coatings, we were not to be beaten by this unforeseen setback and took some time to craft an alternative approach..

With a little persistence and some creative genius we managed to come up with a process that enabled us to closely replicate the finish required on this project from it’s outset.  What’s more, the final result actually tied in much closer with some of the motorcycles other details which was the cherry on top of this project! Side Rock Cycles were incredibly chuffed with what we managed to achieve and the project moved forward towards its final stage.

To compliment the grips, an incredible three quarter length seat with the SRC logo embroidered across the back in gold was attached to the modified rear sub frame. 200 hours of painstaking work were finally completed and the R80 RT had been transformed into a rock star worthy beast! A street scrambler of the finest pedigree, to be known from now on as “Heavy Metal!”

It’s always great to work in collaboration with an expert in their field. We would urge anyone with an interest in bike customisation to like the Side Rock Cycles Facebook page and keep up to date with the great stuff that they are doing.