MotoEquip reflective decal kit for 2014 BMW R1200RTW

2014 BMW R1200RTW with MotoEquip reflective decal kit - Night view.  Photo:  f2.0, 1/30 sec., ISO 3200, with in-camera flash

2014 BMW R1200RTW with MotoEquip reflective decal kit – night view. Photo: f2.0, 1/30 sec., ISO 3200, with in-camera flash

2014 BMW R1200RTW with MotoEquip reflective decal kit - day view.  Photo:  f2.0, 1/17 sec., ISO 3200, natural light

2014 BMW R1200RTW with MotoEquip reflective decal kit – day view. Photo: f2.0, 1/17 sec., ISO 3200, natural light

 

Conspicuity in traffic is important to me.  I wear one of those goofy (to some), yellow-green, high visibility motorcycle jackets and a totally unfashionable plain, white helmet.  Can you see me now?  I hope so.

I just feel safer equipped this way, so I’m predisposed to like anything that makes me or the bike more visible on the road.

When I bought the 2014 BMW R1200RTW (pre-owned) last year from the city’s BMW dealership, the bike’s former owner passed along a brand new reflective decal kit for the RT’s panniers.  The decal Kit RK-18 from MotoEquip in the United States, fits BMW R1200RTWs and K1600GT/GTLs, because both models use the same panniers.

The reflective decals are laser cut and made of 3M Scotchlite vinyl, labeled 3M Scotchlite Reflective Graphic Film Series 680.  In daylight, the Scotchlite vinyl tape is a gloss BLACK, so for vanity-centric riders (I’m one), the material blends in nicely with the black panniers.  At night when light hits the 3M tape, the material reflects white.  It’s cool stuff.

Kit RK-18 contains 15 pieces of reflective tape:  4 pieces for the rear face of each pannier; 3 strips for the lid of each pannier; and 1 piece for the rear fender.  (I chose NOT to install the 3 side strips nor the rear fender piece.)

Installation

Installation was simple, and surprisingly, even a DIY-incompetent like me completed the task in about 1 hour.

MotoEquip’s instructions are pretty clear.  They offer two ways to install this kit:  the “Wet Mounting” or “Dry Mounting.”

“Wet Mounting” is the slower, but very forgiving method, and the process I chose.  “Dry Mounting” is stick it on once and you’re done; there is NO ROOM FOR ERROR, and I don’t recommend it.

Wet mounting

Wet mounting is simple:

  1. Clean the surface with soapy water (I recommend dish washing soap; it’s what car fanatics use to strip the wax off painted surfaces before polishing and waxing paint.)
  2. Rinse surfaces with clean water
  3. Clean surfaces one final time with rubbing alcohol (pro paint protection film installers use a 50-50 mix of rubbing alcohol and water)

Equipment:

You’ll need a clean spray bottle filled with plain, warm water, a pen knife (anything with a pointy-tipped blade), and a damp microfiber cloth to use as a squeegee.  (MotoEquip’s instructions say to use a clean paper towel to squeegee water.  Don’t do it.  The dry paper towel – or a dry microfiber cloth – will leave scratches on the 3M tape.)

  1. Liberally spray water on the panniers’ rear surfaces
  2. Peel off one decal at a time, liberally spray the adhesive side with water, and lay the decal on the wet pannier surface; loosely fit ALL the 8 decals for the rear of the panniers
  3. Align the decals so the spacing between each strip is even.  Tip:  Use the sharp tip of a small knife to lift the edge of the wet tape so you can grab it with your fingers.  Tip:  Turn on an overhead light to make the strips reflective.  When they’re reflective (showing white), it’s much easier to see the vertical and horizontal alignment of the pieces.
  4. When the decals are positioned to your liking, GENTLY squeegee the water from under the decal using a DAMP microfiber cloth.  Work from the centre of the decal to the outer edges.  Take your time.  With patience, you’ll work out all the air bubbles.
  5. Repeat squeegeeing the decals every few hours.  Tip:  Even after 2 or 3 hours of ‘final’ squeegeeing, you can still easily lift the edge of the tape and reposition it.

That’s it.  After 48 hours, use a hair dryer set on ‘Low’ to warm the tape and set the adhesive.

I’m happy with the product and my ability to install it with ease, and I’m the proverbial klutz.

Some years ago I was riding in Brazil and between Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro on a mountain road ominously named “The Highway of Death” in a terrifyingly dense fog.  Visibility was no more than 3m, and I would have paid a king’s ransom for the peace of mind such a kit would have given.

This decal kit is available from MotoEquip for $USD 29.95 plus shipping, and it’s a terrific piece of kit for anybody keen on maximizing one’s visibility on the road.

 

1 Comment

  1. Dave Graham says:

    I have the black reflective panels on my black Schuberth helmet. Works well and is very reflective. I noticed that the original maker’s logos on the helmet are made of the same material.

Leave a Comment