Monster Fairings Review: Suzuki GSX-R1000
It was time. The bodywork on my 2007 Suzuki GSX-R1000 was definitely showing the wear of thousands of hard miles, including more track days than I can remember.
OEM bodywork is of course, exceptionally well made, beautifully painted …and very expensive. During a basic online skirmish with an OEM discount retailer I rapidly came to the realization that replacing the GSX-R1000 bodywork was going to cost almost as much as the bike is worth. Fine if you’ve got a panel or two that need replacing, but the whole thing? No chance.
While asking various riding buddies about aftermarket Gixxer fairings, the name Monster Fairings came up more than once. I checked the company's website, sent a request, and received a very articulate and polite same-day reply from "Henry, Fairing Consultant."
Monster Fairings cover all four Japanese manufacturers plus Ducati, and its standard kits go back many years. Unless you’ve got something really obscure, your bike is likely covered and in stock. Monster Fairings' standard kits are priced around $689, and for a Chinese manufactured bodywork set, that’s on the pricier side. However, don't be fooled--all Chinese bodywork is not the same. The extra couple hundred bucks to go with Monster is well worth it.
The two major factors to take into consideration with Monster Fairings are: (1) the panels are all made from injection molded ABS—the same as OEM—and not from polycarbonate or other more brittle plastics; (2) as a part of the injection molding process, the tabs and mounting holes are an integral part of the molding and therefore very strong. The tabs and mounting holes are not glued on afterwards like many other Chinese manufacturers.
Many of the tabs key into slots on other fairing parts; there are also tabs that have a knobbed end that pushes into a rubber grommet on the frame and "clicks" into place. It is vital that these tabs and attachment points do not break off the fairing panel either during fitting or during use. A fairing panel without attachment tabs is just a piece of nicely painted plastic--there’s enough strain on these various parts that epoxying the tabs back on rarely works well. It's better to go for quality from the beginning.
Monster Fairings also use a high quality paint process that looks thick and enduring. Monster's seven-stage paint process is finished off with three layers of clear coat, which provides resistance to chipping and wind blast.
It doesn’t take a genius to see that I ordered a custom paint job (an additional $45) for my K7 GSX-R1000. The quality is amazing, and Henry was very helpful in coordinating the paintwork. Essentially Monster Fairings can do pretty much anything you desire, even combining various ideas you may have from other paint schemes you like.
My paint is a direct rip-off of the 2012 Yoshimura Suzuki AMA Superbike graphic design, and I simply forwarded as many pictures as possible to Henry for them to copy. I asked to leave off a few of the sponsors’ stickers and any race numbers for a slightly cleaner look, but beyond that I wanted the design and colors replicated. When the bodywork arrived I was anxious to see how well Monster Fairings had done. I was amazed at how precisely Monster had matched the metallic sky blue in particular. I really couldn’t have asked for better.
The down side of ordering a custom paint job? It takes considerably longer to receive the finished product. Typically, in-stock bodywork departs China in one or two weeks, followed by an additional week of shipping throughout the USA.
If you order something in stock, the soonest you could receive it is around 2 weeks, but it could be as long as a month. As mentioned, adding custom paint can add almost as much time again--it took around two months from time of order to receiving my fairing kit. I was much more concerned about quality and less about timeliness, so I wasn’t bothered. I simply mention this to give you an idea of the time it takes. Quality work takes time; I was happy to let the Monster Fairings team take as long as they needed.
Opening the box was a further indicator of Monster Fairings quality. Each piece was individually wrapped and carefully taped in shock absorbing foam; clearly the folk at the factory made enough effort with their work that they don’t want it beat up during shipping.
The items not included with the bodywork are all the various and different sized Allen-head bolts, nylon push rivets, and rubber grommets that attach the pieces to each other and to the bike.
There are several bolt kits available on eBay, including Pro-Bolt, which have an incredible range of high quality fasteners in various metals with commensurate pricing. I also purchased a box of generic nylon push rivets of different sizes; make sure you get plenty of smaller sizes to come close to the OEM sizes. When you take the old bodywork off, in theory a lot of the fasteners will still be usable. But in practice I found that most of the nylon push rivets break and/or are unusable again. Best to start with new--the box I purchased was $20 and well worth it.
Fortunately, I had an experienced buddy to help--fitting the bodywork is no easy task. This is simply the nature of the fairing design and no fault of Monster Fairings; their panels fit together nicely, and the aforementioned tabs that needed to slot together did so perfectly. Due to Suzuki's design, there is definitely some twisting and mild bending that takes place. Keying some of those tabs together produces a loud snap that sounds like it could be the tab breaking off; that causes an anxious moment or two, I can tell you. Yet not a single tab broke, and each panel is properly held in place. So once again I can say I am pleased with Monster Fairings' use of tough and somewhat flexible ABS plastic and integrated tabs--nothing broke or got damaged in the fitting process.
Essentially, several parts need to be pre-assembled before being attached to the GSX-R. For example, in the case of the K7 Gixxer Thou, the tail light assembly, rear turn signals, and rear seat latch all need to be installed and the rear section assembled, before it all goes on to the bike. It took us...um…several times to put the darn thing on before realizing we’d forgotten something. We'd then have to take the rear fairing off a few times and put it back on before we finally got it right. I was relieved we were working with injection molded ABS with tough tabs instead of cheap brittle panels, which wouldn't have stood up to the multiple attempts. You will also need a drill handy to clean out some of the holes as paint build up can reduce the hole sizes.
The entire fitting process took us around five hours to complete, and once done, the bike looks breathtaking. The bodywork is well fitted and the paint is thick and well clear-coated. To say I’m delighted is an understatement; the bike looks new again, and even stands up to close inspection. Kudos and thanks to Monster Fairings for an exemplary product, at an unbelievable price.
Monster Fairings Review: Suzuki GSX-R1000 Fast Facts:
- Price (standard kits): $689; add $45 for custom paint
- Website: Monster Fairings
- Facebook: @MonsterFairings
- Telephone: 888-544-9092