One of the (many) little challenges you run into with restoring old Suzuki motorbikes is the rear view mirrors. The ones that originally came with the bikes in the 1970’s had a Suzuki ‘S’ embossed on the mirror, but none of the after market replacements whether from Suzuki or a third party have this. Naturally, as a result, these original, and now quite old embossed mirrors are in demand and I was following an eBay auction that ended yesterday where the ‘winner’ paid $101 for what was otherwise a $10 mirror ! Actually, I just noticed a shop in Thailand asking $9.99 for a pair of mirrors, so you don’t have to pay much if you don’t want to.
Needless to say, the demand for these mirrors provides an incentive to preserve the ones people already own – and it is not uncommon for folks to install cheap mirrors for general around town riding, and save the embossed ones for shows and events.
I just picked up another bike (a 1974 Suzuki GT550) which looks really nice but in addition to not running also came without mirrors. As I have a few embossed mirrors that would fit it but with broken mirror glass, I thought I’d spend a day and see if I could I could just repair a set that I had. The starting point is shown to the upper left – the key parts are the mirror disc, the rubber beading that holds the mirror in place, a paper spacer that goes in behind the mirror glass, and the old embossed mirror mount. I had to carefully bend the backing a bit to get its original shape back as the back had originally been hit and the mirror arm had been pushed inwards with enough force to break the original glass. After gently (and also not so gently !) massaging it for a while, I was ready to try and add the glass. To the right you see the mirror backing ready to accept the glass. The new mirror glass replacements I got by taking apart suitable third party mirrors which are readily available from many sources – standard mirror glass isn’t suitable, as the mirror is slightly convex to give a wider field of view of the traffic behind you. I found that at least for the ones I used, I could carefully pull the rubber edging at the point where it is seamed, and then the mirror disc you need for the repair is easily released.
I used a heat gun to warm up the metal backing, and then basically pushed the mirror with the edging installed on the edge of the glass disc and very slightly lubricated with some dish detergent (the wider side of the rubber edging, as seen in the photo to the left, goes to the back of the glass disc), until the glass ‘popped’ into place, at which point I adjusted the fit with a jeweller’s fine screw driver so that everything was equally spaced around the edges. If anyone plans to try this themselves, be sure to wear good gloves and eye protection as the glass is easy to break, and gashing your hands on broken mirror glass will definitely put a dampener on your day !
The final result looks ‘OK’. You can obviously tell that the mirror is not new, and the dents and dings are still visible in the photo to the lower left, but I chose to think of these as adding character – heck the mirrors and the bike are both about 34 years old, and its not exactly a trailer queen, so I don’t mind it looking its age. You can see the glass side of the repaired mirror to the lower right.
Bottom line – fixing the one broken mirror gave me a matched set of rare and increasingly expensive embossed Suzuki mirrors for the newest addition to the garage, so I’m happy.
The ‘home’ site for my GT750 project is here.