DECALS FOR OUR KATS Ted Cymbaly #01
Having seen many Katanas and now restoring a few, I noticed very early on that there was a lack of sources for OEM and reproduction decals for our bikes as well as many OEM decals have been discontinued.
My first Katana was painted a different colour because I could not obtain the correct striping for the 1983 GS1100SD. For another project I found some reproduction decals for the 85-86 pop-up and used these on one of my restorations. Since I had no other bike for comparison - I did not think much about it. Once I found another similar pop-up - to my amazement, I discovered that the decals were obviously incorrect. To some this may not matter but to me it did. For my 1984 LTD's with special decals - these were also not available as the LTD numbers are one-offs.
I had come across Brian Dallner of Bdesigns who reproduced decals and who himself is a biker and restorer. Since he was only an hour away from my home, I arranged to meet him and discussed the challenges for our Katanas. To say that Brian is meticulous is an understatement. Having over 25 Katanas of all models in various states of restoration and knowing that I and others need good decals, including rare decals, Brian agreed to work with me to produce 'all' the decals that each North American Katana had. These would be based on either unused OEM decals or from actual originals still on the bikes. Some decals were missing and fellow club members provided some unused OEM decals. Knowing where to locate these decals is also critical and Brian provides instructions to the painters for placement. This can only be done if you have access to an original bike or two. If you have more than one, you can also test for tolerances in location.
Having used and worked closely with Brian on our decals for the past year, I can state that these decals are recommended for anyone who wants the most accurate decals. There may be other good decal reproductions out there but I can personally attest to his quality.
There may be less expensive decals available; you may also have some reproduced by some local printer and these may serve your purpose well. Only you can decide what is right for your bike.
The attached PDF provides a more exhaustive explanation of what actually goes into proper decal production (especially our Kats). You can also visit www.bdesigns.ca
March 9, 2011