The Great Plastic Debate

The Great Plastic Debate

13th Jul 2021

There have been many things said about the current range of Maico plastic replacement panels available. Some good, some not so good, some by well informed individuals and some by the not so well informed, much of it being third hand.

To clarify some of the myths there are two different manufacturing processes used to make these panels. Injection moulding and Thermal vacuum forming. Various bike manufacturers used either of these methods but generally the early European bikes used the vacuum forming process.

Injection Moulding requires very expensive tooling and very high production run numbers generally making it prohibitive to reproduce using this method, on the other hand Thermal Vacuum Forming whilst being much more labour intensive has a cheaper tooling cost component and can be manufactured in much smaller numbers.

The two major companies producing most of the vacuum formed product in the market today are Maier Plastic and DC Plastics. Maier plastic is a smooth glossy Polypropylene plastic and DC use a satin finish high density Polyethylene fade resistant (except opaque) plastic.

It should be noted that vacuum forming does not produce clearly defined sharp edges and lines like some original units and that any moulded brackets on the reverse side are not possible, both companies make some items that are not quite correct, be it fit, finish or colour. DC plastics have been very proactive recently improving the finish; it’s now not as grainy and they have been working at remaking many of their old moulds for a better fit also their plastic is paintable and if required a deep high gloss can be achieved by the application of a clear coat finish.

The DC Plastic is the closest colour match to the original items, it is durable and in some cases better fitting. The Maier plastic is a darker Red with a smooth high gloss finish for that added Bling Factor, it will also scuff and scratch more easily on a bike that is being well used. The choice between the two is really a matter of personal preference.

Maico at Chippy's stock both the above mentioned brands so the choice is determined by your own expectations, if you’re not happy with your choice we will gladly exchange it for the alternative. Please contact us first so we can discuss the alternatives. The only other option is to keep looking for that elusive NOS part.

Please select one of the following categories to view available items

Plastics by DC Click here

Plastic by Maier Click here