1988 Redline RL20 II Restoration  RSS Feed

#1 2010-10-08 6:54pm

jlewis
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1988 Redline RL20 II Restoration

Well, I finally got my grubby little paws on my holy grail, a 1988 RL20 II.  I was a little worried when the box arrived and I saw something poking out to say hello:

http://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy124/jlewiscpa/1988%20Redline%20RL20%20II/IMG00105-20101008-1438.jpg

However, I was pleasantly surprised that the frame was well packed otherwise, and everything looks great.  This is actually the first time I've ever even seen an 88 RL20 II in person, and I'm so excited to finally have one.  This has got to be the sexiest frame ever made, with all those smooth curves and all.  If you've ever had one, you know what I'm talking about.  Here's some before pics:

http://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy124/jlewiscpa/1988%20Redline%20RL20%20II/IMG00106-20101008-1451.jpg
http://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy124/jlewiscpa/1988%20Redline%20RL20%20II/IMG00108-20101008-1452.jpg
http://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy124/jlewiscpa/1988%20Redline%20RL20%20II/IMG00109-20101008-1455.jpg 

I decided to try aircraft stripper for the first time on this one, thinking the non-OG finish would just bubble up and fall right off.  I guess it worked a little better than regular stripper, but I wasn't overly impressed.  It basically just softened the finish enough that I could scrape it off with a plastic putty knife, but I literally had to scrape it all off.  There's still some primer and spots of paint on it, but I'm thinking I'll just hand sand it off. 

http://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy124/jlewiscpa/1988%20Redline%20RL20%20II/IMG00110-20101008-1518.jpg
http://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy124/jlewiscpa/1988%20Redline%20RL20%20II/IMG00111-20101008-1727.jpg

As you can see from the pics, my package deal didn't come with forks, so I'm looking for a set.  I'm a cheap bastage, so I dont want to spend an arm and a leg on 'em, but please let me know if you know of a set available.  I'm not a huge stickler for matching frame and fork, but the frame has a 5 inch head tube so most old school forks won't fit.  If I cant find a set, I may have to get creative.  big_smile


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#2 2010-10-08 6:56pm

gsxr141
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Re: 1988 Redline RL20 II Restoration

nice. now go get some forks.

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#3 2010-10-08 7:00pm

Jon1971
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Re: 1988 Redline RL20 II Restoration

I use a stripper called Dad's and it works great on most of the spray paint I've put it up against - let it soak for 10 minutes, then rub it down with a water soaked rag. They recommend using a spray bottle, but my stepfather (who is a professional metal refinisher, before anyone asks why he'd know) recommended applying the stripper with a brush and be very liberal with it. Some of the spray bomb I've hit with it comes right off when I brush on the first strokes of stripper.

Yes, I used "strokes" and "stripper" in the same sentence on purpose.

Anyway, cool bike - good luck with getting the forks big_smile


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#4 2010-10-08 7:04pm

jlewis
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Re: 1988 Redline RL20 II Restoration

I'm guessing the non-aerosol version might work better.  With the aerosol version, I used the whole can and the frame wasn't dripping wet by any stretch.  When I use regular stripper, I just glop it on with a brush.  I guess I was expecting the aerosol to turn into some sort of gel once it hit the frame, but not so.  I'll keep my eyes peeled for Dad's brand. 

I've decided that I really dislike stipping paint... lol

Last edited by jlewis (2010-10-08 7:06pm)


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#5 2010-10-08 7:04pm

wired
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Re: 1988 Redline RL20 II Restoration

Nice one.  This frame is also on my list to acquire.  Never knew about the 5" head tube.  Good info.  Looking forward to seeing what direction you take it.


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#6 2010-10-08 8:00pm

five
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Re: 1988 Redline RL20 II Restoration

NICE!!!!! big_smile

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#7 2010-10-08 8:51pm

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Re: 1988 Redline RL20 II Restoration

wired wrote:

Nice one.  This frame is also on my list to acquire.  Never knew about the 5" head tube.  Good info.  Looking forward to seeing what direction you take it.

Great frame for sure.  My personal opinion is to not buy a frame with a "off" size anything without the corresponding "off" size item.  In this case, 5" forks turn up fairly regularly, but they can get crazy expensive.  I think there are more frames than forks(regardless of brand) out there.


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#8 2010-10-08 10:02pm

jlewis
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Re: 1988 Redline RL20 II Restoration

MiniZ wrote:

Great frame for sure.  My personal opinion is to not buy a frame with a "off" size anything without the corresponding "off" size item.

I would normally agree, but I just couldn't pass up my holy grail.  I dont really care if the forks are "correct", and I'm not worried about finding something to work.  I'll probably just end up buying some new 1 1/8 threadless forks with a long steerer tube.  That way, I'd get brand new chrome, but I wouldn't be able to use a pro-rotor, which would be a bummer.  I gotta monkey around in the shop tomorrow and see what I can come up with.

Last edited by jlewis (2010-10-08 10:05pm)


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#9 2010-10-09 2:55pm

jlewis
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Re: 1988 Redline RL20 II Restoration

I brought the frame to my LBS today to explore the idea of doing a threadless conversion and using a 1 1/8 threadless fork.  Unfortunately, a 1 1/8 steer tube wont even fit into the headtube because the headtube is unusually narrow. 

So... I have a couple of options:

1. Find (and pay for) a set of RL20 II forks
2. Find a different set of 1" threaded forks with an unusually long steerer tube.
3. Find a set of 1" threadless forks with an unusually long steerer tube
4. Use a set of standard 1" threaded forks and extend the steerer tube.

In regards to #4, I'm thinking you could cut the steer tube on the subject forks about 1" above the crown race.  Slide a 2" sleeve into the subject fork, so it extends 1" below and 1" above the cut.  Then, cut a steer tube from a set of donor forks, slide it over the sleeve, and weld it all together.  I'm thinking it would be fairly easy and it would work fine as long as you made sure the donor steer tube was perfectly aligned with the remaining steer tube of the subject forks (i.e., the whole setup would have to be perfectly straight or it would bind up in the unusually narrow head tube of my 88 RL20 II).  Also, you'd need to be able to slide the crown race over the weld prior to installation.   I sent a PM to the frame doc to get his thoughts....


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#10 2010-10-09 3:00pm

Jon1971
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Re: 1988 Redline RL20 II Restoration

Have you considered a 1" threaded to 1 1/8" threadless adapter? Someone on here mentioned them to me awhile ago. It goes into your 1" threaded forks with a quill, but has a top that the 1 1/8 stems would grip to. I don't know if you can get them hollow bolt or not, though. The one below does not have a hollow bolt, and I'm not really sure if it would get you the height you need, but it might be worth looking into, especially if your LBS has one out of the packaging you could test on.

http://store.citygrounds.com/store/prod … s-Adapter/


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#11 2010-10-09 3:04pm

jlewis
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Re: 1988 Redline RL20 II Restoration

Jon1971 wrote:

Have you considered a 1" threaded to 1 1/8" threadless adapter? Someone on here mentioned them to me awhile ago. It goes into your 1" threaded forks with a quill, but has a top that the 1 1/8 stems would grip to. I don't know if you can get them hollow bolt or not, though. The one below does not have a hollow bolt, and I'm not really sure if it would get you the height you need, but it might be worth looking into, especially if your LBS has one out of the packaging you could test on.

http://store.citygrounds.com/store/prod … s-Adapter/

Yes, I considered that, but a standard set of forks would be too short for it to work.  You would still need the 1" forks to be long enough to screw on the race and the top nut, otherwise the fork would wobble around in the headtube.  I think those adaptors are fine if your forks are long enough but you just want to use a threadless stem....


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#12 2010-10-09 3:12pm

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Re: 1988 Redline RL20 II Restoration

I had the same problem... try & find an old school"BLANK" fork, CYCLE PRO made a version of a "BLANK" that looked like Landing Gear... only the steerer tube is extremely long  & the threaded section is 2 X as long as a usual fork so it can be cut to fit any size steerer tube. I replaced my Cycle Pro Blank, with just a generic BLANK  fork when I rebuilt My RL 20-II. If your interested in my Cycle Pro forks, make me an offer... I know they work with the RL 20-II... cause thats where I got them from. I'm not pushing them on you, if your not interested... NO SWEAT, I just know what a pain the RL 20-II FORKS situation can be, & just trying to help!http://i853.photobucket.com/albums/ab99/flatlandfox/RL2011/IMG_2644.jpghttp://i853.photobucket.com/albums/ab99/flatlandfox/RL2011/IMG_2656.jpgSorry about the pic... it's all I've got of the forks, They still have some old school decals on them.http://i853.photobucket.com/albums/ab99/flatlandfox/RL2011/RL20IIFullProfile.jpg This is a set of "BLANK" forks w/the  un-cut steerer tube, that I used instead of the Cycle Pro Landing Gear style forks.
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#13 2010-10-09 8:25pm

jlewis
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Re: 1988 Redline RL20 II Restoration

Flatlandfox wrote:

This is a set of "BLANK" forks w/the  un-cut steerer tube, that I used instead of the Cycle Pro Landing Gear style forks.

Thanks for posting those pics!  big_smile  My LBS actually has a set of those forks (on the white bike) in stock.  Pretty sure they're "Wald" brand.  I actually didn't like the look of them in the store, so I passed on them, but they dont look too bad installed!  big_smile  I like the cycle pro ones quite a bit, but it's tough to tell in the pics what sort of condition they're in.  Wonder if I can find a NOS set?  Or maybe you can clean them up a little bit and send me some pics.

I also heard back from the frame doc, and he says he does steerer tube extensions all the time, and you dont even need the "sleeve" i described in #4 above because it's a non-stress area.  I have a set of 86 RL20a forks in great condition that I could use, which might be my best option since they look just like RL20 II forks.  Just waiting on a price.

Last edited by jlewis (2010-10-09 8:28pm)


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#14 2010-10-09 8:28pm

Auburn_Fanatic
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Re: 1988 Redline RL20 II Restoration

1" threadless Hoffman Superfok and stem might work.


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#15 2010-10-10 5:15am

Jon1971
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Re: 1988 Redline RL20 II Restoration

jlewis wrote:

I have a set of 86 RL20a forks in great condition that I could use, which might be my best option since they look just like RL20 II forks.  Just waiting on a price.

You said this bike is your grail, I'd go that route if it's in your means smile


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#16 2010-10-10 8:48am

jlewis
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Re: 1988 Redline RL20 II Restoration

Well, I got up early (okay, not so early) today, and prepared the frame for primer.  I was a major pain in the arse to hand sand the remaining primer off the frame, and in the end, I used the wire wheel on my drill on most of it.  I dont know what it is about these 87/88 Redlines, but the factory finish is tough as nails.  The last one I had I couldn't even get the finish off with paint stripper, and ended up having it media blasted.  I didn't get this one completely primer-free, but I got the majority of it.  Then I cleaned it with soapy water, then rubbing alcohol, then hung it up to prime:

http://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy124/jlewiscpa/1988%20Redline%20RL20%20II/IMG00126-20101010-1050.jpg

I've been hearing about etching primer in a lot of restoration threads lately, so I figured I'd give it a go.  I picked up a can of "Duplicolor Self Etching Primer" at the Auto store yesterday.  I was surprised to discover that the primer is army green and it's SUPER thin - it went on like water.  So thin that what I thought were "light" coats actually caused the primer to run in a number of places.  Here's a pic of one of the runs (on the far TT, about an inch back from the headtube):

http://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy124/jlewiscpa/1988%20Redline%20RL20%20II/IMG00127-20101010-1109.jpg   

I was expecting a thicker primer, so I wasn't crazy meticulous about my preparation job (in terms of removing every last bit of the OG primer from the frame).  So, in addition to the runs here and there that will need to be sanded out, there are also a few place that I'm gonna have to sand smooth (and probably re-prime) before painting.

Welds look nice, though!  big_smile  I made sure to remove all of the old finish from the welds with my wire wheel.

Last edited by jlewis (2010-10-10 8:50am)


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#17 2010-10-10 9:07am

houndog
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Re: 1988 Redline RL20 II Restoration

Dumb question, how much does the color of the primer affect the color shade of your paint?  I used the etching primer on some parts for my last build and it was also army green in color.  But, i didn't sweat it b/c i knew the parts were going to be black.  but, will it affect the color of the paint if it's not a dark color?

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#18 2010-10-10 9:23am

Jon1971
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Re: 1988 Redline RL20 II Restoration

Good to see you're making progress! I have a beautiful day and just cannot begin to get motivated to work on my build off bike.

Houndog - Not entirely sure the answer to your question, but when I was considering a can of day glo orange paint, there was a comment on the can that said something about white primer really makes the orange pop. That's not verbatim, obviously, but you get the idea. I would guess (and it's strictly a guess) that a darker primer might give you a more muted tone on a lighter color, particularly on the first coat of it.


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#19 2010-10-10 10:37am

NOPOSERS
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Re: 1988 Redline RL20 II Restoration

Nice find. I have an 84 Redline RL20. They use the same head tube design as the 20II. It took me a while to find a fork that fit. As you know RL20II forks sel for astronomical prices.  There are a few on e-bay that can be used that are actually redline forks. When shopping around make sure it has a 6 1/2 inch steer tube. The ones I use on my bike are made by Big Cheese. I found them in a Sports Chalet here in CA.  They worked perfect. My bike is a rider so I needed a fork that fits todays pegs. Here`s some pics of it :

http://i117.photobucket.com/albums/o75/GAMERA11428/REDLINE%20RL20/102_1751.jpg
http://i117.photobucket.com/albums/o75/GAMERA11428/REDLINE%20RL20/102_1753.jpg
http://i117.photobucket.com/albums/o75/GAMERA11428/REDLINE%20RL20/102_1755.jpg

Good luck w/ your build


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#20 2010-10-10 10:43am

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Re: 1988 Redline RL20 II Restoration

jlewis wrote:

Flatlandfox wrote:

This is a set of "BLANK" forks w/the  un-cut steerer tube, that I used instead of the Cycle Pro Landing Gear style forks.

Thanks for posting those pics!  big_smile  My LBS actually has a set of those forks (on the white bike) in stock.  Pretty sure they're "Wald" brand.  I actually didn't like the look of them in the store, so I passed on them, but they dont look too bad installed!  big_smile  I like the cycle pro ones quite a bit, but it's tough to tell in the pics what sort of condition they're in.  Wonder if I can find a NOS set?  Or maybe you can clean them up a little bit and send me some pics.

I also heard back from the frame doc, and he says he does steerer tube extensions all the time, and you dont even need the "sleeve" i described in #4 above because it's a non-stress area.  I have a set of 86 RL20a forks in great condition that I could use, which might be my best option since they look just like RL20 II forks.  Just waiting on a price.

FYI... RL20A forks wont work. The 20A/B use 4" head tubes. I have a 20B and tried that already...lol


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#21 2010-10-10 10:55am

jlewis
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Re: 1988 Redline RL20 II Restoration

NOPOSERS wrote:

FYI... RL20A forks wont work. The 20A/B use 4" head tubes. I have a 20B and tried that already...lol

Posers... Nice lookin' RL, but I think some grips might help!  lol  Thanks for posting the comment about the Big Cheese forks.  I did a quick web search, but didn't find any.

So.... to recap, it appears the following forks will work:

1.  Cycle Pro blank
2.  Wald blank
3.  Big Cheese 6.5" steerer tube

I'm sure this info will be helpful for lots of readers!

As for the RL20a forks, if you read the through the thread, you'll see that I was talking about having the steerer tube extended so they'd work.  Just waiting for a price from the frame doc.

Last edited by jlewis (2010-10-10 11:05am)


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#22 2010-10-10 2:21pm

jlewis
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Re: 1988 Redline RL20 II Restoration

Okay, so I wet sanded the frame with 600 grit paper (and something a little more aggressive on the runs), and hit it with another coat of primer.  VERY light coats, this time to avoid any additional runs.

http://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy124/jlewiscpa/1988%20Redline%20RL20%20II/IMG00129-20101010-1516.jpg

There were a couple of very small scratches in frame that the primer didn't completely cover.  I certainly wouldn't call them "dents" or dings", but maybe tiny gouges.  Here's a couple of pics:

http://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy124/jlewiscpa/1988%20Redline%20RL20%20II/IMG00132-20101010-1606.jpg
http://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy124/jlewiscpa/1988%20Redline%20RL20%20II/IMG00133-20101010-1606.jpg

I knew I could fill them with Bondo if really wanted to, but I didn't have any and wasn't really bothered by them anyway.  My neighbor came over to borrow a couple of tools, and I was showing off my new beauty, and he told me he had a can of Bondo I could borrow if I wanted to.  Nice!  An opportunity to try something new!

http://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy124/jlewiscpa/1988%20Redline%20RL20%20II/IMG00134-20101010-1610.jpg
http://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy124/jlewiscpa/1988%20Redline%20RL20%20II/IMG00135-20101010-1612.jpg
http://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy124/jlewiscpa/1988%20Redline%20RL20%20II/IMG00136-20101010-1613.jpg

The jar said to apply it to bare metal, but since when do I follow instructions?  I mixed up about 100x more than I needed and applied it with a small craft style paint brush.

http://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy124/jlewiscpa/1988%20Redline%20RL20%20II/IMG00140-20101010-1619.jpg
http://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy124/jlewiscpa/1988%20Redline%20RL20%20II/IMG00139-20101010-1618.jpg

Let it dry for a couple of minutes, then sanded it down:

http://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy124/jlewiscpa/1988%20Redline%20RL20%20II/IMG00141-20101010-1641.jpg
http://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy124/jlewiscpa/1988%20Redline%20RL20%20II/IMG00142-20101010-1641.jpg

Cleaned the areas with rubbing alcohol and hit it with a few light coats of primer:

http://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy124/jlewiscpa/1988%20Redline%20RL20%20II/IMG00144-20101010-1652.jpg
http://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy124/jlewiscpa/1988%20Redline%20RL20%20II/IMG00145-20101010-1653.jpg

I'll sand the areas down again (along with the rest of the frame) before I paint, but my little fix worked perfectly!  I probably wouldn't have bothered on most of my builds, but it gave me an opportunity to try something new, and it is my holy grail afterall!  big_smile

Last edited by jlewis (2010-10-10 2:31pm)


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#23 2010-10-10 2:59pm

houndog
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Re: 1988 Redline RL20 II Restoration

Thanks for the documentation on this.  Extremely helpful as it appears I'm going to try to keep up with you again on my build!

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#24 2010-10-10 3:40pm

gaijin
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Re: 1988 Redline RL20 II Restoration

Akisu also makes forks for a 5" head tube.  I find myself in need of a set of forks for my 86 RL-20.  I also would not normally buy a frame like that without a set of forks, but I couldn't pass up the deal I was offered.


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#25 2010-10-10 7:22pm

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Re: 1988 Redline RL20 II Restoration

Hey ... was looking thru Rini Enterprises at forks. They have a few forks that will fit your frame. The Black redline forks listed fit. I know that has a 6 1/2' steer tube thats 1" threaded. oh.. I do have grips on that bike now ...lol ... hope this helps.... frame looks great


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