Spiffing Up a Used Motorcycle
The first thing to understand about
motorcycles, is that they really are incredibly seductive - they are
worse than any boy-friend or girl-friend. They provide so darned many hours of
fun and companionship (and, remember, we are talking an inanimate
machine-type object, here) that you really WANT to spend time and money
on them. Here are some ways to indulge, without spending major bucks.
| Shortly after
purchasing `Io, I started cleaning him. Just getting the rust spots and
stains off the chrome made a huge difference. The How
to Keep your Beemer Clean website by Bill Shaw was
invaluable. The kind folks at Kiser Honda in Kailua-Kona, where I purchased `Io,
also were very helpful.
Partway through cleaning (a multi-day, post-ride project), I removed the sissy bar and the passenger pegs. The main reason was to discourage smarmy guys were were making comments like, "Whoa, dude, chick on a bike! I'm going YOUR way!"
The second reason was to keep me, a WAY inexperienced rider, from offering to pack friends.
And then, after I got them off, I decided the bike looked more cool without them.
`Io's "pipes" (the curvy pipe things that direct exhaust from
the combustion chambers to somewhere behind the rider so you don't have
to breathe the icky CO2-filled stuff while driving) were rather nasty
with rust. Eeeeeewww. A quick phone call to a friend who knows
about these things provided the solution.
First, wire-brush every last bit of rust off the pipes. Wipe them down with an old rag. Then sand the daylights out of them with some wet-dry sandpaper (wet, of course) until they are smooth to the touch. Wipe them down again with a damp rag to remove every speck of rust.
Then, run the engine for a few minutes to get it nice and hot. You are using the heat of the the exhaust to thoroughly dry the pipes.
Let your new beast cool down enough that you can pet it's pipes comfortably. CAREFUL checking. The working parts of motorcycles can get SERIOUSLY HOT. You want the pipes ( and everything else) to be just mildly warm.
Tape off everything you don't want to paint. Following the directions on the can, spray the pipes with your color choice of header paint. Make SURE it is header paint - the stuff made for automotive engines. It is designed for high temperatures. Regular paint will burn. Let dry overnight. That's it! No, you don't have the shiny-chrome look of a brand new bike, but you have just improved its looks substantially, increased the life expectancy of your old pipes, and SAVED a BUNCH of BUCKS!
Warning - the first few times you ride, your bike will smell rather nasty. It's not a problem, just the excess volatiles of the paint cooking off.
An important, though often overlooked,
place to keep spotless is the front fork - specifically the slidey-inney
tubes. If you take a good look at your bike, you'll see that there are
rubber gaskets here. Any rust on the inner tube thingies will damage
those gaskets, causing them to leak their hydrolic fluid. That's an
Wrap a cloth around the tube just above the gasket, then use 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper to take off any bits of rust. Avoid scratching the chrome. You just want to make the rusting spot smooth.