Beginners Tips For Painting Your Motorcycle

Beginners Tips For Painting Your Motorcycle Painting your motorcycle can be an ordeal for those with little or no actual painting experience, but this handy guide will give you the information to paint your bike like a pro! before you jump right in and tear down your motorcycle, you should practice on a bicycle or some junk parts you have lying around.


Plastic Filler
Flowable Putty
Epoxy primer
Epoxy Sealer
Base color Paint
Clear Coat
80 120 400 600 1500 2000 grit wet/dry sandpaper

Unless you have access to a professional spray booth or have a big checkbook to go out and buy a portable spray booth chances are you are going to need build one. You can check out my article on building a spray booth on budget and then you are one step closer to start preping and painting your bike.

The most important part of painting your motorcycle is safety. The reason professional painters use a spray booth is not just to reduce paint contamination from airborne debris and overspray, but the fumes and vapors emitted from paint is highly toxic and prolonged exposure to these fumes can lead to serious lung and brain injury. One of the most important pieces of painting equipment you will ever need is a quality charcoal filter mask.

The basic tools you will need in addition to hand tools to tear down your motorcycle is a air compresser with with a pressure regulator, water filter and hoses, a charcoal filter mask, and 2 spray guns, one for spraying your primer and the other for applying your color and clear coats. You can get by with only one spray gun, but it will require you ro stop and throughly clean the gun before you can use it to apply your color or clear coats.

make sure both your fuel and oil tanks and pressure tested for leaks before you begin. Professionals sand blast metal parts before painting them, but if you don’t have access to a sand blaster you can just vigorously sand them or for tough parts with old paint on them you can use a chemical paint stripper, but no matter which way to go make sure you clean every part thoroughly with a non-oil based cleaner.

Now it is time to use filler to remove any low spots or areas on the part. Many professionals apply a coat of epoxy primer before spraying the base coat because creates a solid base for the filler to stick to. The filler sets up rather fast so mix it in small batches at a time. It is best to apply it in thin smooth amounts and evenly on the trouble areas.
Once the filler has dried sand it smooth with 80 grit sand paper and inspect it for chips, cracks or low area, reapply filler as needed followed with sanding until it is ready to apply your primer.

Using epoxy primer apply a few light coats to the part. After the primer is dried using a can of black spray paint lightly spray your part and let it dry. This method is called a guild coat and the black paint will expose any low spots or ripples. Once identified make your repairs as necessary using flowable putty apply it is thin coats and then sand it down smooth with 80 grit sandpaper on a flexible rubber sanding block.

When you have smoothed out any ripples or high spots continue with 120 grit and finish with 400 grit to get you parts perfectly smooth and ready for the final coats or primer.

After your primer is dried sand it with 400 grit sand paper to get it a spiky surface for the base coat to stick to. The next step is applying an epoxy sealer prior to applying the base color coat. This will not only create a solid surface for your base color it will prevent solvent or chemical contamination that will come through causing bubbles in your clear coat.

Now we apply the color coats. Apply light even coats and let the part dry. Next is the first clear coat. With the first clear coat dry wet sand it with 600 grit sandpaper. make sure you keep the paper very wet or you could burn your clear coat. As you are sanding down your clear you will see ridges as you continue sanding, keep sanding until they are gone and the clear coat looks even.

If you are adding graphics or pin stripping now is the time to apply them, and once finished apply another clear coat. It may take more than one coat of clear to fully bury them in the paint. wet sand with 600 grit sandpaper between coats. On your last clear coat wet sand again with 600 grit until smooth, the finish it off with 1500 grit then 2000 grit to make it silky smooth.

This is the most gratifying part step in the entire process, you will need a good variable speed polisher and a quality gel or liquid polishing compound, there are many popular brands on the market and if you don’t have a favorite you can ask your friends or make a visit to your local automotive parts dealer they will be able to offer some suggestions.

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  1. Rob Fleming - September 17, 2012

    New blog post: Beginners Tips For Painting Your Motorcycle

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