Monday, March 9, 2009

Black-to-Silver Wheel Transform

My stock 650 V-Strom was black in too many places - including the wheels. It stripped the bike of personality and a degree of visibility, which I have made a priority since Day One. A fellow Strom forum member had done this treatment to his bike, so I finally found a weekend to turn around this transformation on mine.

Prep was typical automotive de rigeur with 400-grit sandpaper removing the majority of the original black paint without scratching up the cast wheel surfaces. Taping under the wheel lip at the tire joint and across mating surfaces for brakes and sprocket parts came next. A newspaper masking 'wrap' around the exposed tire had me ready for the fun stuff.

I placed a paint-ready wheel on some clean cardboard atop a fullsize plastic garbage can - a perfect height for spraying around the wheel without moving it. A simple flip and both sides can be painted in just minutes. Changing out the cardboard after both the primer and paint cycles kept dust and other issues to a minimum.

A thorough cleaning with paint prep solution got me ready for priming. Duplicolor's Etch Primer went on first in several light coats before a few 'wet' coats were applied. Within 30 minutes I was prep-washed again and applying color - Duplicolor's Silver Wheel Metallic. Similar light-then-'wet' coats were down in another 30 minutes.

Lastly, several coats of Duplicolor's Clear Coat polished off the project. An hour later, I was peeling off the masking materials and placing the wheels where they would safely dry for the next few days. Results? My HD-riding next door neighbor said they looked factory - can't get a better compliment than that, huh?

It was really pretty easy as long as you follow Duplicolor's paint instructions, which means my errors are basically invisible and anyone else can pull this mod off with some patience and close attention. Better get started, though - spring is almost here!

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