Let it shine, says Pip! Or not…

on sec­ond thoughts…

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - CONTENTS -

When I was a lad, I in­vested a sig­nif­i­cant pro­por­tion of my ‘spends’ on Solvol Au­tosol. This was a magic smooth white goop that ar­rived in a natty gold and black tube and put a lovely shine on pol­ished al­loy and chromed com­po­nents. I stripped the paint and lac­quer off most of the al­loy parts on my CB160 and then spent a not in­con­sid­er­able bit of my wak­ing hours main­tain­ing that mir­ror fin­ish, in­ci­den­tally the cloth of choice to ap­ply the afore­said and buff to ex­treme shini­ness was un­ques­tion­ably cot­ton Winceyette, as in old py­ja­mas. Nowa­days I don’t en­joy the mind numb­ing, fin­ger­print eras­ing tor­ture at all. I’m just not a fan of the mir­ror pol­ish. Now I do un­der­stand that a lit­tle chrome and an odd shiny bit are fine, but in mod­er­a­tion. One of my pet hates is over-egged fin­ish on restora­tion projects; it’s usu­ally a con­se­quence of ex­pe­di­ence or lazi­ness. Why? I’ll give you an ex­am­ple. Faced with a box load of as­sorted shabby bits our restorer sets to with flap wheels and wet-n-dry. Af­ter a cou­ple of hours he gives up and drops the lot off at the chrome platers. A week or so later he re­trieves a torque arm, three en­gine mount plates and an as­sort­ment of brack­ets, nuts and bolts, all very shiny, but all to­tally wrong! The nuts and bolts should be cad­mium (back in the day, now zinc plate due to H&S con­straints) the brack­ets would be painted and maybe, just maybe, the torque arm might be chromed. Like­wise alu­minium bits, like fork yokes and lower slid­ers fre­quently flop into the ‘cat­a­stroph­i­cally over re­stored’ cat­e­gory. Mr Su­per En­thused pro­ceeds to mir­ror pol­ish the un­sus­pect­ing Alu­mi­nae to within an inch of their very be­ing. Cou­ple of things here, the fac­tory fin­ish here is rarely mir­ror pol­ish, it’s gen­er­ally ‘sisal’ which is a slightly ‘knocked back’ ef­fect, but crit­i­cally the fin­ish never ex­tends to ev­ery part of the com­po­nent. Take a look at a NOS fork slider for an in­di­ca­tion of where, and more im­por­tantly, where not to get busy with the buff­ing wheels. Ma­te­rial re­moved here de­stroys def­i­ni­tion and crisp­ness, and you can’t put it back! Paint is a sim­i­larly con­tentious area, over­done paint jobs ap­pear to be the norm; gen­er­ally be­cause pain­ters can pro­duce a bet­ter fin­ish than that which was ap­plied back in the day. But do­ing this usu­ally in­volves pil­ing on mul­ti­ple lay­ers of base coat fol­lowed by much two pack lac­quer. The re­sult­ing ‘show qual­ity’ fin­ish sadly bears lit­tle, if any, re­sem­blance to the stuff that came out of Ja­pan in the 1970s. So what’s to be done? Well, I’ve never had many friends and I’ve prob­a­bly got even less now, so here goes: the frame, the core of any bike, by all means blast and re­pair rot and snap dam­age, but would I pow­der-coat a frame? Never. The man­u­fac­tur­ers didn’t do it and if you still want to see welds and frame num­bers as crisp as na­ture in­tended then you might think to ask the bod tasked with ap­ply­ing the fin­ish to your frame to go easy with the paint, af­ter all it’s not go­ing to live out­side is it? Is it? Not only does ex­ces­sive paint/pow­der look wrong (in my hum­ble) but it also causes ag­gro on many fronts, mainly where stuff bolts onto the frame, the thick crust speltches and pre­vents a good con­nec­tion be­tween en­gine/swingarm/stands etc. and the frame. I men­tioned bolts ear­lier and this is where I might need to leave the coun­try, I don’t care for stain­less steel bolts on bikes. Why? Well, the blokes who de­signed your bike many years ago did so with a few pa­ram­e­ters fired at them by var­i­ous fac­tions, in­clud­ing the ac­coun­tants, but the so­phis­ti­cated man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­cesses at their dis­posal al­lowed them to de­sign fas­ten­ers which were per­fectly suited to their ap­pli­ca­tion, the 10mm x 1.25mm pitch bolts used to at­tach calipers to many bikes are things of beauty, gen­er­ally with re­duced 14mm hexagons and in­te­gral forged shoul­ders these high ten­sile beau­ties are a per­fect com­bi­na­tion of aes­thetic cor­rect­ness, strength and prag­ma­tism, all at a price that’s very ac­cept­able, they don’t snap and will usu­ally re­sist any at­tempted abuse of the ‘mas­sively ham-fisted’ type. Six mill cover screws can be a bit of a pain, usu­ally caused by in­cor­rect screw­driver bits, but there’s still no ne­ces­sity to re­sort to stain­less, if you must change them, just buy a bunch of new plated cap screws, cheap, tough and look nice. I am gen­uinely sorry if I’ve of­fended any­body here, as I re­alise that some of you will have spent for­tunes on stain­less bits, I just don’t like ’em, end of.

BOT­TOM RIGHT: Con­tents of tool­box prior to SDR re­build: the bits are shiny, but not over shiny.

BOT­TOM: NOS GSX 1100 fork slider, as it should be.

BELOW: Var­i­ous shining goop, oth­ers are avail­able.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.