Whitey’s achieved his goal, as meta­mor­pho­sis from MT-09 to TDR homage is fi­nally com­plete

Performance Bikes (UK) - - CONTENTS - Pho­tog­ra­phy Gareth Har­ford/Ja­son Critchell MARK WHITE

Yamaha MT-09, Suzuki GSX-R1000R, KTM 1290 Su­per Duke R, Tri­umph Speed Triple RS.

HOW MUCH BET­TER is that?! I mean, just look at it... Is that not a great look­ing mo­tor­cy­cle? All it took to fin­ish was a pair of wheels in the ap­pro­pri­ate colour. Fi­nally the MT-09’s trans­for­ma­tion is com­plete in ev­ery way.

It’s taken months, lit­er­ally, to or­gan­ise get­ting the stan­dard Yamaha flu­oro yel­low wheels pow­der-coated gold to ape the an­odised rims of the fa­bled TDR250 that I’d taken in­spi­ra­tion from for the MT’s makeover, but it’s been worth it. I’d been messed around by a firm who said they could do it, but bro­ken equip­ment, timescale dif­fi­cul­ties and the re­spon­si­bil­ity of hand­ing over wheels that aren’t mine (they do be­long to Yamaha af­ter all) meant I needed a bet­ter so­lu­tion. I know too well from per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence that a good and re­li­able pow­der-coater is worth their weight in gold.

I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced ev­ery­thing from poor fin­ish to com­pletely ru­ined wheels. Ev­ery step of the process is es­sen­tial to get­ting the job done well, and ev­ery step has its po­ten­tial pit­falls.

Be­fore ex­plain­ing, I should in­tro­duce Clas­sic Coat­ings Ltd: they’re one of the good guys. Owner Andy has heard and seen first-hand all my tales of woe, and un­der­stands peo­ple’s con­cerns. “Most of the prob­lems and is­sues with pow­der-coat­ing mo­tor­cy­cle wheels comes from trust­ing your wheels to com­pa­nies who usu­ally deal with in­dus­trial-style coat­ing of things like gar­den gates, where care and un­der­stand­ing of the prod­uct be­ing coated aren’t of con­cern,” he says. “Wheels are ac­cu­rate pieces of kit and they need to be treated as such through the en­tire process.”

Of course, the first thing that needs to be done is to strip the old fin­ish from them while main­tain­ing their in­tegrity and di­men­sions. Clas­sic Coat­ings use a se­cret pro­pri­etary process be­fore they even reach the shot-blast­ing cabi­net. I’ve had two sets of wheels ru­ined by two sep­a­rate com­pa­nies who didn’t un­der­stand that brake disc mount­ing sur­faces need to be looked af­ter dur­ing blast­ing or brake discs will never sit flat, thus warp­ing. Clas­sic Coat­ings use a fine alu­minium ox­ide medium which is gen­tle enough to strip paint, but not wheel ma­te­rial. I’m sure some com­pa­nies use the equiv­a­lent of drive­way gravel, de­stroy­ing disc mat­ing sur­faces and oblit­er­at­ing the let­ter­ing on wheel spokes.

Wheels are heated to a pre­cise 215°C to de-gas them

and pre­pare them for the new pow­der-coat. I was amazed to watch By­ron ap­ply­ing the stat­i­cally-charged pow­der to the grounded wheels and mak­ing it look so easy. A side­ways glance from Andy was enough to tell me it’s not magic, it’s a true skill. And no, I couldn’t have a go. I ask about the wall of wa­ter be­hind the spray booth. Turns out it’s quite a sim­ple, but in­ge­nious and ef­fec­tive way of fil­ter­ing the air in the booth with­out ex­pen­sive and waste­ful dis­pos­able fil­ters. Air is drawn to­wards the wall of wa­ter where it turns down­wards due to the pull of the wa­ter­fall. Dust and ex­cess pow­der can’t make the turn fast enough, get­ting caught in the wa­ter which is then strained and its sludge dis­posed of.

A coat of UV-sta­ble lac­quer is ap­plied us­ing the same tech­nique, and the wheels are cured in the oven. The flaw­less re­sults speak for them­selves. Clas­sic Coat­ings even have their own CNC wheel-spe­cific lathe which al­lows them to ma­chine per­fect rim lips for the likes of GPz and RD wheels (or any oth­ers with fancy pol­ished bits on) in-house.

I’m so pleased to have found a com­pany I can fi­nally trust af­ter so many I can’t, that they de­serve praise for the job. Best of all, fromt £66 per wheel (de­pend­ing on colours and fin­ish), it’s not even ex­pen­sive...

‘The flu­oro rims have been pow­der-coated gold to ape those of the fa­bled TDR250’

Awestruck Whitey gets the pow­der-coat­ing low-down from Clas­sic Coat­ings’ boss man

It’s hard to ar­gue with Mark’s as­sess­ment of the MT. It’s been trans­formed into some­thing that per­forms bet­ter and looks just the right side of stabby

Andy in­spects the hand­i­work, and de­clares it wor­thy of Whitey’s MT-09

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