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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all. As many of you may have seen video's on youtube, there are a lot of sport bike riders who remove the paint from the edge of their rims and polish the aluminum for a low cost custom look. Keeping the center painted.

Since I don't have a heated garage I am starting late to prep my 2004 "Poor Man's" Burgman for the season. I call it a Poor Man's Burgman because well.... it's not that pretty, she has 30,000 miles on her, and has been neglected by the previous owner. I am also not one that can afford to go out and spend tons of dough on Givi boxes, or chrome plating my rims. So in addition to regular maintenance I also want to make her pretty again.... all while staying on a cheap budget.

Anyway, this bike came to me very cheaply and was a way for me to become a Burgman owner and move up from my 300 cc chinese scoot. It had been ridden into a ditch at some point and the rear wheel had to be replaced. As a result the rear wheel had a very bad chipping black paint job on it, and the front was a great condition burgman silver. I've also discovered the bottom trim piece on one side does not match... I never noticed until underneath the bike this weekend. But alas.. that's another story...

Anyway, I hate the color of this bike, it's dark blue. I don't hate blue, but this blue is so dark I'd prefer it to be black. But beggars can't be choosers. Since a total repaint is not in the works this season, I decided that it needed some "bling" to brighten things up. Below is the 1st project. At minimum I knew I wanted to paint the rear wheel silver to match the front. But the more I thought about it the more I knew I would still hate the silver. I hate silver paint on wheels. I'm a "chrome man", I like shine. But I'm not a "chome money man", so a poor mans chrome job was in order. I didn't take any pics with my good camera but below are some crappy cell pics. I'm no refinishing expert. I watched two or three vids and hastily went at it. Knowing what I know now, I know if I did this again I could take it to a little higher level, they are not "perfect". But I am very happy with the results. And here is a brief description of my steps.

1. power wash wheels
2. apply spray on paint remover
3. power wash again
4. For the areas to be polished- Wet sand with 320, 400, 600, 1500, followed by white rouge with a cotton buffer wheel in my hand held drill. ( I would have went way higher on wet sanding grits but I did not have any on hand and the stores were closed at the time I needed it). I also figure going through more steps of rouge to be beneficial, but having never worked with it before, using black and red did not reap me any benefits other than just using the white. My rouge polishing kit by the way is 20.00 at harbor freight and says "great for motorcycles" on the box.
5. for the areas to be painted, dry sand with 600 grit wet sand paper.
6.clean rims with 90% alcohol- not the best pre-prep but again ...this is a "poor mans refinish"
7. tape off the polished area's
8. paint with 3-4 coats of Dupont Hyper Silver paint.
9. paint with 3-4 coats of Dupont Clear that comes in the Hyper Silver paint kit.
10. remove tape
11. clean any tape residue.
12. This step I have yet to perform or recommend, but the final step will be to coat the polished areas of the rims with "AlumaClear" aluminum protectant. It is 20.00 per can and claims to protect polished aluminum for 2-5 years, and can be recoated at any time.

Cost:
- sand paper- 1 sheet of each grit- about 8.00.
- Hyper Silver paint kit- 20.00.
- polish kit- 20.00
- paint remover- 1 can- 9.00
- painters tape- 7.00
- AlumaClear- 1 can 26.00 shipped

Grand Total- 90.00 and roughly 10 hours of work.


The rims are now at the shop ,getting brand new Michelin City Grip rubber. Hopefully I will have them tomorrow. I will post after shots with the rims installed.































 

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They look great. For those who don't want to put that much time into it couldn't you just have them powder coated silver?
 

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Another good source for aluminum polish
is the 'larger' truck-stops.....
they sell it to the truckers for keeping
their fuel tanks looking so nice.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the compliments.

Turns out I needed a front wheel bearing so I don't have the wheels back yet:( Hopefully I'll get them on by the weekend for a ride.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
They look great. For those who don't want to put that much time into it couldn't you just have them powder coated silver?
Absolutely. I don't know what powder coating would run but it does look nice and provides a good finish.

The cheapest route would have been just to repaint them both with the silver. That would have ran about 35.00 total for paint, tape and and paper and would have resulted in a nice finish also. But for a "bright" chrome like look, real chrome or polished aluminum are the only real options.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Another good source for aluminum polish
is the 'larger' truck-stops.....
they sell it to the truckers for keeping
their fuel tanks looking so nice.

This "AlumaClear" I purchased is also used widely for tanker trucks, and gas tanks. I'm curious to how it will hold up.
 

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Good work!

I was thinking of painting mine (rattle can). The cast aluminum factory finish is pathetic, very rough, so maybe some polishing is in order first.

Then there is, what color to paint them, mine is a red 2008. Silver or pearl white or maybe lemon yellow. Hmmmmm.

Did you pop out the wheel bearings before you power washed etc.? Maybe some Gorilla tape over them?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Good work!

Did you pop out the wheel bearings before you power washed etc.? Maybe some Gorilla tape over them?
I did not, I taped them off. I ended up replacing the front one, so it turned out not to matter. For 10.00, might as well while you have them off IMO.
 

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I usually don't like a high shine chrome, but the way those wheels turned out I might just have to do that myself. Do you think sand blasting them first just to get the paint off would help the process?
 

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I usually don't like a high shine chrome, but the way those wheels turned out I might just have to do that myself. Do you think sand blasting them first just to get the paint off would help the process?
Sometimes sandblasting will cause a pitted finish.
Ground-up walnut shells often works better on
softer metals like aluminum.
 

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Just took in some Morphous wheels in for powder coating. Hey were naked, no bearings, seals, valve stems and of course no weights. 135.00 total at Primo Powder Coating in Huntingnton Beach, Ca. I would imagine it being less in more reasonable parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I usually don't like a high shine chrome, but the way those wheels turned out I might just have to do that myself. Do you think sand blasting them first just to get the paint off would help the process?
I wouldn't sand blast. It will make the sanding and polishing a very hard job. The idea is to remove the paint without damaging the metal underneath. Having said that, I left it out of my post because I wasn't going to advise it. The front wheel was finished like so "1st one coat of paint remover, then a rotary sanding disc chucked in my drill, then hand sanding then polish. What I was not going to recommend was the rotary sanding disc. You see, when I used the paint remover on the front, a lot came off "presumably the clear coat mostly". And I was left with what literally looked like I had painted the wheel a dull white. I was devastated because I didn't know what I had to work with underneath. It was late and I didn't want to drop another 10.00 on more stripper from the local parts store. So I decided to take a sanding disc to it. You can see this in one of the close up pics where a shiny spot is surrounded by white. It worked fine, and may have resulted in a nicer finish as far as removing flaws. But it made the job a lot harder. I did a lot more hand sanding on the front wheel.

If you look at the indoor pic that shows the polished rear on the right and the front on the left. That pic of the front was after spraying with paint remover. When I did the rear, I'm not sure if the wheel had been repainted in the past or not. But the black paint came off easily and there was a shine on the wheel already. The aluminum did have a spider web pattern on it due to oxidation.


In can tell you the OEM finish is a very durable, thick finish. Had my rear wheel been silver and in good shape I wouldn't have done this job. But my rear looked so crappy, I figured I had nothing to lose.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
So what did you paint? It looks like you stripped them down to the aluminum and polished them, which look FANTASTIC!
Essentially, that's exactly what I did, but only to the outside edges on both sides, and the flat areas on the main side. If you look closely at the pic with a side view, you will see that the center all the way around is silver paint. Also on the reverse side ( the side that has the mold marks, and such in the forks) is all paint. If you look at my pics, the green tape is covering everything I polished. Everything else is silver paint.

When I started the job my intention was to strip the wheels and polish the entire thing on both sides. What I didn't think about was that both sides are not smooth spokes. Only one side is smooth. That always bugs me about scooter rims by the way, why can't they make both sides cool! Anyway... the reason I changed my mind is you quickly realize the center area of the rim and the one side of the spokes is not machined smooth. It's rough and pitted, basically it looks like it would had it been sand blasted. To polish the unmachined parts is a darn near impossible task. So silver paint was a much easier way to blend it in.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Just took in some Morphous wheels in for powder coating. Hey were naked, no bearings, seals, valve stems and of course no weights. 135.00 total at Primo Powder Coating in Huntingnton Beach, Ca. I would imagine it being less in more reasonable parts.
Sounds very reasonable to me. Also a nice option if you want a colored wheel instead of shiny or silver.

Of course you can achieve color on your own also.

I almost went with gold rims, someone on here "had" nice gold rims on his 650, then traded to a new 650.. forgot who it was. I saw his pics on here. Let me go check....
 
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