Touch-Up Paint Jobs - Beware
Touch-up paint jobs on these motorcycles has to be one of the most insidious traps that someone can fall in to. When someone scratches their beloved motorcycle, they may desperately want to return the bike to its original condition, but this may be more difficult than they first imagined.
Iíd like to relay some rather painful lessons I learned from a recent episode where I scratched one side of the fairing on my new bike. Hope this helps someone else.
1)Touching up just one portion of a part leaves a rather ugly line(s) where the new paint meets the old paint. When youíre preparing the surface for painting, you wonít be able to sand a perfect line either, at least not hand sanding. With hand sanding, you may find yourself sanding down a larger & larger area as you accidentally intrude on to undamaged paint areas with each stroke. As for sanding out the line after the painting is done(as I was told was possible by the people from Color-Rite), this did not seem to be possible as you wind up scratching the undamaged paint on the outside line, allowing it to be only Ďjust so goodí. I also had to wait 5 days for the paint to cure before removing the masking and attempting to sand out the line.
2)Mixing small quantities of paint in the hopes of matching the original paint, even if computer color coding is used, is unlikely to produce a good color match. I tried this at NAPA and when it dried it looked burnt orange, clashing with the Pearl Crystal Red OEM color of my bike.
3)A tri-coat of base, color, clear(and perhaps primer) was need to match my OEM color. Off to Color-Rite since no one else seemed to have it. Iím not even sure Suzuki sells touch-up paint. And about the primer I just mentioned, donít think you can use just any primer, either. You have to at least match urethane paint to urethane primer(and there may be other compatibility issues) otherwise a disappointing chemical reaction might occur when you start applying base to the primer which causes the paint to kind of glob together rather the cover smoothly. I choose Color-Rites primer just to be sure I would avoid any compatibility issues.
4)Even if you go the color-Rite route and buy 4 aerosol cans(primer, base, color, clear coat for about $200 which would at least do you an area about the size of the gas tank) you still might not end up with that smooth, exact match finish that you seek. To avoid having a line(s) youíre going to want to do the entire part. Easier to work with if you take it the part off the bike, but not impossible to do some parts with masking tape, newspaper and a drop cloth. I tried the markers, small brush containers and did not like them. If youíre a skilled painter with a spray gun, good place to work, good tools, knowledgeable about painting, etc. you probably could do better than I did. Color Rite said sometimes there are problems spraying the Pearl Crystal Red(sparkles like it has flakes) from paint guns.
5)Nail polish is a cheap and simple solution, but may be globby and not match the color to satisfaction. Nail polish may be removable though if you tried it and did not like it--provided you use the right stuff(rubbing alcohol ?). Putting a new decal over the scratches, if possible, may be easiest and most cost effective route.
Painting Options likely to work:
1) Buy the entire piece(fairing, etc.), decals, etc. from the dealer and transplant any emblems salvageable from the old piece. Not cheap for some people, but it does ensure an exact color match with the other parts of the bike.
2)Paint the entire bike(the necessary matching parts of the bike, that is.)
2)Go to Color-Rite and buy the expensive paint, but this still is by no means a guarantee that youíll get the results you expect. Thereís skill involved painting and plenty of details Iím leaving out here(e.g., how long to wait in between coats, what temperate to paint at to avoid runs, etc.)
My paint job isnít hideous, but it sure wasnít the results I wanted, particularly with all I went through. My bike was pretty new when I scratched it and it was so hard not want to make it perfect again. My unwillingness to accept that I could not make it perfect again was what drew me into this whole, rather nightmarish, educational, painting episode. I may someday buy the entire fairing panel from Suzuki, and put whatever decal I want on it, transplant the emblem, etc. but that would not make sense unless I am sure that the new Hepco & Becker crash bars I installed would protect it perfectly.