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Discussion Starter #1
Has anyone ever seen a carby supersport with polished wheels?

The wheels on my bike need some some attention, there are no scratches or severe damage but the paint is getting very thin and at some spots the primer is showing through the paint.
It has the stock 3-spoke brembo-wheels.

I was thinking about having them repainted or powder-coated but can not decide what color to use and I don't wanna spend to much money on the wheels as I want to replace them with 5-spoke SSie wheels when (if) I come across a nice affordable pair.

A few days ago I saw a photo of a 900ss which seems to have (kinda) polished wheels and I think that looks surprisingly good. I don't know if the wheels on the photo are really polished or that it just looks that way because of the lighting when the photo was taken but you get the idea. Especially the front wheel looks polished to me.

Besides the fact that I think it looks nice, the big advantage is that polishing the wheels is more diy then painting them. And if the result is not what I expected, the wheels can still be painted/powder-coated.
I found some epoxy-based 1K alu varnish at restom.net (alufilm 4040). I didn’t find a English version of that (French) site but they have a lot of ‘restoration’-products. Never heard of them before… (And Google Translate will ease the pain)

Any thoughts?

Polished wheels.jpg
 

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(y)

I think it looks good with the gold spokes and a polished rim.

I was thinking of polishing the lips of my gold Brembo rims.
 

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Just remember polishing them is a bitch---keeping them looking good is a bastard, you have to stay on top of them all the time or they will oxidize and look worse then they do now at least that is my opo
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Just remember polishing them is a bitch---keeping them looking good is a bastard, you have to stay on top of them all the time or they will oxidize and look worse then they do now at least that is my opo
I know. That's why I was looking for a clear coating for aluminium...

me in the openingspost said:
I found some epoxy-based 1K alu varnish at restom.net (alufilm 4040).
And if I may believe the reviews that I've read, oxidation won't be a problem after applying that stuff.

So my question goes out to anyone who has ever polished aluminium parts (or wheels) on a bike and protected them with some kind of clear coat.
Do's and don'ts, tips, brands, how-to's,...
 

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Polishing just the lip or edge really has to be done before painting the rest of it, I assume you were not thinking of trying to polish after it has been freshly painted or the original paint.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Polishing just the lip or edge really has to be done before painting the rest of it, I assume you were not thinking of trying to polish after it has been freshly painted or the original paint.
My first idea was polishing the whole wheel, not just the edge but really the whole thing...
 

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I’ve seen cast wheels with a chrome looking paint applied and they looked pretty good. I’ve used specific wheel paint, VHT I believe, with good results and they make a clear coat for wheels. I made a wooden stand that I can put a wheel in and spin it . It makes polishing the wheels much easier. Also for truing and balancing wheels.
 

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I have seen them polished as well as chromed ( I do not recommend chrome) , I think they look good but I could not keep white wheels clean so polished is a no-go for me. I have used a clearcoat on aluminum parts designed to not loose the luster but it did lessen the shine a bit. Glisten PC High Performance Clear Coat
 

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I polished the lip on my front wheel. I think your best bet is to just scuff the paint you have now and repaint.

The “primer” Ducati used on the SS wheels is more like a powder coat than a spray on primer. It is super thick and took ages to remove. Even aircraft paint stripper didn’t do a whole lot towards making removal easier.

In the end I used an angle grinder with a fibrous rust and scale removal pad to cut through the “primer” until I could visually see it was thin. Then I went after it with an oscillating tool and some progressively finer paper. I started out with 80 just so you have an idea of just how thick and tough this coating is.

Once I got it down to bare aluminum I used a high speed drill and some sizel pads along with polishing compound to polish the lip out to a very high glossy luster. Too much so. In fact, I went back over it with some 2000 grit paper to tone it down a bit.

It was so much work, and took me so long to just do the lip that I took one look at the rear wheel and decided to just paint it instead. It is silver with gold spokes like the front now.



If you are still going to the polished route, my suggestion is to find a company to do it for you as the amount of time and effort to do it in your garage is more than it would cost to outsource the work.....sean
 

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You can see in this picture that my swingarm is polished. I had it polished by a shop with the right equipment to get to the small tight areas. No clear coat of any kind, it starts dulling every few weeks. I use Mother's Aluminum Polish to get it back to its luster. 7.jpg
 

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You can see in this picture that my swingarm is polished. I had it polished by a shop with the right equipment to get to the small tight areas. No clear coat of any kind, it starts dulling every few weeks. I use Mother's Aluminum Polish to get it back to its luster. View attachment 976594
 

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Well here is a pic of my Duc's all in a row and two have polished alloy tanks. No coating, just polished. They haven't been polished in several years now and I'd call them about 90% as nice looking as they look immediately after they are re- polished. The bevel also has polished Borrani alloy rims and bump seat. Granted I never ride them in the rain if I can avoid it and they are garaged all summer. Also as you can see, they live in my family room in the long Chicago winters, but I still don't think keeping a polished piece of alloy looking nice is as bad as some are making it out to be. I also have a bare alloy 1946 Globe Swift aircraft and there are many owners of these planes that have them polished to an absolute mirror shine. Most say they have to "touch up" the polish job once or twice a season...mostly from cretins putting their grimy fingerprints on the shiny metal. No paint I have ever seen compares to the beauty of a nicely polished piece of aluminum.

I have heard good things about Zoop Seal which has now been discontinued and replaced by this stuff:
It isn't like a paint. It's a water thin substance that is supposed to chemically bond to the aluminum pores, seal them and prevent oxidation for 2 years. There is no clear coating or paint to my knowledge that will properly make a long term bond to a bare polished piece of alloy.


IMG_20191120_111711871.jpg


IMG_20181111_125249512_HDR.jpg


Terry
 

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Eastwood Company used to have a paint that was clear and would seal bare aluminium, I dont know if they still have it or not, I think if my feeble mind remembers correctly it was called Nylac. Give them a call they may be able to help you.
 

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On a 1984 Honda Magna V45 (700cc "tariff special") project I did a few years ago the wheels were neglected and complete shit when I bought the bike ($700 ... it ran and was in rideable condition). Honda originally chromed the rims' edges and "painted" the rest of the wheel black. The chrome on the donor bike was oxidized and a mess. I had them dechromed (any chrome shop can easily do this for cheap since no pre-polishing or chrome-bath is needed) and sand blasted ... not bead blasted, actually sand blasted. I then took a 3M ~green~ scrub pad to the outer edges and gave them a semi-polished finish ... more of a buffed finish I guess.

The first image is how they looked before any work was done. Looking carefully you can see how the chromed outer edges were total crap and deeply pitted, and also how hand sanding the crappy aged black portions would have been all but impossible to manually sand clean. Sand blasting the wheels literally bulldozed the pitting and other imperfections away with the flotsam. Obviously all of the components had to be removed first ... wheel bearings, etc. I made a cardboard insert to protect the cush drive bushings since none are available and removing them without damaging them was highly risky.

976633



This next image is post-sand blasted ... you can see that the fine detail was not damaged in the process. The nasty old black finish was totally removed leaving a nice bare aluminum surface.
976640



The outer edges were buffed with the green 3M pad after the tires were mounted. Tire mounting can leave scratches and "signatures" so I thought it best to let the tire shop do their worst, then I'd go in and buff the rims' edges. The neat thing about it all was that when the outer edges needed touching up over time, just taking a green 3M pad to them while still mounted on the bike was a very simple task. Fortunately those wheels had a clearly defined ridge that separated the rims from the cast aluminum "spoked" centers that was very easy to follow with the 3M pads. That said, there was virtually no way to "color outside of the lines", making it easy to only buff the rim edges without accidentally scuffing the cast spokes. In no time the buffed finish was easily restored ... ten minutes per wheel or so, if that. I still have this bike, these wheels still look great .... these pictures were taken in 2011 when the bike was still under construction. Point being, wheel stripping and edge polishing can be done without creating more problems than it's worth.

I converted a 1980s Jap Cruiser into a 1980s V45 powered Superbike replica ... I'm still proud of the results.
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More topically, here's one more example of some really nice looking rims on a post-2000 Ducati Supersport .... I gotta admit the silver-on-black color scheme looks the treat!!!! But I'm biased. The blasted aluminum with cast aluminum with buffed aluminum really fit the entire bike, engine, forks, and all. Offset with gloss black and a tiny sniff of goldish calipers, master cylinders, rotor centers (and the yellow rear spring) work well as an overall look and feel. I'd be willing to be seen riding this bike! Add a black leather jacket, black helmet/boots/gloves .... good to go! Only thing that stands out in a negative way are those overly large rocket launcher mufflers. "Honest officer, they're not bazookas!".

976644
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I saw a neighbour last night who knows a really good painter. He's not the fastest one but he should deliver a great job at a (I think) reasonable prize (€80/wheel for blasting with glass beads, painting and clear coat). On top of that, this guys workshop is not even a mile from where I live and I never knew he was a painter. There's not even a sign at his workshop, he doesn't advertise anywhere and he has load of work. So I think he must be good... Next week I will get to see some of his work.

So maybe I should consider painting the wheels instead of polishing them. Especially since you guys mention the amount of work that polishing requires. And at €80/wheel...

Leaves me with the color choice...
I like the gold wheels but then especially on Marchesini 5-spokes.
But when I see Iwannaduc's pictures (gold spokes) maybe gold isn't a bad idea either. Anyone has all gold 3-spokes (or a pic of them?) I'm not a huge fan of two-tone wheels...

What do you guys think? What is your favorite colour for the 3-spokes? (if possible with pics, thanks!)
 

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Hey Rex, the wheels on the Magna look pretty nice but that muffler hanger, now THAT is the dogs bollocks...

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Has anyone ever seen a carby supersport with polished wheels? ............. Any thoughts? ....
I don't know if you're aware of this, but clear powder coating is a thing.

Myself I don't like the idea of powder coating certain part of motorcycles, the wheels being among them. Reason being if the wheels are powder coated any given color and they become chipped, it's impossible to powder them to do just a touch up. The wheel must be removed, the tire pulled off, bearings removed, and so on. Then the wheel(s) would need to be scorched with a torch to burn off the existing coat, then bead blasted. Then the wheel would need to be powder coated all over again, bearings reinstalled, tire remounted and balanced, rotors reinstalled, and lastly the wheelset reinstalled on the bike. You're talking at least a week, and at least $300 to $400.

Wheels are some of the ~most likely~ items to take on chips or heavy scratches. Sure, you can attempt to paint over the damage ... but the painted ~fix~ will visibly show up over the powder coated surface and not match very well .... which sortof negates the entire reason for spending several hundred bugs to have them powder coated in the first place.

I feel that DIY painting wheels is a more wise choice. I've done it several times using really high quality rattle can wheel paint with high quality rattle can etching primer. If you use enamel paint, it cures hard as the hubs of hell, and is very easily patched up should damage occur ... without all of the bullshit involving the processes I described above when dealing with re-coating a powder coated wheelset. No removal, no tire dismounting, no bearing removal, no scorching/bead blasting ..... and so on.

Clear power coating may be a viable alternative .... but I'm not sure. I don't know how well (or how poorly) clear powder weathers when it comes to fading or "yellowing" over time, or how well (or poorly) it deals with patching up with some type of rattle can. Especially if some ham fisted tire mounter takes a chunk out of the coating when changing out tires.
 
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