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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am in the process of rehabbing my '04 ST4s and wasn't going to tackle this issue, but it looks unsightly enough that I think it's time.

The stock triple clamps and risers are horribly splotchy with oxidation. They were like this from the factory, but it's gotten worse over time.

What is the recommended solution? My preference is to have them polished, and then clear anodized, to prevent this in the future.

But, I don't want to make them too shiny. Similar to stock would be good. I hear that any anodizer can acid etch the parts (for a matte finish), maybe this is the preferred way?
 

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I've been thinking about how to do the same thing to my 1998 ST2....its a funky area on an otherwise nearly perfect bike.

I tried metal polishing "wadding" the other day.....very slight improvement but not enough to even warrant buying the stuff.....Im wondering if a copper brillo pad (no idea where to find one) might possibly improve it with some Simichrome polish or similar. If the bar risers are anodized.....this probably wont touch them either.

Im pretty sure that bead blasting or...if the beads wont touch the anodizing,...then sand blasting would completely remove the blotchy effect......wondering if a clear coat like Krylon clear would keep it nice or if they would need to be anodized again??

How about powder coating them.....its quick and easy....and any color you want from an original aluminum matt color to pretty much anything you could imagine including colors that you would swear are chrome or black chrome.

You could buy the Harbor Freight or better yet (for the same price) the Eastwood powder coater and bake/cure them in your own dedicated oven.....and for what you would pay someone else to do it....you now own a small parts powder coater. (they have got to fit in an oven to be baked). I have read that it is NOT a good idea to use the same oven you cook in.....however you could probably buy a used oven for $25-$50 if you shopped a bit.

Brian
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If the parts were anodized originally, then all of it would need to be stripped before powder coating.

I like the look of bare AL, and from research, "Greased Lighting" or Drano can remove the anodizing in a few minutes, but I'm not sure of the long-term consequences of this.

Once the old surface treatment is off, then polishing, brushing or etching is a possibility. Type II clear anodizing is what I think would be appropriate for a new finish coat. Type III or hard ano. will change the tolerances of threads and press-fit tapers. Even with type II you need to specify that all holes should be plugged to prevent problems.

A little more research is needed I think.
 

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I would think the anodizing would provide a stable surface for the powder coating............but........that is just an educated guess. Sounds like you have researched it a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The point about removing the old anodizing (if it's there) is to make a clean surface if you want to powder coat.

I would guess that the splotchy appearance was a poor anodizing from the factory.

Good prep == good results. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I talked with an anodizer today that said the cast parts on the ST are poor candidates for this process.

Basically, the high silicon content makes the outcome splotchy and uneven. Probably ending up looking like the factory job (poor).

The person answering my questions suggested that painting or polishing are really the best options, considering the quality of the parts to start with. You would still have to prep the parts before doing anything. My biggest concern is the gloss level of painting or polishing. It just wouldn't look right on that bike. If there was a very matte paint, it might be OK.

Anyone know if a Speedymoto triple set will fit an ST? And what kind of risers you could use?
 

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It may be time to try the good old Krylon Dull Aluminum!!



I talked with an anodizer today that said the cast parts on the ST are poor candidates for this process.

Basically, the high silicon content makes the outcome splotchy and uneven. Probably ending up looking like the factory job (poor).

The person answering my questions suggested that painting or polishing are really the best options, considering the quality of the parts to start with. You would still have to prep the parts before doing anything. My biggest concern is the gloss level of painting or polishing. It just wouldn't look right on that bike. If there was a very matte paint, it might be OK.

Anyone know if a Speedymoto triple set will fit an ST? And what kind of risers you could use?
 

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What about ceramic coating?
These are photos of my old 85 RZ500 V4 2 stroke.
The frame is powder coated, & the exhaust is ceramic coated, the mufflers are stainless steel.

Could be an option?

Craig
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It may be time to try the good old Krylon Dull Aluminum!!
You might be right!

What about ceramic coating?
These are photos of my old 85 RZ500 V4 2 stroke.
The frame is powder coated, & the exhaust is ceramic coated, the mufflers are stainless steel.

Could be an option?

Craig
Ceramic coating is still quite shiny, even in the dullest of finishes.

If I didn't care about keeping the aluminum finish, this would be a lot easier. Just powder coat it and be done.

I wonder if I could powder coat it to match the frame? That might be close enough.
 

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I did some flat black ceramic Jet Hot coat on some Austin Healey down pipes years ago....worked good....was a rough feeling finish though.

Id be willing to bet you would be surprised by the Krylon Dull Aluminum..... If you dont like it..........comes right off with a rag and laquer thinner. I have used it repeatedly for BMW bike engine and drive train parts, valve covers on oilheads etc. with a Satin Clear coat............and is a perfect match for the BMW R1150 GS Adventure Flat silver fuel tank without the clear coat....surprisingly durable as well....but if it gets scratched.....spritz a bit more on....and you are good to go.............It appears to be actual aluminum in a matte clear substrate. (You can see the alu flakes in the air)

Brian

You might be right!



Ceramic coating is still quite shiny, even in the dullest of finishes.

If I didn't care about keeping the aluminum finish, this would be a lot easier. Just powder coat it and be done.

I wonder if I could powder coat it to match the frame? That might be close enough.
 

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Im pretty sure that bead blasting or...if the beads wont touch the anodizing,...then sand blasting would completely remove the blotchy effect......wondering if a clear coat like Krylon clear would keep it nice or if they would need to be anodized again?? Brian
Bead blasting will remove any paint or anodization layer. Depending on the bead type, how long they've been used, pressure, distance, time, etc. it'll leave the surface with a clean matte/rough finish. You'll need to put some type of finish back on, it will start oxidizing. We just had a pair cylinders on a 695 Monster bead blasted, look great. The other issue will be unless you finish them they are porous and will soak up grease and oils. Not a problem if don't mind constantly cleaning them with a solvent like brake cleaner (probably not good for a triple).

Polishing can look good but it's a lot of work to keep it like that useles you put some clear over it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I still think that chemically bathing is less work than bead blasting.

Drano will work (sodium hydroxide):

http://www.secondchancegarage.com/public/665.cfm

From talking with the anodizers, bead blasting can sometimes leave an irregular finish. Of course it would depend on media, prep, skill and thoroughness to get great results.

Sufuric or nitric acid is the prep of choice, if you are going to re-anodize or paint. But that process has 4 or 5 different baths and needs to be temperature controlled and timed. But a good place can usually do the prep for only a little money.

The benefit of the acid prep is that you get a very uniform surface, the best for coating.

I'm going to try to get a used upper clamp from eBay and send it to the anodizer and see what they think.

After talking with them, they are not sure if the parts are sand cast, or zinc-die cast. Zinc-die might have a chance at anodizing.


Another option I'm investigating is IVD (Ion Vapor Deposition). This process heats an alloy to melting temps, ionizes it, and then electo-plates the part in a vacuum chamber. This is how chromed plastic is made. But you can essentially put any metallic coating on virtually any substrate. The idea would be to use a high-grade AL alloy, and IVD plate the parts. The IVD plating could be anodized as normal. This would have the best result, but price is an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Update:

I have received a test part (ST > 04 top triple clamp) that will be going to Embee Inc in Santa Ana this week.

Embee will clean and then IVD plate pure aluminum at .0005 to .0007 in thick to the part. Afterwards, the part will have clear Type-II sulfuric anodizing.

Since Embee believes that the result will be good, but has not tested this method, we are testing the process with a spare part.

I will put up some pictures soon for the "before" state, and more when the part comes back.

If all goes well, this process could be used to coat any number of dull or cast AL parts.

Embee also does chrome, passivation, silver, nickel, mag and other plating:

www.embee.com

Here are some pics from eBay, but they don't show the wear as well as I'd like.



 

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Polishing

Sending the parts off is in my book the way to go, unless you like being covered in black Aluminum yuck. It's fun once trust me.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
We'll see how it goes. I'm hoping that it will be really nice looking.

This part is only a test run, the triple from my bike is in worse shape than this one, this came from a later model ST3.

One thing I did, was to clean it up a little bit before sending it in. I noticed while wiping it with a rag, that there is a harmonic resonance on this part, like a wine glass. Interesting sound too.

Even Ducati triple clamps sing. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Time to resurrect this thread.

So, I finally got the clamp back from the finishers after more than a month.

What they did: Removed the two locating dowels for the risers from the back, as they are steel and would interfere with the process. Then, they IVD (ion-vapor deposition) plated pure aluminum onto the clamp. Afterward, they clear anodized the clamp. Using the IVD plating was a way to overcome the high-silicon nature of the casting, which when anodized turns dull gray.

The results:

The good: The finish on the part is very uniform and high quality. Looks like a really good paint job, but won't wear off. Very smooth.

The bad: Even IVD plating could not overcome the nature of the original part. The anodizing did turn the clamp slightly gray, but not as much as if the plating wasn't done.

It isn't too shiny any more, and has a matte finish to it. Possibly this is the same result one would have gotten with painting the part, but the finish is much more durable.

I will post up some pictures soon, with the re-finished part next to the original that is still on my ST.

Based on this, I would have to say that the outcome of this process is completely dependent on the quality of the original part. Poor castings are hard to finish no matter what. It is also difficult to use this process unless all of the parts of the assembly are aluminum. That makes it nearly impossibly to do this to the lower part of the triple since it has a steel shaft in the middle of the part that would not be possible to separate easily.

In reality, this isn't the look I'm trying to go for, and will probably seek out a Speedymoto monster triple set to put on the ST, with the new "Tallboy" risers.

Cheers!
 

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In reality, this isn't the look I'm trying to go for, and will probably seek out a Speedymoto monster triple set to put on the ST, with the new "Tallboy" risers.
SE84,

Please keep us posted on the Speedymoto monster triple with the Tallboy risers. I've been looking for an alternative to the stock triple since I bought my ST3. I am interested in how the Tallboy risers fit in the fairing and how much height on the risers is obtainable compared to the stock '04+ set up.

I would love to see some pictures.

Thanks,
Kelly Hewes
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
One thing I don't think I'll like about the SM triples is that they are horizontally flat, where the stock '04 and later top triple is angled.

The stock setup has the top of the forks sit flush with the clamp, as well as the stem nut.

With the SM setup the forks will stick up a bit above the clamp. Not a deal breaker, but since the '04 and later risers come from under the clamp it will look a little different than the older bikes. I guess I could put on the SC risers that I have on top of the clamp, but I think that wouldn't look good either.

The thing I did verify is that they will do the whole setup in clear anodizing, which would at least match the stock coloring. Grey and black are also options.
 
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