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Christian Bynum's Classic BMW Motorcycles: Do-It-Yourself Painting Tips
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Whenever I can afford it, I go with a professional paint job on my bikes, including hand pinstriping; a top-notch pro finish is the eventual goal for every restoration ride in my stable. However, during my "ride-as-I-restore" process, I have forayed into do-it-yourself economy bodywork refurbishment for Airheads with passable results for my fenders and sidecovers. I had no significant prior experience and did not have the best tools or working conditions, but I still managed to achieved fairly presentable results the first time around using decent-quality automotive enamel paints and clearcoats. As you evaluate the pros and cons of doing your own motorcycle painting, consider that, as expensive as a pro paint job can be, if you remember to factor in the value of your own time as well as the more concrete costs of materials, you may find that there is actually a false economy to DIY. But if you're willing to chalk your time expenditures up as "valid recreational pursuits" while you paint, you can save a little money and have a nicely refurbished motorcycle. That said, here are my tips and recommendations for cheap and efficient "rattlecanning" based upon my initial experiences painting BMW motorcycle bodywork:There are undoubtedly many improvements that can be made to these basic techniques, but the information above is enough to get you started thinking about the DIY painting process for your Airhead restoration project.
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