We were commissioned to detail and protect a 2011 Harley Davidson Fatboy Special. The bike was made especially interesting in that the colour option chosen was Black Denim, which is a dark matt black. Exhaust was a custom Vance and Hines, also in black denim, plus the alloys were Black Bullet Hole cast aluminum discs. This meant that the alloys were only part painted the remainder being bare aluminum and the paintwork would be particularly prone to weathering.
Although the bike was only two weeks old all of the polished paintwork on the bike such as the forks, headlamp and rear brackets were all showing up swirls and would need to be polished before protecting. So this project would involve a thorough cleansing of the bike before polishing, sealing and protecting to help maintain its original look and make the bike easier to clean in the long term.
We arrived at the underground car park where the bike was situated, the first thing I noticed was how dusty it was, this meant I would need to wash down our work area before starting, in fact before unwrapping the bike.
Next was to clean the bike ready for review. First was rinse off any loose dirt on the bike by using a custom mix warm snow foam, then a warm mild rinse using softened water. We then removed any caked on dirt using diluted Meguiars APC agitated with a fine horse hair brush followed by another warm rinse. Finally all the exposed surfaces were washed down with car shampoo and a deep pile sheepskin wash mitt before a final rinse using pure deionised water to prevent any potential watermarks drying on.
At this stage the bike could have been left to dry naturally without any staining left behind but we had a schedule plus I needed to make sure the was no standing water left on some of the more intricate parts of the bike. For this we use a special air dryer designed for motorcycles called the Black Baron. What this does is blow warm filtered air at high velocity so blowing off any excess water and drying at the same time. The seats were then removed to dry off any remaining water.
As you can see the paintwork was in need of polishing before we could apply any protection, as we only had a day it would be impossible to strip down the bike to do each component separately so we had to make do with masking off and polishing either by hand or using the less aggressive dual action polisher.
Now all the polished paintwork was tidied up it was time to protect the bike, for this there would be a combination of products from GTechniq depending on the finish and surface we were protecting. The wheels had exposed bear aluminum, which from experience would oxidize very quickly if not protected, a wax would give this some protection but we needed better as this was not a garage queen. For this I polished the rims to remove all oxidized aluminum then cleaned before apply C5 Wheel Amour, which gives a hard wearing invisible lacquer over the surface. This would give at least three months protection which would be topped up as and when required. This could go on both the bear and painted surfaces of the alloy so keeping the look and preventing weathering.
All of the polished painted surfaces were coated with C1 Crystal Lacquer giving a long term hard wearing protection and deep shine.
The Black Denim surfaces were more interesting, we had tried C1 on a test spot a few days before and it worked fine but it darkened the finish slightly, the C2 Liquid crystal though did not. Although this is not as hard wearing as C1 it was a completely invisible barrier and as we wanted to keep the look of the bike as close to standard as possible it was decided to go ahead with this.
In total a day was spent cleaning and preparing the bike, the results are a bike that now looks better than showroom and is much easier to clean. We will be maintaining this bike every other weeks with our special motorcycle valet package using deionized water, warm foaming and of course protection top ups.
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