Swingarm mods

The AR80 has a pretty sweet looking swingarm, but its big ugly chain guard has to go.

Thats better.  But the mounts need to go too.

I went at the mounts with a cut off wheel on my Dremel.

I had to cut of the "wings" of the front mount in order to get at the welds with the cut off wheel.  Once they were cut down I knocked it off with a hammer and screwdriver.

I cut a tad too deep when cutting the front mount off.  But a grinding wheel and sanding drum cleaned things up pretty well.

I didn't totally grind away the cuts from removing the front mount.  They shouldn't show too much once its painted.  I might even fill them in with some silver solder or JB Weld.

Paint Test

A motorcycle frame should be painted with a real paint gun or should be powder coated professionally.  I've been reticent to buy a paint gun myself because I think it would take real skills to use.  Skills I don't have.  I'd really like to get everything powder coated, but that seems a bit expensive for this cheap little bike.  So, I've been researching spray paints that might do the job.  The problem is that for every person who says a certain spray paint is awesome, there is another who thinks its terrible.  I finally just went to Home Depot and bought some spray primer and paint that looked like it could work.  The Rustoleum Professional High Performance Enamel is for industrial applications and is supposedly good looking and durable.  I painted a few small parts to see how it would look.

This is a bit of suspension linkage.  I've removed all of the old paint and pulled out the pivot bushing.

If you look closely you can see that the primer left a pretty rough finish.  So I hit it with fine sandpaper to give a smoother base on which to paint.

This picture makes it look pretty good.  But what you can't see is that there is still a bit of an orange peel effect.  You wouldn't notice it unless you got right up to it, but I'd know its there and that would bug me.  I might try some more light sanding and another coat, but I don't know if that'll do it.

Again, the finished kickstand looks pretty good from a few feet way, but up close its kinda rough.

With my hopes somewhat dashed I've been looking into what it would take to do my own powder coating.  It actually looks pretty achievable.  You can get a gun for around $50 bucks.  The powder itself is fairly cheap.  The only other thing I'd need is a way to bake it.  Today my garage doesn't have a 220v outlet, but if I installed one I could go get a craigslist oven to bake most of my parts.  I would probably still have to get the frame itself coated by a pro.  But I'd feel good about doing the rest myself.  I haven't given up completely on spray paint.  I still have some of the black left so I might try some more sanding followed by another coat of black.

Confession:  I'm lazy.  I had convinced myself that I would just spray these things with a couple of coats of primer and a couple coats of paint and they would come out looking the business.  I guess its going to take a little more effort than that.

Shock cleanup

The rear shock has been sitting on my work bench looking at me all nasty like.  So I finally cleaned it up.  I sprayed it down with the hose and then hit it with a scrub brush.  The dirt and grime were resilient, so I had to soak it with some wheel and brake cleaner and then scrub it again.

It looks a lot better.  The chrome bits have some cracking and unfortunately the spring has some rust and missing paint.  Looks like I'll need to figure out how to disassemble this thing in order to restore it back to its former glory.  That, or find a deal on a new one.  Also, when it comes to replicating four "before" and "after" shots like this, its better to be lucky than good.