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True restoration is defined as returning something to a previous or original condition.  You have probably seen bikes being sold as "restored" when, in fact, they have only been partially cleaned-up. We think of these as "rattlecan restorations" since they often involve badly applied,  hardware store aerosol "rattlecan " paint.  Swap meets, ebay and the classifieds are dominated by them. The reasons for this are usually based upon ignorance - many people simply do not understand what a full restoration involves and even fewer have all of the skills necessary to complete one.

 

Here are the steps involved in our full bike restorations:

  • Disassembly - the bike is completely dismantled. Brakes, fork, shocks, wheels,etc. are taken apart down the individual nuts, bolts & washers.

 

  • Cleaning/stripping - decades of accumulated grease and dirt get removed from every recess. Old decals and badges are carefully removed along with all traces of old adhesive; even VIN tags are removed at this time (when possible). All polished aluminum parts have the old clearcoat removed. All plated parts have the old plating chemically stripped, a must before they can be replated.

 

  • Abrasive media blasting - all painted items are low-pressure blasted with media mixtures tailored to the specific item being prepped. This is the only way to completely remove all traces of  old paint and  rust from recessed areas without leaving chemical residue or thinning the metal. This also leaves the ideal surface "tooth" for proper paint adhesion.

 

  • Dent removal and metal repair - after the parts have a clean, uniform, surface small imperfections become more visible. Cracks get welded, dents are dollied-out to 1/8' or less. Oftentimes, they are completely removed and require no further repair. We prefer to fill any that remain with body lead, as it cannot chip, shrink or crack like plastic fillers.

 

  • Priming and surfacing - premium paint jobs get a layer of two-part catalyzed epoxy primer/surfacer. Any remaining surface imperfections will be clearly visible after priming and, should any be present, they will be less than .035" deep. These then get filled with plastic body filler. The parts  are then block sanded by hand. Any minor blemishes that required filler get a second coat of primer after sanding and a final block sanding.

 

  • Painting - the candy colors found on the early models are faithfully reproduced using modern three-stage (basecoat, midcoat, clearcoat) catalyzed urethane paints. It typically takes 9-11 coats, total. Urethane paint is expensive, however it's durability can rival that of powdercoat. After painting, the parts are color-sanded and polished to a high-gloss.

 

  • Polishing - After the old plating has been removed, any metal repair/scratch removal is performed. All pieces to be chromed must be polished prior to plating, this is what gives the mirror-like look of chrome plating. Aluminum pieces have deep scratches/gouges removed are polished, then clearcoated ,as original. Shocks go through an extra step to recreate the original brushed appearance. Plated hardware items, including brake arms/pivots, battery carrier, seat latch, spacers...down to the last nut, bolt, washer & spring go through a four-step polishing process that includes chemical cleaning, stripping, vibrahoning and tumble-polishing. Axles are lathe-polished.

 

  • Plating - After proper preparation, the items are ready to be replated. They are returned to as close to as-new as possible.

 

  • Electrical items and the speedometer are checked for condition. Any faulty wires are repaired or replaced, then the wiring is re-wrapped. Speedometers can be disassembled and the odometer reset to zero.

 

  • Reassembly - The bike is now ready to be reassembled. All new bearings, seals, gaskets, tires, tubes and decals are used. Any visible replacement parts are matched as closely to OEM as possible. In most cases we restore the original pieces so this is not an issue.

 

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