Sunday, 1 May 2011


Towards a brighter future.
One of the differences between the process of building a motorcycle as an average enthusiast, and the same process as portrayed by assorted television documentaries, is that the average enthusiast is seldom working entirely with brand new components. Much like brush painting the frame, using second hand components saves money, but takes more time.  It probably possible to draw up a spread sheet, or write a complex equation to determine whether buying new or adapting used parts is the most economically viable solution for any given set of circumstances. Determining which is going to give the builder the most satisfaction however is a different matter.

Feeling a little blue...

If you recall, the premise behind building the Z250 was to sell it and get enough money in heap to rebuild the BMW engine with less in the way of oil leaks. While that's the object of the exercise, it doesn't mean that the job need lack for satisfaction, but it does mean that I have to keep an eye on my tendency to get too carried away with things such as seat catches. Commercially, the project makes little sense as the retail value of a Z250 Café Racer is going to be somewhat less than the retail value of, for instance, a Z750 Café Racer, but the amount of time and money involved would be the same, or at least very similar, in either case.

Pontifications on the economics of modifying motorcycles aside, the thing needs to be finished so I wet flatted the primer with some 600 grit wet and dry, removed all the paint sludge and flipped the frame over again. Brush painting is often seen as a "quick fix" and if you're slapping Smoothrite all over something without disassembling anything or attempting to remove any rust, dust, grease or oil, it may well be. It would also be completely pointless, as it isn't going to look very nice, or last very long. The object of the exercise here is to spend less money than powder coating the frame would cost, but at the same time maintaining the standard of finish, and as a consequence it all takes rather more time than you might imagine. Applying the colour coat to the frame and swinging arm took nearly two hours and needs to be done in good light. Starting from the top and working down means that the inevitable drips don't land on your carefully applied and laid off handiwork and mar the finish.

Johnny has wandered off with the rest of the bodywork and is applying some paint to that, which could lead you to believe that it might all start to look like a motorcycle again during the next week. However, the engine needs a thorough clean and a new gear change shaft oil seal and the wheels, brakes and forks will all need a little love before they're deemed lovely enough to be re-united with the frame.

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