bessie has new red lipstick

In my copious spare time, I finally got around to repainting my bike. Well, let me rephrase that. I had no choice but to paint my bike.



(Click for huge versions.)

Also, people seem to like this photo of me in mah paintin’ gear:

The rest of the story:
See, last year, where I lived, there were 2 steps down from the house to the street. I couldn’t keep the bike parked on the street, so it had to go behind the house. That meant navigating down those two steps every time I wanted to take the bike for a ride. Unfortunately, one day I got stuck on the step, and very slowly dropped the bike. The tank dented, and I was broken-hearted.

So this year I drained the tank and took it to the local body shop around the corner. They agreed to fix it up for $100, including priming. When I went to pick it up, they told me that it actually had been dented a long time prior, and that rather than fixing the dent, someone had just puttied it up. No wonder it dented so easily! They did a great job. I was left with a bike with a shapely tank, but a finish that made ya think of old Maaco TV commercials.

Then it turns out that Honda didn’t start providing codes to manufacture reproduction colours of bikes until the mid-80s. So I’d have to eye-match the colour. As I researched, it turned my bike’s year (1977/1978) only had two colours available: Candy Presto Red and Excel Black, and not the blue it was painted! I’m too much of a stickler for details to feel OK leaving it blue, so I had to make a choice. I didn’t really want to make the bike black (do not get me started on Harleys…) so the natural choice was the red.

My only source for the colour being a couple of grainy photos, I needed a bit of luck. Fortunately I found a great paint shop in town (Roberts Auto Supply) who hooked me up with not only the right colours (base silver coat from the International [Harvester] colour book, a perfect red match from the Kenworth colour book, and clearcoat) but also with a great deal on an HVLP spray gun. (I already had a compressor to drive it.)

The big tip from the paint shop was to over-reduce (dilute) the red coat (1:1 instead of 2:1, paint:reducer). I then applied this from a farther distance than you’d apply a regular spray coat, but not quite as far as a “drop coat.” This let the silver base coat shine through the red, making it extra reflective and keeping the red looking translucent.

If folks are interested, I can post the exact codes (Sherwin-Williams) and more details on the process. Just leave me a comment and I’ll get around to it.