How to paint your motorcycle heads

A motorcycle cylinder head is a visible part of the motorcycle engine. Many people choose to paint this part black, chrome, white or another colour. Painting the motorcycle head is a simple process. The hardest part is obtaining a bead blasting machine to cleanse the part of paint residue and other dust particles. The painting process should take about one weekend to prep, paint and reinstall back on your motorcycle.

Clean the motorcycle head with a degreasing cleanser and water to remove any dirt, grime and grease from the surface. If the head is made from aluminium or stainless steel, soak it in a degreasing cleanser overnight. If the head is not rust-resistant, it is not advisable to soak it overnight. Allow the head to dry thoroughly.

Wipe the surface of the head down with TSP to remove any cleaner or grease residue from the surface of the part. Get into as many crevices as possible to remove all potential problems.

Place the head inside the bead blasting machine. Blast the part until all previous coats of paint are removed. If there were no previous coats of paint, blast the part long enough to bring a small amount of shine back to the head. The part should look new when finished. Remove the part and dust with a work rag to remove any glass residue.

Work in a well-ventilated area. Wear safety goggles, rubber gloves and a respirator when working with spray paint. Spread newspapers or plastic sheeting over the floor to protect other surfaces from the paint. Cover any part of the motorcycle that you do not want painted with plastic sheeting or masking tape.

Spray the surface of the part with the enamel paint. Let the paint dry for one hour between coats. Apply a total of three thin coats of paint. Allow the part to dry overnight.

Place some metal polish or rubbing compound on a soft cloth. Buff the surface of the head until it starts to gleam and shine. This could take several minutes of hard elbow grease. Reattach the head to the motorcycle and admire your newly painted motorcycle head.

Things You'll Need

  • Tri-sodium phosphate (TSP)
  • Work rags
  • Degreasing cleanser
  • Bead blasting machine
  • Respirator
  • Safety goggles
  • Rubber gloves
  • Hi-temperature enamel engine paint
  • Newspaper or plastic sheeting
  • Masking tape
  • Metal polish or rubbing compound
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About the Author

Brenda Priddy has more than 10 years of crafting and design experience, as well as more than six years of professional writing experience. Her work appears in online publications such as Donna Rae at Home, Five Minutes for Going Green and Daily Mayo. Priddy also writes for Archstone Business Solutions and holds an Associate of Arts in English from McLennan Community College.