How to Paint a Motorbike Fairing

Written by chris gilliland Google
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Fairings are often the most critiqued part of a motorcycle in regards to the machine's condition, due mostly to their high visibility. A faded or scratched fairing can mislead anyone into believing that the motorcycle has been crashed or neglected, even if the motor and chassis are in top-running condition. A fresh coat of paint can do wonders in this respect, giving life to a new, unpainted fairing or restoring an original set to its former glory. Preparation is critical to the procedure, so set aside a lot of time to ensure that you can prep the fairing before painting.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Soap and water
  • 80-, 280- and 400-grit sandpaper
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Lint-free towels
  • Paint spray gun
  • Primer
  • Base colour paint
  • Clear top coat paint

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Instructions

    Preparation

  1. 1

    Clean the fairing with soap and water to remove any dirt, dust and grease that could damage the fairing's surface while sanding.

  2. 2

    Scuff the fairing, using an 80-grit sandpaper soaked in soapy water. Apply light pressure while sanding in a circular motion across the entire surface of the fairing.

  3. 3

    Rinse the fairing with clean water to remove sanding dust from the surface.

  4. 4

    Sand the fairing again, using a 280-grit sandpaper soaked in soapy water, to remove any deep scratches left in the fairing's surface from the previous 80-grit sandpaper.

  5. 5

    Rinse the fairing with clean water.

  6. 6

    Hang the fairing from a rafter or rack, using a length of wire attached to the back of the fairing. Allow the fairing to air dry completely.

    Priming the Fairing

  1. 1

    Wipe the surface of the fairing with a lint-free towel and denatured alcohol to remove any fingerprints or dust that may have settled on the surface. Do not touch the fairing's surface for the remainder of this procedure.

  2. 2

    Spray a light "dust" coat of primer onto the fairing's surface, using a paint spray gun. Move the spray gun from side to side with a quick motion while spraying. Concentrate only on leaving a very thin dusty-looking coat of primer on the fairing. Allow the coat to dry for 5 minutes.

  3. 3

    Spray the first coat of primer onto the top of the fairing. Begin spraying a few inches away from the top of the fairing. Move the spray gun across the top of the fairing, and stop spraying a few inches past the fairing.

  4. 4

    Move the spray gun further down the fairing and spray across to the opposite side, overlapping the lower half of the previous coat. Continue to spray the fairing with primer, working from side to side towards the bottom of the fairing.

  5. 5

    Allow the primer to dry for 10 minutes. Apply a second coat of primer, following the method shown above. Allow the primer coat to dry completely for 24 hours.

  6. 6

    Sand the primer coat, using 280-grit sandpaper soaked in soapy water, to remove any high spots in the primer. Rinse with clean water and allow to air dry before painting.

    Base and Clear Coat

  1. 1

    Wipe the surface of the fairing with a lint-free towel and denatured alcohol to remove any fingerprints or dust that may have settled on the surface.

  2. 2

    Spray the first coat of the base colour paint onto the fairing. Begin spraying a few inches away from the top of the fairing. Move the spray gun across the top of the fairing, and stop spraying a few inches past the fairing.

  3. 3

    Move the spray gun further down the fairing and spray across to the opposite side, overlapping the lower half of the previous coat. Continue to spray the fairing with the base colour paint, working from side to side towards the bottom of the fairing.

  4. 4

    Allow the base colour paint to dry for 10 minutes. Apply a second coat of the base colour, following the method shown above. Allow the base colour paint to dry completely for 24 hours.

  5. 5

    Sand the base colour paint, using 400-grit sandpaper soaked in soapy water. Rinse with clean water and allow to air dry before painting.

  6. 6

    Spray the fairing with a clear top coat paint, following the same procedure.

Tips and warnings

  • Alternatively, you can also use spray paint to paint the fairings, using the same procedure. Be warned, however, as most commercially available spray paints are not fuel-resistant and will be damaged by spilt gasoline.
  • Mix a flexible agent into your paint if your motorcycle is equipped with plastic fairings.
  • Work in an enclosed paint booth if possible to prevent dust, debris or insets from contaminating your freshly-painted fairing.
  • Wear a respirator to prevent inhaling paint fumes.

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