View Full Version : Preping a bolt-on Hardtail.

30th January 2005, 00:23
I just got it in the mail. Bare steel... Any suggestions on preping it for paint?

I was just going to clean it. prim it and spray it black. All with cans.

Any tips would be great. I'll try to get some pictures. When I have some time in the day.

30th January 2005, 00:49

Why not get it powder coated, it will last much better and have a good durable finish?
I would also make sure all the parts will bolt up first, before you weld on mountings for oil tanks etc...makes a mess of the paint.

If you are going to use cans why not clean the frame up and smooth out welds etc with some filler (bondo)? Good prep work makes all the difference.

Good luck


30th January 2005, 00:55
Go find a local shop and get it powder coated. It will look good forever that way and will be very resistant to scratching and chipping. And I agree with Wiffy, if you are gonna paint it yourself mold all the welds and clean it up. It will look better that way. One question, Why not just put on solid struts and ride around for a while to see what no suspension feels like before you change the frame.

30th January 2005, 01:29
I just got it in the mail. Bare steel... Any suggestions on preping it for paint?

I was just going to clean it. prim it and spray it black. All with cans.

Any tips would be great. I'll try to get some pictures. When I have some time in the day.

Are we talking about a hardtail section for the Ironhead frame here??

If so, that bolt on hardtail section will stretch your wheelbase about 4" and drop the bikes rear about the same. Riding this type of stretch hardtail is much better then just bolting on a set of struts with the original swingarms.

The additional stretch of the frame gives it an inherit 'flex' which makes for a less 'jolting' ride then the struts would. The ride is fantastic on nice smooth roads, but hit a rut or bump and its airborn time.

What I did on my hardtail 68XLCH (with weld-on hardtail) was to mount a nice solo seat with small springs and run my rear old style 'Goodyear' BT type tire at about 12-15# air. Man, I could ride all day and my ass and back were fine. Yeah you get airborn now and then, but that's the nature of the beast.

1) I would prep the hardtail section by degreasing with some paint pre-cleaning solvent. Comes in quarts and gallons at the autobody supply houses.

It goes by different brand names, Prep-Sol, Pre-Cleano, et., but they all do the same job.

2) Sand the whole piece down with 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper to rough up the surface to allow the paint a good 'bite'. Knock off any weld spatter bumps. Finish sanding those areas. Wipe down again with the prep-solvent.

3) Unless your main frame is molded in the neck and weld areas already, I would not bother filling in the new hardtails welds. This will allow the whole frame to match.

4) Lightly run a painters 'Tac-Cloth' over the entire tail piece to remove left over sanding dust.

You don't need any professional spray equipment to do a good job on this project.

5) Working from the inside corners where the pipe meets, bottom, sides and top of the hardtail. Put a couple of good even coats of primer on the piece. Several light coats are better then one heavy coat. Take your time and let each coat dry thoroughly.

6) Lightly sand the primer to knock down any spray bumps or runs (that shouldn't happen right?) If satisfied with the primer coverage, stop.

I like to use a black primer or dark grey primer for frames. You can still see the gloss black coverage as you spray your Gloss Black top coat and the dark color primer helps to hide the small scratches or nicks in the Gloss Black Top coat paint that inevitably will happen over the riding season.

7) Lay down several light coats of your Gloss Black enamel or lacquer following the paint mfgrs instructions for dry time between coats.

At this point you leave it like it is or add a couple coats of Clear.

Don't kid yourself...its definitely a different ride then a bike with shocks!!
But since yours is a bolt-on hardtail section, you could always put the shock back on.

Check my photo gallery for picks of my 68 XLCH Hardtail for some ideas for seat, sissybar.

30th January 2005, 04:07
Follow Hrdly's layout above and you will surely end up with a great lookin frame when you're done...patience is a virtue also....but what I would like to add if I can...is 6 1/2 yrs ago when I built the 53FLH basket case...a friend recommended that I go to his favorite auto speed shop and get this epoxy/ceramic spray paint and if I remember right that stuff was like $14 or $15 a can(ibought 3 and 2 did the job) this stuff ended up being tough as nails. Iput ALOT of miles on that Panhead in the 4 or so yrs i rode it before I let it go last May, and the frame still looked as if I just painted it. It was only avail in black gloss or matte, I went gloss, it was also a very thick paint, and had a finish that had depth to it...If I paint another frame I will find that kind of paint again, however you CAN'T beat powdercoating, I will pwdrct the 74 when I tear her down probably next winter...good luck w/ the rigid...they not nearly as bad as some people will try to lead you to believe...Mike 74xlh