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by: Terry Glatz (FZSarasota)

As a starving artist (I'm a media guy) I've worked many odd jobs to pay the bills. The one odd job that I benefited from the most was working as a auto detailer for several Auto Dealers. I was trained for 1 month on hmmm... Applying & Buffing. hehehe... This worked was not glamorous, but I can achieve show shine without having to shell over tons of money for someone else to do it now (the benefit).

I have been asked by many people if I have custom paint job on my bikes. When I reply no, they don't believe me. They swear it's a "candy" paint job... When they ask how I got my stock paint to such immaculate condition, I just smile.... Well, I finally decided to share the secrets/training to all my fellow FZ owners to help them get the same results because you guys rock and have helped me out with FZ1 pre purchase questions.

Not only is your bike insanely fast, it will look so damn shiny that you will need sunglasses to look at it. You will also protect your expensive investment from the elements and make washing it a whole lot easier (nothing will stick to it)...

The whole process will take 3-4 days (can't rush it) and will give you something to do while you wait out the winter months. Comes spring time you will be ready to go....

Note: I have tested the products below on the FZ1 with no damage to paint, no small test area is needed. Oh, I have the blue one but it will work on all colors.

Secrets of achieving a show polished FZ1:

What you will need.

Tools:

  1. Low speed orbital buffer, smaller ones work better in tight spaces but any will do.
  2. Bag of very soft Terry Cloth rags. Run them through washer once to soften them up.
  3. Wool Buffer mitt.
  4. Cut several pieces of sponge about 3"x2" and smaller pieces for tight areas.

Polish/Wax In Order Of Application:

  1. Plexus Plastic Polisher
  2. Nu Finish Once a Year Car Polish
  3. Eagle One Wet Polish.
  4. Maguiars Gold Class Clear Coat Liquid Wax

Lets start by addressing 11 rules, guidelines, and application tips.

  1. If a rag hits the floor, throw it out (period!). Even if you wash the rag, it still traps grit from floor that will scratch paint while buffing. Rags are cheap, repainting and or clear coating is not... Trust me, you will save yourself the headache by following this Golden Rule... I have made a rag rack out of PVC pipe and a few PVC right angle joints when it's time to take a break.
  2. When using a buffer, always let the weight of the buffer do the job. Unless you are experienced, you can burn the clear coat or paint by applying to much pressure. I use low speed orbital buffers for buffing and high speed buffers for paint repair work (rubbing compounds and stuff). However, if you have never used a high speed buffer, please use the low speed orbital so you don't cook the paint! If you are not comfortable with using powered buffer, hand buffing will work just as good.
  3. Use only a minimal amount of Polish/Wax when applying (just enough for coverage). Only a thin layer will cure (measured in microns) and the rest will end up as dust that is flung everywhere when buffing. More is not better in this case.
  4. Time between applications is critical. Even though the Polish/Wax has dried and been buffed off, it still needs about 1 hour minimum to fully cure. Just do it on the weekend and watch TV or something between coats to kill the time between applications.
  5. Take care to not get Polish/Wax dust into intake of motor (duh).
  6. Keeps your sponges separate for each Polish/Wax brand. Throw out after several applications. Dampen sponge but not "wet", this will make it nice and soft. I slightly wet a sponge then smush it in dry towel to get the right dampness.
  7. Keep your rags separate, one batch for frame, forks, suspension, wheels, and one batch for the painted surfaces only. Keep track of them because you don't want, lets say, brake dust on the paint...
  8. When buffing, let the rag do the work (don't push hard). You don't want to rub off the new coat you applied with to much pressure. This will allow the coats to build up, level the surface, and shine it better. It takes a little longer, but the end result is much better.
  9. Always use a damp sponge to apply Polish/Wax. Throw away the applicator they supply with products (they are crap). The exception is when using the Plexus (use it straight, meaning, soak the sponge with the plexus, not with water).
  10. Never apply in direct sunlight. Yes, you can get uneven results and F' it up if you do.
  11. Use wood toothpick to clean wax build up around stickers. Be careful not to pull stickers off.

Ok, lets get to work... First, make sure bike is washed well and clear of all dust and road debris that can scratch paint while Polishing/Waxing. Only use mild detergent (like ivory dish soap). Let it fully dry for a couple hours after drying with towel. If you can, try not to ride the bike until all the steps are complete, we don't want to introduce dirt. Please use the products in the order as I listed them... Why??? Because we want to apply polymers first, and wax last as the finishing coat. Polymers will not adhere well if you apply wax first.

Step# 1: We will be using the Plexus Polish first. Spray liberal amount onto rag and wipe down paint, frame, everything. Plexus can be used on whole bike (it will not leave white residue on plastics). Let it sit for 5 min and buff off... Now lets do it again, apply and wipe off. We will do this a total of "3" times, allowing 1 hour between applications. This will prep the paint and clean all plastics (windshield also). Remember, use one rag for paint, one for the plastics, and one for the rest of bike. Do not get on tires or chain.

Step# 2: We will be using the Nu Finish Car Polish for this step. Apply to all painted surfaces only (NO PLASTICS, frame, or windshield... It will leave white residue!) Use circular motion to apply and buff off when dry. You will repeat this step "4" times allowing one hour between applications. When your done, cover the bike and start step 3 the next day. We want the Nu Finish to cure for about 12 hours after your last application.

Step# 3: We will be using the Eagle One Wet Polish/Wax for this step. Apply to all painted surfaces only (NO PLASTICS, frame, or windshield... It will leave white residue!) Use circular motion to apply and buff off when dry. You will repeat this step "5" times allowing one hour between applications. When your done, cover bike and start step 4 the next day. We want the Eagle One to cure for about 12 hours after your last application.

Step# 4: We will be using the Meguiars Gold Class Clear Coat Liquid Wax for this step. Apply to all painted surfaces only (NO PLASTICS, frame, or windshield... it will leave white residue!) Use circular motion to apply and buff off when dry. You will repeat this step "5" times allowing one hour between applications.

Step# 5: Use wool buffing mitt to give it a final buffing... Spray Plexus Plastic Polish onto clean rag (not near the bike to avoid over spray) and wipe down frame and all plastics (not the paint this time) This will clean up any wax dust and give it the final touch... Presto, your now have the shiniest best looking bike in town...

This system will apply a total of 17 coats (which is a good baseline) Yes, It's a bit of work, but take your time. The reward is a bike that looks like it was painted with "candy" lacquer coating (really beautiful site to see). You only need to reapply the Meguiars every several months or as needed and Use the Plexus Plastic Polish whenever you clean windshield and other parts (not the tires or chain). I find Plexus is much better than using ArmorAll on plastics and it can be used on painted surfaces also....

Anyway, I hope everyone has a short winter and can get out and ride soon.

-Terry