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Sportbike Rim Polishing

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  • Sportbike Rim Polishing

    Wassup everyone I have been reading through endless posts on this very helpful forum and everyone basically has there own method of polishing. I am going to polish my aluminum rims off my Yamaha Yzf R6. I really want that mirrored shine! So far from reading, these are my plans. Glass bead beat my rims to save time and hard labor. After the blasting should I start with the greaseless compounds from 80 up to 320? Or can I start buffing with the black emery/sisal to brown with spiral sewn and than to white with cotton? Do I still have to use sand paper after the rims are glass beaded? Looking forward to order my caswell products soon, just want to confirm what I actually need. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  • #2
    im not sure why you would want to glass bead the rim other than remove the paint i have also just polished my r6 rim and all i used was paint remover from checkers caswell also sells remover (never used it but i've heard good things) either way it only takes about 30 mins. a rim just spray on wait 5-10 mins and wipe the paint off

    anyway if you do use glass bead definatly sand after with the greasless as far as 80 grit it will do more harm than good, use 140 and it takes it down it a hurry but be carefull not to stay in one spot it will end up wavy and un-even. you can use the emery after 320 but i hand sanded to 600 just to make sure, then your brown i would have to say that brown is the workhorse if you alternate your cuts (meaning go over it one way than 45 degres from your last pass) you will see the scratches and can watch them melt away, then the white for that mirror shine.

    best of luck to you and dont rush it the more you sand and polish the beter the result


    • #3
      So do you suggest I just start hand sanding after i remove all the paint from the rim? I want to polish the whole rim not just the lips if that is what you were implying. Cause I completely stripped the powdercoating of the wheel with aircraft stripper. Now dont I have to sand down all the rough casting and letters to get a smooth surface? Glass beating it would do that for me right? How did you do your rims? Got some pics? Sorry bout all the questions I am just confused on the proper way to do it.


      • #4
        first i would suggest using the 140 grit greasless for the rough cast or bumpy part in the spokes and hub, as for the letters thats the hard part you might want to just use the 80 grit on them but be careful you can go to far in a spot or not make them smoth to the rest of the spoke.

        also sanding is the most important part you can buff all day but if its not well sanded meaning all of the bigger scrathes from the bigger grits i.e 80,140...etc are left behind it will look bad or not polished.

        glass beating would probly smoth out some but you would still have to sand after that, start with 240 greasless after that. if you dont have the machins and media (glass bead) save your money and just use the greasless.

        as for what i did i polished only the lips and painted the middle the same color as my bike for many reasons 1. ive only seen mine done this way makes mine uniqe 2.i dont like the way polished aluminum looks when clear coated ther for i have to repolish about every 6 monthes and trust me its alot less time consuming (about an hour for both rims) compared to (takeing the rim off getting in betwen the rotors and spokes and so on)
        another downfall is the r6 rim has a ridge thats resesed in the middle of the rim would be very hard to get into that area but im sure with a small enough felt bob it should be posible.

        i have also polished some of my friends rims and have done the entire rim spokes,hub,and lip with great results sorry i havnt posted any pics but plan to some time this week

        o yea ask as many questions as you want this forum is here to help so ask away


        • #5
          thanks for the info Hue

          Well The guy is charging me 15 to 20 bucks per rim to glass bead beat it. If it will not get it smooth down, I guess I should just start sanding than. So let me just finalize the process here.

          1. Start with 140 greaseless up to 320 with rope buffs?
          2. Wetsand with 600
          3. Start buffing black brown to white

          If this is done correctly, I should get a mirror finish correct? Thanks for your info man!


          • #6
            sounds good to me except after the 320 greasless wetsand with 400 and 600, then when buffing clean after each bar meaning use the black then clean with something i used paint thinner it helps keep the wheels clean and also use a buffing wheel rake caswell sells one it helps alot heres the link below good luck man!


            • #7
              Bead blasting will do VERY little with regards to smoothing casting "stubble" - if anything. It does remove paint very quickly and leaves a nice clean surface.

              I've been polishing quite a few cast aluminum parts in recent weeks. All of them were powdercoated prior to my getting hold of them. Some I bead blasted, some I used chemical strippers. In *all* cases, I had to hit the parts with greasless compounds (I start with 120 grit) and/or hand sanding up to 320.

              Once everything is smooth and all visible scratches, blemishes and casting marks are gone, I dive in with a sisal wheel and black (emery) compound. This will usually show any places I didn't sand completely and those areas I usually touch up by hand, then polish again.

              Most of the luster comes with the black compound and a heavy cutting (against the wheel's rotation) action. Once the part is starting to shine and all scratches are removed, I clean the part thoroughly to remove any old grease/compound then move to a tight spiral wheel and the brown (tripoli) compound, then a loose cotton wheel and the white compound.

              The more time you spend sanding, the easier the actual polishing becomes. It's just like painting. The prep work takes the majority of your time and it's quality determines the quality of your polish job.

              Good luck and post some pics when you're done!


              • #8
                i bead blased a set of valve covers and i went right to emery then brown then white and the looked good ... but then i did another set and i had to sand the heck out of them .... aircraft stripper will work better ....i got a 55 gallon drum cut it in half (long ways) welded angle iron in to it got a pump and stiff brush from a parts washer poured in 5 gallon of solvent ... i got 1 for part cleaning and i use i for paint removal ....