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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

I started breaking down my zx6r forks to clean, change the oil, and change the seals. After really handling the outer tubes and not just admiring them while in the box, I'm not super happy with the condition of the gold annodized surface. As pretty as that gold color is and how much I'd like to keep it, I know the defects will bug me and now is the time to make them right. So, a couple questions for those that know a little more about this stuff.

1. If scuffed and cleaned, is annodize an acceptable surface to paint on? I understand that it should be.

2. Are there any other options besides paint and powdercoating?

3. What color do you think would look good? My bike is similar to this one.

Land vehicle Vehicle Motorcycle Car Red



I'm thinking silver to match the frame. The lower section is probably going to end up being black but I'm also open to opinions here. Right now it's a dark brown/grey that doesn't really match anything.

View attachment 72880
 

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DJ,

YES

NO

Exactly how it looks now!

I might get a little crazy and paint the Caliper mounts black or Red(same color of bike) . ......definitely leave the uppers Gold Anodized! Whoo Woot!

Cheers!
 

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Re-anodizing? I'd leave them as-is. once mounted on your bike I doubt you see much of the flaws anyway. Not worth all the extra hassle to make them an inferior finish (inferior to anodizing). FWIW, I've done a couple small parts by painting them a silver basecoat, a candy coat over that, then finishing them with a matte clear. If the part is shaped right, it really looks like an anodized part, but still not as good as the real thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys. I'll have to post some detail pics tomorrow. In the pic I already attached there's some wear and scuffing noticeable in the middle sections. I could probably live with that but there are other areas that are much worse. It almost seems like these were run without a fender and got lots of dirt/debris thrown at them. I'm too OCD to leave the defects as is.

I thought of reannodizing also. I'm not certain it can be done since there are bushings installed internally. They're separate parts in the diagrams so I assume get installed post annodizing.

It just occured to me that I could sand off the annodize so they look like bare "brushed" aluminum and then put a clear coat on top. That might look nice.
 

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You can use oven cleaner to remove anodizing (I've done it). I'm sure many other products work too. I'd probably use a good aluminum polish after you remove the anodizing to protect the metal, though a clear coat may work just as well.

Do an inter web search, there's a bunch of videos and articles.
 

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Re-anodizing? I'd leave them as-is. once mounted on your bike I doubt you see much of the flaws anyway. Not worth all the extra hassle to make them an inferior finish (inferior to anodizing). FWIW, I've done a couple small parts by painting them a silver basecoat, a candy coat over that, then finishing them with a matte clear. If the part is shaped right, it really looks like an anodized part, but still not as good as the real thing.
The problem with a lot of commercial anodizing, in my experience, is that they use the thinnest (read also as cheapest) coating possible. Understandable I guess, but if you look at cross eyed...it scratches or just spontaneously removes itself.

I'm not any kind of metal finish expert, but I can't see putting three good layers of paint over it as being worse.
 

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I'm no anodizing expert either. From what I understand though is that it's not actually a "coating" but a dying of the aluminum. Properly done, the outer part of the metal is sealed, which helps it retain the color as well as making it more chip resistant than just plain aluminum. This is the reason they sell "clear" anodized parts, they are tougher than raw aluminum even though they look the same.

Yes, you'd need to strip the forks down, and then there would be extensive prep work to make re-anodizing work right. Same with powder coating. Of course, the downside of painting them is that it's not gonna be as durable, and they've already taken a beating even though they were anodized. Painting them might make them look better for awhile, then look pretty ghetto after awhile.
 

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I'm no anodizing expert either. From what I understand though is that it's not actually a "coating" but a dying of the aluminum. Properly done, the outer part of the metal is sealed, which helps it retain the color as well as making it more chip resistant than just plain aluminum. This is the reason they sell "clear" anodized parts, they are tougher than raw aluminum even though they look the same.

Yes, you'd need to strip the forks down, and then there would be extensive prep work to make re-anodizing work right. Same with powder coating. Of course, the downside of painting them is that it's not gonna be as durable, and they've already taken a beating even though they were anodized. Painting them might make them look better for awhile, then look pretty ghetto after awhile.
I wasn't even thinking about the fact that we were talking about forks when I was typing that. You're probably right about the painting.

Man...having powder coated a few bicycle frames, I'm not sure I would do that either. It's tough, but it'll still chip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The fact that they're forks shouldn't really matter. It's just the outer tubes, not the sliding surface. They might be subject to a little more wear from kicked up dirt and bugs.

In the overall pic above the scuffed areas in the middle are below where the lower triple clamps on. Otherwise I wouldn't care.

Anyway, here are a couple detail pics.

Material property Paper Metal



This notch almost looks like it's machined. So strange.
Metal Material property Copper Caramel color



I may have put that scratch there when prying out a seal. Not super happy about that.
Metal Copper Brass Material property



This is between where the triples clamp on so won't be too visible.
Metal Brass Pen
 

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I'm not an anodizing expert by any means, but it may not be a bad thing to leave it intact before painting (liquid). Assuming you have some surface profile the anodizing would act as a pre-treatment and might make the paint adhere better. Powder coat would most likely requiring removal because the static charge needed to adhere the powder may not transmit properly through the anodizing. I would decide which coating method you want to do and contact a professional about it. Either could work, but it has to do with the applicator knowing which products to pick.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks all. I've done a little more reading into the process. Anodising is actually a growing of the oxide layer that forms on aluminum. It grows into and away from the part so will have some effect on dimensions. Dye can be and is often added that will penetrate the porous oxide layer. It is indeed non-conductive so powdercoating is not an option without completely removing the anodize first.

It is apparently a very good base for painting over, better than bare aluminum. I'll scuff and clean it, use a self etching primer and then color of choice. If they look ghetto in a couple years, I'll refinish again when it's time for fresh oil.
 

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If you end up painting the the fork tubes they will most likely end up being to big to slip back into the triple clamps. Your average paint job is on a car is anywhere between 3-7 mil thickness so if you add that to the diameter of the tubes even if its on the thinner side your still adding 6 mils due to the fork being round 3 on each surface. Last time I measured my triple and my fork tubes I the difference was only a couple thousandths and 1 mill equals one thousandth.
 

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If you end up painting the the fork tubes they will most likely end up being to big to slip back into the triple clamps. Your average paint job is on a car is anywhere between 3-7 mil thickness so if you add that to the diameter of the tubes even if its on the thinner side your still adding 6 mils due to the fork being round 3 on each surface. Last time I measured my triple and my fork tubes I the difference was only a couple thousandths and 1 mill equals one thousandth.
Glad we finally got an experienced opinion.
 

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DJ,

Now I understand your interest to refurbish via anodizing, powder coating or painting.

May offer you this suggestion my friend..... Alodine. It wont be as shinny as anodizing and I have about a gallon of 1101 (I think) in the basement. It will protect the aluminum from corrosion, it can be applied and rinsed fairly easy.... It wont come exactly to the same color or finish, but if you time it right and mix the ratio correct, you can come pretty close.

Re-plating is too expensive. If you like I can call a Powder coat shop here in IL. that specializes in industrial Powder Coating and offers a fair price as he is a motorcycle enthusiast like us! Woot Woot!

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hey, Brad. I've got my mind made up and am in the process. Pics coming soon hopefully.

ZWC0442, To solve the dimensional issues, I'm not going to paint the clamping areas. So everything below the lower triple will be black as well as the smaller diameter area between the triples. I like the way this will look. Kind of understated with a little bling still. The fork caps are still gold so will match the top of the tubes.

This anodize is some hard stuff. I started scuffing it and it just laughed at me!
 

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Hey, Brad. I've got my mind made up and am in the process. Pics coming soon hopefully.

ZWC0442, To solve the dimensional issues, I'm not going to paint the clamping areas. So everything below the lower triple will be black as well as the smaller diameter area between the triples. I like the way this will look. Kind of understated with a little bling still. The fork caps are still gold so will match the top of the tubes.

This anodize is some hard stuff. I started scuffing it and it just laughed at me!
Dj,

I hear you brother! Get the sickness on! Looking forward to the completion. Yes, the plating can be a be-otch to remove....especially OEM Forks! Woot Woot!

Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Fork tubes are painted. They have a machined, ridged finish to start. It took a couple steps to get an even, satisfactory finish on top of this as the paint would fill some areas better than others. Paint, sand, polish, oops-too-far, paint, polish, done. :)

Metal Copper Xiao
Material property Calligraphy Metal


I'm SO ready to make some more progress on this. Next up is reassembling these. Then painting the triples.
 
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