So, there I am. It’s noon in the desert. I’m flat on a hotel bed waiting for sunset, anticipating a full-moon evening walk to dinner. The room AC is howling and I have a cold one in hand. There comes a knock on the door. It’s a hotel clerk who says “Your motorcycle tipped over.” Ugh. We all know the hows/whys of it…hot asphalt and a small-footed sidestand.
Righting the bike, I assess the damage. Ouch. There are deep scratches on the right mirror, some small scratches on the tank. The right side case took the brunt—the black lower area is scraped and there are some slight scratches on the red upper section. Italian Red. Ducati Red. Not my baby!
My wife quickly says, “No one is gonna see that.” But I’m a detail guy and no matter how minimal that damage might appear in her eyes, I know that I will always see it. Ugh, indeed.
The buzz for OEM paint repair on the Ducati ST email list is ColorRite, so I checked the website. Paint colors are ordered by manufacturer, year and model type. A 2004 ST3 Red is #7500. I ordered five products. In a few days, I received a 2-ounce bottle of degreaser, a 2-ounce bottle of a light cut compound, three half-ounce pens and a sheet of detailed instructions. While waiting, I disassembled the fairing and removed the mirror assembly to my workbench.
The pens are individual cartridges of primer, color and clear coat. Each pen, with its sharp applicator tip, is activated by pressing down on the tip. This allows the contents to flow onto the chisel point. The directions warn against depressing the tip while applying touch-up paint as paint can run out of the pen, marring the repair.
After carefully prepping per the detailed instructions, I quickly discovered that dabbing the liquid evenly is a finesse move that requires some experience. I did get better at it, but my layers were less than smooth. Some 1,000-grit paper diligently used after two separate primer applications did 90 percent of the smoothing; however the repair area had now grown from small scratches to square inches and I began to anticipate a problem in achieving a smooth final product.
I was clearly asking the pens to do a job for which they were not designed. This required reassessment. Since the mirror is small and easily handled, I reordered the same products in aerosol cans. When they arrived, I masked the mirror trim and—after a careful and thorough degreasing—I scuffed the entire paintable surface with 600 paper, used wet with a drop of dish soap. After a soap/water wash and a rinse with clear water, I allowed the mirror to air dry in the warm sun.
After 30 seconds of vigorous rattle-can agitation, I applied two overlapping wet coats of primer, carefully providing even coverage and adequate dry time between coats. After waiting the recommended time, I added three even wet coats of Ducati Red, again respecting the flash time between coats. Even coverage of the color coat is important for correct color match. Next, I layered on two wet coats of clear coat. If you can lay the paint on “wet”—so each pass overlaps slightly with minimal overspray on the previous pass—it’s possible to avoid any sanding between coats. The clear coat dried nearly orange-peel free. Directions say to wait four to five days before buffing. I left mine as is, it’s that smooth. The aerosols worked perfectly.
Overall, the process was a success. I have to look hard to see the repair. The color is spot-on. The pens are wonderful for repairing scratches or chips but for any repair larger than that, I would suggest the aerosol rattle-cans. For larger jobs, ColorRite can supply pints or quarts.
ColorRite has taken some of the sting out of my “Oops” moment and made my baby look like new.
For more information: See your ColorRite dealer