Motorcycle Rust Treatment
Motorcycles are relatively
light in weight, and most of the weight reduction
comes from the extensive use of aluminum in the engine,
and other significantly robust parts. But there's
still a large percentage of steel used in all but the most
radical sport bikes, and steel, as we all know, can rust.
No matter how well it's treated at the factory during the
manufacturing process, the
pieces and bits of steel seem to pick up nicks and dings
and grit that end up burrowing through the finish and
causing pitting and rust.
This is especially apparent
for those who aren't as meticulous about cleaning every
little nook and cranny in all of those hard-to-reach
spots, like the frame bits under the engine. But
when the factory hastens the rusting process by doing
something dumb, it's very frustrating.
Thunderbird Sport is an example. Triumph decided to
use some type of automated metal marking tool after the
frame was painted to engrave the bike's vehicle
identification number (VIN) on the steering head. Bare steel will start
to rust without much help -- the moisture in the air is
enough to do it before the part even leaves the shop
I considered painting over
the numbers, but the paint would simply flake off as the
rust spread. There had to be a way of stopping the
rust from forming. I've tried "naval jelly" and
other products, but without much success. So when I found this can of
Permatex Rust Treatment in the local hardware store, it looked like it had potential for solving this problem
on my Thunderbird Sport.
I can report that it works
as advertised. The photo on the left (below) shows
the engraved VIN number before treatment. The
numbers were starting to rust, and I was afraid that if
left untreated, the rust could spread and obscure the
already hard to read numbers, or worse. So I figured
I'd give it a try. I didn't do anything else to the
rust; no wire brushing or anything else.
on some Rust Treatment, following the directions by
applying several light coats with a minute or two between
applications. The photo on the right shows the same
spot 30 minute later, a noticeable difference.
Within 24 hours, all of the rust was apparently gone and
the rust spots had a black coating.
I've since found many other
uses for Permatex Rust Treatment. The center stand
on both of the older BMW Airheads is a prime candidate for
rusting, due to the continuous grit blasting it gets from
road debris. I gave the center stand on both of my
BMWs a quick wire brushing, and sprayed on a few coats of
Rust Treatment, which cured the problem.
metal, it seems to leave a clear coating, while any
existing rust spots are turned black within about 24 hours.
It takes about that long to completely work, so don't get
discouraged if you don't see quick results.
I also used it on the steel
motorcycle frame on my older BMWs, on the area around the
swingarm in front of the rear tire and up under the seat,
which typically gets worn from where the seat rubs on the
And it also works well on
steel motorcycle battery holders, like the ones on my
BMWs, which can pick up rust from years of neglect.
I took out the battery holders on both motorcycles and
wire brushed them off and coated them with the Permatex
After it dried, I painted them with
some black satin Rust-Oleum,
and they look great and should stay that way a long time.
Permatex claims that once the Rust Treatment dries, paint
can be applied right over the coating.
I recommend Permatex Rust
Treatment and you may want to have a can in your garage to
use on any little rust spots as they form.
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Extend Rust Treatment
(and your local hardware store) Made
Suggested Retail Price: $6.99
Comments: Permatex Item #81773.
Spray-on rust treatment that is claimed to displace rust and
prevent new rust from forming. Can also be brushed on
by spraying some in a cup or the cap. The spray is
nearly clear, and turns the rust to a darker color within
about 1/2 hour. Permatex claims that a polymer coating
then coats the old rust and can be painted over. No
other treatment required, although it works better if scale
and loose rust are wire brushed or removed first.
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