by "Mad Dog" Earle for webBikeWorld.com
Permatex spray-on rust treatment is claimed to displace rust and prevent new rust from forming.
It 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.
Motorcycles are relatively lightweight.
And most of the weight reduction comes from the extensive use of aluminum in the engine, frame, wheels 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.
My Triumph 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 floor.
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.
I sprayed 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.
On bare 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 frame.
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 Rust Treatment.
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.