One of the advantages of a scooter is the open center section “step through” design.
But I quickly noticed that the bottom of my right boot would rub against the paint if I wasn’t careful.
3M Scotchcal to the rescue!
This paint protection film does what it says: protects the paint against scratches and chips.
I noticed something on my very first day with the BMW C 650 GT scooter: if I wasn’t extra careful about lifting my leg over the center “step through”, my right boot heel would rub the paint.
I could see the black scuff marks immediately appear on the beautiful bronze metallic finish.
Maybe I’m lazy (no “maybe” about it!), but my 30″ street pant inseam is a bit lacking in reach to comfortably step over the seat each time without touching the paint. If I remember — and if I’m careful — I can do it, but if I forget for just one brief moment or if my winter pants are a bit too tight, the heel of my right boot will scrape across the side and center, just in front of the fuel filler door.
In fact, I had a black scuff mark on the fuel filler door by time I got home from picking up the scooter at the dealer and it’s gotten worse since.
So I could see this was a problem that needed quick resolution because it would only go downhill from there.
Clear Paint Protection Film to the Rescue
We’ve covered this topic several times before on webBikeWorld: clear paint protection film (wBW Search Results). In the U.S.A., the most common type of film product is 3M Scotchcal. It comes in sheets or rolls in various thicknesses and lengths. All you need is the film and a squeegee…and an old credit card will work as the squeegee.
I’ve used this product on almost every motorcycle I’ve owned. It’s relatively easy to install (i.e., anyone can do it) and it more or less disappears into the background unless you look for it on the paint. It’s semi-permanent but easy to remove, should you decided to do so.
I won’t go into detail again here on how to apply it, as this has been described several times in the various webBikeWorld articles.
Cutting and Fitting the Clear Paint Protection Film
Adding it to the BMW scooter is more complex, due to the compound curves and angles I wanted to cover on either side of the step-through. I made a template from paper; this usually takes longer than the actual installation of the film. It took several tries to get the template correct, again due to the odd shape on either side of the scooter.
Next, I used the template and traced over the Scotchcal, then placed it over the paint to make sure it would fit. I had to trim a bit here and there (make sure you have a pair of sharp scissors) and when it looked ready, it was time for the installation.
Since it was pretty cold in the garage that day (32 F), I first used the Steinel heat gun (review) to warm both the Scotchcal and the surface of the scooter. The Steinel heat gun has been a surprise; it’s turned out to be one of the most useful tools in the garage — especially for making a nice job of heat-shrinking any electrical connections. But it has all sorts of other uses too.
Next, I removed the backing from the paint protection film. Then a thorough spraying of the scooter body panels and the Scotchcal with a mixture of water, a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid and a bit of rubbing alcohol, then it was time to slide on the transfer.
Warming the panel and the Scotchcal really helped to fit the transfer over the compound panel shapes. I squeegeed out the water and as many bubbles as I could and then ran some warm air over it with the heat gun to make sure it “took”.
Don’t forget, on the opposite side you can use the same template, but you have to turn the Scotchcal over and cut it “backwards” because it’s a mirror image! Even though I knew this, I still got it wrong the first time and had to do the right side again.
It looks pretty nice actually and you can’t really see the film unless you look for it. There are more little bubbles and a couple of tiny creases in the film — more than I’d get were it a completely flat surface. But they only show up when the light hits them a certain way, so overall, I’m pleased.
It definitely protects all the panels, although I still discovered that my heel is dragging over the fuel door cover, so I’ll probably add some Scotchcal to that also.
Adding clear paint protection film is an easy project and can protect the paint on your motorcycle, scooter or car. The most difficult part is designing and cutting the template; after that, it’s pretty easy to install, unless you have a very compound surface with lots of curves or angles.
It does take a bit of practice, so it’s best to start on a flat surface first.