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Mad Scientist
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Discussion Starter #1
So I have this customer that I build racing karts for. He calls me and says that he picked up an old dirt bike and wants to put the motor on a kart frame for a play toy. I've got a MIG welder and a reciprocating saw, so I'm in. He tells me that it's a serious lump, a 390 two stroke. And it's an automatic...

He shows up with a 1982 Husqvarna 390 auto that he bought from the original owner. I have the required come-to-Jesus meeting with him and talk him into restoring the bike and selling it to a collector instead of butchering it.

It should be fun to ride. The little bit of research I've done informed me that it has no engine braking, so it tends to high-side a rider in a aggressive corner if they aren't careful. And I assume it will be ridden. I'm not looking to do a full museum quality rebuild, but he wants to get as much resale value as possible.

My question to start is about frame restoration. The original finish looks like paint, but I was thinking of doing powder for durability since it will probably be a rider.

However, I just saw Corey on Pawn Stars pay $7000 for two of these without batting an eye, so I'm a bit anxious about how to proceed. Is this thing so rare that I should do it up 100% original for someone's showroom, or should we do a visually correct resto and sell it to someone who wants to be the coolest kid at the sand pits?

Pics soon. Gotta edit and sort.
 

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Premium Member
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Husky's are one of the most coveted dirt bikes for restoration but keep in mind the realy sought after one's are from the 70's, many world championships and of course Steve McQueen "On any Sunday". Do some research online, if anything it's a very cool, unique ride.
 

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I detest Powder coat on Motorcycle components you have to clean out every thread and often as well anywhere a bearing sits,My preference is basic Industrial enamel with a enamel hardener added to it works a treat and the enamel dries in about five minutes so it does no pick up too much dust.

But the big advantage is it remains flexible so is far less likely to crack unlike Powder Coat which I have found gets damaged and water then gets in under the powder coat and sooner or later big chunks of powder coat start flaking off because of all the rust under it, Does not happen with enamel paint you may chip it but any rust is limited to where the paint has been chipped and that is easy to touch up.
Powder coat also has a tendency to crack when you tighten bolts or nuts so Powder Coat is expensive and a waste of time.
 

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I detest Powder coat on Motorcycle components you have to clean out every thread and often as well anywhere a bearing sits,My preference is basic Industrial enamel with a enamel hardener added to it works a treat and the enamel dries in about five minutes so it does no pick up too much dust.

But the big advantage is it remains flexible so is far less likely to crack unlike Powder Coat which I have found gets damaged and water then gets in under the powder coat and sooner or later big chunks of powder coat start flaking off because of all the rust under it, Does not happen with enamel paint you may chip it but any rust is limited to where the paint has been chipped and that is easy to touch up.
Powder coat also has a tendency to crack when you tighten bolts or nuts so Powder Coat is expensive and a waste of time.

I agree…and disagree..with you, this subject comes up frequently on many forums .

My experience is the opposite of powder coat, the coaters I use specialise in bikes/cars and take care to mask up / cover bearing surfaces and block up or clean/re-tap all thread holes.

If you take it to any old powder coaters, it'll be thrown in with the shopping trolleys , iron gates etc and you'll get a poor job on your lovely frame, they are also likely to cover up the frame numbers under that powder coat, something a specialist will make sure it as visible.

I also find powder coat far more resilient today to day scuffs , knocks and damage than paint (think of that wafer thin Suzuki paint we adore so much).

However, I do agree, you cant touch up powder coat and lots of people end up going down the paint route just for originality sake.

A chap in a UK magazine is restoring a Suzuki X7 at the mo and asked the painters just to dust it on the paint, you can see a faint trace of metal undeneath the paint in places(in fact, just like my brand new GSXR1000 K7 brake rotors where finished as!) but thats how Suzuki made them in the 1970s and thats how he wanted his !

My 350LC is a regularly used classic and that’s been finished in powder coat for years and looks as good as the day it was done.
 

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Mad Scientist
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Discussion Starter #5
I had forgotten I started this thread. It turns out that my cousin was wrong. It's a '78. And after having me stop on the project because of lack of funds, he shows up one day out of the blue with the frame already done ( nice grey powder ) and tells me to get back on it.

I then procede to break the first gear clutch hub during removal. The rest of the trans had wear and wobble, so I'm on the fence about the rebuild. I've found some parts available, but not the hub yet. The whole thing may be a part out before it's done, but he really would like to see it running, so we are going to patiently look for parts over the next couple of months and see what we can find.

And yeah, the powder guy is a freind of ours and does great work for strangers, so the frame was prepped correctly.
 
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