Triumph T509 horrible tank paint job. Warning it's horrible

Posted on Apr 17, 2023

When I first go to Munich, I was pretty determined that I was gonna buy a motorcycle to ride in the German and Austrain Alps with. I spent quite some time looking at eBay for offers and one day I found this amazing tornado red (yes that is the actual color name) T509 Speed Triple from 1998.

I noticed on the eBay ad that it had quite a lot of stickers on it, which I didn’t like, but I bought it anyway and only ended up paying 1600 euros for it.

Obviously, I was gonna remove the stickers to get it back to the original shape. I like my things to look a certain way, and the stickers were not that way.

But… Of course, when I removed the stickers, it revealed what they had been covering up all along. A massive amount of small paint damage, uuuuuggghhh.

Some of the damage was actually large paint chips, that I have no idea could get on the actual top of the tank. The rest was the paint starting to bubble and peel, but this was way smaller than the chips. One or two of the chips when down to the actual metal. So I knew I had to do something about it soon.

Over the winter, I decided to start the project. Since it was super cold outside, I couldn’t use aerosols outside, and I didn’t want to use them in the garage. Which means, I ended up buying a touch-up kit with the original color code.

Now some people may already start to put their hands to their foreheads because I already said that some of the chips were kinda big. And in hindsight, I should have probably waited for warmer weather and just sprayed. But hey, you live you learn.

I started the project by smoothing out the edges of the chips with 2000 grid sandpaper. Then began filling them in with the touch-up primer that came with the kit.

After priming, the chips looked like this

Not too bad with the primer, I would say so. But that was also pretty much the easy part. Even though the garage was warmer than outside, it still took quite a while for the primer to dry. I also spent quite some time out there with a hairdryer to help speed things along.

Anyway, after the primer was dry, it was time to apply the paint layer. This was difficult as fuck. I will never do that again, I had nightmares over this. The paint was a lot thinner than the primer as was just everywhere. The cold weather made the drying time so so long at it was an excruciating process that I never want to go through again. Do not recommend.

I had to apply so many layers before it looked anywhere near good.

Just as a thought everything was dry, I would apply another layer and it would start smearing up the previous layer completely.

Finally, after a lot of time waiting and blowing the hairdryer, the paint dried and I could apply the clear coat. Before applying it though, I wet-sanded the paint with 2500-3000 grid sandpaper. Just to try to get rid of all the small/big imperfections I had made in the paint. But I always seemed to take off a little bit too much paint, and I could kinda see the primer behind it.

This was the point where I just said fuck it and applied the primer. Gave it two layers just to be on the safe side.

The manufacturer stated a one-week curing time of the primer before waxing it. So after I applied it, I gave it wet sand the next day and a polish. It didn’t turn out super bad but not super good either as you can see.

Anyway, I don’t know if this is gonna help anyone, but I was mostly writing it to get out all my frustrations. Maybe it’ll scare off some poor fella of making my mistakes.