Blog 05-09-23

With a week of warm dry weather forecast, I was keen to get cracking with my next project. the Swifty Air kick scooter. First task was to strip down the scooter, check all the components and order up anything requiring replacement. The most obvious was the headset bearings, that’s the bearings that allow you to turn the handlebars and steer. They were running very rough, grating almost and went straight into the bin. Well, not quite straight into the bin. I first had to determine what type of headset I actually had on the Swifty Air. Nothing is ever straightforward.

The ever-useful internet came to my aid. Turns out I have an integrated headset, that means the headset is nestled neatly inside the head tube. On all my bicycles, the headsets are external to the head tube. And now that I knew what I was after, soon had a set ordered online. It was simpler to order an entire headset assembly rather than source the bearings separately. It would have been a pain trying to remove them anyway. At £30.00 the set, I would not break the bank. Fingers crossed I’ve bought the correct parts!

And that was pretty much all I required component wise. The wheel bearings had been renewal a few weeks ago but I did need to order some brake blocks. Or rather, grab a set from the spares shelf. Always good to keep a few spares in stock. Another item I needed to source was the cork strips that run between the foot plate and the frame. Probably there to provide some cushioning. I decided to go for more durable self-adhesive rubber strips instead. Easy to find on Amazon.

Now, onto the actual painting. After a good wash down, the frame, forks, handlebars and stem spacer tube were all rubbed down with 400-grit wet ‘n’ dry sandpaper, washed and allowed to dry. After a final wash with isopropyl alcohol to remove any finger marks or grease, all was ready for priming. Used up the leftover primer from the Spray.Bike order and just had enough for all the parts, right down to the last few squirts. And that’s just as well because I don’t know if Spray.Bike and Montana Colours would be compatible on the same item.

Priming was yesterday, today started with a light rub down with 1200-grit wet ‘n’ dry sandpaper, followed by good clean and final wash with isopropyl alcohol. After ten minutes or so, I was ready to start painting. As I mentioned the other day, I’m using fluorescent spray paints from Montana Colours which are cheaper and now that I’ve used them, far easier to use than Spray.Bike cans. The result is a matt finish which you can keep is so desired or you can top coat with a clear varnish for a glossy finish. And that’s what I’ll be doing.

Before you start painting, particularly if using a multitude of colours (seven in my case!) a good tip is to draw up a paint plan. Now, this might sound difficult but all I did was take a sheet of A4 paper, draw a rough outline of the scooter, section of the different colour zones and mark where each of the colours would go. The most difficult part is decided where each colour would be placed. If you want, and like colouring-in, coloured pencils or felt-tip pens can be used to give you a visual idea.

One issue with using so many different colours is the amount of time it takes. Once you’ve masked off an area to be sprayed, you spray the paint then have to leave if long enough to be at least touch dry. You can then remove the masking tape before the paint is fully cured. You tend to get a better edge finish that way. Then, before you progress to the next colour, you need to leave the paint long enough that it will not be damaged when masked for the next colour. This is especially important with colours adjacent to each other and where masking tape needs applied directly to fresh paint. Oh, the joys of spray painting.

And that’s where we stand today with six panels of colour completed and two remaining for tomorrow. I probably could do them today but I think it’s better to let the paint cure overnight before masking. Last thing I want is the masking tape lifting the paint. After than I looking at some contrasting/complementary go-faster stripes. Just need to decide what those will be, where they will actually go and what size they should be. Should be able to get all that done tomorrow. That would then leave me with the final clear glossy top coat. And before we go, a good tip is to take your time and work out how to support the parts during and after painting, before you start painting. Hint, hint. Back soon.

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