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My black Ninja 300 unfortunately has some light surface scratches (right-side) and swirling.

Having never done any sort of detailing, I'm looking at the best way to address these issues (and the bike is hibernating for the winter, so I feel like it's a good time for it!). What products (preferably available in Canada) work well with the Ninja's fairings and in what order do you apply them? Do you recommend claybarring first?

Thanks!
 

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What matters more is the process.

I'm hesitant about writing a long, proper response for a question like this these days, because half the time no one is willing to bother (or has the time) to do things "right". In any case clay barring won't do anything for the swirls, but it is the first step.

The short answer about how I would do it (the right way), would be to wash, clay, wash, use a dual action polisher with a polishing compound, wash, dual action polisher with a glazing compound, sealer, caranauba wax. This is something you can or should do one every 2 years or so, so it's worth doing it right. It's scary how soft and smooth it feels after doing this. The trick is the dual action polisher which removes the swirls. Anything else and you'll just be creating new ones.

Anyway, if you have a more specific question on what you're actually willing to do, then let us know.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
What matters more is the process.

I'm hesitant about writing a long, proper response for a question like this these days, because half the time no one is willing to bother (or has the time) to do things "right". In any case clay barring won't do anything for the swirls, but it is the first step.

The short answer about how I would do it (the right way), would be to wash, clay, wash, use a dual action polisher with a polishing compound, wash, dual action polisher with a glazing compound, sealer, caranauba wax. This is something you can or should do one every 2 years or so, so it's worth doing it right. It's scary how soft and smooth it feels after doing this. The trick is the dual action polisher which removes the swirls. Anything else and you'll just be creating new ones.

Anyway, if you have a more specific question on what you're actually willing to do, then let us know.
Those all sound like they're in the realm of possibility. The bike is hibernating, so I don't feel like I'm missing out on riding time by giving it some good old TLC.
I also forgot to mention it, but I do have some scratches on my tank as well that I'd like to address.
For the polishing compound, glazing compound, sealer and caranauba wax, would different ones be required for the fairings vs the tank?
 

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Those all sound like they're in the realm of possibility. The bike is hibernating, so I don't feel like I'm missing out on riding time by giving it some good old TLC.
I also forgot to mention it, but I do have some scratches on my tank as well that I'd like to address.
For the polishing compound, glazing compound, sealer and caranauba wax, would different ones be required for the fairings vs the tank?
The compounds would be the same for any painted surface, independent of subsurface (the only difference might be clear coated or not). Personally, I've become a huge fan of Chemical Guy's stuff, and they have a shop in Canada, so I'd give that a look if I were you. Not only that, but I use the stuff all the time on things that aren't vehicles, so it's not like they'll be wasted anyway. In my personal and subjective opinion, they're Silk Shine and Micro Finish Sealant are the best and most used liquids in my garage, second only to WD40.

Regarding the tank scratch, if it's superficial you can polish it away. But if not you might wanna fill it first. Though that's when it gets into the artistry part of the equation. I hate having to retouch paint.
 

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Junkman2000 has some great videos on detailing. He details cars, but most of what he presents is applicable to our motorcycles as well. Paint is paint. Clear coated paint is clear coated paint. Nothing really special about a motorcycle vs. an automobile.


AmmoNYC is another YouTuber worth looking at. He mostly deals with high end cars. Techniques are the same, though (paint is paint), and he pimps his product line.


European owners may want to look at Car Cleaning Guru. Same techniques, again, but with an emphasis on cleaning. He talks about products available in Europe.


Most dual action polishers are too big for our bikes. Most can be modified to use smaller pads. I'd look at 3" backing plates and pads. I have had good luck with the dual action polisher from Harbor Freight.(62862 or 69924), but if you want to spend the money on a genuine Porter Cable 7424XP, be my guest. When you shop for a polisher, be sure to get a "dual action." Standard polishers require a lot more skill to avoid burning through the paint.


Gables_Ninja said it's the technique more than the product. I think Junkman2000 said, jokingly, you could polish with shampoo if you really wanted to. Just remember to go from least aggressive to more aggressive if needed, and then back down again to polish out any polish marks from the more aggressive polishes. It's also not just the polish - there are pads that are more and less aggressive, too. You have to use the right pad with the right polish, and don't cross-contaminate a pad with multiple polishes.


And don't drop your claybar. If it hits the ground, it's toast. Throw it out. It will pick up dirt from the ground and scratch your paint with it. This is important. No kidding, and no way around it. There are similar products, such as "clay mits" that can be cleaned, but genuine clay - No Freaking Way. And all clay is made in the same factory, so there's no value in spending more for less. Break off a small piece and use that. That way, if you drop it, you aren't wasting a $20 block of clay. Lube is your friend. Many suggest and use detailing spray. This is one place where water with a little dish soap works fine to lubricate the clay.


For quick cleaning and waxing, I like "Original Bike Spirits Spray Cleaner and Polish ," but I have a friend I can buy this stuff wholesale by the case for about $4 a can (vs. $12 most everywhere else). If I had to buy retail, I'd probably just use Lemon Pledge, despite Pledge having silicones that body shops hate (causes "fisheyes" if not cleaned off properly). Or if you just want a quick detailer, I like Griot's Garage "Speed Shine."


If you really want to get into it, and pick the brains of some experts, I suggest visiting the Autopia car care forum.


Keep the shiny side up, and the sticky stuff stuck,


- Arved
 
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