|PowerCoating OEM Guzzi Wheels
Since wearing out the last set of BT010s on my Centauro, I had decided to add a little personal style to the bike by powder coating the wheels black from the stock silver color. Posting to several online boards and researching the internet for powdercoating specifics resulted in vague and conflicting information along with several reports, both positive and negative, of riders jumping blindly into powdercoating their wheels.
My biggest area of concern was the temperature involved in the standard powdercoating process - 400 degrees F. I found reports stating that cast aluminum wheels can "anneal" around 300 degrees F, and that their structural integrity will be compromised if heated above this temperature. Queries to Brembo Italy were replied with no information regarding the composition of my wheels or the coating which came as stock - "proprietary process" and "trade secrets" was their position. Shopping local powdercoat shops revealed more insecurities about this process. Only one shop of about ten would do the job, and I would have to sign a waiver releasing them from responsibility.
Pressing on, I procured a "low temperatue curing" satin black powder which would fully cure in one hour at 275 degrees F. My local shop would do the job, but I had to strip the wheels. This was not possible wth any chemical I could buy commercialy. I did discover that the factory coating was silver paint over grey powdercoat. (should I have just saved all the hassle and simply painted the wheels over the stock paint?) Garnet/sand blasting was suggested by the powder shop for removing the factory powder. I figured this unwise as this would indeed raise the temperature of the wheels and unevenly at that. I was able to locate a blasting shop who was familiar with removing powdercoat with plastic media. The process did not raise the temperature of the wheels, but took close to two costly hours.
Finally, with clean wheels, (the bare aluminum was quite beautiful!) my chosen shop was able to proceed with the low temp process and my wheels were done! The lower temp process leaves a slight orange peel finish compared to the smooth, fully flowed high temp process but it is hardly noticeable with the wheels mounted. They look fantastic, the finish is hard and tough, with no scratching during tire mounting, (MetzM1, btw) and after putting over 300 miles on this afternoon, I have noticed no ill effects from the process.
Please,I am posting this strictly as friendly info to anyone interested in powdercoating their wheels and would also welcome any comments confirming or refuting the results of my experience.
Rob Buczynski in Reno, NV