Adding a Little 3M Clear Bra to Blue’s Side Panels

When we bought Blue there were a number of “mods” that I made as soon as I took the bike home. Some were money well spent, others… not so much. One of the “not so much” things was #8 on that initial list of Mods:  Transparent Saddlebag Lid Guard material for the hard saddlebag lids.

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 3.04.45 PM

I actually bought two sets of the stuff as the first set didn’t look all that great: I think they’d been sitting in inventory for a bit too long, but hard to know.  Anyway, I bought a second set “just in case” we discovered that the lids were getting scratched up without any protection. Well, fortunately for us, while they’ve collecting some light scratches over the first 16,000 miles of riding, it’s been nothing that would make me want to use the clear bra material that Harley sells: it’s just not that great, i.e., very easy to see which is not the case with the stuff they put on the tops of the side covers at the factory. What gives Harley?

corralbootsAnyway, while the hard bags and most of the other painted surfaces haven’t collected a whole bunch of scratches, what has seen some excess wear and tear were the side covers that sit just under the saddles amidships over the fuse boxes on the left side of the bike and the ABS system on the right side.  The scuffs and scratches were made by Miss Debbie’s always awesome western fashion boots, noting that several of them have metal decorations. If she would ride in jeans (which is my preference) instead of in shorts, it wouldn’t be an issue, but because she likes to ride in boots and shorts the metal bits have done a nice job of scuffing up those custom-painted CVO side panels.

3679_lgWhen it came time to buff-out the paint on the BMW’s side cases, I picked up some professional grade Meguiars Ultra Cut Compound which made short work of surface blemishes. I decided that it was probably time to take the scuff’s off of Blue’s side panels and steal a couple of pieces of the Harley transparent lid paint guards (those pieces that would be trimmed off at the speaker grills) and see how they might look / work on the side panels.

As before, I don’t know that the clear bra / transparent materials have much of a shelf life as they seem to develop minor blemishes over time.  However, at least as a trial installation I think adding transparent / clear bra material to those side covers will be the ticket to preserving their finish. After all, you can only buff scuffs out of clear coat so many times until the clear coat is gone and you definitely don’t want to have scratches in your CVO custom paint job: those are very expensive paint jobs that aren’t inexpensive to have matched by just the handful of custom painters around the US who can do that work.  We have just such a person up in New Jersey who takes care of us: Joe Z at Xtreme Dynamics.

Anyway, even though the transparent material has some blems, both the left and right hand applications look pretty good… which is to say that it’s not that obvious there’s a clear coat covering on those panels.

20150719_072816 20150719_143331I’m hoping that as they “cure” in the hot sun some of the blems will vanish.  If not, I still have other material left-over from the lids that I might use on a second attempt and I’m pretty sure I can get stock sheets of the real 3M ClearBra / StoneGuard material on-line for about $16.  At this point, it will be money well spent as those are the only painted surfaces on Blue that have been getting buggered up during normal use.


About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
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