Time, figure about a week of nights and one full day.
Wet/Dry sand paper, 400, 600, 1000 grit
Powered hand sander, with paper of various grits
Six cans of Rustoleum Automotive Primer, Grey or Brown, depends on what color you are going to make your bike, get a good contrasting primer
Six cans of whatever color you are going to shoot. I'd suggest spray laquer, that way you can top coat it with .....
Two or three cans of Maxx 2K clear coat
Take it all apart, take off all emblems, then use the power hand sander to take it down to smooth. If you have some deep nicks, you may need some spot putty. Cracks in the plastic can be filled with ABS pipe shavings and ABS cement
Finish sanding it down to the 600 grit paper, wet, then wash it all off. I primed each piece as I got it done to this point.
Find a nice place to paint, little dust, good light, etc. Sweep the floor, then wet it down.
Go to town with spray cans, top coat as the lacquer mfg recommends.
+1. Make sure you have a way to keep dust out of the paint area, that will destroy the job quick. Don't get impatient and lay coats to heavy and too quick or you'll have some nasty texture. Runs in paint should be dealt with before the clear coat. Once the clear coat is good and cured it helps to wet sand it with 1500-3000 grit until all the texture is gone, then use a little hand buffer to polish back.
The MOST important thing is a smooth and CLEAN starting surface. Any dust or grime on the surface will mean the paint will peel off in a matter of months. ANY bumps or imperfections in the surface WILL be amplified and visible when the paint goes on. Good luck.
WHOA! Hold the phone! If you are doing it yourself, DEFINITELY do the Dupli-color metalcast system. LITTLE TO NO SANDING REQUIRED unless you have some really rough areas. You will have an amazing factory like finish with metallic showing through. $8.50 per can of the ground coat (metallic base) and another $8.50 per can for the color coat. This is the most amazing paint you'll ever find in a spray can. And its pretty idiot proof. See my new thread: Dupli-color METALCAST System!
If you never done bike or vehicle painting before, you can easily make a mess of it. Why not get a quote from a paint shop, if you strip the panels and refit them yourself? You don't have to use a high-dollar paint shop, there are lots of cheaper places around.
I agree with bootwing. You will spend more than a few dollars buying rattle cans of primer, paint, clearcoat and sundries and not be sure of any success. Painting a motorcycle and getting a good result needs prior experience.
I rattle canned mine (all duplicolor paint in the big cans). I'm still a terrible painter but now I'm a great sander. The paint job came out pretty darn good. You just need patience and persistence. (I never thought I'd use 2000 grit for anything.)
+1 on the dedicated place to paint and good lighting. I hung blue tarps in a corner of the barn and put a stand-up shop light in there. You'll want a rack to hang the parts from for painting and another place to hang them while they dry.
BTW I think I went through 20 paint cans and 5 or 6 cans of clearcoat just on the body panels. If I hadn't been so impatient I wouldn't have had to sand off so many "curtains". A decent mask and dedicated paint clothing are good ideas.
Might as well throw this in. "White Trash" dressed in Duplicolor T-111 "Pure Linen White". Still has the drag bars on it in this one.
I don't know what your budget is but I have a buddy at Maaco in Charlotte that has painted my last 4 Goldwing restorations and a couple more bikes. All you have to do is take the parts off and put them back on. I do the striping and badges for $40, pretty much any color you want. This would be just the cost of materials and the paint job is less than $300 and what you get is a pro job with clear-coat that lasts. Not a bad price for 20+ pieces of plastic. You're an hour away so let me know if I can help. Paul
In regards to painting your own bike, it surely can be done. You HAVE to read,read,read. You also would be better served with automotive materials. You can find inexpensive paint systems that work well, and every Maaco shop in the world uses those cheaper paints! The whole trick is prep. Ya gotta be ready to sand yer butt off. Not once, but several times!! You need to work your way though the grits. 120, then 220, then 300, all the way up to 6-800 grit wet/dry paper!! PM me for any help I can give ya. Bobalou will tell ya, I really care that you are happy with it when you're done! Man, I just love that cafe bike above!~!! jimsjinx
I have done the rattle can job . I make sure the parts to be painted are free of all the old lacquer and any scratches are smoothed out . Then i use a primer in the same colour as the main colour but in a flat and i sand in between every coat as this is what gives you the depth when you have finished it ive had real good results with the Krylon from Walmart and it drys in 10 minutes