Michelangelo I’m not..

but as the great man said, “Genius is eternal patience” and that’s what’s needed to paint the Cyclemaster engine cover – patience that is; not genius.

So, after a quick rub down with “wet and dry” sandpaper, it’s on with the primer. I used Rust-oleum  for no other reason than it was cheap. I was unsure whether it was suitable for a cellulose based top coat but decided to find out!

For the top cost, I chose a silver that was close as possible to the original Polychromatic grey, then had it mixed at a local motor factors who supplied in an aerosol for a very reasonable £11. It went on well but dried to a flat finish as I’d got paint without lacquer. I did because cellulose lacquer is not resistant to ethanol and it would most likely lift on the petrol tank.

So the next problem was how to paint the red lines on the embosses and the black on the background of the Cyclemaster badge.

I started with the engine cover and found that a magnifying glass and a mascara brush worked well. Yes it’s the first time I’ve used a mascara brush, even though the result looks like I’m a pro!

The foam pad worked well on the raised embossing as it didn’t wipe down the sides like a brush would. However, the red flashes on the petrol tank and carb cover are different as the embosses aren’t flat topped – they are V shaped. So the first job was to mark the lines and I used my vernier set at 4.5mm to make some very small scratches. I then applied 6mm wide masking tape to form the straight sides. Now, the curved ends were a problem and I came up with what I think is a nifty solution; I used a hole punch to make a semi circle on pieces of masking tape.

These were then positioned to close the ends of each flash and the flash painted with a fine brush.

I removed the tape before the paint was dry, to prevent it from bleeding under the tape. Some “experts” recommend leaving it until the paint is dry but I was also concerned the tape may then pull the red off.

The final detailing job, was the black background to “Cyclemaster”. This was a really delicate job that I did with the smallest brush I could find. For some of the detailing around “MADE IN ENGLAND” I used the old cocktail stick trick; for example to apply the dot to the A’s – not easy.

TIP Boyes has a good supply of paints, brushes and masking tape etc.

The final job was lacquering and the big problem here is that it needs to be ethanol proof. The best lacquer for this is two pack and I found an aerosol called Pro2KClear made by Capella Solutions Group. It has a clever little ring pull on the bottom that releases the isocyanate into the paint to start the curing process. This worked really well, the lacquer went on easily and the results speak for themselves.

So far the lacquer looks very durable – scratch resistant and not yet affected by petrol spills.

However, as I said, “I’m no Michelangelo”. But a Cyclemaster is no Sistine Chapel and I’m as happy with the result as the Pope is with his ceiling – job done.

PS TIP Don’t use Humbrol Enamel for the highlights as it wrinkled a little when the lacquer was applied. At one point I thought it was going to have to start again. However it dried OK and the wrinkles can only be seen when examined closely which won’t be a problem when I zoom past at at least 20mph!

It’s all about the chemistry…

but not the emotional type. The chemical type, as used to unblock the exhaust and restore the corroded petrol tank and on my Cyclemaster.



First the blocked exhaust.

Apart from cutting the exhaust open, scrapping the carbon out and then welding it back up, there are two, frequently used, methods. The one I’m not prepared to try, involves pointing  an oxy-acetylene welding torch down the exhaust until the carbon is burning, then turning the acetylene off, so the oxygen feeds the burning carbon – a bit like a blast furnace. They say don’t worry about it glowing red and smoke bellowing out? And that it will self extinguish when the carbon has been burnt. But that sounds a risk to far, so it’s the second method for me.

Simply get some caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) from your local hardware store (Wilko in my case) and fill the exhaust with it.

NOTE: Caustic Soda is an aggressive chemical, so rubber gloves (marigolds) and eye protection must be used – as a minimum.

I mixed the caustic soda quite strong, with reasonably warm water (not boiling) and left my exhaust in an old plastic bucket overnight, with bungs in each end. The carbon softens and comes out a black gunge when you rinse it with the hosepipe. I did mine 3 times and the last time there was no gunge, just brown water.

Take extreme care, as the caustic soda reacts with aluminium and can stain chrome – not an issue on the CM. This method was quite simple and worked for me as the exhaust has a nice crisp “pop” now; a sure sign it’s free flowing.

Second, the rusty petrol tank.

My Cyclemaster tank had been stood for so many years, the petrol had crystallised at the top and turned to black rusty gunge at the bottom. I tried various cleaners that all helped a little but bits of rust were still getting into the carb. I hope to do some long distance rides and don’t  want to risk a breakdown due to blocked main jet, so the tank must be cleaned and treated.

This is what it looks like inside and it’s worse further back in the lower section.


The method I’m using is to “treat” the inside of the tank with Phosphoric acid. It acts as a rust converter, not remover. The rust is iron oxide and the phosphoric acid converts it to ferric phosphate which is soluble in water so can be washed off – in theory, so let’s see if it works. The acid also etches the steel, leaving a grey surface appearance and increasing the rust resistance.

Remember, use personal protective equipment, as you are working with a strong acid.

My supply of Phosphoric acid came in the form of a ph adjuster used in horticulture, from ebay. It’s 81% concentrated and I bought a 250ml bottle, so that’s 200 ml of acid. The CM petrol tank is small at 2 1/2 pints which is approx 1.5 litres and I used all of the pH Down, so my mix ratio is 7.5:1.

DSC_0088 crop.JPG

The fuel tap and integral filter were removed and the hole bunged with Gaffa tape as I’d read on the internet that this would work. It’s important to add the acid to water, rather than the other way round, then top the tank up to the brim.

I then placed the  Tank in an old plastic bucket and gave it shake every few minutes. It was during shaking that I noticed the garage floor fizzing, like an Alka Seltzer in water, as the Gaffa tape was coming off! SO DON’T USE GAFFA TAPE. Do the safe thing and find a bolt that fits the hole and screw it in securely. Fortunately, I had the hose pipe ready so I gave the floor a good wash down, including washing it Baking Soda to neutralize the acid.

After 20 to 30 minutes I removed the acid, gave it a rinse with the hose pipe for another 15 mins, then rinsed it with a baking soda solution. And this is the result:


The next step is to thoroughly dry the tank and I used a heat gun to do this. When your are 100% sure it’s dry, give it a spray inside with WD40 or simlar.

Side by side, you can see the improvement is massive – job done, or not quite…

I say not quite, as unfortunately the acid has affected the outside of the tank.


It just goes to prove, you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet, as I’d read that Phosphoric acid has no affect on paint – wrong! Perhaps I made the acid too strong? Or perhaps the original Polychromatic paint isn’t resistant to acid?

Anyway, I was unsure whether to paint the tank but that’s now been resolved for me.

So the next blog will be my experience on painting the tank and the other parts. Oh and adding those difficult red lines…