The day my love for motorcycles started was ‘Take your son to work day’ sometime in the mid 90’s. I was young, couldn’t pin down the age exactly. I woke up excited to skip a day of school and go to work with the strongest, smartest man I knew at the time. However, I was a little too young and heartbroken to find that my big brother was going to go instead. During my inconsolable fit my father said he would make it up to me.
My father picked me up and sat me between him and the gas tank of his 1972 Purple Norton 750 Commando. For a brief moment before they had to leave we made a dozen laps in the back yard around the firepit, my first ride. I remember thinking, “When I grow up, I want a motorcycle”
My motorcycling adventures have come in many different flavors since, motocross, commuting, enduro, cross-country touring, adventure and some other shenanigans you couldn’t really classify. It’s been one hell of a ride.
The vintage bike affair started when a riding buddy was talking about how cool and fast a Suzuki Water Buffalo was, and I said, “Ya know I think my Dad has one of those in his garage”. I had to call and make sure, I wasn’t alive for the Japanese heyday. My friend wanted to buy it on the cheap, but my old man knew what it was worth.
The conversation sparked our interest in the bike that had been languishing since the 80’s. Fast forward a few months, between my father and I, we had that baby back on the road performing mosquito control for the State of Minnesota. Since then we have acquired an embarrassing amount of Suzukis in 5 years, all of which needed restoration.
The tedious road of restoring all of our bikes eventually led me down the path of Vapor Blasting. A cast aluminum restoration process that’s a perfect match for Vintage Japanese bikes. Vapor Blasting is performed in an abrasive cabinet filled with tap water and an extra fine glass bead mesh. A pump mixes the solution into a slurry which is then pressurized through a nozzle and applied to the part, similar to traditional sand blasting. The water provides a cushion for the glass abrasive which is why it works so well on the soft aluminum. You are left with an extremely smooth, satin, semi polished surface that has been peened to a near flat profile. This flat, non-porous profile aids in slowing down the corrosion process and eliminates oil staining. The parts can then be left naked, with no paint or coatings. It also hides blemishes from previous pitting or tooling marks and leaves excellent mating surfaces. Vapor blasting is fairly new to the US on a non-industrial level, but I have been perfecting my craft for two years now. I use a dual stage process that leaves the parts stunning for the years to come. If you are interested in Vapor Blasting services, you can contact me online through the HydraMoto Vapor Blasting Facebook page. There you will find my contact information and several examples of my recent work on Engine Cases, Carburetors, Suspension Components, Brake Components, Wheels, Engine Covers and all other aluminum go fast parts. I look forward to answering your questions. Not on Facebook? Call Clayton at (651) 808- 1441.