Hopefully we can all agree that the Kawasaki H2 is a special motorcycle - right down to its eye-opening paint job. Kawasaki has released a video showing how they apply the Mirror-Silver paint to the H2 and H2R.
There is a lot going on in the video and some complex chemical reactions taking place. One of the more interesting things is how much actual craftsmen have their hands on the components and how few robots are used. For a company known for their heavy equipment and automation, it's really great to see that level of care taken.
Breaking down the process gives us the 5 steps in the video.
Laying the Primer:
This is an important step in any paint job, but in the case of the Mirror-Silver paint the smoother the primer layer the better the mirror finish will be. Hand laid by a master painter and wet sanded to a smooth finish makes the final product. Without the care taken at this step everything else that would be done would be for naught. The wet sanding is unique to the Silver-Mirror process.
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Normally this layer adds depth to color that will be sprayed over it. In the case of the Silver-Mirror paint, this acts as the layer for the chemical reaction to take place. Once again preparation is key to a smooth mirror finish. Since the final layer involves a chemical reaction, there is very little that can be done to fix mistakes in the primer or base layers.
The mirror finish is the Ag layer. The special chemical solution primes the surface and creates the catalyst for the Ag layer to create the final finish. Hopefully all of the prep work is right and the finish comes out smooth and beautiful. For those that didn't catch it in the video this is a layer of pure silver! No wonder the bike costs so much.
Like every other modern paint the Silver-Mirror has a clear coat finish. This protects it from the environment, our ham fisted fondling of the motorcycle, and random strangers who can't not touch the bike. All of this is done by those master craftsman.
The final UV layer is applied by robotics. It helps protect the paint and the clear coat from the sun and prevents premature fading and wear due to exposure. You might be able to store the bike out of the sun but if you ride it the sun will damage it over time.