The Carbon Fiber Look

By Daryl Burnett

I was talking to my friend Blake Rivard about doing something different for his motocross bike. We settled on a carbon fiber air filter cover. On his bike, the air box sits just below the handle bars where the gas tank usually is. I started with removing the plastic piece and cleaned it so no dirt would be present in the final product.  The original air box would serve as a mold for the finished piece.

Original airbox and new part

The original airbox was used as a mold for the new carbon fiber part.

I cut a piece of carbon to size, then covered the original air box in a mold release. Next, I coated the back side of the carbon fiber with a thin layer of West System 105 Resin/207 Special Clear Hardener colored with 502 Black pigment to prevent light from shining through the carbon fiber weave.

When the epoxy was tacky but not wet enough to stick to the glove, I covered the original air box with the carbon fiber like I would a sticker, and smoothed out the fabric. The stickiness of the epoxy allowed me to place the carbon fiber in tight spots and over angles that would otherwise have the carbon fiber lift up. I let the piece cure for another two hours, then applied 105/207 to the topside of the cover. I recoated every two hours until I had four coats applied. I let the new carbon fiber air filter cover cure overnight, then sanded it to knock down the high spots, taking care not to sand into the carbon fiber.

new airbox

The new airbox prior to finishing.

After a washing it with water and wiping it down with paper towels, I applied four coats of clear coat paint from a can to help protect it in the sun.

carbon fiber airbox

The new airbox installed.

Blake qualified for Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Motocross Race, which their website describes as “The first step in the world’s largest and most prestigious amateur motocross championship race.” It’s a regional Championships that seeds riders into the national championship. We wish Blake the best of luck in this enduring sport.