Here we'll talk about the most important thing to consider before you get anyone to paint your bike.That is fit.You can spend a fortune on your bike buying stuff ,but if it don't fit and flow together as one,you wasted your money.Just because that steel dash you bought was $300.00 doesn't mean when you bolt it on, it's gonna' fit properly or fit at all.It needs to be fit to the tank profile and also always check the odometer hole if you have one.They aren't always where they are supposed to be.
Tank fit and shape is another thing altogether.Aftermarket tanks need to be checked for shape as well as fit.Especially the ones with weld on extentions.Sometimes they also need filler pieces,to get a good fit to the radius of the seat.As in the picture above.
Then there are seats.If you don't fit the tanks and dash to the seat,you need to fit the seat to them.That means for starters,to alter your exsiting seat pan or to fabricate a new one.As shown here.When changing sheetmetal everything needs to be considered.It's like that measure twice,cut once theory that carpenters use.
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Sometimes the tank just doesn't flow with the frame.So mounts have to be moved to position the tank at a more pleasing angle or height .Then the tank can be stretched if need be,to complete the look we want.Now this tank was moved further forward ,the front dropped and the rear raised just a bit.
Then a little tug here, a little pulling there,to stretch it out a bit .
Now we have a tank that ties the whole bike together.It fits the frame and gives the bike a flow that carries your eye from one panel to the next seamlessly.The radius at the back fits the seat perfectly,and the bottom of the tank radius will showcase the awesome v-twin engine.
With the metalwork done on the tank,the fit to the seat and frame checked,it is then removed and pressure tested to make sure there are'nt any leaks.Then it's washed with a strong solvent to remove any contaminants from the outside surface,before we start the bodywork.It's then sandblasted along with the rest of the sheetmetal.With the bodywork done on all panels,a few good coats of primer are applied.Everything is block sanded so it's nice and straight and there are no imperfections.Then it's all reprimed one last time,to prep for paint.
Before it is sanded though,we installed everything one last time.Check for fit again,check the shape of things to make sure it all looks good and there are no last minute changes we want to make.With things in primer it's much easier to visualise what things are going to look like in the end.Then it all comes back off and it's off to paint we go.It may seem redondant, but on a custom bike these steps should always be followed because if not,it WILL show in the final product.
Sometimes you see a bike that's really nice,but you just can't put your finger on what makes it so special.Maybe it's not your particular taste, but it kinda' just leaves you staring at it,not saying a word.......It's the little things,the attention to detail,that set it apart from the cookie cutter world of bolt on Harley customs.