1. This is one blacked-out bike!
Black is sexy. What is sexier than a beautiful woman adorned in black lingerie? A beautiful Harley or custom covered in black throughout. Why not add a little sleekness to your American-made machine by blacking out a few parts? We don't mean you should wrap a black garter belt around your exhaust, or dress your fork tubes in black fishnet stockings. There are many different ways to achieve a blacked-out look to make your bike sexy, and we wanted to give you a brief overview of how you can achieve this look with a few different methods.
If you have the means to do it, remove any part you want refinished and ship it out to be powdercoated, anodized, black-nickel plated, or black chrome plated. Or, you can visit your local Home Depot, Wal-Mart, or auto parts store for a pretty clean rattle-can finish. We will show you six different types of black spray paint that you might want to try. Check out the different finishes we've covered and maybe you'll get a wild hair up your you-knowwhere, and black out your bike. lack is sexy. What is sexier than a beautiful woman adorned in black
The powdercoating process is fairly simple. We headed over to Orange County Plating, located in Orange, California, for a powdercoating tutorial.
Powdercoat Division Manager Big Chris walked us through the powdercoating procedure, and it was truly fascinating that with a little bit of powder you can achieve such a great look. Let's say that you have a set of chrome handlebars you want to have
powdercoated. In order for the bars to be powdercoated in gloss black, the chrome plating needs to be stripped completely. The bars would then be dipped in chrome and nickel stripping baths to return the bars to raw. Powdercoating over chrome is not recommended, and may eventually cause the powder to bubble or chip. Once the part is stripped of chrome, it is sandblasted or bead-blasted, depending on the metal or the size of the item to be blasted and how smooth the customer wants the finished product. When the part is down to bare metal, it is time to receive the powdercoat. Pricing varies depending on size of object, or if it is in raw metal form or not. Stripping of chrome ups the ante a bit.
4. The powder is a combination of tiny pieces of resin mixed with pigment and is applied with a gun that mixes air and powder via electric current. The powder pieces stick to the electrically grounded metal, and after the application process it is sent to the oven to cure.
4. The powder is a combination of tiny pieces of resin mixed with pigment and is applied
5. The air cleaner cover was baked in the oven at 385 degrees Fahrenheit. The powder cures anywhere from 8-12 minutes depending on the type of powder and colors used. Some colors are formulated to cure quickly, some slow.
5. The air cleaner cover was baked in the oven at 385 degrees Fahrenheit. The powder cure
2. Pictured at left is a stock air cleaner cover that has been completely stripped to its bare metal properties. On the right is the powdercoated version of the same air cleaner cover.
2. Pictured at left is a stock air cleaner cover that has been completely stripped to its
3. The raw, stock air cleaner cover is hung up in a special section of the shop where the powdercoat is applied. The overspray is sucked into vents.
3. The raw, stock air cleaner cover is hung up in a special section of the shop where the
We visited Dunham Metal Processing, located next door to Orange County Plating, and Jeff Bailey walked us through the factory to show us how parts are anodized. Anodizing is significant because it increases resistance from corrosion and wear. It's 50 percent penetration and 50 percent build-up, meaning that anodize actually penetrates the metal. Any aluminum part can be anodized, but more importantly, it is recommended to only anodize billet aluminum for a finished look. The prep work for anodizing is similar to powderecoating because the billet needs to be stripped to raw metal as well. The lever was placed in an etch tank of Caustic Soda, and rinsed with water and put into the anodize tank of Sulfuric Acid for approximately 50 minutes. Then the dye was applied and the lever was placed into a black dye tank. Finally, it was finished off in a sealant tank to lock everything in. Pricing for anodizing varies as well due to the prep work involved. If the product you desire to be anodized needs to be stripped to bare metal, it's generally more expensive.
1. Here are two Wicked Image levers. The top in raw form; the bottom had been anodized black.
1. Here are two Wicked Image levers. The top in raw form; the bottom had been anodized bl
2. The lever was dipped in the anodize tank after it had been completely stripped to raw billet.
2. The lever was dipped in the anodize tank after it had been completely stripped to raw
3. Shown here is the lever coming out of the dye tank after it had been anodized. The only step left was to seal it.
3. Shown here is the lever coming out of the dye tank after it had been anodized. The onl
1. American Revolution provided a photo of a black nickel wheel (left) next to a polished wheel to show you the difference in contrast between the two.
1. American Revolution provided a photo of a black nickel wheel (left) next to a polished
Black Nickel & Black Chrome
Obviously, anything on your bike that's chrome-plated can accept the black nickel and black chrome treatments. After talking to numerous plating factories, Patrick Curran from American Revolution, a plating company in Santa Fe Springs, CA, was able to shed some light on the matter by giving us a general idea on their black nickel and black chrome application processes. Both black chrome and black nickel are applied in a similar fashion. Black chrome, when aluminum is used, is plated first with nickel to give it a shiny finish, and then it is dipped into a black chrome tank for a dark tint. Their black chrome bath, which is made up of certain chemicals they wish not to disclose, gives it a dark finish that penetrates the chrome, not just the surface.
Black nickel plating uses the same steps as chrome plating, but instead of going to the flashy chrome bath after receiving the bright nickel coat, it goes straight to a black nickel bath. According to Pat, their process incorporates three different metals: nickel, tin, and cobalt that are all mixed with what's called co-deposition-they start plating at the same time but at different ratios. The tin gives it the tint and the cobalt is used to make it stronger.
2. Here are American Revolution's Night Chrome rotors against a stock polished disc. Their black chrome is a very deep, dark tone that will definitely stand out on your bike's wheels.
2. Here are American Revolution's Night Chrome rotors against a stock polished disc. Thei
3. Meclec Metal Finishing did the plating on the Jim Nasi cover bike we featured a year ago (Vol. 39, No. 8), so we called them up and asked if we could take a look at some of the stuff they're working on. Here's a shot of one of their black nickel wheels. Their black nickel wheel is applied over bright nickel, and it's brighter and deeper than their black chrome.
3. Meclec Metal Finishing did the plating on the Jim Nasi cover bike we featured a year a
4. Be on the lookout for Renegade Wheels' brand new Ebony Chrome Wheel, now available for their entire Elite Series lineup. They spent a lot of time developing "black chrome" that would meet the Renegade standards and collaborated with chemists responsible for the black chrome on some General Motors' Hummer models.
4. Be on the lookout for Renegade Wheels' brand new Ebony Chrome Wheel, now available for
Spray paint is spray paint. How hard is it to figure out how to apply spray paint? The hard part is deciding on what kind of black you want to use, because there are about 72,000 different kinds of black-do not take that literally, it's just a gross exaggeration. But we thought we would pick out some different shades/textures of black for you to see what would look best on your bike. We went to the hardware store and headed straight for the Rust-Oleum spray paint (flat, satin, gloss, textured, hammered, and hi-temp) to show you what they might look like on your bike.
1. From left to right: flat, satin, gloss, textured, hammered, and hi-temp finishes from Rust-Oleum. We grabbed a piece of sheetmetal from the hardware store and went to town spraying the rattler's one at a time. While we were waiting for our demo piece of metal to dry, our Editorial Director Courtney Halowell nabbed the cans of flat and gloss to paint his rear fender. It's recommended that you sand the surface of the product you wish to coat before applying the paint.
1. From left to right: flat, satin, gloss, textured, hammered, and hi-temp finishes from
2. Here is the painted rear fender mounted on the bike after the flat and gloss coats dried. These cans only put us back about $5 each so we'd have to say that it looks pretty damn good for the price. Now that you're armed with the tools of how to black out your bike, get out there and do it!
2. Here is the painted rear fender mounted on the bike after the flat and gloss coats dri
Orange County Plating
American revolution, Inc.
2180 N. Batavia St.
Meclec Metal Finishing
Dunham Metal Processing