Black is sexy. What is sexier than a beautiful woman adorned in black lingerie? A beautiful blacked out 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.
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.
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.
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.