I went back to working on bikes in 2011-2013 (I used to have them when I was in my early 20’s). I bought non-working or badly working bikes, fixed them, got them running and sold them.
Two bikes that I felt came out well are a 1980 Honda cb750c and an 1982 Kawasaki KZ550. Idea was to make very driveable, fun, cleanly designed, not heavily modified bikes. Both are now sold as are all the others.
They have had their frames smoothed up a bit (brackets/tabs removed) and cut down in the rear to accomodate new thinner seats (great job by nhcanvas.com/ ). I like the length and practicality of the longer seats.
Not a whole lot of tools so all cutting, etc was done with a circular saw with a masonary blade. I’ve gone the lo-tech route, lo-budget route so brackets to hold seats, etc are bolted in. Both bikes’ rear fenders are front fenders from other bikes (Virago front fenders work particularly well). I used the stock turn signals primarlily with a nod to safety out on the road; harder to miss than bullet ones, I think. Plus they have a kind of funky look to them when blacked out. Dragmaster rear lights on both.
I used pipe fitting brackets for the Honda turn signals to bring them in closer in the seat. I kept the stock instrument cluster on both and I blacked out lots of elements of the bikes such as wheels, etc to clean the look up. Again, lo-budget, lo-tech, clean approach. European bars on both. Mirrors coming. Front ends were dropped an inch or so.
The way I painted the bikes’ tanks, side covers was derived from my paintings. I wanted the paint to have a kind of minimal but funky, slightly worn look to it in keeping with the overall look and feel of the bikes. How I go about it is to apply paint and then sand it off till I get the worn effect I’m looking for. So sort of a reductive approach.
Then some clear, color sanding, wax. So two sharp clean edges become blurred, worn a bit. And all sorts of worn, patina effects are within reach very easily and controllable.
The little blips on the left side of the Honda tank are deliberate, colors coming up from below the surface and pretty much composed like an abstract painting ( I don’t mean to sound pretentious or anything; just don’t know how else to put it). So for the Honda the shapes on the side and the colors are as much derived from African art as from George Barris or similar guys. I left off the Honda tank badges as I like the abstract shape where the badge fitted onto the tank. I like the worn shapes on the left side in particular and how they all relate.
And a super high shine I didn’t want so surface has more of an encaustic, subdued feel to it. Side covers on the Honda are from another kz550 as I liked the shapes and how the paint emphasized the lines of the engine and the bike.
The KZ tank had gold pinstripe lines stock on the tank and a matter of spraying some coats of black and sanding to where the lines looked semi-buried. No end to this technique and really fun. Hopefully, I’ll get to do more.