HAR­LEY-DAVID­SON ROADSTER

Color-match­ing the new café tail

Motorcyclist - - Garage - —Brian Hatano

the fi­nal step of a cus­tom bike build or mod­i­fi­ca­tion is of­ten the paint­work. A unique paint job sets a mo­tor­cy­cle apart from stock ma­chines and al­lows an owner to ex­press a bit of their per­son­al­ity. But paint­ing a mo­tor­cy­cle re­quires an en­tirely dif­fer­ent skill set than me­chan­i­cal work. Even with a de­tailed set of in­struc­tions, get­ting the fin­ish smooth and glossy can be chal­leng­ing for the first-time DIYER.

Af­ter in­stalling the H-D Café Cus­tom Tail kit in the last up­date, I’ve had plenty of time to de­cide how I wanted to fin­ish the look. The fac­tory black­painted tail wasn’t bad—and it would have looked great with a black tank— but our Har­ley-david­son Roadster

The learn­ing curve to ap­ply cus­tom paint is steep, but Color­rite makes the job doable for the week­end DIYER. In­struc­tions are easy to fol­low, prod­ucts are easy to mix, and the color match is spot on.

needed an ex­tra kick. I de­cided to stick with the fac­tory color then broke out my spray gun to see what I could do.

Like many mod­ern paint fin­ishes, the Ve­loc­ity Red Sun­glo on the 2017 Roadster is a three-stage paint con­sist­ing of a base metal­lic (in this case, a dark sil­ver), a mid­dle translu­cent toner coat (cus­tom painters re­fer to this as “candy” paint), and a ure­thane clear coat.

As soon as my paint ar­rived from Color­rite (color­rite.com), I set aside a week­end to tackle the job. Satur­day was spent clean­ing the garage and mak­ing it as dust-free as pos­si­ble. Next, I made sure that I had all of my prep ma­te­ri­als (sand­pa­per, mask­ing tape, and clean­ing sol­vents) in or­der. Then I taped out a sim­ple two-tone pat­tern on the tail be­fore dis­as­sem­bling it. My goal was to paint the top por­tion of the tail to match the tank and leave the bot­tom half black to flow into the black side cov­ers.

If you’re a first-time painter at­tempt­ing a three-stage paint job like this, I rec­om­mend buy­ing ex­tra paint so that you can prac­tice. A badly painted tail can make send­ing your body­work to a cus­tom shop (an es­ti­mated cost of $1,000), or pur­chas­ing Har­ley’s “Caf­feine” Lim­ited Se­ries Paint Set ($2,900 with match­ing tank and tail), seem like a wise in­vest­ment. But hon­ing your skills can pay off. My to­tal cost go­ing the DIY route: $350 for the Color­rite paint and about $20 for tape and a gal­lon of ace­tone.

Cus­tom paint­ing can be frus­trat­ing, but be pa­tient and per­sis­tent. With a lit­tle prac­tice you’ll end up with a bike—and a paint job—you can be proud of.

wrist Brian Hatano

msrp (2017) $11,299

miles 3,349

mpg 50

mods Color­rite Paint

up­date 3

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