We are living in the age of DIY — Do It Yourself, for the uninitiated. For the most part, DIY projects are an excellent way to save money on a product or service that is easy enough to handle. However, when it comes to Harley customizing, or adjusting any motorcycle, the stakes are much higher than a failed window planter or a ruined desk lamp. Custom motorcycle builders enjoy gainful employment for one very good reason, and that is the fact that motorcycle customization isn’t easy. Whether you want to adjust your motorcycle for a disability, or just for looks, there are three big reasons why you should leave any and all customizations to the professionals.
Adding custom motorcycle parts to a bike can be, for some people, a lot like getting tattoos. You get just one at first, but soon you want two, then three, and before you know it you’re hooked. There’s nothing wrong with adding a lot of custom parts to a bike as long as they don’t impair the safety and function of the bike. Popular Mechanics documented a good example of a bike that was compromised by a customization in an article that curated pictures of choppers that were taken too far. One such chopper had a wheelbase as long as that of a Honda Civic, making it nearly un-maneuverable. Custom motorcycle builders have a knowledge of motorcycles that will be more likely to identify potential safety issues long before the customizations are executed, saving time, money, and maybe even a life.
Do you have a down-draft paint booth? A reducer? Sandpaper with grit ranging from 80 to 2,000? What about paint guns? Motorcycle painting is a technically complicated task, never mind that not everyone has an eye for color and design. There are many people that have successfully re-painted their motorcycles, but not without a significant investment in tools, paint, and the time that it would take to follow instructions, make mistakes, and hopefully rectify them. If you want to be sure that the final paint job on your bike is aesthetically pleasing as well as well-executed, then there’s no better way than to hand the work over to someone with experience.
Custom motorcycle builders are going to cost more, but part of what you are really paying for is skill and experience. If you take on a paint job, then you have your instructions, and that’s it. You won’t know the best way to fix something that goes off the rails, or deal with a scenario that isn’t perfectly explained in your instructions. The same goes for adding parts. The safest and most attractive results are going to come from those who know all of the tips and tricks that take years of hands-on experience to learn.
Unfortunately, building custom motorcycles is not like building custom bookshelves for your living room. While it’s true that in 1903, a Harley Davidson was built that had a carburetor made out of a tomato can, today’s bikes are much more complex. If you want your bike customized, then it’s best to leave that paint job or new set of handlebars to a professional.
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