Mike from Visual Impact – The bike started out as a build for me but along the way things changed and the bike became a customer build. I painted the tank for it a few months prior to even knowing I would end up building the bike. He wanted the tank to be like a Japanese tattoo sleeve. Basically everywhere you look on the tank something different is going on.
After I got this bike’s frame done, me and a buddy started talking about how no one makes a kit to “brat the XS”. So we decided we would. We knew it wasn’t that hard to do for some guys but we also knew that its a pain in the ass sometimes to get guys to machine shit down for you or to make a couple of bends. We put it all together and put a reasonable price tag on it. $85 plus shipping in the lower 48. It includes 2 plugs for the frame and two plugs to close up the top rails, 4 tabs to hang the shocks off of and 4 pre bent D.O.M tubes with extra material to allow for different set ups.
I put together some directions to help guys with the install on my web site as well. Trying to make it as painless as possible. Again, we knew it wasn’t rocket science but judging by the feedback so far it was definitely a need we filled. Here’s where you can buy the kits and see the simple how to directions…… Just go to the store page on my site.
I painted the tank, sent it to the guy who was to build the bike and next thing you know the bike that it was supposed to be going on, not only wasn’t done, but it wasn’t even started and the dude made off with his cash. That’s where I ended up making my brat build his and I changed gears completely to build him his vision.
He did however let me add some of my own touches to the bike like the motor and polished cases, kickstand, pegs(flyrite) and kicker pedal(chc). Also he let me do whatever on the rear fender. We had talked a little bit about a possible Japanese flag so I kind of tweaked the idea and did it in blue and made it more like a panel instead.
It was a blast to build and its even more fun to ride. He had a very specific vision of what he wanted. I questioned a few of his choices but ultimately his vision makes sense all together and its exactly what he wanted. Its different and its all his own. Ive noticed from the reaction some guys dig the shit out of it and some dont get it but it always draws attention and reaction everywhere it goes.
Ted- I know a lot of work went into that paint job; how many hours goes into something like that.
I probably have about 40 hours into the tank. The art part of it went fairly quick, maybe 20 hours of it was the actual art. The rest of the time was bodywork and a few sessions of clearing to get everything to where you see it.
Ted- Do you first sketch out your idea on paper or go in freehand with a airbrush and see where it goes.
I like to sketch out what Im going to do with a airbrush right onto the tank. Sometimes Ill grab a piece of chalk and just rough in something but this tank I knew the customer wanted a koi, oni mask and dragon so I just went in loose with the airbrush and played around with placement. Every once in a while I will get a customer that wants sketches of something prior to me painting.
For me I like to just feel things out so that kind of takes the fun out of it but I do try to keep in mind some guys cant visualize what it will look like so it helps them make sure its what they want. Every one is different on what they need and I try to accommodate them. Although being a one man shop, time is at a premium so working loose and going with the flow is always my prefer-ed method.