Horsepower of a different color

Custom paint job on savage.

Olive drab military design on a 1997 Suzuki Savage.

We’ve got some guys coming up from the Dallas area this weekend. These guys belong to the Magna Owners Of Texas (MOOT) forum. We actually have MOOTsters from all over the world. It turns out that the wrenching talent on this board is incredible and worthy of a future blog topic on its own.
Part of that talent resides here in Texarkana, and that is the draw for this weekend. We’ve got a local guy who’s a virtual Michelangelo with body putty and a Picasso with paint. So a lucky MOOTster with a new-to-him bike is journeying to see the master and get his bike painted.
So, what color? Well, these guys are riding high revving, multi-cylinder machines, so we need a fast color.
“What’s a fast color,” you ask. The short answer is red or yellow. And there is actually some scientific basis for such a claim. It turns out that red, orange, and yellow photons have longer wavelengths that allow them to travel slightly faster through air than colors with shorter wavelengths, such as green or blue. This only applies if you’re a photon, traveling close to the speed of light, but that’s just nit-picking. Besides I believe that some of the guys try to reach those speeds, so the rule still applies.
But science aside, there is a lot of friendly debate on the fastest color. Some like the hot colors, the reds and yellows, while other go for the cool ones, the blues, greens, and purples. I suppose it depends on whether you want your bike to look “Hot,” or “Cool.”
But which ever school you belong to, the paint must be applied with technical perfection. And that’s where the real magic lays.
I’ve read a lot about painting. It’s funny that I keep reading the same sentences about finishes from topics as diverse as polishing shoes, to building boats. A beautiful finish requires a lot of patience. Many thin coats, be it polish, paint, or resin, are superior to a few thick ones.
Prep, sand, paint. Prep, sand, paint. Prep, sand, paint. There’s just no replacement for that part of the formula. But this part also requires experience and talent.
There is more to preparing a surface than smearing on some filler and hitting it a few licks with coarse sandpaper. Getting the paint the right consistence to go on cleanly and smoothly also requires skill. You compound the issue greatly when you start using additives like pearl or metal-flake. Put that in a clear coat over a decal or an air brush design and it gets even more complicated.
Did I mention decals, air-brushing, and ghost flames?
After extensive reading and studying the subject, I’ve discovered the secret to a beautiful paint job. Call a MOOTster.

— Guy Wheatley

5 Responses

  1. G.I. Joe Says:

    Good to see ole’ Thumper still making the rounds on the blog. however, I guess you could make the argument that olive drab is indeed a VERY slow color. ;0)

  2. Guy Says:

    I guess it is right now. When it gets a little warmer and dryer, I’ll put him under the carport and see about that wiring harness
    I’ve got to get out and ride some to get some fresh photos. And blog material.

  3. G.I. Joe Says:

    Well, just let me know. Hopefully by then I may have some wheels of my own (or may just have to bite the bullet, if I don’t) and can plan a trip home…I’d love to help on this. I’ve got to get some more riding done myself, this weekend liked to kill me!

  4. joseph Says:

    hi, who has the suzuki savage with paint, thats awesome , second how hard was it put amommo boxes on there, love the idea, thanks

  5. Guy Says:

    Thanks. It is my son’s bike. The guy we bought it from helped us paint it and mount the ammo cans. It wasn’t hard with his help because he’s good with metal and a welder. He just made the brackets we needed. If you can weld, fabricating brackets isn’t particularly hard. As you can see in one of my earlier blogs I made some for my saddle bags.

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