It takes a lot of passion and inspiration to custom-make a Harley. Ask me, I have been there. You think a Harley is beautiful, imagine adding your own custom look. Insane! And it’s the age of so many DIY tips so why not do something you are passionate about?
As a Harley enthusiast, I consider building a custom bike the ultimate DIY project. It takes money, time, and a lot of work. You need to be prepared not to give up somewhere along the way.
Here are some tips to carry you all the way to the finish line.
Do everything yourself. Take it literally and design, measure, install, purchase, and find people to do the specialty work. Generally, give yourself ample time to research and build the bike on your own.
2. Know where to shop
Don’t leave it to Google, Amazon, or eBay to find parts for your Harley. Look for experienced Harley custom builders and ask questions. Find out where they bought their stuff. Don’t look at the prices only but at the products and services. I have found that Harley-Davidson OEM parts go a long way when custom building. If you don’t find a reliable dealer then you are setting yourself up for failure.
Remember only the right fits work for a Harley-Davidson.
3. Keep your records and measurements
Don’t assume that your email will do all the recording for you. Print your receipts and file them. If this is old school, open an excel sheet and enter everything on your receipt, or download the receipts and save them in one folder. This is the best way to track your purchases and ask for refunds if anything goes wrong.
Measure everything at least three times before ordering it. Incorrect measurements will cost you time and money. You have to pay return fees, restocking fees, and reorder the right size. Besides, if you need to replace any part in the future you will have all the details.
4. Take pictures
Custom-making a bike is a process that you want to commit to memory. Since you can’t store everything, capture every moment and bike part, save them in a file. The pictures, notes, and paperwork with details on time and money spent are all important.
5. Take the parts to the painter after assembling
At this point, your Harley has cost you more and taken longer than you expected. You have all body parts and you are ready to take them to the paint shop. Don’t do it until you have assembled the bike and seen it all fits well together. Now, take it for a paint job!
I learned it takes patience and money. Custom building a Harley is expensive, so keep that in mind. And leave some time for creativity as you have so many options to go with.