why do most people leave their gas tanks black?

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by motorpsycho, Mar 12, 2010.

  1. motorpsycho

    motorpsycho Active Member

    Almost every mb i see has either a black or silver gas tank. it seems like almost everyone leaves the gas tanks in the color that they come in.
    Why not paint the tank to match the bike better?
    After i got my bike running and the bugs worked out of it, i gave my black tank a paint job using metallic white laquer over a silver base color. I followed that up with a coat of clear laquer with pearl dust mixed in it, and then 2 coats of clear laquer without pearl dust. I think painting the tank makes the bike more personalized and gives it a more custom built look. It looks less like a "kit gas tank" when it's got a nice paint job in a color other than black or silver.
    I know that not everyone can do a custom paint job, but it would be nice to see some other colors than black or silver.
    it would be very simple for the "non painter" to just do a paintjob using spray paint. just scuff the tank with a scotchbrite pad, spray it with a coat of primer, and then spray it with a couple of coats of color....easy to do and it will add more character.
    Just my opinion.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2010

  2. MikeJ

    MikeJ Member

    For myself, my bike frame is already black. I feel no need to change colors.

    You say you use ScotchBrite pads to scuff up the paint? I ask because for a second frame I have I do want to remove the decals and repaint. If you vouch that ScotchBrite works well, maybe I can bypass the emory cloth scrubdown. Thanks.
  3. motorpsycho

    motorpsycho Active Member

    if the current paint on the bike does not have deep gouges (down to the metal) there is no need to fully strip it down to bare metal. if the current paint is smooth you can scuff it up with a scothbrite pad. they do make scotchbrite pads in different roughnesses (for lack of better words)...like fine, medium and coarse. coarse being the roughest and fine being the smoothest. the goal is to remove any shiney areas and make the current paint dull. (which will give the paint "teeth" for the primer to bite into) and adhere to it. if you use emory cloth and do not take it down to bare metal, that will be like sanding it with 60-80 grit sandpaper, which will leave big gouges in the paint that will show once you get primer and paint back on it.
    of corse, this is the fast & easy way to do a paint job, and if the surface is prepped right, the paint will stick and not flake off. oil, or any foreign debris will make the new paint not stick, so it is important to use a chemical cleaner (such as prep-sol) to wipe down the frame before primer and before paint and clear are added. the oil from your skin will ruin a paint job if you handle the frame with your bare hands before you spray the paint.
    if you want to fully strip the frame to bare metal, that's fine too, but i would not waste my time trying to sand it down. I would take the frame to a body shop and have them sandblast it.
    it will take them 20 -30 minutes at the most, and you will have a clean bare metal surface ready for primer. a body shop can probably sandblast a bike frame for $15-20.00 providing that they have a blasting cabinet big enough OR a portable blaster that they can use outside.
    I am not a professional painter but i have done several paintjobs on motorcycle gas tanks, helmets and i have painted one car in my life. I build custom model cars, so i custom paint them all the time...but painting on plastic in small scale is MUCH different than painting metal in a larger scale. 80% of a good paint job is in the prep work BEFORE you even spray the paint.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2010
  4. MikeJ

    MikeJ Member

    Thanks for the prep advice.

    The only outstanding reason I would change tank color (or frame color if otherwise the color is okay) would be to place reflective paint on the tank and frame. It was mentioned in a safety forum that reflective paint exists, in a aerosol can, I suppose. I would use the paint to really stand out like an eyesore at night. (Along with a reflective vest and lots of running lights.)

    Mike J
  5. motorpsycho

    motorpsycho Active Member

    yes, i've also heard of the reflective paint, but i have no idea how well it works.
    For me, i live in a very rural area where i don't need to worry about traffic.
    I do have a headlight and a tail light (hidden under the back of the seat) on my bike, but they are mostly because it is pitch black around here at night, and i need the headlight to see where i'm going if i do ride at night. most of the time tho, i just putt around during the day and i don't really go anywhere on my bike. i made my headlight using a chrome headlight case and i modified the chrome reflector inside it to accept 3 L.E.D. lights from a battery powered flashlight. i have a small battery pack with 4 AA batteries hooked to it, and it's plenty bright for riding at night. my tail light has one L.E.D. in it, and it's powered by 2 small round batteries like you would find in a remote for keyless entry on your car.
  6. Ghost0

    Ghost0 Guest

    Well most people can't paint or are too lazy to do it. Getting the bike running is the most important part. But I am not most people.

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  7. Pablo

    Pablo Motored Bikes Sponsor

    Personally I could give a flying fruit what color MY tank is. It really doesn't bug me. In fact I kinda like mine black. Maybe a sticker or two.

    As for other people, I dig some of the paint jobs, nice art.
  8. Huntington

    Huntington Member


    If you want to strip your frame fast and easy, use aircraft stripper. They sell it at auto zone and it will remove all the paint and stickers in little time with not much work. Put the stuff on, let it sit while you drink a beer, by the time you are done with the beer the frame is ready. You may need to repeat if all the paint didnt come off but it really doesnt take more then two applications

    As far as painting the tank, I painted my first one, guess what color?.. I painted it black. The China paint sucks, so I redid it.

    I bet there is a market for custom painted tanks here, I dont have the ambition but maybe someone else.
  9. Neon

    Neon Member

    The paint on my tank actually has a nice shine to it that i'm not sure i could reproduce if i wanted to. Besides my frame is a metallic green and i don't really want the tank to match it. I believe green belongs on grass, trees and such, not on a bicycle. Maybe someday i'll actually paint my frame but i'm too lazy right now. Possibly a nice charcoal and red highlights.
  10. motorpsycho

    motorpsycho Active Member

    well i wasn't saying that everyone has to paint their tank. the black that some of the tanks come in is actually decent and shiney (mine was that way) but i have seen some silver ones that look terrible, and the paint is rough and has no gloss.
    I was just saying that in my opinion, i think it looks funny to see a (for example) a blue framed bike, with white details and a black tank.
    sure, black is fine on some bikes because the frame color and details go with black (or silver).
    I guess that i'm more into the way a bike looks than some people. I like my stuff to look good, be unique and to stand out from the crowd. to me, stock is boring and i like to modify and customize everything that i have to give it a unique look.
    i also add performance parts to back up the looks...so it isn't just all show.
  11. Pablo

    Pablo Motored Bikes Sponsor

    Nothing wrong with that!!:rockon::banana:


    The only stock tanks I have now are black because they match the bike.
    Now, what about the engine? Silver looks right on some but others just beg for some color. Any one else like the look of a painted engine?
    First two pics are stock black tanks, silver engines
    next two, no stock tanks here! Painted engines.

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  13. Neon

    Neon Member

    Nice job of mounting the gas tank on the second red women's bike.Unless the whole frame was changed. Then nice job of doing the whole frame over. I've always liked painted engines but there is a lot of prep work to do on the engines in order to get them to look right and have the paint last. Again it's just laziness on my part.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2010
  14. Stan4d

    Stan4d New Member

    Love the Schwinn tank. I have a point beach waiting on a motor. Would love for mine to match like that.
  15. Hawaii_Ed

    Hawaii_Ed Member

  16. motorpsycho

    motorpsycho Active Member

    yeah, painted engines look good in some cases.
    me personally, i would like to paint the jug and head black, and then sand the paint off the fins to resemble the look of a harley v-twin. Polish the case, and side covers and call it good. (but i doubt that i will ever go that far)
    I've already polished my side covers, but the aluminum is poor quality / poorly cast, so getting a mirror-chrome like finish is almost impossible.
  17. yimmie

    yimmie Member

    painted tanks

    i painted my tank on 1 bike. and i pinstriped the other. depends on the bike and the look you are going after in my opinion as to if the tank should b painted.

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  18. pferraro07

    pferraro07 New Member

    How Tall Are Your Apes ?
  19. motorpsycho

    motorpsycho Active Member

    If you are asking me, i have no idea. they were on the bike when i got it.
    I can measure them if you want.
  20. Irish John

    Irish John Guest

    Paint Your Wagon

    I considered painting my bike black to match the tank but it was too hard to do a black paint job bad enough to match the terrible paint finish on the tank so I decided to take the lazy route and paint the tank to match the bike.
    If it involves mixing paint then I spray the engine cover as well seeing as I've gone to all the trouble to mix the paint.

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