The definitive guide to customizing a leather-focused bike.
If you've made it this far, prepare your tools.
A unanimous view of the isolated times is that we remember that nothing is as good as something made with our own hands. Many people started baking bread, others built their own bikes.
We can assure you that this experience will be unforgettable, guarantee you some adventures, and teach you a thing or two about reuse and the importance of materials.
Building a motorcycle is learning how to tailor a suit, and we're here to deconstruct the idea that customization is complicated. In fact, it's the new high standard. Put on your helmet and get ready for our guide.
1. Get off the internet.
Not now, after you finish reading this article. But according to experts, you won't exactly be able to find reliable materials with any eBay seller.
In our chat with Dutch designer-coachbuilder Niels van Roij, we understood the importance of customizing your car's interior, not just for aesthetics. Despite being another type of vehicle, the lesson is the same: consult someone who wants your bike to last forever, not someone interested in selling you parts to fix what breaks all the time.
2. Choosing bones.
Let's be realistic, it will depend on how deep your pocket is. As a beginner, know that it's important to work with what you have and invest in quality. It doesn't matter if you're starting with a BMW or a recycled body — which is even better for the environment — but pay attention especially to the main kit: handlebars, which can also be found in suede, grips, bar weights, mirrors, lights, and indicators. You're going to do some crazy things with this bike, so be aware of the items that guarantee your safety.
3. Lasting relationship.
We don't quote Niels van Roij vainly, the biggest lesson about customization is to invest in something for life. With the designer, we learned that this is the future, you will take much more care of something that was made for you — or by you in this case — because knowing the origin of things connects us to them.
Seriously, you know that if you choose organic leather seats for your motorcycle, you will pass them on to your kids, or nephews, in perfect condition for years to come. And far beyond the sensitive part, experts in bikes and cars choose leather because this material likes to be used.
Confused? It's actually very simple. You'll ride through rain, mud, and high temperatures on this bike because that's all part of the experience. And your seat? Well, if you made the right choice, a wet cloth will clean it in seconds. Durability, ease to care, comfort, weather resistance, and of course, aesthetics.
4. Sketches never hurt.
As researching doesn't either. Don't start your customization until you've gathered references and ideas and are in contact with trusted material suppliers. It may take a little longer, but it will save you money and headache.
Don't push yourself too hard, especially if this is your first custom bike. Make sure you can handle all the parts, after all, it's up to you to drive this machine later. Also, don't compare your work. Your art, your rules.
Ready to own a bike exclusively yours? We meet you on the road.
Get some inspiration from Ironwood Custom Motorcycles.