Harleys and Super Villains

Harleys and Super Villains

Over the summer, my Harley Street 750 has been my primary mode of transportation around the urban jungle of Chicago. If you’re not up on Harleys, the Street series bikes are a bit of a deviation from the standard Harley formula. For starters, it’s liquid cooled and aside from the Porsche designed v-rod, all Harley’s are air cooled engines. It’s also lightweight (by Harley standards), coming in at 460 lbs compared to Sportster Iron 883 which is 550+ lbs.

Which makes it easy to navigate the 27 stop lights on my 6 mile journey into our shop everyday. Without traffic, that’s 30 minutes. If you’re doing that math, that comes out to 12 MPH without unusual traffic. As they saying goes, that’s life in the city.

Another deviation from the Harley norm is the camshaft design. All Harleys, aside from the v-rod, are push rod engines as opposed to overhead cam designs. This will probably never change as the pushrod design is what give Harley’s that unique rumble sound. However like it’s v-rod cousin, the Street series bikes are over head cam engines. Essentially, the Street bikes are smaller cousins of the v-rod.

This is my Street as I bought it on Craigslist. You’ll notice something about it – it’s black. Very black. Our shop manager Enrique said if I had a cape while riding it, I would look like a super villain. Which leads me in to todays topic – painting your radiator black.

We receive lots of questions from customers about painting their radiators. Some guys just don’t like the buffed look of our radiators and prefer something low key or stealth. There is a lot of misinformation out there on the interwebs so I thought I’d dispel the myths about it. There are three main ways to turn your radiator black: painting, powder coating and anodizing.

It is OK to paint your radiator – as long as you use the proper type of paint. Conventional spray paint like Krylon or Rustoleum will not work for painting your radiator. These types of paints are going to inhibit the heat transfer and you’ll likely ruin your radiator by doing it. For a simple black look, the best option is to use the water based paint that Eastwood sells. It’s under $20 and the most economical approach to turn your radiator black.

One of our Tri-5 radiators powder coated black

However something that a lot of guys aren’t aware of is that you can powder coat your radiator with no downsides. In fact, this is the best method for turning your radiator black. Because of the nature of the powder coating process, it does not inhibit the heat transfer of the radiator. In fact, many OEM radiator manufacturers powder coat their radiator cores for the superior corrosion protection it offers.

Lastly there is anodizing. This also works well however it requires that we us a special filler rod in our welding process, otherwise the radiator will severely discolor in anodizing. We don’t really recommend anodizing since it’s expensive and doesn’t really look as nice as powder coating. And unless you’re 100% sure your radiator was welded with a anodizing friendly filler rod, you’re going to end up with a discolored mess. And a lighter wallet.

For a while, we offered some of our more popular models with a black powder coat option. We still have a few left for the 55-57 Chevy, 66 – 67 Chevelle and 68 – 74 Chevelle. These are not something we’re likely to offer again since these were really not that popular. When they are gone, they are gone for good.

If you’re looking for a simple black option for your radiator, give Frank in sales a call (773)303-6291 or frank@speedcooling.com and he can set you up with one.

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