My shop is in an over-sized two-car garage attached to my home. My work is a calling, in the theological sense of the word. Ethical and moral questions arise every day – they are hard, sharp, unambiguous and unavoidable.

A few basic truthes about custom work.

Posted: July 22nd, 2010 | Author: Administrator | Filed under: Custom, Engine, Frame & Body, Motorcycle Repair, Wheels, Tires, & Brakes | No Comments »

It will take twice as long and cost twice as much as the initial best-estimate – even when you and your builder try to take this into account in the estimate.

Much of the work depends on outside expertise and suppliers; a machinist, a powder-coater, a painter,  a metal-plater, and so on.  A critical part is out of stock.  When it arrives, it is the wrong one and must be returned and exchanged for the correct part – which is out of stock.

Custom work is not simply a matter of bolting a bunch of cool components together – just about every component needs to be modified in some way to work correctly and look right.  A good builder is also a problem-solving engineer.

When the bike is apparently done – it’s not.  The first shake-down ride will reveal a number of problems, small and, possibly, large.  Correcting them often means undoing and redoing a lot of work.

Given all this, it is inevitable that the customer and the builder will have some fractous moments.  The customer can become frustrated/suspicious/angry about the delays and cost over-runs.  The builder can become pissed-off/angry that the customer expects miracles – no matter how diligent the builder is in explaining things to the customer.  The most important part of an, ultimately, successful customer/builder relationship is how they handle this.

There are, of course, many rewards in custom work.  A good builder enjoys the creative engineering and aesthetic challenges.  The customer has the pride and satisfaction of riding a bike she/he has brought into this world and which is unlike any other on the planet.  Despite the inevitable customer/builder conflicts, there are also moments when the collaboration results in something better/more pleasing than either one would have come up with on their own.

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