When it comes to custom sportbikes, Nick Anglada has seen it all. When Anglada opened Custom Sportbike Concepts in 1997, his was probably the first (and only) custom shop in the nation dedicated solely to tricked-out sportbikes. No choppers, no hot rods, no mini-trucks-Anglada concentrated exclusively on sick sportbikes, and after seven years in the biz, he was starting to get bored. "There was just no way I could chrome out another bike," Anglada tells us. "I was so over chrome-I'd been doing that since '97-and it was definitely time for me to do something different."
"Something different," it turns out, meant "something different colored" for Anglada. When it came time to set off the shiny bits on his latest shop bikes, Anglada took a pass on the chrome-plating and instead set off his Suzukis (one Hayabusa and one GSX-R1000) with eye-popping color plating that combines traditional chrome plating with a translucent powdercoat for a fresh look that is anything but played out.
There's nothing mysterious about the actual process. The parts are plated with standard chrome (or hand-polished, in the case of big pieces such as the frame and swingarm that might not cope well with the four-hour, 500-degree oven baking powdercoating requires) and then covered with a translucent powdercoat. The end result is arresting, combining the luster of normal chrome, the depth and dimension of candy paint and the durability of powdercoat. More importantly, it attracts attention: The GSX-R won "Best Chrome" at the recent Fort Lauderdale Bike Show, competing in the Pro Builder class against some of the finest choppers in the nation. Anglada says the response from his shop's customers has been huge. "It's just killed my chrome sales," Anglada says. "When we first did the candy colors people flipped out, and now all our customers want it."
The Hayabusa was built first, and it features a bit more colored chrome than the Gixxer. On the 'Busa the frame and swingarm have both been done in "Shiny Penny" translucent powdercoat, as well as the fork, front master cylinder, rear brake caliper and other small bits. The GSX-R, on the other hand, has just the frame, subframe and swingarm coated. In addition to the colored pieces, both bikes also feature liberal amounts of traditional silver plate. "Anything that can be chromed is," Anglada says. "If you crawl underneath the bikes, you'll see the oil pans are chrome, the breather covers, everything possible is chromed. It doesn't matter to me if you can see it or not-I know it's there." Especially impressive are the chromed engine cases on the GSX-R. When asked how much it costs to plate those pieces, which come from the factory made out of chrome-phobic magnesium, Anglada just laughs.
As eye-catching as all that colored chrome is, it competes for your attention with some of the best paintwork we've ever seen, laid down by Todd Fisher and his team at Volusia County Customs in Deland, Florida. Anglada gives full credit to Fisher for these crazy paint jobs. "I just give Todd an idea-I told him I wanted the 'Busa to look evil-and he takes it from there." Both bikes are covered with House of Kolor-brand candy hues, a product Fisher has more than a passing familiarity with; after all, he was named one of the company's "Prestigious Painters of 2004." The 'Busa graphics are indeed evil, featuring a silver and charcoal basecoat airbrushed with an intricate "desert skull" mural and finished with a candy orange/root beer topcoat. The icy-blue Gixxer combines masked graphics with airbrushed bills and skulls, and Anglada says that judging from his final bill, Fisher and crew have probably put 100 hours into the paint on each bike!