Friday, April 27, 2012

Rust is the new Black

Photo from the Blitz website


Rust is formed by the reaction of iron and oxygen in the presence of water or air moisture.  It is commonly found on many alloys such as Steel which coincidentally is what most motorcycle gas tanks are made of.  I've seen over the past couple of years the emergence as rust as a central design element in custom builds today.  
Photo from Classified Moto
I owned a Holden Gemini for many years and rust was the main cause of it's demise, the steel cancer ate it's way through the floor causing the beige coloured state of the art machine to resemble a Fred Flinstone's car than that of a 80's suburban icon.  I would have tried almost anything to have gotten rid of that rust, but living on a coastal town my efforts were futile against this formidable foe.


So when I started seeing rust being purposely brought into the fray I was surprised, especially after my experience with it.  I personally love the look of this latest trend in custom design although I believe it had been around a while with a few of the hot rod builders.


The first custom shop I remember seeing this style was the guys over at Blitz.  They caused quite the stir by using a beat up old tank which looked like it had no work done to at all.  This tank sat on a freshly painted, fully customised motorcycle.   Much of the response was generally around "Why go to all this bother of customising a motorcycle  only to use a shitty old tank?".   We've now seen some other great shops like Wrenchmonkees, Classified Moto utilise a similar concept although I'm not sure who was first, that can be a debate for another time.


Photo from Wrenchmonkees
It seems this raw / worn / brat / rat look wasn't because the builders were lazy or they'd run out of paint.  It was a statement in aesthetics and adding rideablity appeal to the motorcycle.  By having elements that seemingly aren't brand new, the bike speaks to a rider by saying "hey I'm not just a show pony, I'm here to be ridden no matter what the conditions".  


However from a builders perspective, this style may be a lot faster and potentially cheaper to achieve.  It takes a lot more time and effort to lay down a nice paint job than it would be to lay a clear coat over the top of semi rusted tank or the like.


Much like the worn stone washed jeans look were big in the eighties, and the ripped jean fad in the 90's the rusted worn look for motorcycles is the style that's in at the moment.  What will be next, I'd need to check my rusted crystal ball.  


All I can say now though is that Rust is the new Black.  Maybe the stones should release a new song "Paint it Rust"


What are your thoughts?

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