Not All Paints Are Created Equal
I was talking with one of my clients this week about cologne. We were conversing over dinner after a long day of working on a masking system project. He mentioned that one of his hobbies is trying expensive colognes. I was strangely fascinated as he described the ingredients that produce these scents. Noticing my intrigue, he proceeded to show me his all-time favorite. I sniffed the concoction that he had sprayed on my hand; I could already tell that this was entirely different than the Axe Bodyspray that I was used to. “What makes this cologne so different from a normal cologne?” “It’s simple: whale vomit!” I was confused by his response and slightly regretted allowing him to spray it on my hand. He explained that many expensive colognes have an ingredient called ambergris which is whale vomit. He proceeded to explain that a whale will vomit hundreds of pounds of this stuff at a time and after being in the salt water for an extended amount of time, it develops a sweet, musky smell. The pleasant final product is bottled on a shelf waiting for a special occasion, yet we may be completely ignorant of the ingredients.
At least once a week I am asked, “How much does a custom paint job cost?”. This question is asked as if it is tantamount to inquiring of a McDonald’s employee the price of a McChicken. The reality is that this isn’t a simple question; it is downright complex!
Cost is dependent on many variables which are constantly changing. In the same way that the average cologne user may not be aware of the presence or price of this whale vomit, the average motorcycle enthusiast may not be aware of the dynamics which influence the price of their paint job.
The chemistry of motorcycle paint has three main components: pigment, resin, and solvent.
One of these cost drivers is paint. The chemistry of motorcycle paint has three basic parts: pigment, resin, and solvent. In layman’s terms, here is a quick explanation of each.
This is the ingredient within paint that gives your motorcycle finish its color. Although some pigments are synthetic, most pigments are mined from the earth and crafted into a powder. Pigments are developed to be intermixed to create infinite colors, sparkle, and visual shifts. Pigment can be as expensive as gold or cheap as dirt, so you get what you pay for.
Quite literally, resin is the glue that holds the pigment together. There are varying qualities of resin which massively impact the usability, durability, and color quality of the paint job. Beware of paint shops who say that they can give you a deal! The technology behind the resin is what sets the paint manufacturers apart and cheaper paint usually will mean cheaper resin.
Like a transportation vehicle, the resin and pigment package use the solvent as means to drive from the paint nozzle to the motorcycle part. Many people use water-based paint on their house and in this case, water acts as the solvent. Without a solvent, the resin and pigment are not efficiently transferable through atomization (spray painting). No solvent, no spray! As the paint dries, the solvent is literally leaving the paint film. A cheap, impure solvent can negatively affect the paint film appearance and leave behind contaminants, like a dog in a dog park.
At CPV, we use the highest quality paint. Going with lesser quality would certainly save us money as a company, but we refuse to compromise on quality. We are confident that this core principle benefits our customers in the long run and encourage every motorcycle lover to hold the same conviction!