| Print 10/14/07 - by Steven Winslow
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| Before the job...
Man, You will NEVER get this clean! - Winslow
Article By Steven Winslow
Winslow: Im here with Rik Rommel, owner of CyclePro Detailing of Delmar*. Rik is from the Harford County area, and has recently opened up his operation here in Delmar. Tell us about your experience in detailing.
Rik: I have detailed everything for about the past 26 years. Boats, Planes, RV's Cars and Trucks and of course Motorcycles. I have been involved in all aspects from paint to final detail. I guess you could say that I enjoy the "Bling" effect that I saw at my very first car show at the old Baltimore Civic Center back in the early 70's. All the glitter of the chrome and polished aluminum, and if you're old enough to remember the old panelled and lace paint jobs, under the spot lights. That's the look I try to capture in my work. Obviously, Incandecant light and natural sunlight show different aspects of each job. But I believe that an outdoor show and an indoor show bike each have thier own unique qualities. Never are any two, exactly the same. There's always something that catches your eye with each one, that differs from the next or the last. I hear folks say all the time..."nice bike but he forgot to detail this part or that part. It really takes away from the whole picture."
Basically what I try to do is complete the picture.
Winslow: I remember going to the car shows up at the old Philly Auditorium and even went to the New York Car show once with some friends back in the late 70s and early 80s... I know what ya mean, everything was very different in those days! Lots of Chrome, outrageous mods... Dam, I even remember cars without seatbelts! So you actually do your detailing work here at your shop in Delmar? How long does it take to get a detail done?
Rik: I have a full time gig at a local car dealer as a shop foreman . But I enjoy the extra work on bikes because that's really where my heart is, ya know? The time for each job varies because as I said earlier, no 2 are ever the same. A bike that has nice sheetmetal and paint is a plus even though the chrome and aluminum may have some age on it takes a bit longer. I would concentrate on the worn areas moreso to bring them up to the quality of the paintwork. Then say for instance, a guy has an older scoot, the paint is so so, the motor looks kinda ratty, but he just cashed in on his ol lady's life insurance( me laughing hysterically again), and bought all new chrome. I'd concentrate more on the paint and motor to bring those 2 aspects into the picture, thus making it complete. Then there's the guy who just bought his bike. He spent a ton on the bike and 2 tons more on chrome. He rides it only on weekends, never in the rain, and it's never seen the dust from a biker bar parking lot. His is obviously the easiest job. However it could still take all of 4 hours to complete just because that's how meticulous I am. I told ya...I'm sick like that. (chuckle).
Winslow: You know, with all the shows we do, SE and I are unable to keep my Sportster in running trim. Beleive it or not, it even won a Rat Class trophy last year at the Centreville ABATE show... Its kind of a running bad joke, *sigh*. Oh well, I cant wait to see what you can do with it. One thing that always drives me crazy is the brushed metal rims...
Rik: Well Steve, I enjoy a challenge. Keeps me from gettin old. As far as your ride is concerned, I have seen worse. One of these days I'll tell ya about the worst job I ever did. You'll get a kick out of it.
Winslow: Hopefully it wont be too much! *LOL* My usual routine is to take it to a carwash, rinse it off very carefully (no direct high preasure spray) and do the actual wash by hand. This is of course after waiting at least 20 minutes for the engine to cool. Then its dried and about 2 hours doing chrome, and my bike is pretty low end when it comes to chrome! Pipes, mirrors, running trim, etc. No chrome engine, no chrome oil tank, no chrome electrical cover. Still, its a good 3 hours to do! Ok, I have to know... What was the worst job you ever did?
Rik: And since ya finally asked, The worst job I ever did. I got a call one day from a guy who heard my name around the area. He said that his uncle had died and he was the executor of the will. In the will was a car that needed to be sold. He wanted it detailed so it would bring more money at the estate auction. I went to scope out the car and when I opened the door. (outside temperature was 92 degrees), I was hit smack in the mug with the smell of death. Turns out good ol uncle Albert died in the car and no one found him for 2 weeks. Nice huh? When the guy came by to see how I was doing on the car, I had the interior lined up in my driveway from one end to the other, dash was out, seats, carpet and jute, headliner. Literally everything was in my driveway. I had to bleach the entire "shell" and then each piece individually to get rid of it. I had to put in a new headliner and carpet, and unleash real live enzimes into the seats to "eat up" the odor. The bill...$500.00.
Car sold at aution for $1,100.00. He was hatin life at that point. But I can honestly say that it's a smell that stays with ya. You'll never forget it. Guess that's why I've never done a hearse. (insert major laughter here).
Winslow: Thanks Rik! Cant wait to see it done!
*Rik had he bike for no more than 48 hours and I heard back from him... Too cool!
Winslow: WOW! AWESOME WORK! I cant beleive you got looking so good! Tell us your secrets!
Rik: I'm glad that ya like it. As far as secrets go, you know the drill....If i told ya I'd have to kill ya. (laughing yet again, cause ya know I never would). In all honesty, as hokey as it sounds, I have a deep desire for my workmanship to be the best there is. I hold myself to higher standards than most in this business do. Detailing for most has always been a thankless necessity type of thing. I never understood why a guy would spend 15 to 20 grand on a bike and then let it go to hell just because he didn't have the time or lacked the ability to keep it looking nice. Most folks change thier oil, replace thier worn out parts and such on a regular basis without complaining. Yet they whine and complain because thier paint and chrome are all ratty. (laughing) ...Here's a hint drop about $75.00 my way and we'll hook ya up.
Don't get me wrong with my outlook. I like the ol school rat bike look. I think it's important in the interest of history to keep it up. It shows where we started with custom bikes. It depicts the dare to be different attitude. But at the same time as crazy as it sounds, a rat can still be detailed out.
Winslow: I know what ya mean. Its all about what you want, and hopefully you dont whine too much when you get it, huh? *LOL* The job you did is showing alot of time and care... The chrome looks like the day bought it, something I thought I would NEVER see again! The mirrors... The wheels... Craftmanship and pride... Way cool! The one thing Im dieing to get your secret on is the wheels! How did you get the pitting out?
Rik: Well Steve, as far as the wheels are concerned. Cast aluminum wheels are generallymade from a "slug" of aluminum and then the "bead" area and spokes are ground smoothand polished. in the beginning they weren't clear coated as a rule. Later modelswith aluminum wheels are now "cleared" from the factory as a means of protecting thepolished areas. Still, the rough casting will collect dirt and brake dust and itcan be a royal pain to clean, as you well know. There are several "decent" wheelcleaners available through the Dennis Kirk & JP Cycles Catalogs. You can also pickup some aluminum wheel cleaners from say Pep Boys, AutoZone, etc. I use HydrchloricAcid to clean wheels. I DO NOT recommend this to my customers because it it burnand etch the wheel permanently if used incorrectly. Just ask anyone who's had tobuy a set of wheels and they'll tell ya it's a bad scene. I use products thatcannot be purchased on the Consumer Market. Wheel acid aside, I use ...dare i say....Green Friendly prodcts. I have non acid wheel cleaners and all sorts of bio-degradable solutions that do not harm the ground water or try to bust holes in the atmosphere big enough to launch Rosie O'Donnel through.
Winslow: Any tips for do it yourselfers out there? What do you recomend for someone like me for say in between detailings? Any products you think are the bomb or would avoid at all costs?
Rik: as far as tips for the do it yourselfer, I recommend cleaning after each ride. Drying with compressed air or soft chamois. A good leather treatment for the seats will keep mr. sunshine from baking it to look like something layin in the desert. $400.00 seats hate that, and I hate spendin $400.00 on one. Other than that, Just a easy wheel cleaner for aluminum wheels, and just a car wash type soap or simple green on spoked wheels. One thing I will add is that alot of Japanese Cruisers come with Cad Plating on the spokes. Do not under any circumstances use a wheel cleaner on these. They will turn gray and you will be re-lacing your wheels next season.
Always use a mild car wash soap. These are also available at Peppy's or Autozone. Dishwashing liquid is out. Period. It's made to cut grease from your hamburger pan in a hurry. Most good waxes are made of Carnuba Oil. If it cut's grease from the burger pan it's gonna eat the wax right off your scoot. And all the time ya just spent cleaning it was all for nothing.
So I guess that's it. I'm glad that you liked the job we did on your bike. And if I can be of any further assistance or if ya have any questions, just give me a yell. We're always here to help. Even if we don't work on your bike for ya, we'll be happy to answer any question that folks may have. We're just gettin started here on the shore, and we want folks to know that we'll be here for them.
Rik Rommel runs his own detailing business, known as CyclePro Detailing of Delmarva. Contact and other info can be found at: http://cyclepro.delmarvabikers.com. Be sure to look him up for all of your Detailing Needs!
- Steven Winslow -
PS: We should have some more and better pics for this article soon!
Got a cool bike you'd like to show off here at delmarvabikers.com? Like to write articles? Drop me a line and we'll see if we can hook ya up!