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aluminum coating for vintage gas tanks

“This is better than a titty f**k.” At least that is what the woman who inexplicably loves Dave Helrich alleges when she emailed some photos and info regarding this amazing “aluminum paint” application Dave is applying to and old Triumph gas tank.

As Jenn The Wonderful tells it, the tank gets thermal-sprayed with molten aluminum, which leaves a solid and gritty coating. Next, they cut down the texture with an orbital sander and a “sh*t ton” of hand sanding.

The goal of the bike’s owner is to have a brushed finish, but Dave wants to leave a bit of the original texture of the tank in it.

Seeking “truth in material” because Dave believes that aluminum should look like aluminum and not chrome, this is the finished product:

Helrich Custom Cycles offers this aluminum coating service for $350 per coating, without the finish work. With finish work, the cost is $600.

That seems like a lot, but it’s cheaper than most of the aluminum gas tanks out there, and if you are attached to a non-replaceable vintage tank, the cost is worth it.

Dave also has a new blog. Right now he’s detailing a build that starts with building his own hardtail using a frame jig. That’s great because there are “builders” out there that don’t use frame jigs. Seriously. He also writes about water jetting custom designed mounts and more.

CLICK HERE to check it out >>


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  1. Thanks Trent, I know it sounds expensive, but it’s cheaper than a hand made aluminum tank, or cheap *** paint job. And it looks awesome, the pics do not do it justice.

  2. cheap *** paint jobs suck. i hate it when the paint starts to bubble after a month.

    if i’d have repaired my vtx instead of building the ForD, a new gas tank was over $600. having a body shop fix it was about 400.

    your prices are fine for the labor you put into it. working finishes by hand is not cheap, but it’s the only way to assure the tank is done with the quality a guy like you demands.

    one pays good money for stuff that isn’t half-assed.

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