A Blank Canvas: Painting The Softail

Stunning custom paintwork and a sporty upright riding position set the Harley-Davidson® Softail® FXDR™ 114 Limited Edition apart from its standard stablemate, but just one intricate detail sets these 30 limited edition models apart from each other.



All 30 models showcase an exclusive paint scheme of brilliant white, black and gold base colours topped with a matt clear finish. Incorporated within the design are additional highlights of the modern Harley-Davidson® logo, a gold pinstripe running through the paintwork and a “Limited Edition” graphic on the tail section. Plus, each of the bikes features a sporty upright riding position from the addition of different handlebar components. 

Only the unique sequence number – from 1 through to 30 – located on the lower rear-right of every one of the 30 fuel tanks sets the limited edition machines apart from each other.

Image Design Custom (IDC) is the specialist team behind the stand-out paint scheme – design concept and application – of the FXDR™ 114 Limited Edition. As a master of custom paint designs and application, IDC is no stranger to Harley-Davidson. Many show-stopping custom Harleys from the UK and Europe have had IDC’s magic literally sprayed over them. But as always, there’s more to producing a quality product than meets the eye.

To achieve the look, the FXDR 114’s original paintwork is pared back to bare paint. This means removing all protective lacquer and logos from the fuel tank, tail section, headlamp cowl and front fender. This is all done by hand and involves differing grades of ‘sandpaper’; where possible, high-speed air-powered sanders are used. This starting process takes around two hours for each complete set of bodywork. Multiply that by 30 and that’s a lot of preparation time before any new covering paint is applied.

What follows next is a precise all-over coating of the base coat, brilliant white in the Limited Edition’s case. There then follows more spraying time for the application of the black and gold base colours. In between each base colour, a member of the IDC team carefully masks off the different sections to avoid overspray onto the previously applied base colours.

When it comes to placing the thin pinstriping effect, the Harley-Davidson logos and that all-important model identification number, it takes care and attention to detail of a time-served expert who also has a steady hand and nerves. Every colour that is applied is control baked to a specific temperature and time within a modern spray booth. The “baking process” ensures the ‘Limited Edition’ paint scheme maintains the original level of quality finish.

The final stage in the painting process starts with additional checks to ensure there are no defects in the covering paint before any sealing lacquer is applied. After the first coats of very durable protective gloss lacquer, all the parts are “rubbed down” with fine abrasives to leave a smooth finish i.e. no discernible variation in the height of the different colours or detail highlights. Once this is done, the final coats of matt lacquer are placed and, again, baked to perfection. From start to completion, the painting process for each motorcycle takes approximately 16 hrs.

The next part of the journey to create 30 FXDR™ 114 Limited Edition models is to install different chassis components to give the bikes a taller and rearward swept handlebar position. This change places the rider into a slightly more upright riding position that also allows the new paint scheme to be seen in full when riding – and appreciated by all.

The standard clip-on handlebars are replaced with a Harley-Davidson single-piece Drag-style Fat handlebar mounted to an accessory gloss black Fat Ape riser kit. Because the handlebar position has moved upwards and back, H-D accessory extension wiring kits are added to the left and right switchgear units to maintain an unhindered left-to-right movement of the front-end assembly. For the same reason, a different length clutch cable is also fitted.

The technician that carries out the handlebar conversion is the same person responsible for removing the FXDR™ 114 bodywork ready for despatch to IDC. This also includes removal of the fuel pump and filler cap assemblies, position dampers and assorted clips. Of course, all parts and components are reinstalled with the same level of care as it takes to remove them.

Total time for the creation of one FXDR™ 114 Limited Edition is approximately 18 hours – time well spent in our opinion; we think you will agree – especially if you are one of the 30 lucky owners. These 30 “Limited Edition” motorcycles are only available from Harley-Davidson UK & Ireland dealerships with a maximum of one per dealership.