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Perfect Powdercoating

Sumax Rules!

In the early 1980s Sumax was color anodizing aluminum billet parts for Harleys. Many customers requested that their cast pieces, like outer primaries, be anodized along with the billet parts. When you try to anodize cast pieces they come out in a marbled finish due to the molecular structure. The other problem with anodizing is that it would fade with motor heat and sunlight. It looked really cool but did not last for more than one riding season.


Kirk Van Scoten, (pictured above) the owner of Sumax, had been looking into other ways to fill the needs of his customers' desire to color more parts on their Harleys. Powdercoating was just being introduced to the industrial markets. What Kirk discovered was a durable finish, but it had a god-awful orange peel finish to it. It had possibilities if he could eliminate this poor finish and could hold up to heat. He then worked with Eastman, who was in the powder business at the time, to come up with a smooth glass-like finish. Kirk purchased a powder gun, bought an oven and made a spray booth to experiment alongside Eastman. He also visited world-renowned liquid painters in the industry, like Dave Perewitz and Tom Pruit of Damon's Paint to see how they achieved their top-quality results. Kirk now was ready to be the first company to offer this process dedicated to the Harley aftermarket industry.

A new 11,000-square-foot clear span steel building was erected to house this new exciting process. Since no one had tried this before, everything had to be designed from scratch. A daunting task indeed! For instance: Certain cleaning and blast equipment was required to correctly prep the parts; a monorail system was put in place to keeping handling of parts to a minimum; an in-line spray booth had to have the ability to control the air flow with variable speed; a large enough compressor with a series of colors and filters was necessary to achieve clean, dry air; an air make-up system had to be installed to keep the facility's air clean and pressure stable for good health conditions. And the curing oven had to be large enough to handle all size bike frames, including drag bike frames. That's a damned big oven! The facility had to be well lit throughout with task lighting in detail areas. Once Kirk had the facility together, he knew it would take quality minded employees and time to make it a success, but succeed it he has in spades.

Prepping the customer's parts starts when they are received. Each part is
tattooed with a work-order number that creates a permanent record of
ownership. This ensures that the customer receives his own parts back. Next
the parts head to the cleaning stages which employ alkaline cleaners. If the
parts require stripping, Sumax has an organic stripper that is safe for the
parts and for the environment. Once thoroughly cleaned the parts are
uniformly glass-beaded in cabinets where the pressure can be adjusted. All
areas that require masking, like heads with flow work, are properly masked
prior to blasting. All oil passageways are thoroughly cleaned of any glass
bead. Once a part is cleaned of any and blasted, it goes to the deburring
department where the edges are cleaned up and roughcast pieces smoothed out. Parts are then out-gassed in a special oven where the temperature is low enough not to distort metal (this is very important). Parts are then cleaned and run through an iron phosphate bath to prevent rusting and to ensure good adhesion characteristics.

Next the parts go to the masking department. A quality masking tape is used
to ensure crisp lines and leaving no sticky residue. This eliminates having
the mechanic clean the gasket surfaces and chase the threads. Once, while
visiting their facility, a shop owner came in with his hand in the air
exclaiming, "Our mechanics love you guys! The motor was so easy to

From the masking department, the parts are then staged on the monorail
system ready for paint. Sumax has a wide variety of colors to choose from
several sources. Kirk has worked with longtime friend and founder of House
of Kolor, John Kosmoski to offer many matches to their superior liquid
paint. They offer, at no charge, samples of colors the customer may be
interested in. This way it ensures the customer can hold the paint sample up
to their bike and get the exact color match they desire. In some cases
customers have had a liquid color match the special powder color via

Once the part is painted it is cured in their walk-in oven at low enough
temps to eliminate any possibility of metal distortion. When the parts come
out of the oven masking is removed. Once the parts are cooled down they are
finally detailed to the max. Parts are then wrapped in a light, non-scratch
foam, then heavier foam for protection, and shipped in heavyweight boxes to
ensure that these prized possessions arrive perfectly.

Sumax also offers what they call their "Special Effects" powdercoating and
polishing. This is where they offer the customer options to create dramatic
effects. Most heads and cylinders receive the popular Hi-Lite effect where
the edge of the fins are polished. Another popular look is De-fining, where
three fins are taken off the bottom of the cylinder and the surface is then
show polished. In cases where heat may be a problem, fewer fins may be
removed. Hex shaping of heads and cylinders is big with show bikes. Sumax
refers to a job where all these processes are performed as an "El Supremo"
job the ultimate. A two-tone effect is available where the edges are painted
in a color contrasting with the background of the heads and cylinders.
They also offer full polishing for cases, cylinders and heads. While fully
polished motors are now popular, the maintenance is high as well as the
cost. Powdercoating the surfaces make your bike ready to "wash and ride."
Sumax receives not only bike parts from all over the world to powdercoat,
but also parts for exotic cars, street machines, street rods, air planes and
high-end power boats all specialty toys.

Their credibility and high quality standards have made Sumax the first and
the foremost powdercoating pros in the industry. They give a full one-year
total satisfaction guarantee on all their work.



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122 Clear Road, Oriskany, NY 13424 USA
Phone: 315.768.1058 • Fax: 315.768.1046