“Don’t scratch the paint” is usually both a warning and a nightmare for bike owners (and OK, car owners, too). Scratching, when carefully controlled and done in a very specific pattern, becomes engraving. In the hands of Japan’s Rohan Izawa Art Design, and absolute master Takehiko Izawa, the intricate forms take shape, in what the Izawa team calls IZ Metal.
The stunning custom Harley-Davidson Street Glide you see before you was unveiled at the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon. Japanese bagger custom specialists Iron Paddock first heavily customized the bike, and then handed it over to Rohan Izawa Art Design to create their jaw-dropping IZ Metal finish.
As you’ll see in the video, the engraving process is as involved and precise as you’d expect. First, of course, there’s plenty of masking put down in order to pick out exactly how the design will flow across the individual pieces of bodywork. Then, Izawa begins the process of engraving with power tools. It’s a painstaking process that almost resembles slow, careful carving of clay—except, of course, that it’s metal. Watching this work is nothing short of breathtaking.
If your vehicular interests extend to custom cars and don’t solely stay in the motorcycle realm, you may previously have seen Rohan Izawa’s jaw-dropping IZ Metal paint work before—on a 1958 Chevrolet Impala that appeared at SEMA before the pandemic. In fact, that very Impala also appeared alongside this new Harley-Davidson Street Glide at the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon, as you can see in the photos.
Gallery: Rohan Izawa Art Design Custom Harley-Davidson Street Glide
Both engraved designs are laid out like irezumi tattoos, only etched in metal instead of ink pushed into skin. The work is then completely protected at the end with a combination of paint and clear coating in multiple layers, to preserve all the intricate beauty for years to come. It’s one of Rohan Izawa Art Designs’ calling cards, this process—and is something that interested parties could potentially request for their own custom projects.
We’ve posted the short overview video from Rohan about the overall IZ Metal paint process applied to this bike, but there’s also a longer video on their YouTube channel, if you want a lengthier glimpse into how they work. While the text and speech are in Japanese, even non-speakers should get a lot out of simply watching the process and seeing how it all comes together.