Custom Builder Patricks Performance

November 4, 2004
Ken Hutchison
Ken Hutchison
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The ulcers keep piling on for the warden of the MotoUSA asylum. With the inmates running rampant around the globe, Hutch has opted to get in on the madness more these days than in years past and is back in the saddle again.

The bike that made people take notice that Patrick s Performance meant business was this Suzuki GSX-R1000 called affectionately  Warlock.
The bike that made people take notice that Patrick’s Performance meant business was this Suzuki GSX-R1000 called affectionately, Warlock.

Everywhere you look these days, there are custom bikes rolling through the favorite hangout spots. For the most part, the most famous customs belong to OCC and the other members of the fashionable chopper-cult community. If you think the only bike that is worth being chromed-out and custom painted is a Hog, though, then have we got something for you to look at. Check out the wicked sportbike rides from the good folks at Patrick’s Performance.

Based out of Wisconsin, it may be hard to believe they could be the cream of the crop when it comes to customizing sport bikes, but Patrick’s Performance can build you a brand new bike or take your favorite ride and transform it into rolling art. Although they specialize in the most popular Suzuki GSX-R1000s and Yamaha R1s, they can work their magic on any make or model machine. That includes choppers. The mission statement at Patrick’s Performance is: “build the hottest, most exotic sportbikes, bar none!”

We spent some time talking with the owner and founder, Patrick Pawlukiewicz (say Pav-Looka-Vitz) so that we could bring the information you will need to turn your life around. Are you having trouble pulling chicks on your two-year-old Gixxer? Do you get laughed at when you roll down Main St. on your stock Harley? Well, for 10 to 20 grand you can be the coolest kid in town – guaranteed.

“As a rule of thumb I use $10,000 as the base price for customizing a 1000cc sport bike,” says Pawlukiewicz. “For $14,000 to $19,000 I can build a custom bike (including 10K for the bike), chrome plate everything and custom paint it to an extreme.

“The goal always was that you can go by a base price Fat Boy for 17-18 thousand, and for that same money I can offer you a totally tricked out and completely customized sportbike that will outperform a Harley-Davidson any day of the week.”

One of the important aspects of the service Patrick’s Performance provides is the low effort on the part of the consumer. There are a number of routes a prospective client can take to attain one of these bikes. “I definitely get people from out of state that want me to pick one up at a local dealer here, customize it and send it to them when it’s all done. Then I get the guys who have their bike, love their bike and want it done. I get those shipped to the Milwaukee airport, pick them up.”

Patricks Performance Suzuki GSX-R1000 - Bio-Mechanical
Paint detail of the Bio-Mechanical bike. Patrick’s Performance doesn’t go cheap on the paint.

Let’s take a look at some of the options people have when you finally decide to put a Patrick’s Performance bike in your garage. First, merely send a check or money order to Patrick’s and you will receive the baddest bike you have ever witnessed from Fed-Ex a month later. That is the most-simple approach. The problem with that method, though, is that his brand-spanking-new customs disappear quicker than 20-dollar bills at a Las Vegas strip club.

Another option is to assemble your bike pieces at a time. You have the option of buying blinged-out components and custom painted bodywork and putting it on your bike yourself. Or, drop off your bike off at the local dealer to have them install all the parts and bodywork after Patrick’s ships it to them. This way, all you have to do is pay the bill and roll on down the road.

The final option is to send them your entire bike and have it transformed from old-reliable to ultimate desirable in a month or two, depending on their current work load.

“I try to address a national customer base,” explains the long-time motorcycle enthusiast. “If I have a customer out west who wants a custom paint job and chrome swingarm, I can custom paint bodywork here then send it to a dealership in his area. He takes his bike in on Thursday, they install everything and send me back the customer’s factory stuff and he picks his bike up on Friday with chrome wheels, swingarm and a custom paint job done in two days. That has made the difference for me when accommodating the national audience.”

In order to make sure his customers get what they want, he makes sure to discuss all the options before tearing into their bikes. “I go over a complete list of everything we do with our clients,” explains the 35-year-old entrepreneur. “They may have things that they want a certain way. But what I found was that the guys that are struggling to pay for it know exactly what they want and how they want things done. The guys that have the money to pay are just like, ‘I have the confidence in you to make me something no one else will ever have,’ and they’re right-there won’t be anything else like it. I do insist that they give me two or three colors I can use for a guideline for what they would like in their paint.”

There’s more to a Patrick’s Performance ride than custom paint, though. The bling factor provided by a chrome chassis and running gear is necessary to highlight the eye-catching paint scheme. “The chrome frame and components are usually a given,” says Patrick. “It’s usually around $4000 for labor when chroming the frame, wheels, swingarm footpegs and all that stuff. Right away they need to let me know if they want the bike chromed or not.”

This particular bike  named the Bio-Mechanical for the wicked paint scheme that adorns it  is the latest show bike to roll out of the Patrick s Performance garage.
This particular bike, named the Bio-Mechanical for the wicked paint scheme that adorns it, is the latest show bike to roll out of the Patrick’s Performance garage.

Typically, the answer is a resounding yes. Lately, however, the requests for powder coating as a way of accentuating the rest of the upgrades have increased. As any good businessman will attest to, it is important to meet the demands of your customer base.

“This year we will start offering some more powder coating,” says Pawlukiewicz, who hails from the town of Poughkeepsie, New York, (say that five times fast!). “As we have started getting more elaborate with our color schemes, it is becoming important to match the frames a little bit more. The chrome really, really looks beautiful on them, though. It makes a big difference. Now that were getting into powder coating, there are, like, 1500 different colors we can offer as well.”

You may be wondering how this whole thing came together. It seems that Mr. Pawlukiewicz was a fan of anything on two wheels long before he began customizing bikes. Once he did start, he got the bug bad, really bad.

It all began simple enough with a nice paint and some custom components for his Fat Boy. It turned out to be fun and he got some good feedback from people around town. Hmmm…maybe he was on to something. Next up, his Yamaha R1 needed a bit of love, so he painted it in a Pamela Anderson theme, which resulted in some more positive publicity.

From there he began customizing bikes on a regular basis, with the emphasis on custom paint and aftermarket bolt-on accessories. In the spring of 2003, the company made their official debut during the Harley-Davidson 100th Anniversary party in Milwaukee. The rest, as they say, is history.

“I spent the last 14 months trying to finalize the cost of the paint department and then move on to chroming – which took me about nine months of R&D to get the chroming process down because its really involved with all the parts we do,” explained Pawlukiewicz about the early days of formulating his company’s strategy.

Apparently another one of the more difficult obstacles was finding the right help. “I have two painters who work for me full-time,” said Patrick cautiously. “That was one of the hardest things to get taken care of because the painters are often so hard to wok with. The guys I have right now, led by Chris Kildahl, solved that problem for me.

“Chris’s whole attitude is just to get the job done. Most of the paint jobs you see here, as complicated as they can be, we can usually get done in nine days. We’ll spend 60-70 hours in those nine days – he’s a worker. But it gets done and we don’t have any problems. I went through six guys before I ended up with the one guy that was good enough to start a business with.”

Patrick s may be known best for what they can do with a GSX-R but one look at this beautiful R1 proves anything they touch turns to gold.
Patrick’s may be known best for what they can do with a GSX-R but one look at this beautiful R1 proves anything they touch turns to gold.

Patricks’ most famous bike, known simply as Warlock, really put them on the map. The response from the public after the bike was displayed at bike shows was out of this world. Suddenly they found themselves moving from the status of relative unknown to the leaders in sportbike customization.

Just check out the intricate paint laid down by Patricks’ painters. And the best part is, these bikes are not just for show – they go. No single custom bike that rolls out of the shop is destined to become a mantle piece. Instead, the bikes are rolling, working pieces of art – just the way Patrick likes it.

“The majority of the people who have us do their bikes actually ride them hard too,” continues Pawlukiewicz. “The bikes you see here (on our web page) I personally ride. I do wheelies, I do some mild stunting, so we take into consideration that the bikes will need to be taken apart and put back together for regular maintenance. So for that reason I stay away from chroming the bolts and other similar components.

“Leaving some of those small things free of plating is important. Overall, though, the general impression you get when you look at one of our bikes is still very hot. Then when you throw the paint on top of it there is so much to look at that no one is going to focus on any one bolt that is not plated. People have so much to look at they just can’t focus on one pure aspect of the bike there taking in the general theme, the overall package of the finished bike.”

We tend to agree that these bikes are completely sick. If you find yourself with a couple grand burning a hole in your pocket and you can live without your ride for a while, you may want to give Patrick a call. Believe it or not, he will be the one talking business with you. The guy is busy, though, hitting every bike show he can squeeze in between jobs in order to promote the business. As they say, there’s no rest of the wicked.

“No, there’s definitely no time to rest,” mused the self-proclaimed connoisseur of any club that features scantily clad ladies. “I do try to close down from Memorial Day until Labor Day because we go to so many shows in the summer time. Plus everyone is out riding their bikes. About Sept 25 I start taking them in and then stop by Christmas. I spend New Years until April tidying everything up until we start going to shows again – plus I have to get everyone’s bike back to them by spring.

“It gives me the winter to work on all the bikes which is typically the down season for the industry anyways. But it’s my busiest season.”

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