Craig Skiver paints bikes. In fact, he is known around Tampa Bay as “The Tank Whisperer” because he has an almost mystical ability to mind-meld with an ailing motorcycle gas tank in order to restore it to pristine condition. What exactly is a tank whisperer? Simply put, Craig rescues gas tanks. He can take a rusty, leaky gas tank that has been buried in the ground for a decade and bring it back to life. This nearly lost art involves repairing tanks with holes in them and that have been rusted beyond belief. “I make it so you can put gas in the tank again and make it new inside and out,” Craig tells us.

There’s a reason why world class airbrush wizard Chris Cruz uses Craig to bring old sheetmetal to life. It’s because Chris only works with the best. A rider himself, Craig loves all things with two or three wheels and all marquees of motorcycles are represented on his website, from Harleys to Hondas, Suzukis to Kawasakis such as the one you are looking at here. This hybrid 1982 Kawasaki KZ1000 has a Moto Guzzi front end, a Ducati tail and parts from Suzuki in there as well.

Craig was approached by Santiago Choppers to create this street fighter based on the look of a rare Godier Genoud (look it up – it was one of the most prestigious Kawasaki racing bikes back in the 1970s). “I’ve done two of them,” Craig say, “and I had to have this one. It is a rolling business card for my company.” The bikefeatures hand-picked Kawasaki colors, and as you might guess, it has won lots of trophies.

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Foundational paintwork has been Craig’s mainstay for many years and he is known for creating awesome custom graphics and super symmetrical pinstriping. Craig also handles all manner of sheetmetal repair including welding services, plastic and fiberglass fabrication. The main mission at Craig Paints Bikes is to produce amazing paintjobs by working with each customer to make their custom dreams come true. “We bring your motorcycle to life,” Craig says. “We can make your bike or trike extraordinary, designing and painting the baddest street bikes around.”

He is well known throughout the southeast for reproducing colors and candy paint on vintage motorcycles and Japanese street bikes such as the Honda Sunflake Orange Candy used on CB 500s, CB 550s and CB 750s. Kawasaki Super Candy Red, Super Candy Blue, Rich Candy Gold and the obscure Halibut Blue Candy used in the 1970s on these coveted vintage motorcycles. Even Yamaha’s RD colors like Brandy Red have been reformulated with great success.

Some of Craig Paints Bikes efforts have been featured on the Discovery Channel’s show Cafe’ Racer. “Santiago Choppers exclusively relies on my painting services for all of their custom motorcycles,” Craig says proudly. Westcoast Cycle in Tampa has also relied on Craig Paints Bikes in Tampa for over eight years to meet their needs, and more importantly, their customers’ needs to get their scooters back on the road and looking great. “Nicely polished parts are a must,” Craig says. “And the tanks must be perfect because they are the focal point on any motorcycle.” And who would know that better than The Tank Whisperer? For more information, visit craigpaintsbikes.com or call 813-407-2226.
—Squid