As great, grand, strong, and beautiful as the leathers on our bikes are, the truth of the matter is that some colors simply don't hold as well as others. Overtime they will begin to fade and the sun will take its toll and bleach out their original shine. Many like this gradual effect and embrace , for the 2014 Indians (like mine) this leather fade happens exponentially quicker than most of us would like. After a brief talk with my local tech I learned these 2014 Indians use a stronger grain leather as opposed to genuine or composite leather like newer models do. As a result the leather doesn't hold the dye as well and need to be treated about once a year depending on wear and tear.
The leathers here are still in pretty good shape from when I treated them last year. I bought my bike used (April 21st, 2017; the date I switched to a cruiser) and the previous owner had never re-dyed them. The same tech told me about these great brands of leather care and leather dyeing products that I swear by.
Get your gloves on and make sure the workspace is well ventilated. These products are more at home in a tack/ bridal shop (horse bridals, not dresses) than they are at cycle gear or your local dealer. That's exactly why they work so well though, these are proper products made for folks who work with leather on the daily, so don't take them too lightly. 1) Deglazer - The Foulest Smelling One I cannot warn you enough to make sure that your work area is properly ventilated when handling deglazer. After first wiping your leathers down with a damp rag to remove any dust and grime. Take a damp cotton cloth and use it to apply the deglazer. This product essentially removes the sealant and smells and acts like a strong nail polish remover. It may have been overkill but I put on some eye protection too just in case. Allow 30-40 mins to dry, I put a small fan on the leathers to help it out and to stop the fumes from building up. 2) Pro Dye - Why We're Here When applying be sure to use a test patch on a low vis area to give you a feel for the product and application. Personally I used a sponge to quickly dab the dye onto a section and then used a rag in smooth, straight motions to even apply the dye. Don't get over zealous it will spot if applied unevenly, and wear gloves this will dye your skin. Allow to dry for another 30-40 mins before moving forward, sometimes more than one coat is needed depending upon color. I generally need at least one "touch up" coat to even out he color among any light spots. 3) Resolene - Looks Like Milk, Tastes Awful ( do not consume resolene) This product will help preserve and protect the leather color and finish. I previously hadn't used an acrylic resolene however the sheen and shine provided this time around helped make the leather pop and honestly I'm going to use it every time from now on. Using a clean rag apply evenly over the entirety of the leather to help protect and insolate the dye into your newly treated leathers. Let dry as before and enjoy the beautiful job you've done. 4) Leather Sheen - Essentially Car Wax for Leather The final touch is an additional acrylic product to make sure that the dye and leather are properly insolated and protected. I may have over done it and my leathers are shiny and somewhat slick to the touch. At least I know the sun won't do nearly as much damage to the color and grime and tar should penetrate Just like any wax, use a clean cloth and apply in circular pattern to ensure it's even while frequently folding the rag. Now put everything back on the bike and show off your beautiful leathers knowing good and well your bike looks better than all your friends'. First Time 'Round Changes the 1st time were more drastic, it all depends on how bad things were to start with
Regular Cleaning For regular cleaning and upkeep of leathers I always recommend a 2 part solution.
An initial cleaning product followed up by conditioning and protection.
I would recommend either a good saddle soap and leather care, or if you want more specifics Chamberlain's makes a great cleaning, conditioning, and insulating 3 part Leather Milk set.