Motorcycle Welding Advice - Mig or Tig?

welding motorcycle forks

When it comes to motorcycle welding, many in the motorcycle field will tell you that a Tig welder is better than a Mig welder. This debate rages even more in the novice section of the welding society because they do not have as much experience. Even the most experienced welders and those who are seen as icons in motorcycle welding such as Ron Covell get people saying they are wrong when they advise which welding method is better. 

For years a debate has been raging among motorcycle enthusiasts about what type of motorcycle welding is better for their chopper projects. Mig welding or Tig welding? Truth is there are many reasons why both are great and there are times when one may be a better option than the other. Today its time to put this debate to bed once and for all, we will do this by telling you about motorcycle welding and which welding type is better. 

Those new to motorcycle welding, and welding in general, generally get to grips with Mig welding prior to Tig welding because it is an easier process to carry out. The reason why Mig welding is easier is because it is semi automated, so you simply need to control the welding torch at a continuous pace. While this happens the current and filler wire are applied to the weld area through a welding arc. The Tig welding method is more complex as it does not have the arc formation and the filler wire is applied manually with the welder's free hand. 

Taking this into account some novice welders will swear by a Mig welder straight away for motorcycle welding. This could partially be down to lack of experience or simply because it's the only welding type they know. 

Another issue to take into consideration in this debate is that Mig welding is generally for fabrication and metal materials like steel that carry a lower resistance to temperature. Tig welding on the other hand is generally used for Aluminium which carries a higher resistance to heat. This being said it is commonly known that a quality Mig welder can also be used to weld aluminum. 

Ron Covell, the icon and guru of custom motorcycles, cars, and metalworking, says that Tig welding is the best option for motorcycle welding projects, but is he right? 

For welding motorcycle parts that are non aluminum or for welding items such as the fork then a Mig welder is probably the best option. While a Tig welder does allow for more control, the Mig welder will give you a stronger weld that will be able to withstand the stress and strain a motorcycle is put through as it is driven for miles and miles. The only worry you need to take into account for when using the Mig welder is that the weld doesn't crack, even though the weld is strong it can be susceptible to welding slag, a reason why Mig welding is not generally used on the bike frame or gas tank. 

Tig welding is certainly the best option when welding the frame or gas tank, the reason for this is that Tig welding offers a better quality weld and gives the welder a lot more control over the weld produced. A Mig welder can weld aluminum as mentioned but the problem with welding aluminum with a Mig welder is that the welds are not as clean as a Tig welder. There can also be an issue with the quality of the weld when using a Mig welder to weld aluminum as they wee not generally designed with welding aluminum in mind. 

When welding a chopper frame that needs to carry the weight of the motorcycles motor parts and accessories, plus the rider you want to ensure you have a strong weld that has no imperfections. With the gas tank it's the same issue, you want to ensure no imperfection that could cause to leaks. Both of these issues mean the Tig welder offers better safety and this is why the Tig welder is the better option. 

So to put it in a nut shell both welding types are better for motorcycle welding. The Mig welder is great on non aluminum materials and for places such as the forks and handle bars. The Tig welder on the other hand is the better option for the more intricate and delicate areas of the bike such as the gas tank, bike frame and exhaust. 

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