When you are riding off-road on trails and in the woods, bumps and crashes are bound to happen. This means that the dirt bike plastics protecting your bike and you from rocks, dirt, and debris will get broken or cracked. And even if you are lucky and skilled enough to never crash, plastics will become brittle and faded over time. In both cases, you need to address the issue and fix or replace the plastics or restore them.
In this article, we will explain different options for buying new dirt bike plastics and what to look for when buying them so that you get the best value for your money. We will also instruct you how to change plastics and how to take care of them. In addition, we will cover how to restore dirt bike plastics and make them look like brand new again.
This article will answer the following questions:
- What are dirt bike plastics?
- How to select new dirt bike plastics?
- How to change plastics on a dirt bike?
- How to take care of new plastics?
- How to restore dirt bike plastics?
- How to fix cracked plastics?
- How to fix scratched dirt bike plastics?
- How to restore faded dirt bike plastics?
- How to paint dirt bike plastics?
- Where to buy dirt bike plastics?
There’s lot to cover so let’s get started!
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What Are Dirt Bike Plastics?
Dirt bike plastics are plastic parts that are installed to the dirt bike frame to protect your bike and you from rocks, dirt, and debris and to finalize the dirt bike design. The plastics are made of durable UV resistant polymer resin, which is injection molded in shape. They come in all colors and are covered with matching graphics kits.
In general, dirt bike plastics refer to the following plastic parts of the dirt bike:
- front fender
- rear fender
- lower fork covers
- radiator shrouds
- side panels
- air box covers
- front number plate
The plastics are year, make, and model specific parts. This means that they are shaped and pre-drilled to fit the factory plastics of specific dirt bike models. The aftermarket dirt bike plastics are direct replica kits that replace the stock plastics sets installed to new dirt bikes.
How Are Dirt Bike Plastics Made?
The very first thing you need to know about plastic parts is that they come in two basic forms: injection molded or extruded. Most dirt bike plastics are made by injection molding.
Injection molding involves melting a polymer resin (plastic) into a shape and then injecting it into a mold where it cools and hardens. This process creates parts with smooth surfaces and precise dimensions.
Extrusion is similar except that instead of using a mold, the molten material is forced through an opening at high pressure. This produces parts with rough surfaces and less precision.
What Is Included in Different Dirt Bike Plastics Kits?
Full plastics kits come with all plastic parts of a dirt bike and you can use them to completely restore the stock look and factory feeling of the dirt bike.
In addition to full plastics kits, you can order specific plastic parts to replace broken or cracked parts.
These are the typical dirt bike plastics kits that you can purchase:
- Full or complete plastics kits
- These kits include the front and rear fender, lower fork covers, radiator shrouds, side panels and air box covers, plus depending on the model, the front number plate
- Standard, base, or upper plastics kits
- These kits include the front and rear fender, radiator shrouds, side panels, and air box covers
- Individual plastics or fix kits
- These kits include only individual plastics parts to replace broken items, such as the rear or front fender
Changing into new plastics doesn’t always mean that the old ones are broken. In fact, adding aftermarket plastics to a brand new bike is very popular and serves another purpose. Many riders remove the stock plastics and replace them with aftermarket plastics before their first ride. Then when it’s time to resell the bike, they simply take off the old and worn aftermarket plastics and replace them with the original stock plastics, which usually helps to sell the bike as people often buy by looks!
6 Tips for Selecting New Dirt Bike Plastics
Choosing the correct plastics for your dirt bike should involve more than just making sure they will fit your dirt bike. Like with any other dirt bike parts, the quality of the materials used and the precision is important.
The cheaper and lower-quality plastics are usually more difficult to install and in general will have more alignment and fitment issues. They also are less UV resistant and get brittle very quickly, which causes cracks and breakages. This leads eventually to having to replace the plastics sooner than what’s really needed.
Next, we will point out few things you can do to ensure a proper fitment and that the dirt bike plastics will last longer.
1. Choose Only High-Quality Dirt Bike Plastics
High-quality plastics are UV resistant, which makes them last longer.
The ultraviolet radiation from the sun breaks down plastics over time and using cheaper materials for the plastics makes them age faster. This results into brittle and easily breaking plastics.
In addition to being prone to breaking, the lower-quality plastics can cause the graphics to peel off. They also have a poor color lifespan, also known as color fading, they have the tendency to chalking and they have changes in color when scratched or restored. They are also not an exact match to factory colors.
Another typical problem with low-quality plastics is the fitment, meaning that the entire plastic part may not fit your specific model. Common issues include misalignment with the predrilled installation holes and missing installation parts. Also, the plastics can sometimes be misaligned in shape and model specific differences are common, for example a headlight number plate vs a plain front number plate.
2. Check the Dirt Bike Plastics Material Thickness and Durability
Similar to dirt bike graphics, the plastics are made of different material thicknesses.
The material thickness affects how well the plastics are able to flex and how durable they are. The thinner plastics are more flexible and do not crack as easily as the thicker plastics and vice versa.
For enduro dirt biking, single track, and hard enduro style conditions, the thinner plastics will work well in general. The thinner, more flexible plastics usually bend more before cracking and can take more beating and crashes.
Motocross plastics and track oriented riders on the other hand may opt for heavier and thicker plastics. The thicker material can carry more dirt stuck in the fenders and keep the flex at a minimum over big jumps and landings.
3. Check the Individual Plastic Part Availability
Front and rear fenders are usually the first ones to break or crack in crashes. So instead of getting a full plastics kit when this happens, you can get individual plastics parts to replace the broken items and spend less money in the process.
For this reason, it’s important to check that the plastics kit you plan to buy has an option to also buy individual plastic parts. This is usually not an issue as main brands sell all parts individually, except if you plan to buy less common brands or highly customized plastics kits or custom colors.
4. Check for the Installation Kit
Some plastics kits include the metal spacers, special bolts, fasteners, and other small parts needed for installing the new kit. We recommend getting these kind of plastics kits so that you don’t worry about the condition of the old ones you already have.
Most cheaper kits do not include anything else beside the plastics. In this case, you need to make sure that the existing small parts are in good condition and can be reused.
5. Finish the New Look With Graphics Kits
The plastics come in various different colors and you can also mix and match colors for each plastic part. For example, our KTM has an orange front fender and all other plastic parts are black. Only the sky is the limit and you will have endless amount of options to create a unique color combination and personalize your dirt bike with plastics.
The next step is then to add dirt bike graphics that complement your dirt bike plastics colors. Choosing the color set to match the plastics is important. This will give your bike the final touch and make it stand out.
6. Read Reviews
The reviews will usually give you a good idea for how well the plastics will fit, how easily they will break, and how long they will last. A good plastics kit should last a long time in normal riding conditions, excluding crashes.
Ask Around: Talk to your riding buddies and check the quality of the plastics they use and like.
How To Change Plastics on a Dirt Bike
Removing and installing new plastics is a fairly simple process and doesn’t require any special skills.
Next, let’s take a look at what exactly is involved in removing old plastics and changing them into new dirt bike plastics.
1. Wash the Dirt Bike
Start by scrubbing and washing the dirt bike. Clean plastics are much easier to take off and deep clean for storage if you are replacing the factory plastics and keeping them for later.
After performing your usual washing routine, it’s time to remove the existing plastics. However, don’t put the water and washing tools away just yet so that you can scrub and do a deep clean after removing the old plastics. Installing the new plastics is easy if you remove all old dirt and dust under the old plastics.
2. Remove Old Plastics
Before installation, make sure that the new plastics will fit your dirt bike model. Place the plastics next to the dirt bike and check the predrilled holes and plastics size and shape to confirm proper fitment. Then continue to remove the old plastics.
First, remove the lower front fork guards. Next, remove the front fender and the front number plate. Continue to remove the upper radiator shrouds and upper plastics. Then take off the side panels and air box plastics. Finally, remove the rear fender.
Place the old plastics aside and collect all fasteners, bolts, and parts you took off. You may need old fasteners so do not throw them into trash yet.
Wash the dirt bike again and focus on cleaning the hard-to-reach places and parts exposed by the removed plastics.
3. Install Graphics on the Plastics
Now, there are couple ways to install the graphics on the plastics. You can install them while the plastics are installed on the dirt bike or when the plastics are off the bike and on your hands. Either way, now is a good time to decide if you want to install the graphics at this stage.
We wrote a complete guide on how to install dirt bike graphics kits, so be sure to check our tips and step-by-step instructions on how to easily install graphics on your new plastics kit.
4. Install New Plastics on the Dirt Bike
Start by installing the rear fender and side panels in place. Continue with the radiator shrouds and upper tank plastics. Next, install the front fender and the number plate. Finally, finish off with the air box covers and lower fork guards.
Use the fasteners and bolts that came with the new plastics kit or if there weren’t any, use the old ones that you collected when removing the old plastics.
When installing, the order in which you put the plastics back is defined by how the plastics align and attach to one another. Starting from the back working towards the front usually works well. Check the plastics manufacturer installation instructions for detailed and model specific guides.
Taking Care of Dirt Bike Plastics
Keeping your dirt bike clean and taking care of and maintaining the plastics will help keep plastics in good shape. When you do this regularly, your dirt bike plastics will look like new for a long time.
Sometimes boots, pants, and rubber parts may leave a black or dark scuff mark on the dirt bike plastics and ruin your new plastics. These scuff marks are something that you see often on the plastics and you can’t get rid of them just by using water and a brush when you wash your bike. But did you know that you can use a Magic Eraser (check the current price on Amazon) to remove any scuff marks from plastics? All you need to do is to soak the Magic Eraser in water and start attacking the discoloration and dark scuff marks by scrubbing them and rinsing off with water.
As we mentioned before, UV radiation from the sun can speed up plastics deterioration. So one of the most important and easiest-to-follow tips is to store the dirt bike away from the sun to prevent plastics from getting brittle and faded. It really gets you a long way when it comes to keeping the plastics in good condition. In addition, adding a protective layer over the dirt bike plastics can slow down color fading and the process of plastic becoming brittle.
There are several spray coatings you can use for this purpose. We have used similar coating sprays like this one (check the current price on Amazon) to prevent exposure to sun as well as to make the plastics more dirt resistant especially in muddy conditions. They also make washing much easier as the coating works almost like a wax and prevents the dirt from sticking.
Restoring Dirt Bike Plastics
Faded, chalky, scratched, or cracked plastics do not look good. They also collect dirt and add unwanted friction to places where the rider connects to the dirt bike.
In general, high-quality dirt bike plastics will last several years in use, excluding breakages during hard crashes. However, you may need to restore them along the way if they get cracks or scratches or if their color fades. Luckily, restoring dirt bike plastics is not difficult.
Next, we will focus on the things you can do to keep your plastics lasting longer until it’s time to finally replace them. So let’s take a look at how to repair and restore dirt bike plastics and how to make them look like new again.
How To Fix Cracked Plastics
Dirt bike plastic repair begins by inspecting each plastic part for cracks and assessing whether they can be fixed or not. Small cracks can be fixed by using a thin metal wire or melting thicker U-shaped metal joiners or staples, and melting or “welding” with heat.
Melting or trying to weld plastics is usually the most difficult method and using thin metal wires the easiest. The best method to fix the crack depends on the location and the size of the crack.
For small and medium size cracks (under 4 inches in length), you should use the thin metal wire method. Anything bigger than that, we recommend buying new plastics if available.
To fix cracked dirt bike plastics, remove or peel back old graphics and carefully clean the area. Drill small holes along both sides of the crack about quarter of an inch away from the crack and at a quarter of an inch interval. Next, use the thin metal wire and “sow” the edges together. You can use one long metal wire and crosshatch it or use smaller sections and tie each section to hold the edges of the plastics together.
Another effective way to fix plastics is to use a plastic hot stapler. They work well and form a durable seam in just a few minutes. This is by far the easiest and quickest way to fix dirt bike plastics but it requires a special tool. This hot stapler (check the current price on Amazon) is our favourite one to use for fixing cracked plastics.
How To Fix Scratched Dirt Bike Plastics
When you lay your dirt bike down or when you crash, the plastics can get scratched and damaged. The sharp grooves and edges of the scratches can then easily grab pants and modify friction.
The scratches also collect dirt and dust, especially in wet muddy conditions, making the dirt bike heavier and difficult to control.
Luckily, there are few easy methods for restoring the dirt bike plastics to looking like new again. Next, we will explain the four easy steps for how to get scratches out of dirt bike plastics.
But first, let’s take a look at the tools needed for fixing scratched dirt bike plastics. You will need a razor blade, sand paper, and a heat gun (check the current prices on Amazon). These tools linked here are our top choices for the job.
1. Use a Razor Blade To Scrape the Plastic Surface
The first thing you need to accomplish is a smooth, even, and fresh color surface.
Start by removing the old graphics by applying heat with a heat gun or a hair dryer and peeling the graphics off. Then wipe and clean any old glue residue with a clean towel and WD40 if needed.
Next, begin to scrape the plastics surface with a razor blade. You need to scrape the surface in one long push or pull with the razor blade cutting edge pointing away from the direction you move it. If you push with the sharp edge, it will gauge the plastic and leave a scratch. Instead, hold the top of the blade and tilt the top INTO the direction you’re moving—think of a paint brush and how you would move it.
You will immediately notice any old plastic flaking away and bumps and high spots evening out. Continue scraping the surface until all rough spots are cleared and no more flaking occurs. This should leave an even matte finish.
2. Use Sand Paper To Restore an Even Surface
Next, use a sand paper or sand blocks to sand down any remaining smaller scratches.
Begin by using a 220-grit sandpaper and continue sanding down any rough areas. You can use either wet or dry sanding method. We recommend creating a “X” pattern when sanding to ensure that you don’t leave any flat spots behind. Finish off with a 400-grit sandpaper and smooth out all areas for an even finish.
3. Use Alcohol To Wipe the Plastics Clean
After scraping and sanding, wipe the plastics clean with alcohol to remove any dust, grease, and other impurities.
Cleaning fingerprints and other grease and old glue residue is important as we are going to heat treat the surface next. If there are any impurities left in the plastics, they will show and merge with the outer layer.
4. Apply Heat To Finish Off the Plastics
Finally, we are going to apply heat to the surface of the plastics to restore the original color and shine. You can use a heat gun, a hair dryer, or a blow torch for heating up the surface. An adjustable heat gun is the easiest option as you can control the heat better and avoid overheating the plastics.
Apply heat slowly. Start from an area that is not very visible and practice first. Heat the plastic in a small area at a time, with small short strokes. Be careful not to overheat and melt the plastic.
When you heat the plastic, you can see it change from the matte rough surface into a smooth and more glossy appearance. Continue heating until the surface is even and smooth and evenly glossy.
Now you have gotten all scratches out of the dirt bike plastics and you can enjoy your brand new looking dirt bike plastics!
How To Restore Faded Dirt Bike Plastics
For restoring faded plastics, you can use the same sanding and heating method described above in steps 2 through 4. If the plastics are free from scratches or only slightly scratched, use a 400-grit and higher sand paper to smooth out the surface prior to applying heat.
If you wish to keep your existing dirt bike graphics in place and not remove and replace them, you can also focus only on the visible areas of the plastics. In this case, sand down only the harsh areas or cuts in the visible plastics and apply plastic restoration or vinyl finishing sprays to bring back the glossy appearance.
How To Paint Dirt Bike Plastics
Painting dirt bike plastics is a great way to restore older and unique plastics on any dirt bike. The process for preparing the plastics for primer and paint is similar to restoring scratched or faded plastics.
Painting dirt bike plastics will take couple of days since you need to let the primer, paint, and clear coat to cure and dry. So we recommend painting the plastics for example during the weekend not to rush things and to obtain the best results.
Next, let’s take a look at the five steps involved in how to paint dirt bike plastics.
1. Prepare the Plastics for Primer and Paint
First, you need to prepare the plastics for primer and paint. Do this by repeating the steps 1 through 3 explained in the previous section how to fix scratched plastics.
Preparing the plastics carefully before painting is crucial. Any grease, dust, or imperfections will show even after painted, so preparing well will improve the end results a lot.
2. Apply Two Thin Layers of Primer
Next, it’s time to apply the primer.
You can use a spray can or a spray paint gun if you have an air compressor. Prepare a space for painting that is well ventilated and covered so that you don’t have to worry about overspray.
Apply a thin primer coat on the plastic part. Let the primer dry for at least 30 minutes or follow the minimum curing time specified in the instructions of the primer.
Apply a second, thin primer coat and let it dry for 24 hours.
3. Sand the Primer to a Smooth Finish
Next, you need to sand down the primer with a 400-grit sand paper. Make sure not to sand through the thin primer layers. The goal is to smooth out any imperfections and make the surface matte so that the paint will adhere better. If you sand through the primer, apply a new primer layer.
Finally, wipe the surfaces clean from any dust with a moist, lint-free and clean cloth. From this step forward, avoid touching the plastics with your hands as the grease from your fingers may leave residue or marks and show later in the final product.
4. Apply a Final Coat of Paint
Next, apply a thin final paint coat over the primer. Make sure to spray the paint evenly and cover all edges.
Do not try to use too much paint to fill imperfections. You can apply a second paint coat if needed after the first paint coat is cured.
5. Apply a Clear Coat to Finish Painting Dirt Bike Plastics
Finally, spray a thin clear coat to cover the paint. You can choose a high gloss or matte finish for the clear coat to finalize the look.
Where To Buy Dirt Bike Plastics?
All right, so let’s discuss how you can find the best dirt bike plastics. There are several ways to find your model specific plastics and plastics kits, but how do you know if they are any good?
Well, we have tested many of the major brands over the years and have a pretty good idea which brands deliver good quality plastics and when to steer away.
Below, we have listed some of the most popular dirt bike brands and models and our favorite plastics kits for these bikes. Again, plastics kits are model and year specific, so make sure to that the plastics kit fits your dirt bike when ordering.
Let’s take a look, shall we?
Yamaha Plastics Kits
Yamaha plastics kits are fairly easy to find. You can choose to keep the original blue plastics coloring or stand out with alternative colors.
Here are the best Yamaha plastics kit options for some popular Yamaha dirt bike models, such as the legendary beginner bike Yamaha TTR 125. If you wish to find your specific model, click here for a full list of Yamaha dirt bike plastics.
Yamaha TTR 125 Plastics
This body plastics kit for Yamaha TTR125 comes with side panels, front and rear fenders, and radiator shrouds. Does not include the front number plate.
You can select among 4 main colors: black, blue, white, and black/red combo.
Compatible with the Yamaha TTR125 year models 2008–2015.
Yamaha YZ125 Plastics
This full plastics kit by Acerbis includes front fender, rear fender, front number plate, lower fork cover set, radiator scoops and side panels. Available colors: Factory blue.
Compatible with the following Yamaha models:
- YZ125: 2015–2021
- WR250R: 2015–2020
- YZ125X: 2020–2022
- YZ250: 2015–2021
- YZ250X: 2016–2022
Yamaha YZ250 Plastics
This original YZ250 restyle kit includes OEM color-matched blue coloring and fitment.
Compatible with the Yamaha YZ250 year models 2015–2021 and YZ250X between 2016–2022.
Kawasaki Plastics Kits
Whether you need to replace the original Kawasaki green plastics or you want to customize your dirt bike and give it a different coloring, you have plenty of options to choose from.
Below, you can find a few high-quality plastics kits for certain Kawasaki models. If you ride on a different Kawasaki bike, check the full list of model specific Kawasaki plastics here.
Choose this Acerbis restyle kit for your KX85 plastics to stand out with a green, white, and black color scheme. They match the OEM color for the lineup.
Compatible with the 2014–2020 Kawasaki KX85 series.
KLX110 Plastic Kit
This Kawasaki KLX 110 plastic kit by Acerbis is a standard kit that includes front fender, rear fender, side panels and radiator scoops.
Compatible with the following models:
- KLX110: 2010–2020
- KLX110L: 2010–2020
- KLX110R: 2021–2023
- KLX110R L: 2021–2023
KX125 and KX250 Restyle Kit
This neon green KX125 restyle kit is for the KX125 and KX250 models from 2003–2007.
Includes front fender, rear fender, radiator scoops, side panels, and number plate.
This kit makes your older KX models look like the newer versions.
KTM Plastics and KTM Plastics Kits
The typical orange and white KTM plastics colors are vivid and very recognizable brand colors. You can change the looks by replacing the stock KTM plastics with a new color design and make your dirt bike stand out from all the rest of the KTMs out there.
We have listed here few KTM plastics and kits that fit some popular KTM models. Click here to check the full list of plastics for your specific KTM model.
We personally run the black plastics by Acerbis listed below on our KTM with the Troy Lee Designs Washougal graphics kit.
KTM 300 XC-W Plastics
This OEM full plastics kit fits the KTM XC-W series year models 2020–2022.
Includes front and rear fenders, lower fork guards, front number plate/light plate, radiator shrouds, and side panels.
Color: OEM Orange/Black.
KTM Grey Plastics
This rare, full KTM grey plastics kit fits several KTM models, such as:
- 125 SX: 2019–2022
- 125 XC: 2021–2022
- 150/250 SX: 2019–2022
- 250 SX-F: 2019–2022
- 250/300 XC: 2019
- 250/350 XC-F: 2019–2022
- 350 SX-F: 2019–2022
- 450 SX-F: 2019–2022
- 450 XC-F: 2019–2022
KTM Black Plastics
This full KTM black plastics kit makes your bike stand out! See a full list of KTM black plastics here.
Compatible with the following models:
- 125 SX: 2019–2022
- 125 XC: 2021–2022
- 150/250 SX: 2019–2022
- 250 SX-F: 2019–2022
- 250/300 XC: 2019
- 250/350 XC-F: 2019–2022
- 350 SX-F: 2019–2022
- 450 SX-F: 2019–2022
- 450 XC-F: 2019–2022
Top 3 Best Dirt Bike Plastics Companies
With lots of dirt bike plastics options available, you’ll want to make sure you’re buying good quality materials. As with all dirt bike products, choosing the leading brands usually ensures longevity.
It all really comes down to researching around the choices available. If you pick a manufacturer that’s reputable, you can be more confident they will deliver what they promise.
We want to make your job easier so we listed our top 3 choices for the best dirt bike plastics manufacturers. All of these three companies make high-quality, model specific, and durable dirt bike plastics that will fit your specific dirt bike. Their plastics are available in a variety of colors so we are convinced you will be able to find a kit to your liking from their selection.
We personally have used plastic parts from all of these three brands with great success.
Acerbis is a leading global manufacturer of aftermarket and replica parts for most major dirt bike brands. The company has a long racing history and its roots go back to the year 1973 and Italy, where the company first started and continues to operate today.
Acerbis makes high-quality plastics kits in wide range of colors for many popular dirt bike brands, such as Beta, BMW, Ducati, GasGas, Honda, Husqvarna, Kawasaki, KTM, Rieju, Sherco, Suzuki, and Yamaha.
Acerbis dirt bike plastics are priced mid-range. Being strong and flexible means that they are an excellent choice for riders who tend to drop their bikes regularly and for those who like to ride hard on the trails. Whereas the lower price means that they are a great option for riders who like changing the look of their bike often.
Check out the Acerbis website for their wide selection of dirt bike plastics.
This North Carolina based company is known for high-quality aftermarket dirt bike plastics and protection products. They position themselves in the racing class of dirt bike plastics.
Cycra is constantly looking for ways to improve their designs and their patented technology and innovations ensure they remain market leaders. They aim to make plastics lighter yet stronger than OEM parts and their plastics are thicker and stronger compared to other manufacturers. Cycra plastics are available for most two-stroke and four-stroke dirt bikes.
In our experience, Cycra makes very high-quality parts and their fitment is excellent. Their plastics kits are sold at a higher price point, but they do last longer.
Check out their high-end product range on the Cycra website.
Polisport is a Portuguese brand known to offer a wide variety of off-road gear, parts, and aftermarket accessories, as well as dirt bike plastics and kits for most major brands. Founded back in 1978, this company sells to 72 countries worldwide.
Over the years, Polisport has manufactured OEM plastics for many major brands, so their quality is typically good and you should not expect issues with fitment. Being thinner and flexible, Polisport plastics are usually the least expensive option of the three.
Check out the Polisport website for more details.
Now you know everything you need to know about selecting and buying new aftermarket plastics along with changing, restoring and painting your old dirt bike plastics. And as you have noticed, it’s not difficult at all.
With these detailed instructions, you can extend the lifespan of your current dirt bike plastics by restoring them or replace individual broken plastic parts. You can also go wild and redesign a completely new look and feel for your dirt bike by changing the plastics and graphics to stand out from the crowd. We all sure have been dreaming about it!
Keep the shiny side up!