Are you looking to add some personality to your dirt bike? One of the easiest and most impactful ways to do so is by installing graphics. Not only do graphics make your bike look cool, but they can also protect your plastics from scratches and wear.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of how to install dirt bike graphics. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a beginner, this guide will help you achieve a professional-looking graphics installation.
First, we’ll cover the materials you’ll need to get started. Then, we’ll go over the preparation steps to ensure a smooth installation. After that, we’ll dive into the actual installation process, including tips and tricks to avoid common mistakes.
By the end of this guide, you’ll have the knowledge and confidence to install graphics on your dirt bike like a pro. So, let’s get started and transform your ride with a new graphics kit!
In this post, you will find:
How to Install Dirt Bike Graphics
All right, so you’ve found a graphics or decal kit for your dirt bike that you like. Now you need to learn how to install dirt bike graphics. We will guide you through the process.
Before you can install the new graphics, you first need to remove the old graphics, clean or restore the old plastics or install new plastics.
The whole process will take approximately 2 to 3 hours. It sounds a lot but it will definitely be worth it since your dirt bike will look like new afterwards! Also, you can divide the installation process into two parts if needed: you can remove the old graphics on the first day and then install the new kit the next day.
Next, let’s take a closer look at what is involved in installing the new graphics kit onto your dirt bike.
1. Items You’ll Need to Install Dirt Bike Graphics
Installing new dirt bike graphics is simple. But there are few tools and tips which will make it easier to learn when learning how to install dirt bike graphics.
You will need an installation kit, a felt squeegee, a spray bottle, and a heat gun or a hair dryer for the installation process. The installation kit includes few plastic tools that help to push and stretch the thicker graphics in place.
Below, you can find the tools that we recommend for an easy graphics installation. Please note that some kits may come with the felt tip squeegee and you don’t need to buy it separately.
2. Clean Plastics Well With Soapy Water and Wipe with Alcohol
Before installing new graphics on your dirt bike, you’ll need to remove any old graphics that are currently on the plastics.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to remove old graphics from your dirt bike:
- Heat: The first step is to use a heat gun or hair dryer to warm up the graphics. This helps to loosen the adhesive and makes it easier to peel off.
- Peel: Once the graphics are heated up, use a plastic scraper or your fingers to gently peel off the graphics. Start at one corner and work your way across the entire graphic.
- Residue: If there is any leftover adhesive residue, use a cleaning solvent such as rubbing alcohol or adhesive remover to clean it off. Apply the solvent to a clean cloth and rub in a circular motion until the residue is removed.
- Repeat: If there are multiple layers of graphics or stickers, repeat the process until all the old graphics have been removed.
- Wash: Finally, wash the plastics with soap and water to remove any remaining adhesive residue or cleaning solvent.
If your plastics are faded, worn-out but not broken or cracked, you can restore them to make them look close to new again. Sand down the scuffed, scratched, and discolored areas into a smooth and even surface using 200 to 400 grit sand paper.
Lightly sand any decal areas so that the new decals will adhere properly. Use the silicone detailer or plastic renew solutions to restore the shiny new like look and feel.
Next, you can continue the decal installation, which is the next step on how to install dirt bike graphics. Don’t forget to use rubbing alcohol right before installation.
3. Test the Graphics Fitment and Alignment
Properly aligned graphics look good and aligning them maybe the most difficult aspect to learning how to install dirt bike graphics properly. These tips will help you get them right the first time.
Lay out the new graphics on the plastics to get an idea of where they will be placed. Make sure they are lined up properly and centered. You can use painters tape or similar to stick the graphics in place and make sure they align well.
4. Prepare Soapy Water Solution Into a Spray Bottle
We recommend using a dirt bike graphics wet installation method using soapy water and a squeegee.
If you are a beginner or learning how to install dirt bike graphics for the first time, use this wet installation method.
This ensures that you can insert and move the decals around for perfect positioning. This method is also very forgiving and a great way to learn how to install new graphics.
Get a spray bottle and fill it with warm water. Add a small amount of soap, about a tablespoon to half a gallon is enough.
5. Install the New Dirt Bike Graphics Using Soapy Water
Spray the plastics with soapy water. Carefully peel off about 50% of the backing paper from the graphics without touching the sticky side with glue. This is the method we recommend to use when learning on how to install dirt bike graphics for all first timers.
Holding the decal from the area that still has the backing, place the sticker over the wet and soapy plastics, starting from the middle. Slide the decal in place. It should slide well over the soapy water. If not, add more soapy water. You can also use a piece of tape to hold the other end of the graphics in place.
Next, use the squeegee. Start from the center of the decal and slowly work your way towards the edges. Use the squeegee to push the soapy water away towards the edges. This will make the glue stick to the plastic. Slowly peel off any remaining paper backing while making sure to use the squeegee to avoid forming any air bubbles.
A Few Tips for Newbies on How to Install Dirt Bike Graphics
- If you experience any air bubbles, spray water under the decal glue side and peel back the area with air bubbles. Until the glue sets, you have few minutes to set the decal correctly.
- If at the end you still have air bubbles, you can use a pick or a needle and puncture the air bubble. Then use the squeegee to smooth it out. Again, heat gun is your friend.
- In areas, where the decal needs to go around sharp turns or fit the contours of the plastics, applying mild heat with a hair dryer or heat gun will make miracles. The vinyl will be more workable with a little bit of heat and it makes it easier to work around the tough spots. Don’t dry the soapy water with the heat gun and make sure to keep it wet until you use the squeegee to finish it off to the correct position.
- Try not to stretch the vinyl decals when you remove the backing paper or when installing. The vinyl is carefully cut to fit the plastics and pulling too much will stretch it.
6. Trim Graphics If Needed
After you have correctly positioned the decal in place and you have no air bubbles left, use the squeegee to make sure no water is left under the decals. Again, start working from the center towards to the sides of the decals.
After the graphics are in place you can trim the edges of the graphics that go over the edges. In some graphics kit, the fit may not be perfect or they are designed to fold or go over the edge of the plastics. These areas typically peel off quickly, so it’s better to trim them off.
Use a razor blade or a sharp knife and trim the edges off.
I recently installed new graphics to my new 2023 KTM XC-W 300. I chose the OMX graphics and customized one of their designs with few of my own logos. Below you can see the before and after pictures of the graphics installation. Overall the new Acerbis plastics kit and OMX graphics together cost me under $400.
Frequently Asked Questions on Dirt Bike Graphics
How do I prepare my dirt bike for installing graphics?
To prepare your dirt bike, ensure the surface is clean and free of dirt, grease, or debris. Use rubbing alcohol or a mild detergent to clean the area thoroughly. Additionally, make sure the bike’s plastics are dry and in good condition.
What tools do I need to install dirt bike graphics?
Some common tools include a heat gun or hairdryer, squeegee or credit card, masking tape, and a sharp utility knife or scissors. These tools will assist in properly positioning and smoothing out the graphics during installation.
What is the best technique for applying dirt bike graphics?
Check this post for details with pictures, but basically you should clean the plastics and use wet or dry installation method. Start by aligning the graphics properly, using masking tape as a guide. Begin applying from one edge and gradually work your way across, using a heat gun to aid in adhesion. Smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles using a squeegee or credit card.
How can I remove old graphics from my dirt bike?
Heat the old graphics with a heat gun or hairdryer to loosen the adhesive. Slowly peel off the graphics while applying heat as needed. Use adhesive remover or rubbing alcohol to remove any residue, and clean the surface before installing new graphics.
How can I ensure my dirt bike graphics last longer?
Avoid pressure washing directly on the graphics edges and corners, as it may damage or lift them. Regularly clean the bike and graphics with a mild detergent and water. Additionally, applying a clear protective film or spray can provide added durability and UV protection for the graphics.
In conclusion, knowing how to install dirt bike graphics is a great way to personalize and protect your ride. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a beginner, this guide has provided you with the knowledge and confidence to achieve a professional-looking installation.
By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can successfully install graphics on your dirt bike and avoid common mistakes. From gathering the necessary materials to preparing your bike and performing the installation, we’ve covered everything you need to know.
Installing graphics on your dirt bike is a fun and rewarding experience that can take your riding to the next level. So, grab your graphics kit, follow these steps, and transform your bike into a one-of-a-kind machine that reflects your personal style and taste.
Ride with style!
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Last updated: Jun 21, 2023