Revamp Your Bike: How to Install Dirt Bike Graphics

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!

New dirt bike graphics ready to install
New dirt bike graphics ready to install.

How to Install Dirt Bike Graphics

All right, so you’ve found a graphics or decal kit for your dirt bike that you like.

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. 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.

Installation Kit

Felt Squeegee

Spray Bottle

Heat Gun

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Repeat: If there are multiple layers of graphics or stickers, repeat the process until all the old graphics have been removed.
  5. Wash: Finally, wash the plastics with soap and water to remove any remaining adhesive residue or cleaning solvent.
Cleaning plastics with lint free cloth and rubbing alcohol
Clean and lint free cloth or paper with rubbing alcohol works well to clean the plastics for graphics install.

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. Don’t forget to use rubbing alcohol right before installation.

3. Test the Graphics Fitment and Alignment

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.

Test fitting new graphics on a dirt bike side panel
Test the alignment and fit before peeling off the backside of the graphics.

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. 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.

Soapy water sprayed on dirt bike graphics to ease installation process
Soapy water in a spray bottle makes the installation easy.

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.

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.

Felt squeegee used to push out soap water and air bubbles when installing graphics
The felt squeegee helps in setting the graphics in place and push out remaining water and air bubbles.

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.

Few Tips for Newbies When Installing 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.

Final Results

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.


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: March 31, 2023