Applying dirt bike graphics to your beloved dirt bike can be a daunting task.. mess it up and you’ll be left with a second rate result that will boil your blood every time you look at it. Get it spot-on and you’ll be high-fiving yourself all the way to Coolsville! It’s amazing how a set of new graphics can make even the saddest looking old dog look ten years younger.
So, read through these pointers on how to apply your new graphics correctly and easily. There’s more than one way to do this so do what you’re most comfortable with. The key is to take your time, don’t rush it and line everything up correctly from the beginning. This is how I put the graphics on my Yammy. It turned out mint except for two small wrinkles on the rear guard.
- Firstly, remove the old graphics. The easiest way to do this is to apply heat to the plastics using a hairdryer or heat gun to soften it up. Then try to peel the graphic off in one piece or otherwise scrape it off using a flat edged tool – like a chisel or paint scraper.
- Thoroughly clean off all residue including blobs of glue using contact / brake cleaner or meths. Be sure to wash the plastics after that with warm, soapy water. This will remove the light film left by any cleaning products. Allow to dry.
- Shrouds: Start at the top bolt hole on the radiator shroud. Peel the backing paper off the (matching) part of the graphic and then lightly press it to the plastic. Line it up to the top front corner of the shroud.
- Once you are sure it’s in the right position, firmly press the graphic to the plastic and begin working your way down from the top. Some people prefer to peel the backing paper completely off at this stage, but if you are not confident enough to do that, try peeling it off a couple of inches at a time – this is how I prefer to do it.Use your thumb and fingers to ‘press’ and ‘slide’ across the graphic making sure you don’t create any air bubbles or creases. If you do, gently peel it back past the problem area and re-apply – it doesn’t hurt to do this a few times if needed, just make sure you don’t stretch the graphic. Remember, be patient and take your time with this.. it’s not a race! Keep checking to make sure it is still lined up correctly.
TIPS: Cut off any excess backing paper to within 2mm of the outline of the graphic. This way you can line it all up much easier 😉
Also, keep a bucket of soapy water and a towel handy to wash your greasy paws before applying the graphics. Greasy prints can stain and may not come off!
- Side Plates: Line up the side plate graphic with the seat bolt hole and match the upper edge down to the next bolt hole. Again, peel back the top half of the backing paper and work your way from the top down using your fingers to press it down evenly as mentioned above.
- Front Plate / Fork Guards / Rear Mud Guard: I had to remove the front fork guards as the graphics wrapped around to the inside. I worked the graphic from top to bottom – vertically.
- You can leave the front plate and rear guard on to make it easier to work with – just remove the front brake lever from the handlebar so the brake line doesn’t get in the way. For the rear guard I began at the far tip and worked back towards the subframe. Be careful not to crease it on the two outer edges near the middle as it curves around. Use the heat gun when it shows signs of creasing before it’s too late! I began at the top of the front plate and worked down.
- When you’ve managed to adhere each graphic successfully – give yourself a pat on the back if you didn’t mess it up! Now give them a good, firm rub over with your fingers to make them really stick to the plastic. If there are any small bubbles, pop them with a pin or the tip of a knife and press it flat.
- Finally, fire up your Missus’s hairdryer one last time and gently heat the edges to remove any smaller wrinkles. This also helps to bond it all together to prevent it peeling off later on.
So, after a few hours of fun and sweat, you should end up with sore fingers and something like this..