Graphics for your dirt bike may not add any horsepower but can be just as important as some aftermarket add-ons. Having a clean, presentable ride that represents your sponsors well goes a long ways. Even if you just ride for fun- graphics help protect your plastic and keep the bike looking new. Letís go through the basics that will cover essentially everything you need to know about graphics and how to take care of them.
Differences in graphics kits:
Todayís rider has it pretty good with almost never ending options for current model motorcycles. This holds true for the graphics and decal department with many different types of graphic kits available to get you what you need. Here are some of the differences between those kits:
Check out some full kits here.
Full Kit: These kits are the most extensive and will include graphics for the radiator shrouds, air box portion, front fender, rear fender, fork guard, fork tubes, swingarm, seat cover (depending on the kit), and universal backgrounds (again, depending on the kit).
Check out our radiator shroud graphics here.
Radiator Shroud Kit:This kit will include the radiator shroud graphics and sometimes the air box decals as well.
Check out our trim kits here.
Trim Kit: Trim kits include front and and rear fender decals. Swingarm, fork tube and sometimes air box decals will come with a trim kit. Browsing through the various options will help you sort out which meets your needs.
Check out our custom backgrounds here.
Pre-Printed Backgrounds: These number plate backgrounds come ready to stick on with your number printed on them. There are plenty of options here to customize the look to make your bike stand out. The days of making sure your numbers line up evenly on your number plates are long gone. Pre-Printed Backgrounds are model specific and require your bike model information to order.
Check out our universal backgrounds here.
Universal Background: These were very popular up until access to custom backgrounds was the norm. Universal backgrounds still work great for one of custom applications, vintage bikes, or even if you are just looking for something to protect your bikeís plastic. Choose from a generic blank background, or usually with an outline for style points. Although you can choose from several different color and style options, youíll need to purchase numbers to stick on top of them.
To ensure your graphics look good for a long time, itís very important to keep a few things in mind during the installation process. Check out these tips weíve outlined for you as well as this helpful video of Mike Williamson from Monster Energy Kawasaki showing you the easiest way to install. Just like anything else, some patience and practice go a long way.
Plastic Prep: First youíll want to ask yourself if you will be using brand new plastic for your graphics, or if you will be applying them to whatís currently on the bike.
Used Plastic: Remove all the old decals if applicable. You can use a heat gun (donít let the plastic get too hot) to warm the graphic for easier removal. This activates the adhesive allowing it to lift up pull much easier. Once youíve removed all the decals, remove residual sticker goo with contact cleaner or rubbing alcohol. Once sticker goo is removed wash plastic with soap and water and allow to dry completely.
New Plastic: Use either contact cleaner or rubbing alcohol with soft cloth to clean the new plastic of any manufacturing oil residue. When they produce the plastic in the molds, they use this oil to keep the plastic from sticking and getting stuck. Much like a cooking spray and frying pan. Once youíve cleaned up the plastic wash with soap and water. Please Note that clean plastic is very important so the graphics stick well and you can get full life without them peeling prematurely! Also, graphics that are installed directly on to fuel tanks may bubble or discolor slightly. This is perfectly normal and unavoidable due to the fuel vapor that permeates through plastic fuel tanks.
Installation: Start by aligning the graphics piece with your plastics and carefully pull back the corner of the graphics backing paper. If placement looks good, slowly continue to remove the backing paper while simultaneously pressing the graphics onto the plastics. Using your thumb, or a plastic edging tool be sure to remove any air bubbles as the graphics are placed. This is where taking things slow helps. If you do get some bubbles, try backing the decal off the plastic a bit and reapplying. Heating the graphic will make it more pliable when installing on the more curved sections of plastic found on todayís bikes.
DX1 Custom Background Ordering :
Right on our site we offer customized backgrounds that get printed up and shipped to your door! Here is how to get things going-
Step 1: Make sure you have your bike profiled properly as these kits are absolutely model specific!
Step 2: Go to the DX1 custom background page which can be found here, and select the style of background you would like to purchase for your bike.
Step 3: Once the background type has been selected, the webpage will direct you to the options form that will need to be filled out. The first option on the form is to pick the from the available designs the background.
Step 4: Next you will pick the actual color of the background to meet your requirements or the requirements of the race organization for the specific class you ride (some races require a certain color background depending on the class).
Step 5: The next portion of the form is where you will select the color of the numbers, the style of numbers, and specify which number you would like to use. In this portion of the form, you can also add your name to be used on the backgrounds. Additionally you can select if you would like any series sponsor logos on your backgrounds (keep in mind that some sponsor logo options will not allow you to use the name option on the graphics). This area also has the option to select specific aftermarket front plate options, in the event you are running a front plate such as the Cycra Stadium plate.
Step 6: The last section is for if you would like to add hub stickers like the factory guys run to your order. If you would like to add these, you will need to specify the name and number for the sticker. The last items to select would be the colors for the hub stickers and what font you would prefer for the name and number.
Step 7: Once you have completed this, you can add the item to your cart and complete your order!
All the graphics in the world may not help you look good on this.
Written By: AndrewT