How to Install a Graphic Kit on a Dirt Bike
Beginning of the season is definitely the time you see all the new fresh kits coming out of the race sheds! Are you thinking of getting a graphic kit for your bike and not sure how to install it? Lexi and Danika are going to walk you through some of the tips and tricks to get that new kit on.
First when looking for a new graphic kit do a little research on what type of vinyl the company is using. We are installing a custom kit from M7 Designs co and the vinyl they use has little channels set into the adhesive to make it easier for installing. It almost looks like snake skin when you peel the backing off. These channels give the air a pathway to escape to the edges, when you're trying to work air bubbles out.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
New or Clean Plastics
Hair Dryer or Heat Gun
Isopropyl Alcohol in a Spray Bottle
STEP 1 - START IN A CLEAN AREA
When applying graphics you'll want to make sure you're in a clean area away from wind and dust. Any particles that land between the graphic and the plastic will be very noticeable and will prevent the graphic from fully adhering to the plastic.
TIP: Make sure your graphics have warmed up and install them in room temperature.
STEP 2 - START WITH NEW OR CLEANED PLASTIC
It is definitely easier to apply graphics to new plastics, but you can use an old set. If the plastics have old graphics on them, it makes it easier to remove the old graphic by heating them up a bit while removing. If there is a lot of gummy residue left over, a good tip is use the removed graphic piece and tap the adhesive side of the graphic on the gummy residue. This should help remove it from the plastic. Whether its old plastic or new plastic you still must clean it before applying the graphic with Alcohol. Put some Isopropyl Alcohol in a spray bottle, spray a microfibre cloth, then clean the plastic you are about to apply the graphic to.
STEP 3 - LAY GRAPHICS OUT IN ORDER
Lay your graphics out on a table or area where you can mimic what it's going to look like on the bike. Then you can easily grab the next piece, and wont accidentally start applying the wrong section.
STEP 4 - DRY FIT PIECE ONTO AREA
Grab your first piece of graphic you are going to lay, and hold it up to the area you are going to apply it to. This ensures your in the right spot, and gives you an idea of how you're going to start.
TIP: When working with a larger piece, only remove half the backing of the graphic.
STEP 5 - START AT ONE SIDE OR END OF THE PIECE
Once you're ready to place the graphic, if it's a larger piece start with one side. You can tear half the backing off of a large piece so you don't have to handle the full piece of adhesive.
TIP: When doing a Fork Guard decal, we always start at one side. Line up the decal line to the fork guard edge and then start working it on from there. When you line it up with the cable guide it's hard to get it straight.
STEP 6 - WORK FROM THE MIDDLE OUT
When applying the graphic once its been touched in place, work the graphic from the middle out. This will push the air out to the edges and not trap any air in the middle of the graphic. Air in the middle of the graphic will cause air bubbles.
TIP: Once you have a piece set, line up the next piece to match the logo or lines.
STEP 7 - HEAT THE EDGES OF THE GRAPHICS TO FULLY SEAL
Once your piece is set use your heat gun to set the edges. We recommend using a hair dryer so it doesn't burn the vinyl. To set the edges you'll place your hair dryer on low and heat up the edges while using your hand to press them down.
STEP 8 - LET THE GRAPHICS SIT FOR 24 HOURS, THEN HEAT TREAT ONCE MORE
Once your full bike is done you'll want to keep it at room temperature for 24 hours to fully set the graphics.
Then you're ready to ride!