Decals, logos, stickers, or symbol replacements are occasionally necessary for the pursuit of classic motorbike ownership. This article demonstrates how to apply decals without making the process a vinyl nightmare.

Start with a clean surface.

You must start with a clean surface; thoroughly wash off any old paintwork, then gently wipe it down with methylated spirits or anything similar to ensure no oil or gloss could prevent adherence. Because you need to accurately put the decals and, more crucially, be able to see any creases, wrinkles, or bubbles, this activity demands sufficient lighting. It’s best to avoid using electric illumination and operate in natural light if possible.

Clean any residual adhesive.

Some decals are secured beneath a lacquer topcoat, while others are put over the final paint layer. It is easy to remove the latter, while the former typically calls for a complete respray and new graphics to update the bike’s appearance. You can remove even the stubbornly affixed sticker with mild heating from a hair dryer with the usual care.

Before applying solvent on that priceless panel, be sure there are no paint/solvent interactions. Always plan to protect the paintwork because working with a panel off the bike and the target surface horizontally is ideal.

Ask your supplier what materials are compatible with the new motorcycle decals you are about to apply if you plan to add new stick-on graphics to paintwork before lacquering. Getting this right will ensure compatibility between the solvent, adhesive, and plastic and prevent the horror of bubbling decals.

Apply the sticker

Install the graphics or sticker when the weather is still friendly. The ideal location for adding graphics on your bike is a covered area away from the sun. Additionally, you should use the stickers when the weather is between 50 and 90 degrees for the best outcomes.

Apply masking tape.

Perfectly positioning your visuals can be time-consuming and challenging. Use masking tape as a fix to keep your graphics in the proper place. Your sticker will stay in place if you run a piece of tape along the borders of it. After that, remove the backing paper by lifting the sticker. While holding onto the bottom edge, press the middle with your thumb, lower the sticker gradually, and move your way up.

Be patient

Expect tears if you attempt to decal up a challenging tank like a Yamaha XS650B for the first time. Start with something essentially two-dimensional, like a flat side panel, and hone your skills before moving on to something more complex; in bad situations, it’s remarkable how inherently hostile a floppy piece of self-adhesive vinyl can be.

Engage someone to help you.

Finally, having a second set of hands can be helpful, especially when applying huge, intricate decals on intricate shapes. The decals’ final placement is crucial to the panel’s appearance. The ideal scenario would be to transfer (sic) the measurements from the old decal or board. If the bike was missing the panels or decals when you bought it, search for data points on similar motorcycles.