Motorcycle Decals

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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Like many automotive decals, modern motorcycle decals are often made of self-adhesive, one-color vinyl. This type of vinyl is the easiest vinyl to work with--graphics shops like it because they don't have to print on the vinyl, and customers like it because it creates bright, fresh graphics that stand out on the bike. Also, because the only labor involved is separating the graphic from the scrap vinyl, the graphic can be produced very rapidly.

Most motorcycle decals shops have their vinyl presses connected to an image-processing computer. They can load any pattern, logo, or graphic into the software, and then cut just enough vinyl to produce the desired number of decals. Once cut, the scrap vinyl is removed, transfer paper is applied, and the individual decals are cut and sold.

Applying motorcycle decals is simply a matter of aligning the graphic on the bike, and securing it with a masking tape "hinge." Though there are many ways to complete this process, many sources recommend spraying lightly soapy water on the surface of the vehicle to reduce the vinyl's initial tackiness, which allows for slight adjustments if necessary. Once the backing paper is removed, the vinyl will begin to stick to the surface of the bike, and by applying even, firm pressure with a squeegee, you can make sure the decal adheres with no air bubbles and no crinkles.

Motorcycle Decals in the Past

Automotive detailing wasn't always so simple, however. Even after the invention of vinyl, most adhesives required the use of hazardous chemicals or high heat. It's only in the last 10-15 years that advancements in vinyl and adhesives have allowed non-professionals the comfort and option of installing custom graphics by themselves.

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