Here are some powerful tips to help you vinyl wrap your bike

Here are some powerful tips to help you vinyl wrap your bike

If you’re thinking of a new look for your bike, but don’t want to deal with the hassle of painting (be it yourself or a professional), you might consider a vinyl wrap job instead. While you can find professionals to do this for you, there are many reasons why you might want to try to do it yourself. From wanting to satisfy your curiosity and creativity to trying to save a little money, there is no single right answer – except to say that you won’t know how it goes until you try it.

This is where this vinyl wrap video guide for beginners from YouTuber Chaos Causes can come in handy. Since each bike will have slightly different looks to consider, instead of giving details that only apply to the MT-09 he’s using in his demo, the guy lays out some basic principles to help you plan your vinyl wrap projects more effectively.

For a start, as with many things related to motorcycles (and possibly life in general), take some time to choose a quality vinyl that you want to use for your project. It’s 3M biased, but Avery Dennison and others also make quality products that are relatively easy to apply and will last well on your bike. What you don’t want to do is get yourself some horrible cheap vinyl that will only disappoint you (and probably look bad too).

From there, having the right tools and settings is key. You’ll need a squeegee, so you can get air bubbles and wrinkles out of your work as you go along. A razor blade is also essential for trimming, as well as making relief cuts to smooth the vinyl around difficult shapes.

You’ll also need a heat gun – although a hair dryer can work if needed, depending on what you have around you. Using heat can help bend the vinyl to your will—both to revive it if it is bent or wrinkled, as well as to smooth it out on certain shapes, such as depressions in body panels where there are holes in screws.

The final recommendation for a basic tool is fine-threaded masking tape. One thing to understand with vinyl wrap is that, as an amateur, you will not be able to wrap a piece of car bodywork using a single, unbroken piece of vinyl. It is possible that the professionals have some way of doing this, but as long as you think about the best way to do the layers, this is probably your best bet for good results. Hiding the seams at the edges of the chassis panels and thinking carefully about the order you want to do in your seams will make all the difference in the final product.

What is probably more important than having good vinyl and the right tools for this project? Your prep work, of course. Just like the drawing, your final product will be as good as the setting you put it in. Removing the body panels you want to wrap will make the job a lot easier.

You also need to clean any body panels you want to wrap as carefully as possible – front and back. The front should be clear, as this is basically where the vinyl will sit – but the back is important too, because you’ll be wrapping the vinyl around the edges and you don’t want to transfer any leftover dirt somewhere through your hands.

Soap and water is an excellent place to start, but you’ll also need to use isopropyl alcohol to thoroughly wipe the surface of anywhere you want to wrap. This will remove any leftover oils or residue, so you have the cleanest surface you can apply the vinyl to. Remember that dirt and dust are your enemy – what looks small to your eye will look like a big bump under the vinyl if you don’t get rid of it, so pay close attention if you want your bike to look great when you’re doing it.

The good news is that vinyl can be removed easily – so if you make a mistake, it won’t be the end of the world. Sure, you might be annoyed that you wasted time (and some of your vinyl), but fixing a bug here is a lot easier than fixing a lot of things, including paint.

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