The Dennis Kirk Blog
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When you have been riding your dirt bike for a while, one of two things might happen. Either your graphics are going to get beaten up or you will get sick of looking at the same old graphics every time you ride. Many of us riders just learn to deal with it, though, because we think that installing new graphics on our bikes is a pain. It can be if you go about it the wrong way, but if you are prepared and follow the steps below, installing new dirt bike graphics is a breeze.
The first thing that you will need to do is remove the old graphics. To make this process easier, you can remove the plastics from the bike so they are easier to work with. If you don’t mind kneeling and working with everything still attached, you can skip this step.
Once you get the plastics off, you are now ready to remove the existing graphics. To make most of the adhesive come off with the graphic, you can heat the graphics with a heat gun or a hair dryer. Be careful not to melt the graphic, but get it warm enough to make it pliable. When you pull back on the heated graphic, most of the adhesive should come with it, making the plastic cleanup that much easier. On larger graphics, you might have to heat it back up half way through to make it pliable again.
Now that you have the old graphics off of your dirt bike plastics, you will need to clean them thoroughly. The best way to do this is to use a contact cleaner with a micro fiber shop towel. You will want to make sure that you get all of the adhesive and other residue off so the new graphics have a completely clean surface to adhere to.
Taking things off is always the easy part, but now it’s time to put your badass new Factory Effex graphics on your dirt bike. Fortunately, it’s not as hard and scary as you may think. Although it may seem like you only get one shot at it, putting new dirt bike graphics on is a little more forgiving than that.
To start, you will want to pick out a portion of the plastic that you want to start applying the graphic on. It doesn’t really matter where you start, but most people start in the front and work their way back. To make the graphics more pliable and easier to work with, take out your heat gun or hair dryer again to heat up the new graphics. When the decal is warm and pliable, you can begin to place it on the plastic.
Remove only a small part of the decal backing at first so you are working with a smaller area. If you pull the whole backing off at once, you will have to fight it to keep it from sticking to everything. Next, line up the edge of the graphic to the plastics and lay it on, starting at the edge. As you are placing the decal down, try to work in one direction to reduce the amount of bubbles and creases. You can also work from the center going outwards to push the bubbles out.
WAIT! You lined up the decal wrong? Don’t worry about it. The adhesive on the back of the Factory Effex graphics will not set up right away so you can pull it up and reposition it until it is lined up properly.
Now that you have the first part of the graphic down, you can remove the next piece of backing and repeat the process until the whole graphic is on. It does not have to be absolutely perfect when you are putting it down. You can take the heat gun or hair dryer to heat the decal back up and push out the remaining air bubbles and creases.
Putting on new dirt bike graphics is not a do or die process. There is room for you to fix your mistakes and at the end of it, you will have the look that you want from your dirt bike.