Application and mounting graphics
On receiving: We ship our decal kits face in together and taped together, this protects each piece from scratching during transit. Carefully cut the small tape pieces with very sharp craft knife/xacto or scalpel.
Firstly wash, wash and wash your bike well, dry it...Preparation is absolutely crucial for that Pro finish.
So, you’ve got your new decals in front of you. There is just one problem; they’re not on the bike yet. No need to worry, since it’s actually not as difficult as you might expect. If you are already experienced at applying decals it might be wise to follow along anyway, since there might be some information that could be of help.
STEP 1: CLEANING & DE-GREASING THE PLASTICS
While cleaning and de-greasing might not be the most fun part of the process, it is perhaps the most important one. If you fail to clean and de-grease the plastics properly, the lifespan of your graphics will drastically decrease or, worse, the decals might come off. Since you don’t want this it is important that you follow along and take your time doing this.
We always advise to apply graphics to new plastics. If you do not have new plastics, first make sure that your old or used plastics are clean. Remove any dirt and grease, even on the areas where you won’t be applying the graphics. There is nothing worse than sand getting under your graphics, and you will feel really silly if it happens because you skimped out on the cleaning.
After you cleaned your plastics, the most important step comes; de-greasing. While opinions wildly vary on what to use for de-greasing, we have come to the conclusion that a good quality Isopropyl Alcohol is the way to go. Some prefer brake cleaner, but check that it cant harm paint or plastics. Start by getting a few cloths that won’t leave any fibers behind, and spray a good amount of de-greaser on it, soaking it. The more the better.
Make sure you thoroughly scrub every inch of the surface, especially the edges and recessed areas. While doing this, you might notice that the plastics can become dull. The duller the plastic, the better it is. Take your time doing this and really put some effort into it. If you forget a spot where stress in the decal might occur, it will lift and this decreases the lifespan.
STEP 2: APPLYING THE DECALS
Now comes the fun part. Start with something easy, like a front number plate or small piece for instance. These are mostly flat and will be a good exercise before you start with the more difficult parts.
Mount in a dry and warm room, preferably indoors and at room temperature.
Allow several hours of relaxed focused time, a full afternoon will be necessary for a full kit. Be patient and take your time..DO NOT RUSH.
NOTE: Your decal kit is NOT a wrap and therefore has small margins around most of the edges that the bikes bodywork will show slightly.
Remember - you are not wrapping, you are applying pre-cut graphics so always center the parts first so the margins and space looks good around your decal and that any holes or cuts for fixings / indicators etc align correctly. Tape everything in place, get a nice overview of the placement, alignments and fitting. Pay extra attention to parts that need to align up with other parts and make sure margins are equal around the parts.
Grab your decal and, without removing the backing paper, check if it is the correct one. Place it over the correct area/panel and check that it aligns/fits correctly. Knowing how it goes on will help you once the adhesive is exposed, making it less of a gamble to position it. There are two ways of doing this. You can place the graphics onto the part with the backing paper still on and use some auto masking/painters tape to hold it in place. Tape everything in place, get a nice overview of the placement, alignments and fitting. Pay extra attention to parts that need to align up with other parts and make sure margins are equal around the parts.
Whilst the decal is taped in place on the panel, remove the masking tape at one end, lift the end of the decal carefully and pull back the backing paper to half way, carefully cut the backing paper at the half way point and remove this half of the backing paper, you know have a decal that has half of the adhesive area exposed and the other half still with backing paper and still taped in place to the panel, this way the decal should not move from its position, then gently lay the decal onto the panel at the middle of the decal first and then carefully press the decal down and work towards the edges usuing a micofibre cloth or soft squeegy. Once one side of the decal is fixed down, lift the other side up, remove the remaining backing paper and lay down again ,working from the middle of the decal. Once the decal is in place, go over it to press firmly down in place this will activate the adhesive.
We do not recommend taking the whole backing off in one go. This is a recipe for disaster.
Here we go....Basically it comes down to which technique you feel most comfortable with. We recommend a dry-mounting procedure on most graphics and to carefully use heat assistance (in the form of a hair dryer or heat-gun but used carefully) to warm up tricky places and with pressure form over parts like curves, angles and edges. Be careful not to overheat though.
Some people prefer wet-mounting but it can be tricky to get the balance of water and soap correct and more importantly, if you do not use a squeegee and get ALL water out from underneath this can and will affect how the graphics stick/adhere.
When applying the graphics, always make sure you start in the middle and work your way outward to remove any air. If you push the air to the inside, you can trap it and you would have to peel the decal off the remove it or puncture holes to let the air escape.
When applying the decal, try to avoid using heat in the beginning. Only when the decal becomes too stiff or when it has to fold over an edge should you start using heat. Heat will activate the adhesive, softening it and will remove the air channels that are in the glue. This means that the air won’t be able to escape anymore, thus you will get more and bigger air bubbles.
When applying the decal, use a lot of pressure. The harder you press, the better it will stick to your plastics. Pressing hard on the decal also removes the air channels that are present in the glue, causing more glue to stick to the surface.
STEP 3: POST HEATING
If everything went right, your decals should be applied pretty neatly. The last step is to make sure that they stay on. To increase the lifespan of the decals you will have to post heat the edges and areas where there might be stress in the decal. The heat will activate the glue. With some vinyls you would have to heat it to 100 degrees Celsius, but that won’t be necessary with these decals. Just make sure to heat the edges gently and to press them down firmly.
STEP 4: WAIT
Before you ride your bike to show your new graphics off, wait at least 24 hours to do so. If possible, make it 48 hours. The adhesive is not yet at its maximum strength as this takes time. The bond between the plastic and the glue will get stronger over time. Make sure that your bike is stored in a somewhat neutral environment in normal temperatures to let it cure.
After 24 to 48 hours, the decals might have shrunk a little bit. This is normal, but it can cause the decal to lift in some areas, especially on the edges and on high stress places. Make sure to press these down again and heat them up a bit. If you do this correctly, the decal won’t come off anymore and should sit pretty for a long time. Do not forget this step. If you go riding and dirt gets under the decal, you will never be able to get it to stick properly and this will greatly reduce the lifespan of the decals.
STEP 5: AFTER-CARE
Always wash you bike with warm soapy water, gently sponge ( Be very careful with power washing as this can cause corners to lift and then the decal will degrade faster and become “ugly”.
Use soft microfibre clothes to dry and also to polish.
If applied correctly your graphics are designed and manufactured to last several years or more.
Moto Design Studio, use only the very best materials. Substance or 3M vinyl and laminations. Print is the highest resolution available and printed on our Epson 10 color Eco Solvent UV resistant printers.
For further information or help
Please email us at email@example.com
We will be very happy to assist