Never before have there been so many options available to customize the look of your dirt bike, ATV, UTV or motorcycle – and that includes graphics and decals in every color and design you can think of. Choosing which graphics you want is the fun and easy part, but applying them can be another story if you don’t have the proper instructions.

How to Install Dirt Bike Graphics

Attack Graphics is a professional graphics shop that specializes in powersports, and their graphic designers are experts in applying graphics to off-road vehicles. Here are their step-by-step instructions for applying graphics in a way that is easy and that will ensure your graphics will stick and stay put.

Dry Installation

1. Clean your plastics, hands and work area. Remove dirt, oil, old adhesive and anything else from the front and back side of your machine’s plastic.

Picture of Cleaning the Plastic

2. Before applying, trim the paper backing around the perimeter as close to the graphic as possible (without actually cutting the graphic). Remove the paper backing from the inside of the vent and bolt holes. Check the alignment of holes, vents, curves and edges of the graphic against the plastic.

Picture of Trimming the Paper Backing

3. Peel off half of the backing, being careful not to allow dust or debris to get on the adhesive side. Cut the backing down the center horizontally for side plates or vertically for front plates. Cut a half-inch strip from the removed half of the backing. Apply the remaining backing to graphic, lining it up with holes and edges.

Picture of a Strip Cut Out

4. Prevent the center strip from sticking while you align the graphic with the plastic. Once it’s properly lined up, apply the center strip of the graphic to the plastic.

Aligning the Graphic with the Plastic

5. Peel back the paper backing from one half, holding the graphic up and away from plastic. Slowly apply by sliding one finger back and forth along the graphic, pressing out any air bubbles and wrinkles. Heat may be applied with a heat gun or hair dryer during this process to help remove wrinkles and air bubbles. Warning: Excessive heat will cause the decal to overstretch and distort the image.

Applying the Graphic Adhesive to the Plastic

6. Peel off the paper backing from the other half, and apply the graphic as described in step 4. Repeat instructions for all remaining graphics.

Wet Installation

1. Clean your plastics, hands and work area. Remove dirt, oil, old adhesive and anything else from the front and back side of your machine’s plastic.

Picture of Cleaning the Plastic

2. Before applying, trim the paper backing around the perimeter as close to the graphic as possible (without actually cutting the graphic). Remove the paper backing from the inside of the vent and bolt holes. Check the alignment of holes, vents, curves and edges of the graphic against the plastic.

Picture of Trimming the Paper Backing

3. Spray a fine mist of application fluid on your plastic.

Picture of Spraying Application Fluid

4. Remove the backing paper from your decal, and be sure to keep the adhesive side free of dirt, dust and debris. Spray the adhesive side with a fine mist of application fluid.

Picture of Removing the Backing Paper

5. Lightly apply the decal to the plastic while lining up bolt holes and vent holes.

6. Once everything else is lined up properly, begin from the center, and use a squeegee to move the application fluid to the edge of the plastic.

Picture of Using a Squeegee

7. As you continue the squeegee process, you may add heat with a heat gun or hair dryer in order to speed up the drying process. Heat will also help work out any bubbles and smooth any wrinkles. Warning: Excessive heat will cause the decal to overstretch and distort the image.

Picture of Applying Graphic with Squeegee

8. Use a clean, dry cloth to wipe the excess fluid that is remaining around the edge of the plastic.

9. It is recommended that you do not ride your bike or quad for at least 24 hours to ensure proper adhesion of the decal.

Graphics and Decals

Nothing tricks out a dirt bike quite like adding some new graphics. Did you find these tips helpful? If so, please share this article with your friends. Do you have any special techniques that you use when applying decals? Take a moment to let us know in the comments section.

Take a look at some decals that you can add to your dirt bike. If you prefer the wet installation method, pick up the same application kit shown in this article while you’re at it.

Technician Disclaimer