In this video, I am documenting the process of installing decals, some Stompgrip tank grips, and a Graves race seat on my Yamaha YZF-R3.
Installing decals on a bike is so satisfying! If you take your time and do it right with high-quality decals, you can transform the look of your machine. I love my daily vehicles to have a clean look with very minimal badging and decals, but it’s a different story for my race bikes. I love the vibrant splashes of colors from the decals on race fairings.
Installing decals isn’t very difficult once you figure out how to align and center the decals on your bodywork. You have to ensure that you clean the surface thoroughly first. For the second step, you need to decide if you will use the wet or the dry method. Then, you apply the decal and use a squeegee to push the air bubbles out and ensure that the adhesive touches the “host” surface. I also like to apply some heat to warm up the adhesive and squeegee everything one last time. Finally, rinse and repeat with all your decals until you are done.
I usually prefer to use high-quality automotive decals because they normally come with a transfer tape that simplifies the centering/alignment process. The quality is also much better and will offer better resistance against road debris, bugs, and chemicals.
I still end up using some “peel and stick” stickers, but I test them first by spraying a little bit of Windex or WD40 on them to make sure they can resist the harshness of these chemicals. If they don’t pass that test, they go straight into the garbage. This chemical test is essential for the stickers used on the swingarm since they normally get a lot more chemical abuse than the other decals.
I’ve purchased some vinyl decals from Etsy a few times, and they were all complete garbage. Factory Effex has some great options for number plates, and you can design something very cool. If you chose to go that route, it’s probably a good idea to ask for a proof first. I also noticed that they recently change the form on the website, and it’s a bit more user-friendly now. In the past, there was an option for spacing, and the spacing was not a measurement for the space between the numbers, but it was the spacing around each number. What I mean by this is that if you said you wanted a ¼” space, you ended up with ¼” * 2 between the numbers. The updated form has a “Number Spacing” field now, so it’s more explicit, but I’d still ask for proof before proceeding.
In my case, I decided to design my own number plate by using Canva and Photoshop and then send the EPS file to a print shop, and they printed everything on high-quality automotive vinyl. I prefer this approach since I didn’t want to have a background on the decals.
You’ll see in the video that I had a hard time trimming the seat pad. I tested a few different things, and a sharp, hot blade seems to be the better option. If you have any other tips on how to do this, I’d like to hear from you!!!
I completed the process by install some Stompgrip tank grips. I am using the Volcano grip profile; this is definitely my favorite profile. I’ve tried a set of universal tank grips with the Icon profile on my R6 and didn’t feel it was sufficiently “sticky”. This is a matter of personal preference, so you’ll have to determine what works best for you (Stompgrip also offers a Super Volcano grip profile that I haven’t had a chance to test yet but looks very promising too).