How to Paint Dirt Bike Plastics – DIY Guide For Beginners

How to Paint Dirt Bike Plastics – DIY Guide For Beginners

Do you think your dirt bike would look better in different colors? Sometimes, riders grow bored with their dirt bike plastic colors and customize them into something more aesthetically appealing. Whatever your reasons, painting dirt bike plastics could be a great way to give your bike a new look.

Painting dirt bikes can be tricky, so it’s definitely a job you can do with some help. I’m a dirt bike enthusiast and I’ll provide you with all the help you need. In the following paragraphs, I’ll take you through a step-by-step guide on how to paint dirt bike plastics.

How do you paint dirt bike plastics?

Clean the plastic using a plastic cleaning solution and sand it with 220 grit sandpaper to rough up the surface. Again, clean the plastic and sand it with sandpaper to smoothen the surface. Clean the plastic a third time and apply plastic primer. Apply plastic paint and a clear coat to the plastic and allow the paint to dry.

How do you paint dirt bike plastics

Before explaining the step-by-step guide on how to paint dirt bike plastic, let’s find out what materials you need to get it done.

Painting Dirt Bike Plastics: Materials Needed and How to Do It

Getting the right materials is crucial when painting dirtbike plastics. So it’s important to take out time to find the materials before you start painting. Let’s take a look at the materials you need:

Materials Needed

  • Paint
  • Water
  • Detergent
  • Bucket
  • Rag or Paper Towel
  • Oil Remover
  • Sander
  • Sanding Disk
  • Scouring Pad
  • 220 Grit Sandpaper
  • Plastic Cleaner
  • Plastic Waterborne Primer
  • Rubbing Compound
  • Paint gun (Best paired with a compressor)
  • Tack Cloth
  • 80 Grit Aluminum oxide

Here’s how you paint dirt bike plastics.

Step 1: Take off the Plastic.

It’s generally not a good idea to paint the plastic while it is still attached to the bike. Cleaning and preparing the plastic for painting is much easier when it is detached from the bike. 

With the plastic removed, you’ll have better access to its surfaces. This allows for a more thorough and even paint job. You should also remove the plastic to prevent paint from getting on other bike parts. If you can’t remove it, you can use plastic masking film to cover the areas you don’t want the paint to touch.

Step 2: Prepare the plastics.

Use soap and water to clean the dirtbike plastics. If it isn’t too dirty, you can simply wipe its surface using a rag and water. When it has been thoroughly cleaned, use a plastic cleaner or degreaser to remove any leftover dirt. After cleaning the plastics, allow them to dry completely before you continue. 

Step 3. Sand the plastics.

Use a fine-grit sandpaper of about 400 grit to sand the plastics lightly. You can use lower-grit sandpaper make sure it’s at least 220 grit. Sanding the plastic will help the new paint adhere better to the surface.

Sanding the dirt bike plastic

Repeat the sanding process two or three times to avoid missing any crust. After sanding, scrub the surface of the plastic using a clean rag to remove any dust or debris that may make the new paint peel off easily.

Step 4: Tape off any of the areas you don’t want to be painted.

You can tape off areas like the lettering or logo if you don’t want the paint to touch them. Use masking tape for this. 

Step 5: Apply primer cleaner.

Use 80-grit aluminum oxide to sandblast the plastic. Maintain a clean plastic surface by using a plastic cleaner. Spray a generous amount of plastic cleaner and wait for about 30 seconds for the cleaner to get rid of contaminants, then wipe the plastic surface with a clean rag or paper towel.

Step 6: Apply a plastic primer

Use a plastic primer specifically designed for use on plastics. This will help the paint adhere better and provide a smooth surface for the new paint.

Before applying the primer, pour it onto a container and mix thoroughly. Apply the primer with a paint gun and a compressor for an even spread. You can use a high-build waterborne primer to ensure any scratch made by the sandpaper or pits made by the sandblast is properly filled. Wait for half an hour to let the first coat of primer dry before applying the second coat. 

Check out this article on How to Paint a Motorcycle Fairing? by Bikers Rights.

Step 7: Sand and Clean Plastic Surface Again

Using a high-build primer gives the plastic surface an orange finish. Remove the orange color and smoothen the surface by sanding with 320-grit paper. Then use a clean rag to clear and prepare the plastic surface for painting.

Step 8: Apply the paint

After all the long prepping, your plastic is finally ready to be painted. Use a spray gun with a compressor to spread the paint. Painting dirtbike plastics can be tricky, so you’ll need some patience not to ruin all the hard work you’ve put in. For an even and smooth spread, paint evenly in portions and follow the grain of the plastic. 

Painting the dirt bike plastic

Step 9: Allow the paint to dry

Allow the plastic to dry fully according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Depending on your climate, the paint can take up to 24 hours to dry completely.

Step 10: Apply a clear coat

Apply a clear coat to protect the paint and give it a glossy finish. Make sure the clear coat dries off completely before you continue.

Step 11: Remove the masking tape

Now that the painting is all done, carefully remove the masking tape from any areas you covered. After the step, the plastics should now be ready to be reinstalled on the dirt bike.

Factors to Keep in Mind Before Painting Dirt Bike Plastics

Before you decide it’s time to paint your dirt bike plastics, there are certain things to remember. Let’s take a look at some of them: 

Cleaning you bike before painting

Compatibility

Make sure the paint you choose is compatible with the type of plastic on your dirt bike. Some plastics aren’t able to withstand certain types of paint or chemicals. Luckily, many manufacturers usually indicate the type of surfaces their paints are suitable for. So you can check the label on the paint or visit the manufacturer’s website. 

Surface Preparation

It’s important to clean and sand the plastic’s surface properly. This is crucial for ensuring the paint adheres well and has a smooth finish.

Masking

Use masking tape and newspaper to cover areas of the bike that you do not want to paint. Alternatively, remove the plastic from your motorcycle to allow you to paint it without getting the paint on the other areas of your bike.

Weather

You should avoid painting in extreme temperatures or humidity. If it’s too hot, the paint dries out too quickly; when it’s humid, it dries off too slowly. This can affect the final result.

Ventilation

Always use the paint and primer in a well-ventilated area. This is an important safety precaution as the fumes can be toxic. 

Type of Paint

Different Types of Paint

Another factor to consider before you paint your dirt bike plastic is the type of paint you should use. Consider using spray paint since they work well for painting on plastic. They typically give a better finish and are easier to apply than brush-on paint.

Multiple Coats

Applying multiple coats rather than one big coat is better. Applying multiple coats of paint will give a better finish and protect the paint from scratches and other damage.

Clear coat

It is also important to apply a clear coat. This will provide an additional layer of protection for the paint and give it a glossy finish.

Budget

Deciding to paint your dirt bike by doing it yourself might cost a lot of money but certainly not as much as it would if you pay a professional to do it. The amount of money you will spend depends on the quality of the paint you choose and the cost of purchasing painting materials. 

High-quality paints normally cost more than low-quality paints. But to get the best results, choosing high-quality paint is highly recommended. Additionally, you might have to purchase other essential materials like primer, sandpaper, and other materials that have been listed above. 

You Need Patience and Plenty of Time

Lastly, you should consider the time, effort, and patience required to paint dirt bike plastics before opting for a DIY. To paint a dirt bike, carefully follow the steps mentioned above. If you try to speed up the process by skipping any of the steps, you may end up with a terrible result. 

FAQ

What is the best way to prep plastic for painting?

To prep dirt bike plastics for painting, clean the plastic with a degreaser, sand the plastic with 220 grit sandpaper, apply a plastic primer, lightly sand with 320-400 grit sandpaper, clean again, then mask off areas you don’t want to paint. 

Can you wrap dirt bike plastics?

Yes, it is possible to wrap dirt bike plastics with vinyl wrap. Vinyl wrap is a flexible and durable material that you can apply to the plastics of a dirt bike to change its color or add graphics. It is also easy to maintain and can protect plastics from scratches and UV rays. 

Is it cheaper to paint or wrap a motorcycle?

It’s cheaper to wrap a motorcycle than to paint it. Vinyl wraps can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. However, a full paint job can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the type of paint and the amount of labor needed. 

Conclusion

In this guide, we walked you through a detailed explanation of how to paint dirt bike plastics. While it can seem intimidating to paint your dirt bike plastics for the first time, our step-by-step takes you through everything you need to know. 

Painting dirtbike plastics can be challenging. They aren’t as porous as wood or metal, so it’s not a straightforward painting job. But if you follow the right steps and use the right materials, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t achieve a finish that looks professional. 

Meanwhile, it’s important to get paint that is specifically made for painting plastics. This will go a long way to help you achieve a consistent finish.

Jude Odumamwen

Jude became obsessed with motorcycles after his dad got him a 2007 Suzuki SV650 for his 16th birthday. He's since ridden a few more bikes and made a career out of writing about them. Jude also writes about cars, but his first love runs on two wheels. When he's not writing, he likes to watch movies or read mystery novels.

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