How long do you usually get out of a set of vinyl graphics?

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6/7/2018 3:27 AM

As per the title.

I have had some sets that have lasted aaaaages, and I have had sets that look bombed out after a couple of rides. Sometimes it takes an atomic storm to remove the graphics, sometimes they start peeling before I have even ridden while the bike is sitting in the garage for a few weeks. Even my stock graphics were peeling when I picked up my brand new 2017 KTM from the dealer.

At Vegas SX, I saw Goose changing Chad's side number plate graphics in between practice sessions and the night show.

So, what say you, the folk of Vital?

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6/7/2018 3:50 AM
Edited Date/Time: 6/7/2018 3:59 AM

Barry_Smith wrote:

As per the title.

I have had some sets that have lasted aaaaages, and I have had sets that look bombed out after a couple of ...more

Hey Barry.

I am in the graphics business (well seems like not for long anymore - selling my business/knowhow)
And I can tell you that in the world of graphics for dirt bikes there are 3 types of graphics manufacturing processes which I know of, and about 4 main vinyl suppliers for these. Depending on the company, most of them use Print and Laminate technique. The most common supplier is Substance. They have few base vinyls (the one you print on/the one that sticks to plastics) available. (FLO - with air channels for better application, the one without it, and some cheaper version with no so strong adhesive)

I've used substance and also others and its all about what you are looking for. It has to be also said that the plastic prep is extremely crucial also the conditions where and how you are applying these, as well as the plastic manufacturer can have different surfaces (from my own experience Polisport's plastics feel like the surface is kind of greasy...But probably bcs of that these have really good flex)

Usually the print and laminate technique is not that strong (durability and the adhesive) as oppose to the technique where the graphics are printed with opaque technique on laminate (sometimes referred to as 'a floor laminate') from back and then double sided (white) tape is applied after. These hold very well but the application is a night mare...bcs of the adhesive has no play and also these are too thick to stick around strong edges or bents... Also the print quality seems to suffer a bit. And usually this technique takes longer and in today's world no one wants to wait....

Other technique which I know of is Screen printing on laminate backside with white coat as last and then applying the glue afterwords, either double sided or liquid glue. This is the traditional technique of printing graphics and some companies still provide this but its very time consuming as well as costly process to do one off custom stuff. Usually only Factory teams get this at the beginning of the season....


I have used Substance and other big manufacturer and changed graphics at the races even without prepping the plastics well, and sometimes it did hold well, sometimes it didn't. Sometimes I feel it depends on the batch I ordered OR the age of the vinyl... I had a PRO going through Substance after one practice and one race (going through laminate and vinyl, also edges were peeling of...

So if there would be a perfect combo (durability&strong adhesive) available, graphics companies would not be able to make money and survive. Even these day its very difficult, many people don't know what everything goes into making MX graphics...

So we should respect all who are still at it and do a good job (quality + service) bcs its not easy....

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6/7/2018 3:54 AM
Edited Date/Time: 6/7/2018 3:55 AM

Mine get toasted in 20 hours. Only where my legs are. I tough it out for a year though. $200+ for a set is a lot.

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6/7/2018 4:00 AM
Edited Date/Time: 6/7/2018 4:05 AM

kb228 wrote:

Mine get toasted in 20 hours. Only where my legs are. I tough it out for a year though. $200+ for a set is a lot.

X2 Approx 20 hours and they look like shit. Shrouds graphics are worn through, right side number plate looks pretty bad, probably my boot rubbing when I kickstart it, and the airbox graphics are worn through as well.

If you let your knee braces/knee guards wear through the leather on your pants you will kill those graphics within seconds.

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6/7/2018 6:37 AM
Edited Date/Time: 6/7/2018 7:27 AM

Its usually boots and braces which is the problem. PRO teams dont change the whole graphics every race on a race day, but as Barry mentioned you can see them changing the side number plates quite often.

KTM's are tricky at this where the bottom part closer to foot is sticking out a little and its really about minutes where it will get ripped. Some other manufacturer PRO teams as you probably already seen do not have full size graphics on Side number plates, usually just a number which is cut separately and placed on a plain plastic.They say its weight saving but in reality it is to prevent scratching and tearing the bottom parts of side number plate graphics so they dont have to change it as often but still looking fresh.

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6/7/2018 7:30 AM

MY FX350 side plates get eaten up after 3-hours of woods riding from my boots. rest have held up great. My last kit i had 70 hours on and only side plates where bad.

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6/7/2018 8:30 AM

My DeCal Works graphics on my 2011 KTM lasted me 4 years without any problems. I washed my bike weekly and used SC 1 after the drying. I used the plastic prep kit and things went on so easy and stayed on. Sold the bike last year and they were on it for another 6 months before he changed the plastic and put new graphics on it.

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6/7/2018 8:36 AM

My Factory Effex stuff always lasts forever.

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2017 RMZ450
2005 YZ250-sold :,(
1998 YZ250
2005 KX250F

80% of the time it works every time
IG @2HRacing
Thanks to : Factory Effex, N2Dirt, Acerbis, DT1, Fasthouse, Matix, FMF, ASV, 100% & Mika Metals

6/7/2018 9:52 AM

Use heat (a lot) to install will help the adhesive set. JJWdesigns.com makes a clear gripper sheet cut to fit that goes over the main wear parts and it works absolutely fantastic. We run it on all our bikes. Goes on soft but hardens with heat and helps graphics last much longer.--

You can see it in these pics-

Photo
Photo

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6/7/2018 10:47 AM

Barry_Smith wrote:

As per the title.

I have had some sets that have lasted aaaaages, and I have had sets that look bombed out after a couple of ...more

Factory bikes will typically use a thinner laminate to save weight. A 12 Mil laminate can add a pound or more of weight and the factory bikes are chucking the plastics before the thicker laminated graphics would wear out so it's a waste to use the thicker stuff.

Most motorcycle plastics are what's called a low surface energy material. Usually polypropylene or polyethylene. Most signage vinyl uses a silicon based adhesive. It doesn't stick well to low surface energy substrates. It needs to use a solvent based adhesive designed to stick to these surfaces.

A well constructed set of graphics applied to a properly prepped surface (no mold release, waxes or oils on the plastics) should last until you chuck the bike into the dirt or wear through them with your knees or boots. If the adhesive is failing, it's either the wrong adhesive, or the parts we not prepped properly prior to application. Of course going crazy with the power washer will also lift the graphics at the edges, but that should be a no-brainer. I've seen power washers strip paint, so decals just don't stand a chance. Treat the edges of your graphics like it's your airbox when you're waving that wand around.

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