I bought a set of decals for my motocross bike from someone else
and they don't stick very good. Can you help me with a better set?
Most likely, the wrong type of decal material was used, or the place where you
bought them from, did not know the parts were the type of plastic commonly
found on motocross bikes, such as fenders, fuel tanks and side panels. Some
bikes also have a mix of metal and plastic parts. Not everybody knows there
are special materials available for use on plastics, but the more reputable
sources will know this.
Decals that are meant to be applied to these types of "Low Energy" plastics,
require material with a much more aggressive adhesive that will properly hold
the decal to the parts. Although the adhesive is much more agressive, please
keep in mind that decals on a fuel tank that are not clear coated (and you can't
clearcoat this type of plastic) are subject to fuel spillage breaking down the
adhesive backing over time, so please promptly clean up any fuel spillage to
minimize this problem. This is the same issue that can happen if you don't
clearcoat over vinyl decals on fuel tanks for road bikes, that have painted metal
Some competitors claim to be the only one's in the world to offer a material that
will not blister or lift off a fuel tank. This is untrue. First, there is NO magic
formula, and there is NO material in the world that will not blister off of a fuel
tank if constant fuel spillage is not cleaned up. Hence we stated above -
cleanup fuel spillage! Secondly, the two most popular, and quality materials
that are available to ANYBODY in this type of business, are called CONVEX®
by Convex Vinyl, and Gerber Permagrip® which is a product manufactured by
For any of these "Low Energy" plastics, we will use either of these materials. If
we are working with you on reproducing decals for a motocross bike, please
ensure you inform us of all the parts that are plastic.
I got some bubbles when I installed my decals and it doesn't look
good. What is
wrong with your decals?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the decals. The problem is one entirely
of how the decal was applied. Most likely not all the water or air was worked out
from underneath the decal, or it wasn't laid properly, or both. Unless you are
experienced in decal application, you should let a professional do the work. And
not all professional body shops are experienced in decal application (but may
say they are). I have seen very poor jobs even by some that say they are
experienced. If there are bubbles or wrinkles, then the person who did your
work did not have the necessary skills to do so.
It may also be that the decals were applied too soon. Sometimes if the
basecoat has not "gassed off" enough, gassing bubbles can form underneath
the decal. Both of these issues are strictly controlled by the painter - these are
not problems caused by the decals.
I bought some OEM decals from a website, but they didn't stick
properly. What can I do? Can your company reproduce them for me and
would they stick better?
The problem with OEM decals that you can buy for vintage bikes, is that the
adhesive backing is so old, it has most likely dried out over time and lost the
ability to stick (lost it's tack). Like any adhesive, the adhesive backing on the
unapplied decal material has a shelf life. Storage of the unused decal is
important. If the decals are stored in air tight (sealed) containers just after
they were manufactured, the adhesive will last a number of years. However,
decals are not stored this way. Generally the adhesive shelf life (not to be
confused with decal life) is anywhere from 1 to 3 years, depending on the type
of material. After that time, the longer they sit around, the less they will stick.
So that is what most likely happened with the decals you bought. Don't take any
chances with old decals. Old decals could ruin a restoration job and
could cost you much more money in re-work, than just buying new reproduction
However, your money wasn't entirely wasted. It is much easier and faster for
us to reproduce decals when going from the original, flat and unused OEM
decals. We can also colour match much more easily. They are also much easier
and less expensive to mail to us than parts of your motorcycle. And yes, the
reproduced decals are made with new materials, so they will stick very well.
Why are your Seca Turbo stripes much more than your
There are a number of reasons why our stripes can be more expensive than
some (not all) of our competitors. The reasons can be somewhat technical and
lengthy, but hopefully understandable.
Turbo Stripe Facts
The OEM stripes had a high gloss finish which matched the sheen (shine) of the
fairing paint. This allowed the decals to be put on after painting and also
allowed them to be replaced. To reproduce this exact sheen requires a layer of
2mil high performance clear automotive vinyl overtop the red vinyl and
thermally printed blue stripe. All other competitors (two or three that we know
of) don't do this. They only laminate over with a clear thin film that is
moderately UV and/or moderately scratch resistant. When the clear film is
laminated onto the decals, it is only has a semi-gloss sheen. We were originally
going to have them produced this way (less expensive) but did not like the look
of the semi-gloss. We also entertained no film at all, just leaving the thermally
printed blue (semi-gloss) on the automotive vinyl (gloss) but did not like the
Despite what some competitors say, there is no such product (film or even
clear vinyl) that is scratch proof, not even ours (but ours is more durable than
the film). There is also no such thing as UV proof, only resistant. There is no
such thing as fuel proof either, only fuel resistant. And unless you clearcoat
over your decals, even a decal with a clear vinyl layer which may resist fuel
quite well, can still have the adhesive on the back of the decal deteriorated
over time by fuel spillage. Also, if you use a high quality vinyl backing with, for
example, a 6 year warranty, and you apply a print with a material or inkjet ink
that only has a 3 year warranty, it is only going to last 3 years. It is...the
Decal Manufacturing Technology Facts
There are three primary printing technologies for automotive decals: resin
printing, inkjet printing and silkscreen printing. Silk screening is too expensive
for low volume aftermarket or custom printing, so this will not be mentioned
further. After reviewing the pros and cons, we decided to use strictly resin
The printing machine has many tiny little dot shaped "heads" that are heated.
The heated "heads" push the thin film of coloured resin againt the vinyl material
and permanently bond it. Resin printing is more expensive than inkjet printing.
The bonded resin films have a UV life of 3-5 years, depending on the colour of
resin and without any additional over laminate. There are a large number of
vibrant colours available and can be printed on a large number of automotive
vinyls. It doesn't have to dry so transfer materials can be applied immediately
after printing. Metallic backing material is true metallic (unlike inkjet). This
technology is recommended when creating short run decals under 12" wide.
Uses a similar principle as your home inkjet printer, but with special pigmented
inks and specially treated backing vinyls, which allow the decals to become
waterproof after they have dried. Inkjet printing is less expensive than resin
printing. The decals have to dry before applying transfer material. When using
pigmented inks and a UV laminate (semi-gloss), the decals have a UV life of 3+
years, which is less than resin printed decals. The machines have a high
resolution. Outdoor and automotive use requires the UV lamination. Also,
metallic colours are only simulated but not reproduced exactly, so you lose the
"depth" of a true metallic backing. This technology is recommended for vehicle
graphics over 12" with a laminate.
Non-printed Vinyls, Vinyl Laminates and Clearcoating
For our decals that are non-printed vinyls, the lifetime can range from 5-8
years. Printed decals that have a clear layer of high performance vinyl, can last
as long as the clear vinyl, so you can add about 1 -2 years on top of the resin
printed decal. Clearcoating overtop of resin printed decals (without any
additional layers) will last significantly longer. We can produce the Seca Turbo
stripes for noticeably less (and competitive with lower priced competition)
without the clear vinyl, but I would recommend you either clearcoat overtop of
them or ignore the semi-gloss blue stripe.
The lifetime of all decals can be affected (good or bad) by amount of exposure
to sun, fuels, cleaning and proper care.
Like anything, you should ask questions before you buy. We highly recommend
that you investigate or do research for yourself regarding the two methods
The bottom line...You get what you pay for.