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How Much Does a Custom Motorcycle Paint Job Cost?

How Much Does a Custom Motorcycle Paint Job Cost?

Most motorcycle owners set aside money for maintenance, fuel, and repairs for their bikes every month. This helps keep their bikes in good condition, buy quality aftermarket parts, or get a stylish custom paint job.

You can calculate the cost of fuel and maintenance and research the price of a motorcycle fairing, saddlebags, sissy bar, or other custom parts online to stockpile before the need arises.

Motorcycle riders have plenty of options to choose from, including fuel tank graphics, chameleon paint jobs, full body paint jobs, or painting specific parts. The cost of paint jobs tend to vary depending on the complexity and design of the paint jobs, your location, the painter you are hiring, and your motorcycle. Typically, the average price of a custom motorcycle paint job can range between $800-$2,500.

Motorcycle paint jobs can help change your bike’s look and protect it from becoming damaged or rusted. A paint job can also help cover any dents or accident marks on the frame. Beside the practical uses, custom paint jobs can also help give your bike a personal touch. No matter the reason you want to paint your motorcycle and the type of paint you prefer, you can only get a rough estimate of the cost before you get started.

1. Types of Custom Motorcycle Paint Jobs

Any paint job that involves replacing a motorcycle’s original paint job with a different color scheme is considered a custom paint job. If your motorcycle’s fuel tank is red and you change it by painting a logo, then that becomes a custom paint job. There are several ways to paint your bike, with each type having a different cost.

1.1 Chameleon Custom Paint

Highly popular for their iridescent effect, chameleon paint has light absorbing pigments that change color as your bike moves. The color change can be observed from different angles from multiple light sources. For a proper chameleon paint finish, it is best to hire a professional painter. Keep in mind that the project will likely cost between $1,500-$3,500.

Also Read: How Much Does a Motorcycle Paint Job Cost?

1.2 Holographic Custom Paint

Holographic paint is similar to chameleon paint as it produces a spectrum of colors as the motorcycle moves. The main difference is that you can apply holographic paint over the bike’s original paint job, making it less expensive than chameleon paint, which requires a black base coat. However, some motorcyclists need to apply a darker base layer before putting on a holographic finish. This base layer increases the cost of this custom paint job significantly. The average cost of a holographic custom paint job is usually between $900-$2,500.

1.3 Solid Color with Flame Graphics

Bold uniform metallic colors give motorcycles a traditional and classy look. Motorcycle enthusiasts prefer this custom paint job if their motorbike’s original paint job does not come available in their favorite color. Motorcycle companies offer limited color options, which may require you to get a custom paint job to get your ideal color scheme. The solid color paint job can also give your old bike a modern look. Moreover, it is easier to apply flame graphics, metallic flakes, logos, and decals on a solid color paint job. In addition, uniform colors are legal in every U.S. state. Lately, motorcyclists have started painting their motorcycle engines in different colors. Some like to color-match their engines with frames. But the cost of painting a frame will be less than painting an engine because you will need a special heat-resistant paint for the latter, which is more expensive than regular metallic paint.

1.4 Candy Color Paint Job

Candy color paint is not a base layer or color scheme, but a pearly clear coat with a lustrous metallic touch. You can also apply a candy paint finish over your bike’s original paint job. The candy finish can be applied on a colored coat similar to a holographic finish. You can also layer a metallic finish under the candy coat to make the color look more luxurious and appealing.

1.5 Regular Paint Job for Refurbishment

Maintaining the paint job is a part of the motorcycle maintenance routine. You may need to add new paint to hide scratches, cracks, or peeling paint, and provide protection from rust and weather. If your motorcycle has been in a minor accident, then a paint job will help cover any dents. Riders who plan to put up their old bikes for sale or want to rent them out through online motorcycle sharing platforms, such as Riders Share and Twisted Road, can consider getting a custom paint job to improve the look and get better business. However, don’t expect high profits by just getting a paint job. You may be able to attract renters or potential buyers, but if the performance of your bike is poor, then even an expensive paint job won’t help matters.

2. Cost Breakdown of a Custom Motorcycle Paint Job

The amount of effort it takes to create a paint job can also affect the cost. For example, if you take a motorcycle in good condition to a painter to get the exhaust painted, you will likely be charged for removing the exhaust system, cleaning it, painting it, and reinstalling it. On the other hand, if you bring a clean exhaust ready to be painted, then it will cost significantly less.

Similarly, getting only one part painted will cost less since less primer, paint, and clear coat has to be applied on a smaller surface area. The time and effort involved in prepping and sanding is also reduced, which then lessens your bill.

A motorcycle’s condition can also affect the price of the paint job. If the part you want to paint has patches of old paint, a glossy coat, rust, deep scratches, etc. The paint job will be more expensive. In short, the more work that has to be done, the more expensive your custom paint job will be.

Custom Motorcycle Paint Job - Cost Breakdown
Full Motorcycle Paint Job $700-$5,000
Cost of Paint Job for Individual Parts
Fairing $300-$800
Fuel Tank $200-$1,000
Engine with Side Covers and Other Parts $500-$1,800
Exhaust $400-$800
Brake Calipers $50-$600
Fenders $50-$200
Side Panels $50-$150
Wheels $300-$700
Shocks $500-$1,500
Chassis/Frame $1,000-$3,000
Note: All the costs mentioned above are a rough estimation and may change depending on the location, artist, condition of the bike, and the quality of paint applied. Maximum prices are included in this table.

3. Why is a Professional Custom Motorcycle Paint Job Expensive?

A professional custom paint job has an industrial grade finish and a long-lasting iridescent effect. Skilled painters put in a lot of hours to prep your bike to ensure the paint will better bond with the surface, you get a smooth texture, and the paint won’t peel or crack when exposed to elements. Plus, professional painters apply the right amount of paint and wet sand the surface to create a smooth finish. Applying graphics and multiple colors on a single motorcycle part requires a certain level of skill. Since painters charge by the hour, the price increases the longer it takes to complete the paint job.

4. How to Save Money on a Custom Motorcycle Paint Job

One way to save money on a custom motorcycle paint is to do it yourself. If you want to enjoy customizing your bike, but don’t have the money for it, read this guide carefully, watch a few videos, and get started. When buying paint, compare and contrast their features and specifications since not all types of paint can be applied to every motorcycle part. Some paints can be applied on metal and plastic parts, but the engine and exhaust require specific paints.

Getting started can seem challenging at first, but if you prepare and sand the surface of your bike patiently, you should achieve a high-grade finish. Painting your motorbike will help you better understand the workings of your two-wheeler. Make sure you wear a safety mask and gloves to protect yourself from chemicals in the paint products. Cover the floor and your workspace to make clean-up afterwards easier. It is also recommended that you buy spare paint to practice your painting skills on a prototype. If you manage to create a decent finish, then you can move on to paint the motorcycle parts. Practicing will prevent the wastage of supplies and help you save money.

DIY Custom Motorcycle Paint Job
Pros Cons
Budget-Friendly Time-Consuming
Fun Project May Not Get the Desired Finish
Improves Painting Skills Requires Frequent Touch-Ups
Resale Value is Increased Challenging Process
You Can Clean Your Entire Motorbike May Need a Mechanic’s Help to Take Apart & Put Together Motorcycle Parts
Boosts Confidence; Allows You to Experiment with Your Bike’s Looks

5. Get Started on a DIY Motorcycle Custom Paint Job

To give your motorcycle a custom paint job, you need the following things:

  • Primer
  • Spray Paint
  • Clear Coat/Flake
  • 400 Grit Sandpaper
  • 800 Grit Sandpaper
  • Degreaser Spray
  • Rust Remover (optional)
  • Scouring Pad (optional)
  • Body Filler (optional)
Paints for DIY Custom Paint Jobs
Paint Type Product Price
Chameleon Paint DupliColor Shift Spray Paint $38.99 - 122 oz spray can
Holographic Paint DupliColor Custom Wrap Effects Color Shift Holographic $40.11 - 11 oz spray can
Solid Color Paint DupliColor Perfect Match Automotive Metallic Paint $19.33 - 8 oz spray can
Heat Resistant Paint for Exhaust PJ1 Fast Black High Heat Paint $17.49 - 12 oz spray can
Paint for Motorcycle Engine VHT Engine Enamel Paint $18.56 - 11 oz spray can
Candy Paint Job Candy Paint Kits by Auto Paint HQ $249.95 - one gallon kit Includes candy pearl base coat and urethane reducer
Regular Paint Job for Refurbishment VHT Roll Bar & Chassis $18.53 - 11 oz spray can

5.1 Steps to Follow

  1. First, sand the parts that you want to paint to create a smooth surface. Spray a degreaser on to remove wax, grease oil, dirt, etc, and then wet and dry sand using 400 grit sandpaper.
  2. If you are painting a metal part, such as an engine, frame, or fuel tank, and there are patches of rust, then spray on the rust remover and scrape off the rust with a scouring pad or 400 grit sandpaper. Otherwise, skip this step for ABS plastic and fiberglass parts.
  3. Sand the motorcycle part with an 800 grit sandpaper to remove gloss or old paint. This step will also help smooth out any rough patches and scratches. You can use dry and wet sanding techniques for this step.
  4. Clean the parts with a lint-free cloth and a degreaser again.
  5. Once the prep is complete, apply 2-3 thin coats of primer and leave it to dry. When painting the engine or the exhaust, always buy a high heat primer with a heat resistance of 1,500-2,000 °F
  6. If you are opting for a chameleon paint job, then apply 2-3 layers of a black base coat once the primer is dry. If you are spraying on a solid color paint scheme, skip this step unless specified in the instructions provided with the paint.
  7. Apply the color coat with an even sweeping motion while keeping the aerosol can at least 7 inches away from the motorcycle. Apply 2-3 or more layers of paint. Make sure you apply thin layers of paint to prevent the formation of ugly thick patches. Leave the paint to dry for 24 hours.
  8. Apply 2-3 layers of clear coat or flake on the painted part. You can get a matte or glossy clear coat to get a desired effect.
  9. Wet sand the clear coat gently to achieve a smooth finish.
  10. Finish by curing the paint based on the provided instructions.

Also Read: How to Paint a Motorcycle Fairing with a Spray Gun

6. Takeaway

The exact cost of a motorcycle custom paint job will vary depending on multiple factors, which is why there is no fixed value for how much motorcycle paint jobs cost. If you only get a single motorcycle part painted, like a fairing or fender, the paint job will be less expensive. If you need a custom paint job to give your bike a new look or get it repaired, the overall cost may be more expensive. Also, there is a big difference in the cost of custom paint jobs if you do it yourself instead of hiring a professional painter.

This guide will help you determine the type of paint job you want and the budget you need for it. It is also recommended you actively research about custom paint jobs. Comparing the prices between paint shops and artists can help you find a better deal. Make sure to check the work of potential painters before entrusting them with your two-wheeler. Often, affordable shops have poorly-skilled painters or use low-quality paint. Stick to solid color or candy paint jobs to keep the prices low as holographic and chameleon paint jobs may cost several thousand dollars if you hire a pro.

Also Read: How to Paint a Motorcycle Gas Tank
                    How to Paint a Motorcycle Frame

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