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Vinyl Wrap Vs Paint Job: Pros and Cons

Vinyl Wrap Vs Paint Job: Pros and Cons

There are several creative ways to customize your motorcycle. Painting is one way to customize your motorcycle. However, it can be expensive depending on the type of paint job. A custom paint job is the most complex and expensive version as it involves adding multiple designs and graphics to the motorcycle’s frame. You can also opt for regular and DIY (Do It Yourself) paint jobs if you are on a tight budget.

Vinyl wrapping is another way to customize your motorcycle as they are available in various designs and styles. It is a cheap and safe method as the wrappings can be removed easily. Read this article to learn the differences, pros, and cons between vinyl wraps and paint jobs.

1. History

Originally, motorcycle customization was only limited to sports bikes. However, in the 1990s, the trend of customizing motorcycles became commercialized after companies started promoting customization for branding. Vinyl wrapping was also introduced along with several other technological advancements, becoming a staple of motorcycle culture in the 2000s.

2. Vinyl Wrap Vs Paint Job

Vinyl wrap is the newer way to transform your motorcycle’s look by adding single or multiple layers of vinyl wrap on the frame. You can use simple or fully-customized vinyl wraps based on your preferences. It is also your choice whether to wrap the whole motorcycle or only certain parts.

However, it is also possible to customize your motorcycle by painting it. It was the original and only method before the vinyl wrap was introduced. Painting a motorcycle is still a popular option among custom builders and older riders due to being more durable.

3. Vinyl Wrap Vs Paint Job: Pros and Cons

3.1 Vinyl Wrap Pros

Various Customization Options

Motorcycle wraps are available in different colors and designs, ensuring plenty of customization options. You can also use vinyl decals to only cover certain parts.

Better Protection

Motorcycle vinyl wrap adds an extra layer to your motorcycle’s frame that better protects it from scratching and corrosion.

Quick and Easy Installation

Vinyl motorcycle wraps require less time to install and can be added to your motorcycle at almost any place, such as your backyard, garage, etc.


Vinyl motorcycle wrap is highly flexible, making it easier to remove or adjust its position if you want to change your motorcycle’s look.

Easy to Maintain

Vinyl motorcycle wrap is easier to maintain as it only requires warm water and a microfiber cloth to clean.


Motorcycle wrapping is cheaper due to requiring fewer steps, less time, and less effort.

Easy Removal

Vinyl motorcycle wraps are easy to remove without damaging your motorcycle’s paint. Depending on your preferences, vinyl wrapping can be temporary or long-lasting.

Environmentally Friendly

Vinyl motorcycle wraps are environmentally friendly as they do not contain harmful chemicals.

3.2 Vinyl Wrap Cons

Less Durable

Vinyl motorcycle wraps are less durable and do not last long. Depending on the manufacturer, a motorcycle wrap can last between 5-10 years. However, if you do not take proper care of the wrap, it can peel off within a year or two.

Can Damage the Paint

Vinyl wraps are easy to install but require careful attention to detail. If it is not installed properly, wrinkles can form that can damage the paint. Poor installation can also leave marks and scratches on motorcycle parts.


Moisture can enter the vinyl wrap through corners, edges, or small openings and can cause corrosion which can damage motorcycle parts and paint.

Limited Application

Vinyl wrapping is only good for customization. It cannot restore a motorcycle’s original paint job.

Rough Edges

Motorcycle wraps do not provide a smooth finish as it often has rough edges after application.

3.3 Motorcycle Paint Job Pros

Better Finish and Gloss

Painting a motorcycle ensures a better finish if done professionally. Modern paint equipment, including the sanding machine, primer, spray paints, metal flakes, grease remover, paint stripper, and clear glamor, provides a high-quality gloss and smooth finish.


A motorcycle paint job can be long-lasting and durable if you apply good-quality primer, paint, and a clear coat.

Better Resale Value

Painting a motorcycle can improve its resale value if it improves its aesthetics. However, it depends on the quality of the motorcycle paint job. A personalized-themed custom paint job on a motorcycle, including a character, a quote, or a form of personal art can result in a decrease in the motorcycle’s resale value.


Hiring a professional motorcycle painter for a custom paint job can ensure better precision and a flawless finish.

Opportunity to Learn a New Skill

Painting a motorcycle is a great opportunity to learn a new skill. If you become experienced enough, you can paint other people’s motorcycles to earn money on the side.

3.4 Motorcycle Paint Job Cons


Painting a motorcycle is a time-consuming process. Depending on the type of motorcycle paint, designs, and graphics, a custom motorcycle paint job can take almost 7-20 days. There are multiple steps, preparations, and coats of paint involved when painting a motorcycle, plus you have to wait for several minutes between applying each coat of primer, paint, and clear glamor.


Painting a motorcycle can be expensive and the costs can go up depending on the type of paint job you want. A custom paint job is the most expensive option as it involves complex designs and requires precision. For a custom paint job, you may have to hire a professional motorcycle painter if you do not want your motorcycle to lose its value. Even a DIY (Do It Yourself) paint job can be expensive if you are new to motorcycling and lack the necessary equipment.

No Room for Mistakes

While painting a motorcycle, there is no room for mistakes. Even the smallest mistake during the paint job will require you to repeat the process from scratch.

Require a Separate Workspace

Painting a motorcycle requires using spray paints that contain harmful chemicals. Therefore, you need a separate workspace or a paint booth to paint a motorcycle. The walls and floor must be covered with plastic to prevent paint from getting everywhere.

Require Several Tools and Products

You can save money on a motorcycle paint job by doing it yourself. However, if you haven’t painted your motorcycle before, you will need to buy several tools and products, including a spray gun, air compressor, air blower, sanding machine, respirator, paint, primer, and much more.

Note: Buying cheaper products will cause the finish and durability of the paint job to degrade.

Greater Risk

Being a manual job involving several steps, you have to rely completely on a painter’s skills. You will have to keep the motorcycle parts safe from external elements during the painting process as it can risk the quality and finish of the paint. If you are painting your motorcycle by yourself (DIY paint job), you must be vigilant and perform every step perfectly.

4. How to Maintain a Vinyl Motorcycle Wrap

  • Store your motorcycle in a garage to avoid constant exposure to sunlight.
  • Keep your motorcycle covered to protect it from rain and sand.
  • Do not use a hard brush or pressure washer since it can cause the vinyl wrap to deteriorate and peel off.
  • Do not use solutions with reactive chemicals to clean the vinyl wrap.

5. How to Make a Motorcycle Paint Job Last Longer?

  • Cover the motorcycle paint to protect it from moisture and heat.
  • After washing the motorcycle, dry it properly using a microfiber cloth or air blower to avoid rusting.

6. Cost: Vinyl Wrap Vs Paint Job

The cost of a motorcycle paint job can vary depending on what type of paint job it is. For example, a regular/standard paint job can cost between $450-$2,000. A DIY paint job can cost between $100-$450. A normal custom paint job can cost between $1,000-$3,000. However, a unique custom paint job can cost between $10,000-$30,000. Meanwhile, a vinyl motorcycle wrap can cost you between $700,-$1,500.

7. Final Words

A vinyl wrap and paint job are good ways of customizing your motorcycle. However, how you want to customize your motorcycle depends on your preferences. If you want quick and easy customization, vinyl wrapping provides affordable options to decorate your motorcycle. However, if you want a better, durable, and smooth glossy finish, painting a motorcycle is the best option. Despite being the more expensive option, you can learn a new skill and use it to earn money by painting motorcycles for other riders.

Vinyl motorcycle wrapping only hides the imperfections, dents, and rust on the motorcycle parts. However, in a motorcycle paint job, the painter has to fix the imperfections and then paint the motorcycle parts.

If you want to improve the aesthetics and performance of your motorcycle, you can install sissy bars, fairings, crash bars, handlebars, and backrests available at Viking Bags. You can also visit Viking Bags if you are looking for good-quality motorcycle luggage bags, including sissy bar bags, motorcycle trunk bags, and saddlebags.

Reading next

How to Paint a Motorcycle Fairing Using a Rattle Can
How to Maintain Your Motorcycle’s Shine

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