Vehicle wraps are an increasingly popular way to quickly change the look of cars, trucks, motorcycles, and even scooters.
Wraps are normally vinyl and are applied over the existing paint – meaning they cover blemishes and irregularities in the paint and create a finish that isn’t always achievable with paint.
At the same time, the cost to wrap a motorcycle can be considerable and it isn’t a good option for everyone.
In fact, the average cost to wrap a motorcycle ranges between $200 and $4,500. Here, most costs are associated with labor, because wrapping a motorcycle means removing parts and slowly wrapping the vinyl around them. In addition, higher-end wraps are similar in cost to new paint, which averages $3,000-$5,000.
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How Much Does Wrapping A Motorcycle Cost?*
In most cases, prices for wrapping motorcycles change depending on the motorcycle, your location, and the quality of the wrap. Custom and high-end wraps will also always cost more than something replicating a basic paint job.
The chart below offers cost estimates for non-custom work.
*Please note: these estimates are based on market rates at the time of writing, in December 2022. Rates are subject to change at any time. In addition, these estimates do not take customization or trim into account.
Motorcycle wraps can be very cheap or very expensive and often, materials can significantly impact this cost. For example, a basic vinyl wrap may start at a few dollars per square foot. On the other hand, if you go to chrome wraps or holographic wraps, those costs can exceed $45. Still, costs depend on your bike, the amount of customization, and coverage of the wrap.
In addition, in some cases, you’ll have to choose a material based on your bike. This means that you’ll always have to consider your motorcycle when pricing your material.
|Material||Cost per Square Foot|
When you consider that most bikes require 8-10 square feet of vinyl for a wrap, you can more easily calculate costs. However, bikes vary significantly. For example, some will only require 2-3 square feet. Others might require up to 15.
Cast vinyl is the standard vinyl wrap for motorcycles. This product is affordably priced at $6-$11 per square foot on average. However, costs will vary depending on finish. Most cast vinyl is available in Matte, Gloss, and Chrome. These can go up to $15 per square foot.
In addition, cast vinyl is more durable than calendared vinyl. It’s also more expensive to apply, as it has to be heated to a high temperature in order for it to retain its shape. This means that you can expect to pay more for the vinyl and more for the installation process.
However, many people prefer the higher gloss of cast vinyl. In addition, cast vinyl can retain more details than calendared vinyl.
Calendared vinyl is a “budget” vinyl wrap option. Here, the vinyl is rolled out and flattened in a factory and then superheated. This means that it retains its shape without being superheated on the vehicle. However, it is also more brittle and more prone to cracking. You might also lose some small details if you can’t work the vinyl into those cracks or edges.
Calendared vinyl can cost as little as $4 per square foot.
Most motorcycle wrap options are finishes available on either cast or calendared vinyl. Here, availability will heavily depend on where you buy your wrap.
Matte wraps are the standard “non-gloss” vinyl wrap. They’re available in both calendared and cast vinyl. However, calendared vinyl wraps offer a flatter matte than cast vinyl.
Gloss wraps are shiny and can imitate the look of a pristine paint job or fiberglass panel. These are the most popular choice for many motorcycles. Here, cast wraps offer a better gloss finish than calendared wraps.
Chrome is a glossy metallic vinyl wrap that imitates chrome or another metal color. Chrome is usually mid to high gloss but may also feature 3D texturing or prints. The quality of the print can greatly impact the cost.
Metallic finishes are low to medium gloss vinyl wrap that imitates metal. This can include carbon fiber, gunmetal, or aged chrome. However, in most cases, the primary difference between metallic and chrome finishes is gloss.
Many body shops and specialty stores will offer customized motorcycle wraps. Here, you can select custom graphics, print photos, add logos, add text, or almost anything else you want. This can significantly increase the cost of the print. In addition, it’s crucial that you get a high quality wrap to avoid warping the image during application.
Motorcycle Wrapping Pricing Factors
The cost of wrapping your motorcycle will depend on several factors. These include the cost of the wrap, the cost of labor, any customization, the size of your motorcycle, and the complexity of parts. In addition, you can always expect to pay more for customized wraps, simply because you’ll need more care to put them on.
Type of Material
Material costs can be a significant part of the cost of wrapping your bike. Here, major costs will depend on customization and on actual material.
Cast vinyl is the de facto for wrapping motorcycles. With prices starting at around $6 per square foot, high gloss, and good durability, it’s the best value for money for most bikes. It also works well on flat and curved surfaces, providing those surfaces aren’t too large.
Cast Vinyl also comes in every finish option, although you won’t be able to get it printed as cheaply.
Wrap Film Material
Wrap film material or calendared vinyl is cheaper, easier to print, and cheaper to install than cast vinyl. However, it is also less durable and doesn’t have as high of a gloss. This makes it a good solution if you’re looking for a budget wrap. However, you may have to re-do the wrap sooner than if you chose a different material.
Real Silver and Gold
Vinyl wraps with thin coatings of metal such as silver or gold are increasingly popular. Silver and gold are thin and flexible enough to easily apply to a motorcycle. This means you can put a genuine silver or gold finish on the bike. However, costs can be very high. In addition, these foils are easy to scratch and not as durable as vinyl without the coating. Often, you can expect rates to start at around $30 per square foot.
Size of the Motorcycle
The “average” motorcycle needs about 8-10 square feet of vinyl wrap. However, motorcycles vary a lot in size and in paneling. In some cases, you might need as little as 2 square feet to wrap the motorcycle. In other cases, your motorcycle might feature a full fiberglass wraparound, meaning you might need 20 square feet or more.
For this reason, most wrapping and body shops will not offer you a quote without knowing which make and model of motorcycle you have.
Full Wrap vs. Partial Wrap
You can choose to wrap your full motorcycle including the body panels and the frame. However, you might choose to wrap only part of the bike. For example, if you want to give your bike a new look, opting for a frame-only wrap can be a cheap way to change the look. Or, you can wrap some of the paneling to add contrast and color. In fact, if you have a detachable panel on your motorcycle, you can wrap that panel individually. This means you’ll have a lot of options for customization, especially on many motorbikes.
However, the larger the surface area of the motorcycle that you choose to wrap, the more it will cost. Most wrapping specialists state that rates for a frame wrap normally start out at around $200.
Local Labor Costs
Body shops and motorcycle wrap technicians can charge extremely varied rates for their work. Often, this is a specialty job with high demand. This means labor rates are expensive. In fact, you can expect to pay anywhere from $45-$210 per hour for labor.
Here, most wrap jobs will take 4-6 hours. However, if you have a complex job with trim, want to use different colors, or want to use custom graphics, that could take more time.
Complexity of the Motorcycle
The more paneling you have on your motorcycle, the more wrapping it will cost. In addition, more trim will also increase costs. That’s especially true if you want to wrap trim separately. This means that every motorcycle will have a different cost to wrap, often based on how many small parts it has. Accessibility of the frame and other parts you intend to wrap will also impact costs.
Wrapping a motorcycle normally requires significant preparatory work to ensure that the vinyl will stick to the old paint. Here, the largest consideration is sanding out any bumps, cracks, or raises, which could show through and ruin the finish on the vinyl.
This means that if you have a cracked, blistered, or rusted paint job on your motorcycle, you’ll have to pay to sand that off and maybe even fill gaps before your bike can be wrapped. Depending on the body shop, costs can be high.
If your bike is in pristine condition and you mostly just want to change the look, you could spend as much as half on the cost of your motorcycle wrap. On the other hand, if your motorcycle’s paint job and body are in bad shape, you’ll likely spend near the upper ranges of our cost estimates.
Wrapping vs. Painting Your Motorcycle
Wrapping is often considered a cheaper alternative to painting a motorcycle. In some cases, that’s true. In other cases, it depends on what you’re looking for and the complexity of the design.
Vinyl wraps normally offer a considerably higher gloss than paint in lower budget ranges. In addition, achieving high gloss on a motorcycle with paint normally means paying for a high-end paint job. That means several layers of paint and then several more layers of clear coat on the top. So, you can normally expect to pay $2,500+ for a high gloss paint job.
Paint is significantly more durable than vinyl wraps under some conditions and significantly less so under other conditions. Here, paint is more durable. If you take care of a good paintjob, you can expect it to last about 10 years. On the other hand, you can expect a good vinyl wrap to last about 5 years.
In addition, both paint and vinyl are vulnerable to heat damage. However, vinyl will melt faster. Paint scratches more easily in case of an accident, but vinyl is more difficult to repair rather than having to replace the full thing.
Both paint and vinyl wraps can be significantly customized, down to putting photorealistic images on your bike. In most cases, vinyl wraps will be cheaper to customize than paint. However, in each case, if you want a custom look or graphics, you can expect costs to be above $2,000-$3,000.
A good paint job from a professional body shop can increase the value of your motorcycle. That usually isn’t the case with a vinyl wrap. However, if you just want to cover up old paint to create a like-new look, your vinyl wrap won’t negatively impact value in any way.
In most cases, it will be cheaper to get a vinyl wrap than a paint job with a comparable look. For example, if you want a simple matte finish, you might find that paint is cheaper. On the other hand, high gloss wraps can be as little as half the cost of a high gloss paint job. If you’re worried about costs, it’s a good idea to compare options and get quotes for both from your local body shop.
DIY: Wrapping A Motorcycle Yourself
Wrapping a motorcycle is a time-consuming process that requires a steady hand, a good heat gun, and patience. However, with some practice, you can apply it yourself. In most cases, you should set aside about 6-8 hours to wrap your bike. In addition, you should buy extra material, so you can mess up a few times, take it off, and fix it for a more professional look. In this case, it’s better to spend a bit more on materials cost and still get a good result.
- Gather Materials – You’ll need a heat gun, isopropyl alcohol, squeegee, cloth, utility knife, and your vinyl sheets.
- Remove Panels – Remove panels from your bike and set them aside. You’ll want to organize them by color you want to wrap them in
- Clean the Parts – Clean the parts you’ll be wrapping, including the frame where relevant. Vacuum the area, wipe the surfaces down with isopropyl alcohol, and then wipe your parts down with isopropyl alcohol.
- Choose a Wrapping Method – Either pre-cut your vinyl pieces or cut them after wrapping the part. Most professionals choose the latter. However, you’ll have to wrap around a large amount of extra vinyl. This can make working more difficult but will reduce waste.
- Wrap the Vinyl – Start with a few pieces to practice and only keep them if you’re happy with the result. Stretch the vinyl on the part. Then, remove the backing panel and stretch it out and then apply it along the flattest part of the panel. Make sure you have overlap to go under the part. Then, fasten the panel or have someone hold it for you. Stretch the vinyl part and slowly remove the backing panel to allow the adhesion to stick. Keep the vinyl taut and use a squeegee to keep it smooth as you go.
- Use a Heat Gun – Use a heat gun to improve the stretch and to ensure you can press the vinyl into cracks and grooves. Make sure you keep the heat low. If your fingers are burning, the vinyl is too. Try to keep the heat under 180°F to avoid activating the glue.
- Check for Bubbles – If you have bubbles, use a pin to prick the center. Then, use a squeegee to smooth the vinyl down. If the vinyl still comes up easily, you can raise it and work the bubbles out that way. However, you should never put pressure on the vinyl, as it could cause the vinyl to burst.
- Wrap the Edges – Wrap the edges around the underside of the panels. Normally you want at least an inch of overlap. Smooth the edges down and then trim the excess vinyl off.
- Heat Seal the Wrap – Once you’re happy with the panel, set a heat gun to 180°F and heat the panel. This will activate the glue, so the wrap adheres to the panel.
In most cases, applying a vinyl wrap on your own will require considerable time and patience. However, it can also make wrapping your motorcycle extremely cost-effective. And, unlike with paint, you can get a professional result without professional tools.
If you’d like to change the look of your motorcycle, a wrap can be a cost-effective and beautiful option. However, professional labor rates can mean that wrapping your motorcycle is about the same cost as painting it. In other cases, you can get motorcycle wraps for as little as a few hundred dollars. Therefore, it’s important to decide what you want, to research local costs, and to decide based on that data.
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