How to repaint your motorcycle

This aspect of motorcycle maintenance is a delicate task that requires quite a bit of logistics. It's recommended to call a body shop. However, we will explain step by step how to redo your motorcycle paint, the application of motorcycle paint and the finishing touches.

Check out some cool Motorcycle ART work here

Has the bodywork of your motorcycle lost its shine? Do you want to give it a facelift? Or maybe you are tired of the original color and would like to give it a different look, with a special effect paint for example? And you want to do it yourself?

Steps to redo your motorcycle paint

Before starting this tutorial, there are two main types of paints available for this job today: first, the classic paints that will match the original color of the motorcycle. To order this type of product, you just have to tell your store the color of the manufacturer. Second, motorcycle paints with special effects are available. These top-of-the-line products are very special because of their quality and the amazing effect they produce. Among these special effect motorcycle paints are chrome effects, rust effects, diamond pearl effects and color change effects.

Under what conditions should I paint my motorcycle?

Painting in a spray booth is recommended for two reasons: to protect the painter by ensuring that the air is renewed and filtered, and to protect the bodywork by removing any paint residue that may be deposited on the motorcycle. If you can't install a paint booth, make sure to work in a well-ventilated place, at a distance from any person, and at a temperate temperature. Also, it is important to spray water on the walls and floors to attract dust. Whether or not you have a paint booth, it is important to protect yourself with an antistatic suit, gloves and a mask with a filter cartridge, to protect yourself from the harmful effects of motorcycle paint.

The preparation of the bodywork

The preparation of the bodywork is done in two phases: first, we will disassemble the parts we're going to paint, and carefully protect the areas that we do not want to paint with adhesive tape. Then, we will proceed to the sanding that will eliminate the small defects and to improve the adherence of the motorcycle paint to the support. We start "wet-sanding" with water proof paper that is designed to be immersed in water to reduce both heat and dust generated. This will give a much nicer and smoother finish. The grade of the paper is gradually increased in order to deepen the sanding without scratching the bodywork. You may start with 240 or 320 or 400 paper depending on the condition of the surface, and finish with 600 or even better 1000.

The application of the motorcycle paint

Restoring a motorcycle's paint job may require the application of two non-compulsory undercoats: first, a primer if the part is bare, in other words if the steel is not already painted as on most motorcycle models today, or if the sanding has gone all the way to bare metal in a number of spots. Secondly, a surfacer (or primer) that will remedy any small defects that may appear. Then comes the application of the paint, solvent or water based, which will have been mixed with the supplied thinner to obtain an optimal fluidity. Always apply the paint in a thin layer. You will need multiple coats to get a good finish. Read the instructions for recoat times and follow carefully.

Finishing touches

Among the finishes, there is the clearcoat which must be applied before the last coat of motorcycle paint dries. The clearcoat is applied immediately after the paint is applied because the paint dries in only 30 minutes. The clearcoat is meant to give the motorcycle bodywork a shine and sparkle. But it is the most complex operation because it can lead to major imperfections in certain circumstances: matte color (not enough clearcoat), dull color (too much humidity), drips (too much material), orange peel effect (atmosphere too hot, hardener too strong), dirt (not clean enough environment), bubbles (presence of air in the compressor or tube). It is therefore important to prevent all these situations. In addition, airbrushes offer many possibilities for decorating your motorcycle to give it uniqueness and personality.

You can continue reading by checking out this additional article: How to apply motorcycle paint?


Member login


Thinking about traveling? Not sure about the whole thing? Watch the HU Achievable Dream Video Trailers and then get ALL the information you need to get inspired and learn how to travel anywhere in the world!

Have YOU ever wondered who has ridden around the world? We did too - and now here's the list of Circumnavigators!
Check it out now
, and add your information if we didn't find you.

Are you an Overland Adventure Traveller?

Does the smell of spices wafting through the air make you think of Zanzibar, a cacophony of honking horns is Cairo, or a swirl of brilliantly patterned clothing Guatemala? Then this is the site for you!
Hosted by Grant and Susan Johnson, RTW 1987-1998

Next HU Eventscalendar

HU Event and other updates on the HUBB Forum "Traveller's Advisories" thread.
ALL Dates subject to change.



  • Queensland is back! Date TBC - May?

Add yourself to the Updates List for each event!

Questions about an event? Ask here

HUBBUK: info

See all event details


HU Achievable Dream is Online
and available now to stream on Vimeo!

ALL 15 chapters of the HU Achievable Dream Guide are available to download on Vimeo!

Achievable Dream - The Whole Enchilada!

Binge watch over 18 hours of inspiring, informative and entertaining stories and tips from 150 travellers!

"a cross between entertaining stories, tech tips, and reference guide"

"A timeless introduction to Motorcycle Adventure Travel!"

Originally launched as a 7 DVD set, The Achievable Dream series can now be downloaded anywhere. OVER 18 hours of solid info take up zero space in your panniers. How convenient!



All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.
NOTE: As an Amazon Affiliate we earn from qualifying purchases - thanks for your help supporting HU when you start from an HU Amazon link!