What Kind Of Paint Do You Use On A Motorcycle?

Andrew Roberts

Andrew Roberts

As an ardent rider with years of experience, I’ve had the pleasure of refurbishing, customizing, and yes – repainting several bikes over the years. One question I often get from bike enthusiasts, novice or seasoned, is: “What kind of paint do you use on a motorcycle?” Let’s get down to it.

The choice of paint for your motorcycle depends largely on the look you want to achieve, your budget, and how much effort you’re willing to invest in the process. From my personal experience, there are three primary types of paint that are most commonly used: urethane, acrylic, and lacquer. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, and it’s essential to understand these before making a choice.

Choosing the Right Paint for Your Motorcycle: An Experienced Rider’s Guide

1. Urethane Paints

Urethane paints are often the go-to choice for many bike enthusiasts, myself included. This type of paint offers a great balance of affordability, durability, and aesthetics. Urethane is resistant to chipping and fading, so it will stay looking fresh even under the harsh sunlight and the rigors of the road. It’s also resistant to chemicals, including gasoline and oil, which is a significant advantage for any motorcycle paint.

However, urethane paints can be somewhat challenging to work with, especially for beginners. They require a multi-step process of applying a primer, base coat, and then a clear coat. But trust me, the effort pays off in the end.

2. Acrylic Paints

Acrylic paints are another good choice. They are usually easy to apply, quick to dry, and offer a wide range of colors and finishes. Acrylic enamel paint is tougher and more durable, but it requires a clear coat to achieve that high gloss finish we all love. Acrylic lacquer paint, on the other hand, gives a high gloss finish without a clear coat but isn’t as durable.

While acrylic paints are generally cheaper than urethane, they don’t offer the same level of resistance to chemicals and weather. So if you choose acrylic, be prepared for more frequent touch-ups.

3. Lacquer Paints

Last but not least, there are lacquer paints. Lacquer was the standard for motorcycle and automotive paint for many years, and it still has a loyal following. It’s easy to apply and gives a deep, glossy shine that many riders find irresistible.

However, lacquer paints have their downsides. They’re not very durable or chemical-resistant, and they’re notorious for ‘crazing’ – developing a network of tiny cracks over time. They’re also less environmentally friendly than urethane or acrylic paints, as they have higher levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

From my experience, if you want a paint that’s easy to work with and gives a great shine without a lot of effort, and you’re willing to put in the time for maintenance, then lacquer could be a good choice.

4. Choosing The Best Paint for Your Motorcycle

When choosing the type of paint for your motorcycle, consider your skill level, budget, the time you can dedicate to the project, and the conditions your bike will be exposed to.

If you’re a DIY beginner, acrylic might be the best option. If you want durability and longevity, go for urethane. And if you want a deep, glossy finish and don’t mind regular touch-ups, lacquer could be the right choice.

Remember, prepping your bike properly is just as important as choosing the right type of paint. This means cleaning it thoroughly, sanding down the old paint, and applying primer before you start painting.

To conclude, painting a motorcycle is an art, and just like every artist has a preferred medium, every motorcyclist might have a preferred paint. With time, you’ll discover what works best for you and your bike. So get out there, get painting, and remember – the road is waiting!


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