How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Motorcycle?

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Every motorcycle owner is proud of their motorcycle, and wants it to be unique in its style.

Painting it can be a great way to express or to display your style on the motorcycle.

You can completely customize the paint job too.

In this article, we shall discuss the following topics:

How much does it cost to paint a motorcycle?

This is a tricky question and depends on:

  • Where you are living.
  • They type of bike you have.
  • The type of paint job you want.
  • How you plan to paint the bike.

Obviously, custom painting by a professional artist will cost you the highest.

The actual cost can be from $1,000 to $5,000 and the cost can go up drastically if you want the services of the top-rated custom motorcycle painter.

Also when you get a quote for custom painting, it may be a custom painting of a few parts of the motorcycle like the gas tank and fenders, and not of the complete motorcycle.

When you inquire about custom painting, be clear about you’re looking for.

Painting at your local automobile paint shop can cost you from around $500 to $2,500 or more.

If you decide to do the painting yourself, the cost will come down drastically.

Assuming that you have the basic equipment (spray gun, compressed air, tape etc.) for painting, you need to spend for only paint, primer, and consumables. This can usually range from about $150 to $500 USD, depending on the choice of the paint.

Also, the cost of painting depends on how much painting is to be done. Will you be doing a full paint job including the frame or only selected parts like a custom paint job for the tank?

When to Paint your Motorcycle

The answer to the question ‘when’ partially depends on you and your passion.

For a normal person, it is natural to think of getting his/her motorcycle painted after using it for several years (maybe 7-8 years and the painting has faded).

Or if the motorcycle is damaged in an accident.

Or if you have purchased a used motorcycle and want to bring it back to life.

However, if you are a person of passion and style, you may not like the look of your brand new motorcycle, and want it custom (at least some major parts like gasoline tank) to express your style.

Why Paint Your Motorcycle

The answer to the question ‘why you should paint your motorcycle?’ can be many:

  • Your motorcycle has become old and out of style. You can get your motorcycle painted to bring it back to style in line with the latest trends or what you like.
  • You have purchased a used motorcycle and want to bring it back to life. Nobody feels good about riding a motorcycle full of scratches, and worn-out paint, even if the motorcycle is in good running condition. Painting an old motorcycle to your style and personality makes you feel better when you ride it.

Also, a well maintained and good looking motorcycle fetches you a good price if you decide to sell it off and go for a new motorcycle.

Options for Painting a Motorcycle

There are three basic ways to get your motorcycle painted.

  • Custom Paint Job
  • Basic painting at your local automobile paint shop.
  • DIY paint job.

1. Custom Paint Job

A custom paint job will often yield the best results.

However, be prepared with your wallet as this is not a cheap option.

A custom paint job is the perfect way to make your motorcycle turn heads.

Along with being expensive, custom painting also takes time.

A portion of the overall cost covers removing the existing paint, removing dents/imperfections, prepping the surface, and applying primer.

If you want to save some money, you can do this basic prep work yourself and negotiate with the professional painter for a price reduction.

Remember that a good custom painter is basically an artist who can transfer your ideas and passion into reality.

Before zeroing on a particular person for the custom painting of your motorcycle, ask the person to show the photos of his or her previous work to make sure their style is what you’re looking for.

The professional painter may have software to show how your motorcycle will look before they get started. You may view it, and modify it if necessary before the actual painting is done.

2. Local Motorcycle Paint Shop

There is usually an automotive paint shop in every town, including yours.

The painting work done at your local garage meets the basic requirement of painting.

It makes your motorcycle looks better, and protects the motorcycle parts from rust and corrosion. Don’t expect a full custom job though.

The work that precedes the painting including removing the existing paint using sandpaper, removing the dents if any, applying the primer (base for painting), making the surface smooth by applying filler paste, etc. will consume time and labor and costs money.

Doing this preparation work becomes easier if you can dismantle the parts to be painted.

You can offer to assist the painter by dismantling all the parts of the motorcycle to be painted, do the preparation work, and assembling it back after painting, to save money.

3. DIY Motorcycle Paint Job

Painting your motorcycle yourself is an easy way to save money, but it is not easy. If you want to learn new things and have the patience and interest to do it, go for it!

You will need:

  • A well-ventilated, dust-free area to prepare for painting and the actual painting.
  • (A spray gun.
  • Compressed air and the proper hose connections.
  • Sandpaper to remove the existing paint.
  • Primer.
  • Finish paint.
  • Clear coat.

If you have a sander machine, you can use it for removing the existing paint. You can also try a paint remover to remove the existing paint if necessary.

Painting is easier if you can dismantle as many parts as possible including the fuel tank, side covers, etc.

Take photos at every stage, and it guides you when you are putting back the parts on your motorcycle.

Steps to paint your motorcycle include:

  • Select an open area or a place with good ventilation and a fan.
  • Wear your safety goggles, face mask, hand gloves, and shoes.
  • Dismantle all the parts to be painted.
  • Remove the existing paint from the parts using rough grade sandpapers, sander, or a paint remover.
  • Check for surface dents and correct them with Bondo or body filler.
  • Clean the surfaces to be painted with kerosene and wipe them dry and clean.
  • Apply two thin coats of good quality primer and allow it to dry.
  • Cover the areas not to be painted with tape and masking paper.
  • Use the spray gun to paint with the color of your choice.

Paints are mixed with the thinner in a proportion advised by the manufacturer, read the instructions on the paintbox before using it. (If you are painting for the first time with a spray gun, do some trial painting on scrap pieces and learn how to use the spray gun).

There will be a lot of painting fumes and it is not healthy to inhale them. Wear safety gear. Remember, paints are flammable. Use the fan and full ventilation if you are working inside.

Painting Small Areas (Repair Jobs & Touch Ups)

If you think that your motorcycle is good except for one or two parts (like fender or side panels), you can think of painting only those selected parts.

This will be a cheaper option (whether you do it at your local garage or DIY).

However, one thing can be sure, it may not look very good, since the shades of old and newly painted parts will not match.

A freshly painted motorcycle is a great upgrade, and an excellent finish to any motorcycle project.