I vinyl wrapped my Goldwing!
Iwas the owner of a beautiful Black ’99 GL1500 SE with a Hannigan sidecar. Anyone who owns a black bike knows that it’s only black and shiny after you wash it. Take it for a ride and five minutes down the road, it’s dirty again. After six years of doing this, I looked into painting it a lighter color. This idea was quickly dispatched when I took it for an estimate. It was close to $3,000 to paint!
One day while on a ride, I noticed the name of a sign company that also did auto wrapping. I stopped in to see them. They admitted they had never done a bike before. They wanted $40 an hour but had no idea how long it would take. The owner suggested I do it myself. He said, “It’s really not that hard.” He took a small bowl and a scrap-piece of vinyl, handed them to me and said, “Try it.” With a couple of instructions, I was able to do it (sort of). He said, “All it takes is practice.”
I went home and searched the Internet for “vehicle wrapping” and found a bunch of videos. They were very informative. A vinyl supplier sponsored one of them. I contacted them and was able to order 1 yard of vinyl and a few simple tools to get me started. I was anxious for it to arrive so I could try my hand at wrapping. If successful, this was going to be my winter project.
The vinyl arrived. I went out to the garage and removed both side covers and brought them into the house (my garage is not heated). I took over the kitchen table and after a couple of hours of struggling, managed to get them both done. I found the vinyl very forgiving. It can be peeled off and re-adhered a number of times. With a little heat from a hair dryer, it stretched around the corners nicely.
To make a long story short, my bike is now a bright, shiny Ambulance Yellow. The hardest part of the job was removing all the plastic, taking the pieces apart, removing hinges, chrome trim and decals from the pieces. This would have to be done if you were painting as well. Also, as in painting, all surfaces have to be clean and smooth. The slightest blemish will show through. If you ever decide to go back to the original, the vinyl can be peeled off with no damage to the original paint. Keep this in mind if you do any sanding. Total cost of the vinyl and supplies was $400.
I am very pleased with the job I did and especially the color. This spring, its maiden voyage was on a Chapter ride. Since I live out of town, I arranged to meet up with them during the ride. They came around a corner and immediately spotted me parked on the side of the road. They were still almost a mile away! The bike is a real attention getter wherever I go. Cars passing me on the road “beep” and give me a thumbs up. When I park the bike, anyone close by, will come over to look at it. One of the Chapter Members is a part-time spray painter. When he walked around it, he asked me where I had it painted. He was shocked when I told him it was a wrap. If you look closely you can see the seams and small ripples, but just walking around it, it looks like paint. I had a decal made that stretches across the back of the sidecar that says, “Can You See Me Now?”
Edward Lumley, GWRRA #286936, belongs to Chapter ON-H, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada.
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