Getting your motorcycle painted can be pretty expensive; a professional job can cost anywhere from $500 to $8000.
It depends on
- How many parts need painting
- Type of painting
- How technical the job is
- How easy it is
- Whether the bike needs to be stripped
You can paint your motorcycle yourself with pretty good results, which will bring the costs down to below $500. However, this will all depend on your technical ability and the level of quality that you desire for the finished product.
Let’s get into it.
Factors that affect the cost of painting your motorcycle
There are some main factors that affect the costs when it comes to painting your bike, and it is essential to consider these before you jump in head first.
Type of motorcycle
The type of bike you want painting is important as some require more work than others to get the job done right.
Sportsbikes are typically more covered in plastic fairings, and presuming you want it all to match up, there is a greater surface that will need painting.
Cruisers like Harley Davidsons have fewer parts that can be painted and are more exposed, so you will look more at having just the tank, fenders, and battery covers done.
Therefore, the Harley should cost less than something like a Honda Fireblade to be fully painted.
Some people want the wheels sprayed, the frame sprayed, engine covers, etc., so sometimes even a pretty stripped-back bobber can cost a small fortune to paint due to the work involved.
Complexity of the job
If you have a full respray done, including graphics and a custom design, this will cost more than just a one-color spray.
Equally, an intricate design on your tank with imagery will set you back a lot more money than a two-tone paint scheme with pinstriping.
If you opt for a one-color spray, even whether you want it to match the manufacturer’s specs for the color will likely impact the price of the paint.
Sometimes painters will opt to cover bits of the bike that aren’t being sprayed; other times, the bike will need to be stripped to do a good job.
If the bike’s plastics need stripping and the parts need spraying individually, this is likely to cost more as it is labor intensive.
Type of paint and method
Paint on motorcycles is thicker and more durable than on other motor vehicles. As a result, it is a bit more expensive.
It can take several thin coats followed by a higher-gloss finish to achieve professional-looking paintwork on a motorcycle. This requires a lot of paint and can be costly.
Air-brushing is the most common method for painting motorcycles, resulting in a seamless finish.
This requires specialist equipment for the job to be done professionally.
Some fantastic airbrush artists create works of art on motorcycle tanks, but they charge a premium.
In the 80s, acrylic/oil paints were used on motorcycle tanks depicting imagery. This was common practice in the chopper scene. It was an inexpensive way of customizing your custom bike. However, this method is not particularly durable.
Doing it yourself vs. paying a professional
You could choose to paint your motorcycle yourself instead of paying a professional.
However, you must be sure you know what you are doing and can do the task.
It is very easy to spot a DIY paint job if the person hasn’t taken the time to do things properly.
You also need to weigh the options of the cost of materials and paint good enough to do a decent job vs. just paying someone else.
You will need things like an air compressor, paint, masks, a space to work, air-brush kit, and you will want to invest in quality tools; otherwise, the outcome will be disappointing.
Most importantly, if embarking on the task, you need lots of patience. You need to take your time to research, and while painting, patience will be your best friend as you wait for the paint to dry between coats.
A professional will likely be more expensive, but you may find the convenience worth paying for.
Painting vs. Wrapping
An alternative to painting your motorcycle is to have it wrapped.
Wrapping is cheaper and a way to customize your bike that isn’t permanent.
Painting your bike is a permanent job unless you later decide to have it resprayed. With a motorcycle wrap, you can simply peel the wrap off when you are sick of it.
Quite often, when a bike is painted in a custom fashion, it will cost a lot of money, but as it is a personal preference and design, it doesn’t offer much extra value when it comes to resale.
The benefit of a wrap is that you can display your personality but turn the bike back to stock quickly for resale.
Check out our post here if you want to know how much it costs to wrap your motorcycle.
Painting your motorcycle can be super satisfying. It can give old bikes a new lease on life, it can be a great way to display your style, and if your bike has been in a fight with the road, then a respray will get it back to feeling brand new again.
Just be sure to do your research, compare prices from a few different painters, and if confident, weigh the costs of doing it yourself!