How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Motorcycle?

Written by: Staff
Last Updated:  August 7, 2018

For some bike owners, painting your motorcycle may be an option if you want to add a personalized touch, replace the color altogether or touch it up to make it look new again.

LAVERDA 750. ITALIAN FOUR STROKE TWIN.19 by ronsaunders47, on Flickr
LAVERDA 750. ITALIAN FOUR STROKE TWIN.19” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by ronsaunders47

How much does it cost to paint a motorcycle?

On average, the cost to paint a motorcycle will depend on the bike, the type of paint job, the quality of the parts being painted, if there is damage, the complexity and the professional doing the job.  For a regular paint job, the costs will usually be within the $500 to $3,000 or more; however, the sky is the limit if you want personal touches from a reputable painter.  This will all be dependent on the volume of work that needs to be done.  Understand that painting a motorcycle is only a part of the process as most of the work goes into sanding the old paint off the tiny body parts and prepping the bodywork.  Also, keep in mind factory-based finishes will always be cheaper than a custom job.

A simple one-tone job can be in the $500 to $800 range, while a two-tone job can be double this.  Add in graphics and/or custom airbrush work and the costs can double yet again.

One member on Reddit claimed he paid $600 to get his fairings primed and painted with factory paint.  This also included some body work and Suzuki paint.

True Kustom lists prices on its website and says a standard custom job can cost $1,800 for a softtail style bike and $3,000 for baggers bikes.  This job will include a base color change, adding flames and/or graphics.

Some people opt to have just the gas tank painted, and this can commonly be done for $350 to close to $800 or more.

Painting a motorcycle overview

A painter can quote you in two ways: either by the whole bike or by the parts.  If by the parts, the motorcycle will have its tank, side panels, front and/or rear fender painted.  While not uncommon, some motorcycle owners often have certain parts painted because it either worn out or the designed needs to be altered.

The average motorcycle painting process will require disassembling the parts down to the bare frame, followed by stripping the paint from any surface.  Once stripped, any repairs will be made, if any are noticed.  This could include rust, dings, chips or dents.  Next, all parts will be primed, dried, and once dried, the parts will be painted.  If any additional colors, graphics or details need to be added, this will be done shortly after the paint dried.

What are the extra costs?

Prior body damage, such as scrapes, chips, dings and cracks, can add to the cost if it needs to be fixed.

Some shops will charge an additional $300 to $1,000 to dis-assemble and re-assemble the bike.

Airbrush work may be available at some shops and can either be charged by the job or by the hour.  Most custom graphics will start at $250 and go up from there.  True Kustom, the company we mentioned above, for example, said a basic skull on one side of the tank could cost $500.

Freight charges can apply to those who want to ship their bike to the shop.

Removing powder coating, due to the time it takes, can increase the labor cost by up to 30 percent.

Most shops will want at least one to two weeks to paint and up to 10 weeks if it needs to cure, but if you want to expedite the process, some shops may be willing to at a fee.

Replacing or repainting emblems to look like new again can be an additional cost.

Hand buffing, instead of using a machine, can be done at some shops for a fee.

Basic motorcycle paint kits

How can I save money?

Ask around and talk to a few shops in your area to see what they can do for you.  If you’re on a strict budget, let them know what you can afford and most should be able to work with you as long as it’s within a reasonable range.

If you have the time, painting a bike isn’t as hard as you think.  If you’re tight on a budget, it is doable and most supplies can be purchased for less than $150.  This will depend on the bike you have and the design you want.  For example, a Harley Davidson will be much more than a Suzuki bike.

Some shops may offer a discount if you were to disassemble the parts and bring them into the shop.

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