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Painting a Persona: Tips for Choosing a Color & Graphic Scheme for Your Motorcycle

If you are restoring your motorcycle, or need to repaint it because of an accident, you have before you an open canvas. Your motorcycle repair or restoration opens the door for you to show your personality through your bike. Do not rush into a paint scheme without first giving thought to how your paint job will be perceived.

Solid Color

Nothing screams "classic" like an unassuming, understated solid-colored motorcycle. As an added bonus, if you opt for a single color, you can even paint your motorcycle yourself without much artistic experience.

The color you choose does matter, however. Colors have a huge effect on the human mind, and different hues subconsciously elicit different human emotions. Thus, people will form impressions about you and your character by the color of your motorcycle. 

  • Red: People associate the color red with speed, danger, power, and masculinity. Red is a passionate and energetic color, and has long appeared on the bodies of both sports cars and fast bikes.
  • Blue: The color blue projects precision and calculating intellect. It is also a traditionally masculine hue. Blue is also associated with quiet strength, tenacity, exhilaration, and sophistication.
  • Yellow: Yellow works well on a motorcycle because it is the first color that the eye detects. Car makers are turning out yellow sports cars faster than ever because this color comes across as youthful, daring, and fast; you can paint your motorcycle yellow to also create this effect.
  • Black: Motorcycles and the color black go together effortlessly. Black signifies power, mystery, danger, and authority. It signifies many of the values shared by motorcycle riders, like independence, strength, and self-control.
  • White: On the opposite end of the color spectrum, white symbolizes purity, heroism, virtue, and justice. A white motorcycle also combats the "bad boy" assumption that people often have of motorcycle riders.

Traditional Graphic Schemes

Bikers frequently add graphics to enhance the appearance of a motorcycle. Certain kinds of graphics have stood the test of motorcycle time and remain popular still today.

  • Hot Rod Flames: Even though fast cars originally displayed this design, the motorcycle community quickly adopted the look. You can hire a professional to paint custom hot rod flames on your bike, or you can order stencils and add them yourself.
  • American Flag: Motorcycles are an American pastime, and it is no secret that bikers are usually quite patriotic. Thus, a custom American flag paint job is always a popular choice.
  • Pinstriping: Subtle thin lines flowing across the body of a motorcycle display an appearance of vintage elegance and class. Pinstriping is an understated, yet extremely flattering graphic scheme.