Why truck bedliner is the best paint for your bike
Bedliner - Not just for trucks
Have you tried to paint anything with "real" paint? It is a project for very patient people, and it takes a lot of time and elbow grease. Sanding; several coats of paint, with more sanding in between; several coats of clearcoat; more sanding. For many people it's just too much work. If you feel that you'd rather spend your time riding than sanding, and then worrying about scratches on your hard-gotten finish, have we got the answer for you.
Bedliner is probably the most functional finish there is. It is easy to apply, durable, easy to fix, hides all kinds of flaws, and frees you from much of the drudgery of washing and waxing (although you still have to do your valves).
If you have an older rat bike that looks like crap because you never wash it or fix it after drops, and you don't give a damn what anyone thinks, you might be a good candidate for a bedliner finish. OTOH, if you have a shiny '08 and you chopped the rear fender and got a matching helmet because the girls like the way that stuff looks, a bedliner finish might not be for you.
Not good candidates:
The only real reason to paint a bike is to hide the fact that the fairing was broken, the tail section, side panels and front fairing came from 3 different bikes, and the dents in the fuel tank need to be covered to avoid rust.
Racers should use rattle can paint because it takes about 4 lbs of bedliner to finish a Ninja. That's enough weight that it's worth avoiding, for them. For the rest of us, the ability of bedliner to hide dents, cracks, and poor body repair saves many hours of work sanding and filling those blemishes.
This attractive finish work can be done in just two to three evenings, including stripping the bike, fixing the fairing, painting, and putting it all back together. The results have been better than expected for several owners. As a bonus, everyone who sees it for the first time will compliment you on the paint job ;)
If you are going to keep your bike for a zillion miles, well past its initial attractive blush of youth, then you may appreciate bedliner. A bedliner finish could (negatively) affect the amount you might get for your bike (or perhaps your ability to sell it at all). Not everyone sees the inherent 'beauty' of a bedliner finish. But the practical person inside of you will smile each time you look at your handiwork.
Just think, in half a week you could go from this:
Your new bedlinered bike will even be tough enough for the Iron Butt Rally:
Or extended touring:
And it doesn't even have to be a Ninja:
So, join the crowd now and become the worry-free envy of all those poser friends of yours.
If you need a real he-man alternative to those flashy, aggressive graphics on all the new sportbikes, then an EX250DT could be for you.
For the connoisseur of uniqueness, it's a fine-looking 'paint' job.
You can even add your own flash graphics.
Or give it some bitchin Trans Am racing stripes.
Textured metallic spray paint
Most bedliner colors except for black don't come in rattle cans (you paint them on with a paint roller). If you want something a little more colorful, you can go to your local Home Behemoth and get some Rust-Oleum Universal. This is actually paint, so it will take a little longer to put on than bedliner, but it comes in various non-gloss finishes like satin, hammered, and sand. These texture paints are probably intended for garden furniture, but why limit yourself?
Sand down the original paint with regular old 150-200 grit sandpaper, then wipe it clean with alcohol. Put on five or more light coats, until it covers the old paint. Then take it out in the sun and make sure the old paint really is covered. A top clear coat is unnecessary.
This bike took five cans at 7 bucks each. (The orange bits are vinyl.) Rust-Oleum Universal is (supposed to be) primer and paint in one, and suitable for metal or plastic. No word on durability yet, but it gives a good hard finish and doesn't show minor imperfections the way a gloss finish does.