The Breakdown

Riding on the road comes with its own potential for wear and tear to show up your motorcycle from external elements. Installing paint protection film on my Aprilia Shiver with the staff at Calgary PPF is a worthy cost and time investment for many more debris-free years on the road with my bike.
Overall
Pros
Protects your investment from external elements / Does not alter or change the look of your bike / Comes with a 10-year warranty / Adds value to your motorcycle
Cons
A bit on the pricey side

So… you finally did it. You saved up your money and decided to purchase a new motorcycle. Now it’s time to start thinking about protecting your investment from the elements and the hazards that you will face on the open road.

This article will focus on what paint protection film is, its use for protecting the finish on your motorcycle, and the installation process for applying it.

Paint protection film has been used for several years to help protect car finishes and other areas from damage that could occur from stone chips, bugs, scratches, stains from road tar or automotive fluids as well as weathering from being outdoors.

It has predominantly been used on automobiles and trucks; however, a motorcycle is vulnerable to all the same damage as a car, maybe even more.

The Protective Film

In this article, I will be taking you along the steps while the professional installers at Calgary PPF install on my 2018 Aprilia Shiver 900:

  • 3M™ Scotchgard™ Paint Protection Film Pro Series in Matte (8 Mil Thick) on the painted service
  • 3M™ Scotchgard™ Paint Protection Film Pro Series in clear on the headlight
  • ExoShield windshield protection film on the display

Shopping Now? We Recommend:

BestBeginnerMotorcycles works closely with Revzilla, 2WHEEL, and Amazon to provide our testers with quality products to review. While we have an affiliate relationship and receive a commission from items purchased, this addition comes at no additional cost to you. It is the primary way we pay for our site and reviewers.

Amazon

Buy on Amazon

This maintenance free, transparent finish wrap is designed to protect against the elements as well as maintaining the depth of the color of my motorcycle.

Calgary Paint Protection Film

What exactly is 3M™ Scotchgard™ Paint Protection Film Pro Series Matte?

It is a clear strong and thin urethane film that measures between 6/1000 to 8/1000 of an inch. It was invented in the 1960s to protect the leading edge of rotors on helicopters from damage caused by debris during the Vietnam war. It was subsequently used in racing to help keep race cars together during a crash.

3M was the first company to bring paint protection film to the automotive world as an aftermarket solution designed to protect the consumer’s vehicle from damage caused by stone chips, scratches, and stains while introducing a UV inhibitor to protect the vehicle from fading.

What exactly will it protect against?

Acid rain, stone chips, scratches, mineral deposits, bug splatters, bird droppings, fading from UV rays, and swirl marks from washing.

How is it installed?

Installation of Protective Film is a tricky and intricate process. Authorized Dealers such as Calgary PPF have trained installers with years of experience in applying these products to a vehicle.

Essentially, the film has adhesive on one side and the installers apply the film to the vehicle so it does not have any imperfections such as creases, folds or air pockets.

Calgary PPF

Before we dive into the process of installation, I would like to take a moment to thank Caleb and his staff at Calgary PPF for installing the film on my motorcycle. Please check out their websites here:

Step One: Wash & Prepare

The first step is to prepare the vehicle to receive the film. A thorough wash of the vehicle is done to remove all possible contaminants from the vehicle’s surface.

Washing and cleaning Aprilia Shiver before apply protective film

Washing and cleaning Aprilia Shiver before apply protective film

Step Two: Cut Film to Fit

The second step is to cut the film to size to ensure that the pieces fit the vehicle. In the case of a car or truck, most of the templates are available and cut on a die cut using a digital plotter; however, in the case of a motorcycle, a special film is used to create a pattern.

Step Three: Positioning Film

The third step consists of positioning the film in place. This is done by using a solution of soap and water to allow the film to slide onto the paint and to be positioned in the correct location. In this instance, I used Johnson’s baby shampoo.

Positioning film in place for installation on Aprilia Shiver

Positioning film in place for installation on Aprilia Shiver

Positioning film in place for installation on Aprilia Shiver

Step Four: Locking in the Film

Finally, the film is set by using a solution of isopropyl alcohol and water to secure the film in place. This is often referred to as locking the film in. For tricky angles and edges, a special adhesive promoter is used to ensure that the film won’t come off.

Locking in the protective film with isopropyl alcohol.

Final Step: Remove Air Bubbles

The fourth and final step is to force any air bubbles or liquid out from behind the film using. This is done by using a squeegee, and a heat gun, and sometimes a syringe.

Using a squeegee to remove air bubbles
Removing air bubbles with a squeegee
Using a heat blower to remove air bubbles
Removing air bubbles with a head gun
Using a syringe to remove air bubbles
Removing air bubbles with a syringe

Protective Film Maintenance & Upkeep

For the first few days, it is important to allow the film to cure completely before using a pressure washer on the surface.

Once the film has cured, it can be washed like any other painted surface. The use of a nonabrasive solution such as a finish detailer is acceptable and will actually provide additional protection to the film.

The film is self-healing. This means that scratches, scuffs, dings or other light blemishes can erase themselves with exposure to the sun on a hot day or the heat of a hairdryer.

Final Thoughts

The process of installing film is a bit more involved on a motorcycle. It is a much more intricate surface to cover and has some sharp angles. It is a process that a seasoned installer can do with some difficulty; however, it would be very challenging for a consumer to install the product properly.

I love the fact that the protective film does not take away from the color of my bike. If anything, I feel that the film enhanced the metallic finish in the matte paint and gives it more depth.

I like the idea that my headlight and my paint are protected against scratches and rock chips. The self-healing technology of the product makes it that If I was unfortunate to have road debris impact the finish of my Shiver, most of the damage would self heal by simply leaving it in the sun.

I am really happy with the protection on my display. The plastic on some displays has a tendency to get scratched up over time. The product on my display is designed to protect windshields against damage and is optically clear.

Applied protective film to motorcycle

Cheers to Calgary PPF

The staff at Calgary PPF are friendly and being fortunate enough to have been in the back with the installer gave me a chance to talk with him. He has been installing paint protection film going on twenty years. The fact that he makes it look easy was very interesting to me as I saw first hand how the product can be difficult to work with.

A professional installation of 3M™ Scotchgard™ Paint Protection Film Pro comes with a 10-year non-transferable limited warranty. 

I would definitely recommend this product. It is a small investment that will help protect your motorcycle from the inevitable debris that the road will throw at you.

Here is a video with Caleb at Calgary PPF explaining the process of paint protection and answering some questions I had (Coming Soon).

Pros

  • Protects your investment from external elements
  • Does not alter or change the look of your bike
  • Comes with a 10-year warranty
  • Adds value to your motorcycle

Cons

  • A bit on the pricey side

Shopping Now? We Recommend:

BestBeginnerMotorcycles works closely with Revzilla, 2WHEEL, and Amazon to provide our testers with quality products to review. While we have an affiliate relationship and receive a commission from items purchased, this addition comes at no additional cost to you. It is the primary way we pay for our site and reviewers.

Amazon

Buy on Amazon

Applying Protective Film to Your Motorcycle Image Gallery