Graphics kits have always been extremely popular within the dirtbike industry, which is one reason why you can’t walk more than five feet down a motocross track’s pit lane without being overwhelmed by sponsor-peddling decals. Vinyl wrap has yet to garner the same attention on the other end of the motorcycle spectrum, although that could all change with the introduction of Factory Effex’s sportbike lineup of products. Beyond trim kits, this collection includes three full-body kits, an EV-R, EV-X and Rockstar kit. After thumbing through the many options, we ultimately decided to test Factory Effex’s more conservatively designed EV-R kit.
Each of Factory Effex’s decals is constructed from an extra-thick, Ultracurve vinyl that’s intended to hold up against weather, rocks and debris, plus protect high-wear areas on sportbike bodywork. A remarkably tacky adhesive coats the graphic’s backside and allows you to affix a decal, pull it off, and then reposition it without any detrimental damage to the bonding agent. What’s more, the graphic’s design is back-printed on a sub-surface, and then a clear laminate is placed on top of that to create as durable a material as possible. Once fully assembled, Factory Effex die-cuts each kit to “ensure accurate and consistent fitment for all the different models we offer kits for,” says Scott Gilly, VP of Factory Effex Inc.
The EV-R kit that we ordered was intended for a 2008-2013 Yamaha YZF-R6 and shipped with no fewer than 25 pieces, each of which was numbered for easy installation. The kit was also shipped with instructions, although it’s worth mentioning that these directions were adequate at best and we ended up referring to a video on FX’s website called “Sportbike Graphics Install Tips,” which more effectively guided us through the installation process. The most important tip, and one that was mentioned in both cases, was that you should wash the bike with a water-based glass cleaner and remove any oil residue from the fairings as this could affect the decal’s ability to adhere to the fairings (as a side note, it’s a smart idea to wash your hands as well, since oil and grease on your fingers could compromise the integrity of the decal’s adhesive).
The majority of our EV-R kit’s decals went on without much stress, although that’s not to say that installing these graphics was a complete walk in the park — even with the help of shop foreman and experienced graphics wrangler, Michael Candreia. The larger, lower-cowl decals lined up rather poorly on our first two attempts, for instance, and it wasn’t until we put an extra set of hands (and a heat gun) on the pieces that we were able to manipulate them as needed. Beyond that, we found it hard to line up the design elements of a few separate pieces. In Factory Effex’s defense, other panels went on in just one attempt, and other graphic elements lined up perfectly.
Once everything was in place we managed to remove a few of the remaining air bubbles with a needle and more heat, but try as we might, we couldn’t rid the graphics of all its imperfections. Put simply, if you’re a perfectionist, you’ll have a hard time accepting the graphics for what they are. There were a few aspects that Factory Effex overlooked too, like the white stripe on our 2013 Yamaha R6’s tank (the earlier-model R6s do not have this same stripe), which doesn’t blend into either of the kit’s decals. The Yamaha blue is a bit off as well, which is one of the kit’s more frustrating downfalls in our opinion.
On a more positive note, the graphics fared well during our commutes, gave the bike a unique look and adequately protected our bike’s fairings from road debris. Beyond that, they were extremely easy to remove once we were done with our test, proving that you’re not stuck with them forever. All things considered, we’d say that they’re definitely worth looking into — especially if you’ve dropped your bike and/or scratched your OEM fairings. No, we wouldn’t install them on another brand-new bike, but at $249.95 the Factory Effex graphics are a much more practical purchase than brand new fairings, which are popularly known for being outrageously expensive. —BA