Category: Design

How I created custom decals for my KTM Duke

KTM Duke Custom Decals

27 May 2015 UPDATE:

Many of you have purchased my decal/graphics templates on ebay, but a few have commented that my printed ready-to-apply decals were too expensive.

So based on customer feedback, I’ve released my digital designs as well.  <– LINK COMING SOON

These are fully vectored PDF’s, including bleed marks, sized to A1, and ready for you to send to your printer! By doing this, I’m letting those buy the designs more cheaply and then save money by using their own printer.

The 4 designs that I’m releasing digitally are shown below, awesome looking eh? ;)

Another thing, I’m removed my printed decals temporarily.  If you guys want me to print it out and send it to you, just email me directly.

sticker_KTMDuke125_200_RoccoOrange sticker_KTMDuke125_200_MarcoOrange sticker_KTMDuke125_200_MarcoWhite sticker_KTMDuke125_200_RoccoWhite

26 June 2014 UPDATE:

I put up the decal/graphics templates on ebay as well , since I thought others would like to create their own designs .

Decal templates here.  Support me if you like my designs!

Blog article starts here

As a designer by profession, I had a constant creative urge to change the looks of my KTM Duke 125.

While the stock Duke looked great, I wanted to make mine really stand out from the crowd. It’s a design thing, we always want to look different from other people.

At first, I just thought of buying the a KTM aftermarket decal set, but none of the designs appealed to me, so what does a designer do? He makes his own!

I got my inspiration from KTM’s road racing heritage, specifically the RC8R – not only was it a great performing bike, it looked awesome as well.

This is how I created custom decals for my KTM Duke.

Making decal templates

I started by making the decal templates first.

This consisted of overlapping many pieces of scotch tape over the tank cover until it was fully covered.  To prevent the tape from sticking to the tank, I sprayed some soapy water on the tank before laying the tape on it.  This also let me adjust the position of the tape if I needed to.   This is a great video I followed on sticker application.

After I covered the tank with tape, I used a marker to trace out the outline of my decal. Then I slowly peeled off the mask and stuck it on white paper.  I then use a scissors to cut out along the outline until I had the shape I wanted (on paper).

Paper Templates

Paper Templates

I did the same thing for the upper back fairing and the lower spoiler as well.

After that, I used a photo copier to scan all the templates and transfer the images into my computer.  Important note: Measure the length or width of your decal templates before you throw them away.  When you scan and transfer them to your computer, this will let you easily re-size them back to a 1-1 scale.

Once the scans were on my computer, I used Adobe Illustrator to create decal blanks.

Digitized decal templates

Digitized decal templates

Designing the decals

With the blanks created, I got down to the fun stuff – designing my custom decals!

I collected a lot of KTM bike images – ranging from the entire KTM Duke family (125, 390, 690) to the top of the line machines, the RC8R and even the 1190R ‘The Beast’.   I put these into inspiration boards to guide my process as I started designing.

KTM MoodBoard

KTM MoodBoard

After a few rounds of refinement, I narrowed down to a design that I liked.  I had two versions – an orange and a white design, but ended up printing only the orange one.  (Stay tuned for the white pics later!)

KTM Duke Custom Decals

KTM Duke Custom Decals

Printing the decals

Before you take the decal to print, I strongly suggest you print them out on paper first.  Why?

This is so that you can check to see if the size is correct, and if your lines flow correctly.  I made the mistake of not doing this and ended up printing my decals THREE times before I got it correct.  This wasted a lot of money.

Several tries before getting it right!

Several tries before getting it right!

When the size was confirmed correct, I sent them for printing.

While it’s possible to go to consumer (i.e. paper sticker printing) shops and request for water proof stickers, it is much better to print at shops that specialize in automotive or motorbike decals.

They use a higher quality vinyl that is more softer, thinner and more easily applied.  The colours are also more vibrant when printed on this better vinyl.  They also offer cutting out the stickers using precision die-cut machines; these will give you professional looking cut stickers.  Of course, they are more expensive, but it’s worth it!

MOST IMPORTANT POINT – The softer vinyl material lets you stick the decals over your bike WITHOUT needing to remove your existing stickers.  This is great when you’re tired of the look, simply tear off and bring your old look back!

Decal application

To apply the stickers, use the same method I showed you to create the templates – spray on soapy water, apply sticker, move into position.

When in position, use a credit card (or any soft plastic with straight edge) to remove any air bubble trapped underneath.  You may need to lift the decal a couple of times.  This take some practice, so don’t worry if you don’t get it right the first time.  Just keep at it.

If there is still soapy water under the sticker, your decal may peel off or start to curl upwards.  Don’t worry, just using the credit card to scrap it lightly until the water is removed.  You will see that the decal will start to stick to the bike.

After you’re done, wipe your bike down with a dry towel, and put in in the open to dry for about two hours.

You’re now ready to ride your new look bike!

KTM Duke 125 Custom Decals

KTM Duke 125 Custom Decals

Check out the full gallery of pictures here.

Like my decals? I put them up on eBay due to numerous requests. Check them out here

Prefer to make your own? Download my decal templates here.

Want to get free high res pics whenever I give my bike a new look? Stay in touch here!


KTM 690 RC4R Generation 2

KTM RC4 690 R

KTM RC4 690 R Generation 2 [via]

This is the 2nd generation KTM 690 RC4 R by German tuners Mototech.

I wrote about the 1st generation RC4 R here. In short, it’s a KTM 690 that has been modified for track use (as a race bike not a naked!).  Really cool and innovative,  check it out here.

This ‘Type 2’ was developed in collaboration with 2012 French Supermono Champion, Jean-Claude Paul with the sole objective of defending his title in 2013.

What’s new about this second generation you ask? How about a self-supported aluminium rear that also doubles as a fuel tank? Pretty innovative if you ask me.  And of course race-proven Akrapovic exhaust completes the set-up.

KTM 690 RC4 R

Akrapovic exhaust can be seen clearly despite rather ‘stealthy’ spy shot! [via]

I’ll ask the Mototech guys for more details and post again if I get any news here!  Comments and feedback below!

A look back: KTM 990 Super Duke (Part 2)

990 Super Duke R (2009)

990 Super Duke R (2009) [via]

In Part 1, I covered the KTM 990 Super Duke’s history from conception to it’s first evolution in 2007.

In this post, I’ll cover years 2008 to the soon-to-arrive 2013 1290 Super Duke R.

2008 – 2010:  Nothing much happening

I couldn’t find much on model year’s 2008 and 2009.  By comparing the specifications on various sites, nothing seemed to have changed except for a new colour.

White was  introduced for both the Super Duke and Super Duke R (above picture) in addition to the traditional orange.

990 Super Duke White (2008)

990 Super Duke White (2008) [via]

Perhaps KTM were running out of ideas in 2010 for model ‘refreshes’ when they released a military olive green colour scheme.    Personally, I think it is the least appealing of all the refreshes.

2011 was no different, with a (rather disco looking) black and gold version being introduced.

990 Super Duke Olive (2010)

990 Super Duke Olive (2010) [via]

990 Super Duke Black (2011)

990 Super Duke Black (2011) [via]

2012 – Evolution 2

The base model was dropped in 2012 (they probably ran out of colour combinations…) with the Super Duke R as the lone option in the line-up.

There were some engineering changes, however,  Iamabiker reported that horsepower was reduced from 132 to 123 hp to obtain a more favorable torque output across a better RPM range.

As the only model, the Super Duke R was offered with a pillion seat instead of its traditional single seat conversion.


990 Super Duke R (2012) [via]

2013 – A major redesign

KTM, probably realising that the time of their decade old design was probably up, at EICMA 2012 released teaser photos and press releases of an all new model  – the 1290 Super Duke R.

It was a completely new design.

Instead of modifying the old 999 v-twin, the 1195 cc from the RC8R was used.  It was further bored-out to make a 1290 cc monster.  Peak power was expected to be in the 180 – 200 cc range.   Other features included a single swing arm (very sexy) and a ride-by-wire throttle.  Details here.

1290 Super Duke R (2013)

The king is dead. Love live the king! [via]

With the superlative numbers of the 1290 Super Duke, will the 990 reach it’s end-of-life?  Likely.

But after ten years and eight variants, it is unlikely we will forget the magnificent 990 Super Duke anytime soon.

Thanks for reading.  Comments or corrections below.