Harley-Davidson Decals and Emblems

Gas tank emblems and decals are both iconic, decorative elements applied to Harley-Davidson motorcycles at the factory and produced individually for sale so that Harley owners may customize their motorcycles. Gas tank emblems are rigid metal or plastic stylized text, logos, or other graphics that affix with double-sided tape or glue. Decals have similar design elements but are made out of thin flexible plastic or laminated paper with an even coat of glue on the back.

Can Harley-Davidson tank emblems or decals be applied anywhere?

They may be applied to any non-porous surface. Harley-Davidson enthusiasts often put them on their cars, trucks, and even small personal items. Decals are especially versatile. However, Harley-Davidson decals or gas tank emblems that are harder to find or vintage and no longer in production by the factory are typically reserved for Harley restoration.

How do you apply emblems to the gas tank?

They may be put on the top or on the sides, and if the gas tank has been freshly painted, it is important for the paint to cure, usually for at least 2 weeks, before applying any kind of adhesive.

  • Use rubbing alcohol to thoroughly clean where the gas tank emblem will be applied. Allow it to dry.
  • Be sure of your placement. You may use a crayon to mark exactly where you will be applying the emblem to ensure that it is straight and centered.
  • Use the included double-sided tape or use your own to secure the emblem to the tank. Apply even and constant pressure to the entire tank emblem, making sure to include the edges.
  • Continue to apply pressure as the glue sets for several minutes, smoothing over edges.
  • Allow the glue to set for at least 24 hours before riding the motorcycle or subjecting it to the elements.
Do Harley emblems need to be formed to fit the tank?

Some Harley-Davidson gas tank emblems are made to fit only specific model tanks, so if you are applying an emblem from another year or model, it is possible that you will need to bend it. You can do this by applying moderate heat and then using some pressure to gently and slowly bend the tank emblem. An oven on a low-temperature setting or heat gun will work for this purpose, but take care not to apply too much heat, as this could bubble or mar the surface of the emblem. Keep heating and bending gradually until it is in the form you require.

How do you remove Harley decals or stickers from painted surfaces?

Be advised that this process will destroy the sticker or decal. First, you need to gather what you will need: a non-flame heat source, a lubricant or adhesive-dissolving solvent, and something (not metal) with which to scrape. Your fingernails may suffice for this task.

  • Apply the solvent or lubricant to the sticker and allow it to sit for a few minutes.
  • Gently heat the sticker. This will make the glue more pliable and easier to remove.
  • Begin scraping the edges of the sticker. It should remove cleanly with gentle pressure and pulling. You may apply more heat to the edge that you are working as you go to make the removal easier.