Decals: The different types

Top Mounted Cut Mylar
These are the newest latest greatest decals. The Mylar decals we have here are appropriate for powdercoated and “wet” painted metal frames or for mounting directly on titanium. Note: if you’re after clearcoatable decals, see below.

Top Mount Overlaminated Cut Vinyl (TMVinyl)
The Vinyl decals we have here are appropriate for powdercoated and “wet” painted metal frames or for mounting directly on titanium. These are a little thicker than the other styles we have, but require no clearcoat. They’re very durable, and fairly easy to mount.

Top Mount Dry Application (TMDryAPP)
This type of decal was used mainly on our Titanium stems and bikes for a long time. They don’t need clear, and are pretty easy to mount. They also work well on wet paint, and a good painter can successfully clear over them as well.
The maker of the decals doesn’t recommend them for powdercoated finishes. The reason is that powder often uses wax as a flow agent, and if the frame is not baked (400 degrees F) for long enough, the wax does not burn off completely. This often leaves surface contamination that inhibits decal adhesion. Fast forward a bit and we find that Tiger Drylac (a major supplier of powdercoat) is using Teflon as a flow agent. So the analogy here is that you’re trying to stick decals on a non-stick omelet pan.
Now, with all of that being said, you’ll notice that many of our decals that are meant for bikes that originally came with a powdercoated finish are these (TMDryApp) types of decals. Our experience has been that they work well with our powdercoated frames. I don’t know if it will work well with all powder, particularly the newer powder with Teflon based flow agents. I would say it’s definitely worth a try. I’m not guaranteeing it will work. The guy who makes the decals doesn’t recommend it. But I’ve had good luck with it. So, burnish at your own risk.

Clear Coatable Dry Application (CCDryApp)
These decals are easy to mount, and are meant to be top coated with a polyurethane or acrylic clear. Failure to clear coat over them can result in either UV or Oxygen contamination of the decal, resulting in a hazy or frosty appearance after exposure to the sun. Again, we’ve had a degree of luck with these decals without being clearcoated. We can’t endorse it based on what the decal maker is telling us, but we certainly can’t tell you not to do it. You might want to give them a try if this style of decal happens to be the only one available in the particular type of decal you’re lusting after.

Waterslide (CCH2OS)
Old School! This is how we used to do it back in the day. A super thin decal that needs to have a clearcoat over the top. Really a gorgeous way to do it, but again, you need to clear over then or they’ll go away quickly. Most experienced wet painters know how to work with these. These will not work with powdercoat, because you have to bake them and these aren’t made for high temperature applications.