In this instructable I'm going to go through how to paint a road bike and also some ways that you can improve it to your liking!
Here's what you will need:
Rust-O-Leum Painter's Touch
You will need some specialty tools to take apart the bike if you don't want to have to take it to a bike shop. I'll talk about those later!!!
Step 1: Get a Bike!
Alright, so obviously the first step is to find a bike that you want to fix up. I found a single speed road bike on craigslist that I liked for only $60 and figured it would be a good place to start. I found out that the rims alone are worth around $150 which was pretty nice, but the seat was hard as a rock and the handlebars were hard to use. So those are some of things I decided to replace. So depending on what condition the bike is in, decided what parts you want to replace ahead of time so you can order them. That way you don't have to wait for them when you're ready to finish the bike!
Step 2: Take It Apart!
This is definitely the hardest part if you're like me and don't know much about bikes, but after doing it once I think it would be a lot easier if I decided to do it again. You could always take it to a bike shop and they would probably help you (for a small fee of course). Now I'm no expert on how to do this so I'm posting a few links below that can probably explain it better than me. You can do most of it with tools that you already own, however if you want to take the cranks off (not necessary but a lot easier to paint) there will be a couple of tools that you will need to get. Once again any bike shop can help you with finding the right tools if you want to DIY. I had to buy a larger size allen wrench and what is called a crank tool (there are 2 different kinds depending on your bike). There are a lot of forums online that can help you figure out which one you will need, that how I figured it out! You will also need a chain tool (They have them at Wal-Mart for less than $5) to take apart the chain. I had quite a little mess once I was done (as you can see), that's just how I work though. I have a pretty good memory when taking stuff apart, but you may want to have some plastic bags and a sharpie ready to help you keep track of what parts go where.
Here's some links on how to take it apart:
Specifically on front forks:
Step 3: Start Sanding!!!
Ok, so first you need to take off any decals or stickers off the frame and if it leaves a sticky residue use some Goo-Gone or something of the like to scrub it all off. Now, START SANDING!!!!! Depending on what condition your bike is in this may take a while or hardly any time at all. I lucked out and the frame had been painted by the guy I bought if from so it wasn't very thick and it came right off. Now if you're bike has a matte finish instead of a glossy finish, you really just need to sand the paint down enough to where the new paint will stick (instead of down all the way to the metal). It won't hurt it any if you sand down to the metal, it just is not necessary. You can also use paint remover, but it makes such a mess and is so toxic that I would advice against it. In the picture below you can see how some areas I didn't sand all the way down, but I still made it so that the paint was faded.
Step 4: It's Primer Time!
Alright, so before you start spraying away you need to be sure to clean the frame with a wet towel or sponge and let it dry for a few hours. Then you need to tape off all the holes so the overspray doesn't get in there and mess anything up. If you decided not to remove your cranks find some old grocery bags and tape them around the cranks so they don't get paint on them.
Ok, so now that your frame is sanded, cleaned, dried, and all taped up it TIME TO START PAINTING!!!! Now preferable you want a nice big space outside to paint in, which I understand is not always available (I had to use the balcony outside my apt which is only like 7x11 feet). But do the best with what you have! If you have a lot of space I recommend hanging the bike through the head tube (the one the front fork goes through) using a broomstick or any wooden stick that will fit and hold it steady. Now you need to find somewhere to hang it from where you will be able to move around the frame and spray all areas consistently. Another option is to hang the bike from the head stock by a string, or you can get creative like I did and build a little contraption to hold it.
I recommend using Rust-O-Leum Paint products because they work very well on metal surfaces. When painting I recommend not holding down the spray tip constantly, this can apply to much paint and make it runny. Use short even bursts to coat the bike evenly. I recommend doing a lot of very thin coats instead of fewer thick coats. I applied around 4 coats of Primer. Read the bottle for the directions on dry times and waiting times between coats. I tend to apply 2 coats and then wait 24 hours and then apply 2 more coats.
Step 5: Choose Your Color!
Ok, so now that your frame is all primed and ready to go it is time to apply your paint! First, lightly sand the primer so that you have a nice smooth finish free of bubbles or bumps. Be careful not to sand too much and reveal the naked metal, just enough to get a nice smooth finish. Now, once again I recommend using Rust-O-Leum spray paint, I use the painters touch line (there are tons of colors to choose from). Once again, I apply 2 coats and then wait 24 hours before applying 2 more coats, but be sure to check the can for the exact times. I usually just keep going in that cycle until the can has completely ran out, but just do what feels right for you! Now depending if you chose to use a glossy or matte finish, you may want to buy some lacquer to give your bike that shiny look! Once again I used Rust-O-Leum Clear Lacquer. After the final paint has dried for AT LEAST several hours, I let mine dry for a full day, it's time for the Lacquer. This can help protect from scratches as well as prevent rust. I apply the lacquer the same as paint in very thin coats but be very careful about spraying too close to the bike and never use a constant stream or it will drip and you'll have to sand it down!!!!
Step 6: Put It Back Together!!!
Now for the hardest part, DON'T TOUCH THE BIKE!!!!! It looks so good and you just want to take it down and put it together, but leave it hanging for AT LEAST 24 hours, I left mine for 3 days to let the lacquer really harden. It's now time to put the bike back together. You may want to consult the links I posted earlier about how to put parts back together or you might recall it from memory. This is also the time where you can make whatever improvements you want to your bike. Heck, you may even decide to replace everything but the frame! I replaced almost everything but the cranks and the wheels (which are usually the most expensive). This is any easy way to customize and improve your bike especially if you want to get parts with a similar color to what you just painted.
Here are some sites where you kind find parts (or just head to your local bike shop):
Step 7: Finishing Touches!
So there you have it, you now have a customized bike that you can enjoy riding and showing off to your friends! Here are all the additions that I made to my bike:
Yellow Grip Tape
New Axle Nuts (They were completely stripped)
I'll be sure to upload pictures when I get all the parts together!!!! Be sure to post any questions and I'll try to answer them the best I can. Thanks for looking!!!