Introduction: Repainting a Bicycle

Picture of Repainting a Bicycle

Ever found a nice old bicycle laying around and said, "Thst would be a nice bike if the paint was redone." Well look no further here is how to repaint a bicycle to its previous glory. This is a good way to save a few bucks, why get a new bike if you can fix the old one good as new.

Step 1: Getting It All Together.

You well need

-a bicycle to paint
-some basic hand tools to disassemble the bicycle (wrenches, screw drivers, ect)
-sand paper (for removing rust and scuffing the old paint up)
-razor blade (helps when removing old decals, if present)
-masking tape
-a piece of stiff wire to hang the bicycle up with
-primer(about 2 cans for a large bike)
-paint of desired color(again about 2 cans for a large bike and also it is a good idea to use the same brand as the primer
-clear coat if desired
-and a clean place to work, with good ventelation and a fan

Step 2: Remove All the Bits

Picture of Remove All the Bits

First off you well need to remove all of the parts that well not be painted, such as the seat, the shifters, cables, ect. Pretty much you want to take the whole bicycle apart, don't loose the screews or anything, this is were ziplock bags are handy and if you find something that is very intrecate it always helps to take photos of it so you can use them as a reference when it comes time to put everything back together.
For the most part you are interested in the frame, the handlebars and goosneck(the thing that connects the handlebars to the front fork), and the seat post, for painting. If you want you can also paint some of the smaller bits like the brake calipers, you well have to take them apart so you can just paint he arms.
This is also a good time to take stock of what needs replacing, like the brake cables and handle bar grips.

Step 3: Preparing the Parts for Painting

Picture of Preparing the Parts for Painting

After you have removed all the accessories, it is best to take the frame apart. What I mean is to take the handle bars off and remove the front fork and pull out the seat post. This makes it alot easier to paint everthing.
After you have broken the frame down go about removing all the old decals and decorations from the bicycle, like the head badge if it has one. A razor blade comes in handy for removing the decals, either use to peel up an edge or it push comes to shove use it as a scerper. Next you well want to sand down all the rust on the frame and clean the bicycle, I use paper towel soaked in rubbing alchole and wipe every thing to remove the sanding dust and grease.
The last step before painting is to mask things off what you do not want to get paint on, like the crank bearing cups in the bottom bracket, and also the head stock bearing cups, I usally just remove these though.

Step 4: Priming the Frame and Other Parts

Picture of Priming the Frame and Other Parts

Ah the step we are all waiting for, painting. Hold up there turbo, before you paint make sure the area where you are working is clean and as dust free as possible, to insure that no dust is floating in the air that could land on the wet paint and mess up your work. Also you well need a way to hang the bicycle up so you can easyly paint the whole frame in one hit. I happen to have a nice beam going across the celling of my parents garage, which aside from painting bicycles I have painted a guitar, pulled and engine and also hang model airplanes from. Take a peice of stiff wire, say a coat hanger, and fashion a hook to hang the bicycle from and to loop over what ever you are hanging the bicycle from. Hang it up.
Now for the fun part get out the primer. Read the directions on the back of the can, and kick on the fans if you are working in an inclosed area like me in a garage, with the door open of course. No seriouslly do it, the directions on the back of the can are there for a reason(and are often quite helpfull), and the fans are a must, paint fumes are nasty and if you start to feel sick or light headed while working stop and get some fresh air.
The best way to spray paint with cans is to, hold the can about 10 inches from the subject and to make long even passes, also it is a good idea to go and do all the junctins of the frame tudes and the bottom bracket area first, as they are the hardest to get and easiest to get runs in if you over do it. Another good idea is to use many light coats instead of one or two heavy coats.
With the primer what you are attempting to do is cover the areas where you sanded alway rust and also to fill in and even out the light gouges and imperfections in the old, worn, paint so that you have a nice ever surface to paint on.
After priming I like to lightly sand the frame, with either 220 grit wet/dry, to keep the paper from clogging, or also a red scotch brite or 00 steel wool pads, which do not seem to have the clogging issue. This gives a real nice smooth surface for the paint to adhear to.

Step 5: Paint

Once the primer has had sufficient time to dry, per the instructions on the back of the can, you can start applying the color. First off if you are going to have a two tone paint job this is a good time to figure out what color well go on first, light colors go first. Once you have the first color on and it is dry, you can mask off for the second color and spray it now. On my bike I am just painting the frame one color and the fork and handle bars well be a different color, braking it up a bit, this is also alot easier to do personally sinse you do not have to go through all the trouble of masking everthing off for the second color.
Sorry no pics yet, well post them soon.

Step 6: Finishing It Up

Now that the color coats have had some time to dry you can clear coat the bicycle if you like, as before read the directions on the back of the can and apply 2 to 3 coats of clear.
If you are like me you cant wait to get it back together and ride it, but give a day or so to dry as to reduce the chances the still soft, yet dry paint well get gouged in the process of reassembling the bike.
Put the bike back together, adjust it all up and go for a ride.
In about 2 weeks or so it well be a good time to pollish, the new paint, as it well have fully hardened by then, possibly longer in colder temps. You should now have a nice new ride that did not cost a hole lot either.


Mike73 (author)2012-07-30

Yeah, a couple of light coats instead of just a vew heavy coats. I learned that earlier, but it's still really hard to be patient when you want your project to proceed. But this project is one I wanted to do for abou the last 9 months for my old bike. There were just so many other projects, too ;-)

But good job!

Maybe I'll repaint my bike, too. If so, I can post some pictures.

earmenta50 (author)2011-07-31

At the sand paper stage, what type of sand paper do I use?

bassbone_mh (author)2011-06-03

Good information; however, "will" is not spelled "well". On a positive note, good pictures. Thanks!

two more words .. Looks Stolen =D

2 more words comment

davmaldo (author)lilscskater2011-05-02

which is funny, b/c you are...

This looks like something Satin would sell you..but yeah whats ur fixer luk lik?

did ypu dissasemble the bike before painting?

that looks so so rank why would you ruin a good bike like that

well, it was a twenty dollar bike...and long ago in the fog of heavy opiate usage...i wanted to spray paint everything i owned gold. but now i have a fixy. and it run gud. and i treat it rite.

Oh hot damn. That bike definitely got the midas touch. I really don't think that's gonna last long with paint on all those moving parts. Wait. Did you really paint your chain? What?

That's a pretty bad paint job. But I guess nobody would ever want to steal your bike. That's a plus.

IS that a destiny? B/c it looks alot like mine but i did mine in silver and left the green in the back :)

pimpin man!! :P

wishes (author)blackhistorymonth2008-01-08

lol, love that bling!

pretty sweet man.

dyarberry (author)2011-04-22

This guys spelling needs help

t_menace (author)2008-04-27

i'm painting my bike and it seems that after the priming, the surface is rejecting the paint. the surface being handlebars and paint being rustoleum metallic gold, it just wrinkled up like foil almost. does anyone know what that means and or how to fix it?

al9595 (author)t_menace2010-05-02

well clear coats have that effect on some paint i.e rust-o-leam paint and tremclad clear coat it might have the same effect with different brands of primer

al9595 (author)2010-03-27

the "gooseneck" is also called a stem

sunny342 (author)2008-09-05

Could I paint all the colors of the bike and let them dry for a day, then use a heat gun to cure the paint? Would it be harder? What is the cheapest clear coat that you guys suggest?

vent6902 (author)2008-05-30

Would using a normal primer be alright? Or does it have to be an aluminum primer for an aluminum bike?

vent6902 (author)2008-05-30

I know there are two kinds of primer Aluminum and Regular.... If you sand enough would using the regular primer be okay ?

Yerboogieman (author)2008-04-20

if i taped up everything i have to take off and do separately ( handle bars, pedals, tires, etc.) could i still sand, primer, and paint like that?

CWP (author)2006-06-08

I painted a few bikes once and found that you could make the paint a lot harder to scratch if you backed the frake in an oven. Sounds funny but it works. I just turned on my oven and would place half of it in at a time for a few minutes (obviously the whole frame would'nt fit at once) and I noticed that the paint was much harder in general. Be carefull though.

systemBuilder (author)CWP2008-04-19

A friend of mine who is a professional bike painter uses ovens from a bakery to cure his paint. He bakes at about 150 degrees for about 2 hours. This doesn't make the paint any harder than the paint would EVENTUALLY be, it just speeds up the drying and curing process by about 3 months.

radiorental (author)CWP2006-06-10

thats a good idea, make sure the room is well ventillated though. A hot air gun would be an alternative you could use outdoors

breakfree (author)2006-06-08

Any suggestions on using tool that may be lying around the garage to remove old road bike bottom brackets.... I have an old schwinn frame that I want to refurb... but I dont want to spring the 40 or so more dollars for the tools to take of the bottom bracket... Any help would be kool... or atleast a site with cheap tools???

systemBuilder (author)breakfree2008-04-19

There are two sides to a bottom bracket : fixed cup (right side) and lockring / adjustable cup (left cup). On a vintage bike, here is what you do. For the fixed cup, I use a really gigantic crescent wrench, about $15 for a really cheap one. Remember that each cup of an English bottom bracket is designed to TIGHTEN as you pedal. Turn the cup THE OTHER WAY to loosen it. For adjustable cup, the best tool is the spanner that came with 1970's RALEIGH SPORTS bikes, it's a semicircle with a 'tooth' at the end. In a pinch, a screwdriver covered in duct tape and a hammer might loosen the lockring. Then, for the adjustable cup, you need a VAR or PARK or ATD pin-spanner. This is like a pair of tongs with 2 small pins that screw through the tips of the tongs, to open to any width. The pins (look like short 8mm long allen-head screws with pins at the end) can be purchased at most bike shops, or the whole tool is about $10.

radiorental (author)breakfree2006-06-08

good question. You could try wraping it in a rag and putting it in a vise, making sure to not tighten it too much or you'll f' it up. Second suggestion is an oil filter wrench if you think it would bite the bracket. Third suggestion is to whack it with a hammer and chisel. Most bracket have dimples along the rim, if its not too ceased that should get'r'done (o; ts of wd 40 beforehand to get it as loose as possible.

breakfree (author)radiorental2006-06-08

Those are pretty good ideas actually... i never thought of using a chisel... any suggestions on what to use instead of a crank remover/puller???

radiorental (author)breakfree2006-06-10

search back in instructables, I think Dan posted some details on this If you can get any bite with cold chisel try putting a clamp on first and whack the clamp bolt

britman (author)2007-05-31

i paint bikes all the time all iuse is rattle cans from walmart only about a buck a can for paint and clearcoat and cos it gets hot here in st louis my garage gets hot and it drys the paint fast and when its done go to a sign shop and you can get most of the stickers on the bike redone for a small price i take photos and it makes the bike look alot better

Ranger63 (author)2007-04-13

I just touched up a vintage leTour tourist with custom mixed enamel from Sherwin Williams auto devision. Anyone got any ideas on a good rattle can clear coat for enamel finishes. The gal at SW didn't think the enamel needed a clearcoat but clearcoat is what brings out the depth and shine (imho)and with the orig. decals in place and in good shape I certainly don't want to risk color sanding without several coats of clear coat. fwiw The touch up spray matched the spicy chestnut (origional schwinn)color to a 'T'. Not sure if PPG offers custom touch up in rattle cans but Sherwin Williams does (about$13. a 7.6oz can)

skasbait (author)2007-03-12

this all sounds ok- but how long does this paint last? I've heard not so great reports about spray paint.

neoJunk (author)2006-08-19

I did this to an old Stumpjumper I had. I used color changing auto paint. It's metallic green from one angle and gold from another- sweet. The only problem I've encountered is the clear coat chipping off. I painted the frame in the middle of a hot and humid Virginia summer so the humidity might have been a problem. Next time I'll try a heat gun and some higher quality clear coat. To get the crank off I went down to the local bike shop and gave 'um a few bucks to pop that sucker off.

bellaflor7 (author)2006-08-14

I scratched off the clear coat of my bicycle with a rough sponge and I don’t know what clear coat to add on it. It is really nice paint. Do you have any suggestions?

Zep (author)2006-07-19

Good instructions but I have one problem. How do I remove the crank?

Ohm (author)2006-06-27

I used plasticoke from an auto parts store, it seems to hold up good. I think any good brand well work just fine and the more you spend on preping the bike the better it well be.

PoRR (author)2006-06-21

thanks for the instructions. my daughter wants me to paint her bike, any suggestions on what kind of paint to use

radiorental (author)2006-06-08

very nice instructable, I usually strip all the paint of with paint remove and a wire brush, then buff is with fine sand paper and clear coat it. Works ok with steal frames but a real treat with chromalloy or alluminium. Bike looks very bling bling.. but is also a little more stealable.

radiorental (author)radiorental2006-06-08

Let me try that again, this time in English very nice instructable, I usually strip all the paint of with paint remover and a wire brush, then buff it with fine sand paper and clear coat it. Works ok with steal frames but a real treat with chrom-alloy or aluminium. My bikes look very bling bling.. but is also a little more stealable.

jcb999 (author)radiorental2006-06-17

Hey radio, Have you had any problems with the durability of the clear coat? I just stripped an old steel stumpy, and was thinking it looked kind of cool bare metal...but I'm kind of leery of the durability of a clear coat. How many layers do you put on?

Ohm (author)2006-06-10

Yeah I have heard of the baking process before, unfortunatelly I do not have the ability to do that, so I leave mine hanging in the sun for day or two. I still need to finish painting the front fork and put it back together, but I well not have time for a few days to do so, I well post more photos when I get it done.

rabidmoose (author)2006-06-09

this is kewl thnx

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