Introduction: How to Paint Your Bike

here i will show you very simple steps to painting a bike using a few household supplies you can get at your local hardware store

this bike shown here i found in someones trash. all it needed was a new tire tube and some lube. works great, a little rough and shifting is tough but it runs fine.

the original color scheme shown below

Step 1: Find Tools

you will probably need every bike adjusting tool under the sun, including wrenches, screwdrivers, hex keys

you may need wire cutters and pliers to remove cables.

you will need to acquire a chain tool if you wish to re-use the chain, otherwise, you will need to pry it off with force and have a new one installed.

so with that being said lets begin the painting process

Step 2: Unbolt EVERYTHING From the Frame

In order for a clean, neat looking paint job, you will need to remove everything from the frame.

Start by taking the brake and derailleur cables out. simply loosen the bolt that the wire is pinned down with on the brakes and derailleur. then remove them, and disconnect them from the handlebars.
Depending on your bike, you may have to cut the clips holding the wire onto the frame, but some bikes have built in loops that the wire is guided through.

Then remove the brake mechanism themselves. the brake removal process may vary depending on your make and model of the bike. i am not a brake removal expert, but most brakes look like they come out when you unbolt them from the frame.

The same goes for the derailleur. It varies depending on the model. Many are bolted with the rear wheel along with an additional bolt to keep it from moving out of its proper position. In whatever case, this part is usually not hard to detach

Next you will want to remove the wheels. The back wheel will be a bit tricky because the chain will be caught on the rear cassette. if you have a chain tool, now is the time to use it to remove the chain, if not, leave the chain where it is while you remove the wheel, and we will explain how you can remove this shortly. The derailleur will remain attached to the chain, and i will also explain how this can be removed.

Proceed by removing the seat post, the rear rack if you have one, any reflector mounts, the handlebars, the pedals, and and Cyclometer wiring and sensor (if you have one of those as well).

Now you will need to remove the sprocket and fork from the frame. to remove the sprocket, you need to turn the bike to the side that the gear isnt on, and locate the bolt. you will need to turn this clockwise to remove it. make sure the pedals are off before the next step, or you will have trouble getting it out. Next, carefully remove the washer and bearings from the side you just unbolted, and snake the pedal-thingy through the hole out the other side. you will notice another bearing on the other side. remove this as well before painting. the fork will have a very similar design, except you turn the bolt counter clockwise. take note of the exact order of the bolts bearings and washers.

by now you should have a basic idea of how things fall into place on the frame. if there is anything i left out, take it off as well. the frame should not have any moving parts on it, or any bolts attached to it in any way whatsoever.

now put each set of bolts in separate plastic bags and label them with permanent marker. be sure to draw a diagram for things like bearings and washers and how they should go back in.

Now you will have to get the derailleur off the bike. to remove the chain, you can basically use any type of force to get it off, because without a chain tool, you will damage it trying to get it off in any other manner. i recommend pliers and a hammer to break the links in the chain. simply twist the chain in a manner that it shouldn't be twisted and after awhile it should come off just fine. then pull the chain scrap out of the derailleur.

now its time for the fun stuff

Step 3: Sand the Frame of Everything, Rust and Paint

in order for you new coat of paint to stick for years to come, you will want to sand any rust or existing paint off the frame. you can do this by using rough sandpaper, or power tools. i started out with 60 grit sandpaper, but was saved when my uncle happened to have wire brush drill bits in the trunk of his car. you can get such things and your local hardware store.

another option is to sand using a belt sander.

you will want to get every bit of paint off or it will cause an uneven paint job if you leave spots like in the right side of this frame shown here.

it took me about 3 days to get all the paint off. but if you have a wire brush drill bit and a plug in drill, you should have it done within 2 or 3 hours. sand any other parts you want to paint. on this bike we painted the sprocket, the rear rack, the handlebars, the chain fender, and the brake mechanism. DO NOT paint bolts, chains, cables, or bearing systems. do not paint holes that the bolts go in, and do not paint the rear cassette (gears).

once you have you sanded parts ready, hang them somewhere (such as a garage ceiling), put any tarps down, and wait for a day with a humidity under 75%, otherwise painting will be miserable.

if you live near the ocean, try to avoid leaving the frame unpainted for more than a few days, as rust will form almost instantly from corrosive particles in the air.

Step 4: Hang and Paint

Hang the bike using strong cable. for this i used the bikes existing brake cables since they were shot anyways. make sure the knot you use to secure it to your garage door or ceiling is sturdy and secure. this bike was hung on the garage door where some unused holes were located. block off any holes with paper to keep paint out of them.

now comes the best part of the fun, painting. you will need 2 or 3 kinds of paint.
you will want to buy

-a rusty metal primer to stop and prevent rusting and corrosion
-a spray paint of the same type and company
-an optional clear coat for added protection

i recommend Rustoleum paint because a lot of people recommend it, and it stays on very well.

first you will have to prime, then paint, then put the clear coat on. always prime the suface first for it will keep the paint on longer.

if youve never spray painted before, the key is to put on several, super thin, layers-not thick slimy ones-

hold the can about 6 inches to 1 ft away from the part you are painting, and smoothly sweep up and down the part. you do not have to cover the entire object in the first coat. doing multiple coats helps the paint bond to the metal better. wait about 5 minutes, and then spray another light coat, being sure to give remote areas a little more attention. once you prime, go ahead and use the color of your choice to color that component in.

on this bike, i painted the frame and fork black, while painting everything else yellow, and did a gradient yellow/black on the bike's chain fender.

Step 5: Allow Drying for at Least 3 Days. More If Humidity Remains Above 70%

Allow everything to dry for at least 3 days before installing parts. the frame can be cautiously handled after about 24 hours, but pain will come off with the slightest scratch so be careful.\

once fully dry you can re install parts while the bike is still suspended to prevent scratching from on-the-ground assembly. i got everything except the back wheel back on the bike while it was suspended.

Step 6: Take to the Shop for Any Parts That Need Replacement

since i damaged the chain to remove it, i ended up taking it to the shop to get a new chain and cables installed on it. they did an excellent job routing the cable to without a scratch. they even tightened up some bolts that i didn't tighten yet. below is the finished product without a chain

Step 7: Ride Away

now your bike is ready to roll in long as you painted it nicely.

Step 8: The End