Introduction: How to Fix Up an Old Bike

This instructable will show you how to breathe life into an old bike. In this case my Mum's old bike she never used. The main focus you will have when sprucing up a bike is painting, so I'll focus mostly on how to properly paint a bikes frame, handlebars and mudguards.

Step 1: What You Will Need

The main things you'll be using are:

A drill

A wire wheel

Various grits ofand paper

Mineral turpentine

Wax and grease remover

An etch primer

Quality 2K paint from a proper pain shop

Safety gear(Respirator, ear muffs, safety glasses)

Whatever tools you need to strip down your bike (screwdrivers, spanners, Allen keys etc.)

Step 2: Strip Down the Bike

Grab a bucket or two and your tool box and pull that bike to pieces. each part you remove from the bike is placed into a bucket or labels and stored away so that you know where all the pieces are. I striped the bike right down to the bare frame, bottom bracket removed and everything. Every bike is different so I'll let you figure out the dismantling of your own bike. With some entry level tools and a little bit of know how, anyone can pull a bike apart.

Step 3: Removing the Paint

This bit is arguably the most fun. Attach the wire wheel to your drill and begin removing the paint from any part of the bike that will be painted. The frame, forks and mud guards all needed the paint to be striped off in this particular application. Make sure you're wearing all of your protective gear at this point. Ear muffs, because scraping paint off of something with a wheel isn't quiet work. Safety glasses because individual wires from the wire wheel can come off during operation, there were multiple times in this build when I heard the subtle ping of a wire bouncing off of my safety glasses. And last but not least, your respirator. I certainly don't want to be inhaling tiny pieces if paint that have come off the bike.

Step 4: Get Hung

Use masking tape cover up any area's that you don't want painted, like the insides of any bearing cases etc. Using some old wire coat hangers, suspend the bike parts somewhere with good ventilation but not too much of a draft.(Windy conditions make painting much more difficult) Before painting you can go over any sections of the bike that still have paint with a wire brush or sandpaper, whichever is easiest. Now grab a nice clean rag, pour some wax and grease remover on it and give the bike a rub down. This will ensure that any (you guessed it) wax and grease that may have made its way on the bike are now gone. Both wax and grease can at times be difficult to see on a bike but more importantly, wax and grease can ruin a paint job. You need the surface you are painting on the be completely free from contaminations.

Step 5: First Layers of Primer

Now we can start with the primer. An etch primer is a paint designed to stick really well to both metals as well as other paints. This means that when you paint over the primed surface, the nice new paint has something to cling to. The painting itself isn't that difficult, just follow what the can has written on it. Shake well, wear a respirator, spray in a couple of light coats, hold the can 30cm(one foot) from your target etc. The one piece of advise I will give you here is to heat your cans. I filled the laundry sink with hot water and let the cans sit in there for a couple minutes. The heat causes a rise in pressure in the can and allows the to spray better, harder and faster for longer. Unfortunately I din't take any pictures of the bike with the top coat on it. Once the bike was painted I was too exited to get it together to take pictures. The paint I used for the top coat was mixed by a local auto paint store, it cost $25 for the can and is proper automotive grade paint that they mixed up in the shop.

Step 6: While You're Waiting for the Paint to Dry

Because the paint needs and hour or two between coats you'll have plenty of down time. I used this time to fix up the other aspects of the bike. There was rust, dirt and grime all over the bike so I set out to clean the bike as well as I could. I ended up taking a bucket of parts as well as the rims to the car wash with a can of alloy rim cleaner. After letting all the parts soak for the appropriate amount of time I used the pressure washer to blast away all the grime. A can or two of degreaser was sacrificed to the cleanliness gods on that day too. After some research into the matter, I discovered that all the chrome parts of the bike should be cleaned with degreaser and aluminium foil, using the aluminium foil to scrub the grime off of the chrome. This is a new concept to me, but it makes sense. The aluminium is softer than the chrome and therefore will not scratch it, the same can't be said for a brass wire wheel.

Step 7: Throwing Everything Back Together. the End Result

It's pretty self explanatory from here. Just do the reverse of the tear down and you'll have your bike again. Chuck a little bit of automotive wax on any chrome bike parts to help fight rust and replave any broke old parts and you're good to go. On this bike I ended up replacinng the old gum wall tyres with new white walls, I replaced the old black plastic grips with tan leather grips, I put bigger brake pads on, threw on some old bmx pedal I had lying around and had a tinker with the front dérailleur( I ripped it off because it doesn't get used)

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