Repainting a Bicycle

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Introduction: 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

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

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

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.

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    46 Discussions

    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.

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

    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?

    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?

    1 reply

    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