General Question

Allie's avatar

Can bikes be repainted like cars can?

Asked by Allie (17541points) August 5th, 2008

I’m using a cruiser bike to get around my college campus next year, but (I think) it’s an ugly one. It’s red and beige and looks really boring. I want to spruce it up.

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14 Answers

simone54's avatar

Yes, you can paint a bike.

andrew's avatar

Yes! The best way is to powdercoat it. It costs around 400 dollars. I had my fixie custom painted by a shop in San Francisco.

It’s possible (though difficult) to do it yourself, since you really need to strip the paint of the bike (and without a sandblaster, it’s arduous). It’s important to do it correctly since the paint guards against rust.

Of course, I’ve had friends who used steel wool and spray paint, but their bikes aren’t as pretty.

wilhel1812's avatar

Yes sure, but i’m not sure if it’s worth the money in the same way painting a car is. you abrely notice the color on a bike. But if you really want it then it’s absolutely possible.

andrew's avatar

@wilhel1812: Well, people notice this.

gailcalled's avatar

andrew: I got a guy in shorts driving a gold ball off a mountain peak in Alberta. DId he bike to summit?

jrpowell's avatar

@gailcalled : You need to be logged in to see what Andrew linked to. That is amazingly what the front page of myspace looks like.

gailcalled's avatar

Thanks, jp.

emilyrose's avatar

was going to say powdercoat as well. i’ve heard cheaper quotes than andrew but i’ve never done it myself so who knows….but i want to! a friend did hers and it looks SWEET!

wilhel1812's avatar

@andrew: your link just redirects me to

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

Allie, it depends on composition. Steel can be enameled. Aluminum requires an anodized base coat, with an enamel or laquer after that.

Ditto Andrew on powdercoat, but you may get the best results by sending it home. I used to own a Trek 760 – road bike made in the early 1980s. I sent it to the Trek factory to be repainted, they X-rayed it, and told me I had stress fractures around the bottom bracket. That was bad. The frame had a lifetime warranty. That was good. Instead of paying $400 for new paint, I paid $0 for a new frame! Got it in the color I wanted to paint the old one, too.

brownlemur's avatar

I just sanded mine with 220 sandpaper (wet), then used good ol’ rustoleum to spray it. Here is the final result. MUCH cheaper than powerdercoating, but you do need to take off all parts and make sure you don’t get any paint inside the frame or in the threads.

andrew's avatar

@brownlemur: Oooooh! Pretty rims!

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Of course, but it all depends on how good of a job you want to do at the end. If you just want the end. If it is just about changing the color then you can do that with a spray can. If you really wanted a more professional job you can do so but you will need to get a touch up gin and an airbrush.

Just a color change:
Take everything off the bike you can; handlebars, seat, etc. Using a Scotch brite pad or 500 grit sandpaper scuff the existing paint and smooth any dinks. Tape up and mask anything you can’t remove. Wipe it down with a near dry but slightly damp rag, follow up with tack rag for dust, string the bike up and spray away, using even stokes.

More professional:
Take off everything down to the frame (get a bike shop to remove it if you can’t) Strip off the paint (best) with chemical means, sand blasting, or machine sanding. Once the frame is bare you spray on primer, wet sand it until it is smooth (might take about 3 coats). Then you spray on paint that is compatible with the primer you selected. Wet sand between coats and after wet sanding the last coat spray on the clear. Of more than on coat is used wet sand the between coats and using a drill with a polishing bonnet on it buff ut each coat and the final. Wa la! One impressive paint job.

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