You just bought a new bike and you’re itching to make it your own. But the thought of taking it all apart and then putting it back together again is enough to make your head spin.
When it comes to painting a bike, there are two ways that you can do it: taking the bike apart into all the little pieces or not taking the bike apart.
So you’re wondering can I paint my bike without taking it apart? The short answer is yes! Read on to learn how to paint your bike without taking it apart.
Supplies Needed To Paint A Bike Without Taking It Apart
- 1 roll of aluminum foil
- 1l of Coca Cola
- 1 roll of painters tape
- Water and Soap
- Degreaser (Like WD40 Degreaser)
- 800 grit sandpaper
- Newspapers or trash bags
- High-quality bike paint spray
- Optional: Bike Hanger
Before you begin this project you want to find a suitable work area. Make sure you are doing the painting outside or in a well-ventilated area if it’s inside.
You should also have a plan on what you want your bike to look like so you can buy the right spray colors.
Steps To Painting Your Bike Without Taking It Apart:
1. Clean Your Bike
You want to make sure that there is no dirt or grease on the surface that you’re going to be painting. A good degreaser that I’ve personally used is WD40 degreaser. Use normal water and soap to give it a good clean and then use the degreaser for any really grimy parts.
If there are any areas of rust on your bike, you will need to sand them down so that the paint will be able to adhere properly. The best way to get rid of rust on your bike is to use aluminum foil with coke. It should take you less than 1l of Coca-Cola to completely remove all the rust on your bike.
Simply crumble up the aluminum foil and dip it into the Coca-Cola. Rub it all over the rusted areas and the rust should come right off.
Lastly, take off any stickers that are on the frame that could stop the paint from adhering properly.
Let your bike dry well before moving to the next step.
2. Set Up Your Work Area
Since I don’t get a newspaper myself I asked some neighbors for old newspapers to cover the ground with. This will ensure that you won’t make a mess all over your work area. You’ll want to lay down some newspapers or a drop cloth to protect the ground from paint.
This is especially important if you’re painting your bike inside your house where stains on the floor can get expensive quickly.
Remember, if you’re doing the work inside do it in a well-ventilated area.
3. Tape Off All The Parts You Want To Avoid Painting
Using trash bags for bigger parts is an easy way to avoid getting paint on areas like the wheels or rims.
Use painters tape for smaller areas you don’t want to get paint on like the seat stem, drivetrain, headset, brakes, and rims if you have rim brakes.
Make sure you take your time to get this step right. You don’t want to end up with random paint spots on your bike where they don’t belong.
4. Sand The Parts Down You Want To Paint
This will help the paint to adhere better and create a smooth surface. You want to use high grit sandpaper like an 800 grit sandpaper to make sure you get the best results.
I own this combo of sandpapers and it’s best to use a couple of different ones to get the best results.
5. Use Primer
You should always use a primer before painting. This will help the paint to stick to the bike and give it a nice even color. It will also help give the frame a protective layer in case you were to scratch your bike and makes the paint last longer so you don’t have to redo this process another time.
Rust-Oleum makes my favorite primer.
6. Paint The Bike
Now for the main part of the project, how to paint the bike? If you have experience with spray paint just do what you normally do. If not here are some tips to get a perfect finish:
- When you’re spraying, be sure to hold the can about 12 inches away from the bike and use even sweeping motions.
- Start with the frame to get a feel for how the paint is getting applied.
- Apply several thin coats instead of one thick coat.
- Apply the first coat, wait for 30-60 minutes and apply the next coat.
- Keep spraying for several thin coats until you are happy with the results.
7. Let The Paint Dry
I would recommend waiting at least 48 hours before riding the bike. This will give the paint time to set and dry properly.
You can ride your bike after painting it, but be careful! The paint is still fresh and can get scratched easily. If you do scratch the paint, simply touch up the area with some more paint.
Enjoy your new, custom-painted bike!
Now that you know how to paint your bike without taking it apart, have fun and be creative! There are no rules when it comes to painting your bike.
Go crazy with colors and designs. If you mess up, simply repaint the area or the entire bike. Have fun and enjoy the process!
One warning: Make sure if you did this work outside that it isn’t going to be raining. This could screw up the paint-drying process.
8. Put Clear Coat On
A lot of people overlook this step but a good clear coat is the easiest and best way to make sure your new paint job stays in good shape for a long time.
Preferably you would let the clear coat harden for at least 2 weeks before you begin riding your bike again but we all know how hard it is to resist riding a bike especially when it has a new and beautiful paint scheme.
So give it at least 48 hours while you take some rest.
What are good spray paints for painting a bike?
There are several different brands of spray paint I would recommend for this job.
- Plastidip. Plastidip makes the job super easy. If you are unhappy with the result and want a do-over it’s also the easiest option to redo.
- Rust-Oleum. Rust-Oleum is the leader in spray paints. You can’t go wrong with their selection of paint.
How do I best hold the bike to paint it without taking it apart?
Ideally, you have a wall or roof-mounted hanger where you can just put the wheel in. This makes it super easy to access all parts of the bike at the same time.
If you don’t have a wall-mounted hanger you can put the bike in a kickstand but you might have to be a lot more careful with your application of the paint.
How much will it cost me to paint the bike?
That depends on how many supplies you need! If you have most of the supplies already because you like working on your car then this process could be very cheap.
Even if you have to buy all the supplies it shouldn’t cost you more than $100 and will leave you with a very unique bike.
Read my in-depth guide on how much it costs to repaint a bicycle.
Painting a bike is not as difficult as it might seem, and you don’t even need to take the bike apart to do it!
Just make sure to start with a clean frame, use painters tape to protect areas you don’t want to be painted, and use light, even coats of bicycle-specific spray paint. And voila! You’ve got yourself a brand new-looking bike without having to go through the hassle of taking it all apart.
Falk BaumannFalk Baumann is the founder of Prodify Cycling. Falk has been riding and competing in Mountainbike and Road Bike racing since he was very young. He started Prodify Cycling to bring more people into the sport and help them get started with the most fun sport there is.
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