Thinking About A Respray For Your Bike?: Part One
So, you want to breathe a bit of life back into your bike? A professional re-spray or powder coat can cost but if you’re certain that a change of colour is what your frame needs, you can do a decent job at home with a few basic tools. Rattle cans may not appear to be the professional answer but with patience and preparation you can achieve some incredible results.
If you want to spruce up your frame, we suggest you have a go on an old bike first: you don’t want to ruin your expensive road bike now, do you? You’ll learn the pros and cons of rattle can spraying without compromising your ride. Basically, the PRO is this: it’s cheap, effective and simple to do. As for the CON: rattle can results aren’t durable – expect a bit of wear and tear to show through. Re-spraying your bike sure is fun though…
We’re splitting this ‘how to’ guide into two parts – why? Because a good spray job is going to take two days at a minimum. Read part one and complete part one in a day, then tackle part two. Patience is a virtue in the spraying game.
Sandpaper: the good stuff! Arm yourself with a variety of grits like 220, 320, 600, 800 and 1000 (if you can get higher than 1000, grab some!) in wet and dry form.
Scotchbrite: other brands are available but not nearly as well known. A green scratchpad will really help you out.
Rubbing Alcohol: Surfaces need to be degreased and clean – rubbing alcohol is an essential item!
Proper Primer: Self etching primer is good stuff. Buy a few cans because it’s easy to run short and having a spare tin never hurts.
Proper Paints: Avoid the cheaper brands and pay the extra for quality paint. Automotive paints are far more durable so make sure your paints and colours are of that stock.
Proper Lacquer: As with paint, quality clear goes a long way. Avoid the cheaper options!
Paint Stripper: It’s not an essential but it does make the whole project a lot less labour intensive!
Strip the frame: the first step is to disassemble your bike. This means everything. Since you’re removing the frame, you might as well take everything else apart for a good clean whilst you’re at it.
Strip the paintwork: you can scuff up your existing paintwork and work from there but it’s quite nice to take it all the way back to bare metal. Use a paint stripper to make the work easier or sand it back if you’re feeling adventurous!
Scuff: use your scratching pad to bring the surface to an even finish. Scuff it all up – the primer will do the rest!
Clean it up: rub some alcohol over the surfaces that you’re going to paint. Use clean rags to remove any grease or dust that’s laying on the surface. If anything is left behind, you’ll notice it later on!
Hang ‘em up: it’s always best to hang your parts up; metal coat hangers and hooks are the weapon of choice for this stage! Wear latex gloves when handling your newly cleaned parts though – human finger grease can really ruin your finish!
Mask ‘em up: mask up anything that you don’t want painted.
Prime time: Shake your primer well and spray an even dusting across the surface. You don’t want full coverage here, just a light and tacky dusting. Leave it to dry for 10 minutes before adding a second, heavier coat – again, not full coverage but a bit heavier than before. After another 10 minute drying period, apply a third coat. This coat should bring your primer to a nice even finish, completely covering the metal.
Some painters prefer to move on to the painting phase soon after the primer coat is dry but others prefer to wait until the next day before moving on. We recommend waiting, because slow and steady wins the race with painting – unless you’re an experienced professional of course! Part two can be found here! Get ready to paint!
Note: Be sure to wear a protective mask and clothes that you don’t mind getting a bit dirty. Also, we’d like to stress that if your bike is your pride and joy and you’re not sure about your ability to spray it – don’t! Try re-spraying an old bike first and get lots of practice in…or take it straight to a pro!