How to Paint a Bike

Find out how to paint a bike with these customization options.

| July 2, 2013

Urban Biking Handbook

Learn the ins and outs of cycling culture in “The Urban Biking Handbook.”

Cover Courtesy Quarry Books

Across the United States people are leaving their cars behind and immersing themselves in the bicycle culture. The Urban Biking Handbook (Quarry Books, 2011) by Charles Haine offers an illustrated guide to cycling culture with repair and maintenance techniques as well as information on the health benefits of cycling. In this excerpt from chapter 4, “Customization,” learn how to paint a bike.

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: The Urban Biking Handbook.

One popular but difficult way to customize your bicycle is to paint it. There are a spectrum of options available for painting a bike, from the grittiest DIY through hiring custom bicycle frame painting specialists, who often cost as much as the price of a new low-end road bike.

How to Paint a Bike

Spray paint. The easiest way to paint a bike is to pick up a rattle can of spray paint at the hardware store and paint away, but this is far from ideal. Since your bike likely has a paint job on it already, the spray paint doesn’t have a good surface to adhere to and will quickly start flaking off. I don’t recommend this unless you are going for a punk-rock aesthetic, in which case, rattle can away.

Detail work. For simple touch-ups or personal decorations, nail polish and model paint, both of which are formulated for adhering to smooth surfaces such as a painted bike frame, are good solutions for detail work.

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