DIY: Painting a Bike
October 15th, 2013

Check this one off the bucket list! I’ve wanted to paint a bike for years, and although the process is pretty straight forward, there was always the daunting task of having to take the bike apart and sanding it down…I just want to spray paint stuff…

But I finally got to do it! One of my best friends, Eric, and I had some time and a bike to spare, so we figured what the hey, let’s do it!

We made a silver and blue mountain bike into a baller [that's right, baller] matte black and gold 2-week summer project.

So we read other DIY blogs and sites for tips. Take the bike apart methodically: make a diagram and label all the pieces, or lay them out on a board that is pre-labeled. Sand and degrease everything. Paint multiple thin coats of primer, then paint, and then some sort of sealant. Put all the pieces back together, and maybe try to do so in reverse order of how you took it apart. Orderly and methodical right?

Unfortunately we were a bit too eager and quick at unscrewing all those bolts…labeling lagged and bottlenecked, and then since we used tape to label things, we ended up just ignoring our numbering system for the pieces and dumped all the parts into general piles. We’ll figure it out later.

So after making a couple of trips to Blick, we got ourselves some spray paint, primer, matte finish, and water resistant sealant. Oh and an X-acto knife for some of my other musings…

We ran into a few problems too with taking everything off. The correct size hex keys…the special tool to take off the chain [we just ended up painting around that...we didn't want to buy too many extra things - minimizing costs haha]. Eventually we got just about everything off and we spent one of the hotter summer afternoons sanding away at the manufacturer’s power coated paint job. And sanding off sticker adhesive, that was [not] a lot of fun. We did have a lot of fun spray painting the bike frame though, suspended by a wire clothes hanger and three bungee cords slung over a beam in Eric’s garage.

After priming, painting, and sealing, we had the daunting task of putting everything back together. With no instructions. And unfortunately fewer photos for reference than we should have taken while the bike was still whole. Nevertheless, after checking the internet and comparing placement of bolts and screws with other bikes in Eric’s garage, we ended up with something that highly resembled a bike. Except that we had lost two major pieces for the handle bar headset, and we had three huge screws with nowhere to go. One was even over 3 inches long, and surely something like that should be reasonably important…but we never found where it had to go.

We were fortunate to have found the pieces we had somehow lost at a nearby bike shop [the pieces are huge major pieces, so we still don't know where they could have gone...].

For $25 worth of paint, 2 weeks of off and on work, and another $20-30 to replace the missing pieces and handgrips, we ended up with a nice matte black bike with golden accents. Essentially everything but the frame was painted gold.

And of course my little Miki Mo had fun running around the yard as we sanded away. She was tired, but she always like a change in scenery.

It was tiring, but it was definitely a fun project. Next time we know better than to just leave the assembly to best guesses, but with patience, we were able to figure it out. After this little project, I definitely feel like I can attest to how doing really does help understanding in a more physical and concrete way than I had previously experienced. Not just learning and doing in class, but taking something apart and being able to put it back together, it’s actually quite fun. Tinkering.

One Response to DIY: Painting a Bike

  • Sandy says:

    That is so awesome Kimmy! I didn’t know you did it hehehehe… Awesome color

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    This is my personal site to post some stuff – stuff that is so random I can’t really be any more specific. But if you care for photos of food, panoramas, my day, or just the thoughts that go on in my head, please stay!

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