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Ever wanted to repaint you bike? Maybe your bike’s got too many scratches or maybe you’re just tired of the color. I know I’ve had that feeling several times. Being a frequent Craigslister, I’ve owned a few bikes that I wish had a different color–the bikes rode great but the color was sometimes just drab or depressing. So, when I became a writer for this site, I had to come up with ideas for articles and repainting was one of them. So here it is! After getting over my fears, I now can share my experience of how I repainted my bike.

About a year ago, I bought a “parts bike”–a bike to harvest parts from–to install on another bike. Since then, the bike has rarely been used and as a result, it’s just sat in my garage.

I went on YouTube, and asked RL, to get a better idea of what to expect. The process (which I’ll break down later) was surprisingly easy.

I went online and followed the instructions I found both from mtnbikeriders.com , ehow.com and a couple of youtube videos. After disassembling (which was not as easy as I thought), I read the instructions on the paint stripper can and it was scary! I had to use a mask to not inhale dangerous fumes and use solvent-resistant gloves! Using a putty knife, I easily removed the paint. But since the previous owner just painted over the original paint of coat, I had to use two cans of the paint stripper. After sanding down the frame with fine and extra fine sandpaper, I was ready to paint. The sanding was very cumbersome because of hard to reach parts like where the derailleur cable goes but it only took about eight hours spread over a couple of days. After that, the repaint was easy–laying down plastic to make sure that the spray paint doesn’t get all over the place, I sprayed four coats over four hours (that means, 4 coats with dry times of 1 hour each). And since I used a spray paint that combined the primer and paint in one, I was able to skip 2 coats of primer making my job a little easier! FYI: the guy at Home Depot just suggested the primer/paint combo without a finish to be sufficient.

One minor setback happened–some debris made it onto the paint in the threading where the rear derailleur goes so when I attempted to reinstall the rear derailleur, it was at an angle. This damaged the first 2 or 3 threads so I tried to thread it in between the drop outs, as opposed to outside of the dropouts hoping that it would fix the thread. It didn’t so I was off to the bike shop. Now the bike shop didn’t have a metal tap or heli-coil to fix the stripped threads so I was advised to buy a bolt of the same size as the derailleur bolt from a hardware store to fix the thread so I did. I screwed in the bolt from the inside (in between the drop outs) and it fixed it! I installed the rear derailleur and put together the rest of the bike.

What’s needed:

Klean-Strip Paint Stripper

Flat Black Spray

  • Paint Stripper (about $7)
  • Paint (about $7)
  • Tools: Crank Remover (If you don’t have one, they’re about $8 on Amazon)
  • Monkey wrench/Spanner Tool
  • Hex Keys/Allen Wrenches (I used 5mm, 8 mm)
  • Socket wrenches
  • Cable Cutters (if necessary)
  • Gloves and breathing mask

I also used, a painter’s sheet of plastic (1.50 at home depot) which I recommend but it’s not necessary.

Here are the steps!

1. Disassemble Bike

Remove crank, fork, pedals, wheels, brakes, cables, derailleurs, seatpost and handlebar.

Bike Before Disassembly

Kept Crankset On

Covered Headset w/ Painter's Tape

Covered Crankset w/ Tape and Grocery Bag (Not the prettiest thing but it gets the job done)

2. Spray paint stripper on fork and remove paint using putty knife. Repeat if necessary. Sand down to get a smoother finish.


Hung the fork on metal hanger

3. Spray paint stripper on frame and remove paint using putty knife. Repeat if necessary. Sand down to get a smoother finish.

Sprayed a pretty thick coat!

4. Re-paint!

Eventually took off crankset to get easier access to the bottom bracket

Beautiful!!!

5. Assemble again!

Ta Da!