We get quite a lot of questions on how is our vintage / classic bicycle repaint / restoration process. Well, the first thing will be repainting for a new paint job, and if you like, throw in some cool designs and give your old bicycle a new life. Since we’re busy with restoring and repainting 5 old vintage / classic bicycles now, we might as well take photos and show you guys the step by step processes.
Step 1 : Paint Stripping
If you want a paint job that looks like new, first you’ll need to remove all the old paint. You can buy paint strippers / paint removers at most hardware stores. But bear in mind, the paint strippers / paint removers are mainly made of strong acid. Wear safety gloves for both hands else you’ll get acid burn on your hands. And please, read the instructions before you start using it, and follow the instructions when you’re using it. CAUTION: We won’t be liable for your injury from using paint stripper / paint remover.
Step 2 : Rust Removal (Steel / Iron bicycle frames only)
Rust removal process is essential for steel or iron bicycle frame, especially true for vintage and / or classic bicycles. But, it’s totally unnecessary for aluminium frame and carbon fiber frame. So, we’re not showing the photos of the rust removal or rust treatment process as we’re using a 3 steps rust treatment processes that require 3 different kind of rust removal products. It’s for maximum longevity but it takes way too much time if you’re going to DIY this. However, you should buy any readily available rust treatment products, apply it and sand it before you paint on the new paint job.
Step 3 : Paint Primer
One of the most important part of the whole bicycle repaint process is the paint primer. We have 3 different types of industrial primer, etching primer for aluminium alloy frame, anti-corrosion primer for steel / iron frame, and specialty carbon fiber primer for carbon fiber frame. So, you just need to buy the correct primer depending on your frame materials.
Step 4 : Light Colour Coat
Finally, after all the boring preparation, here we are for the painting. Normally, light colour first. We don’t cover the whole frame with the light colour as our paint is industrial grade and we don’t need to worry about coverage and / or colour shifts when the dark / bright colour goes on. But if you’re using can spray paint or rattle can as the Americans are calling it, you should paint the whole frame in light colour before the dark / bright colour just in case it changes the colour of the upper coat. If you’re not sure, just try it out is small area or simply try it out on spares first.
Step 5 : Masking
Possible the most boring step in the whole restoration process. In our shop, almost every staff will try their best to walk away from this step. As it’s quite tedious as you need to visualise the final result and do it backwards like jigsaw puzzles. But frankly, if you know what you want, you can just try to do it slowly on your own with masking tapes, scissors, and stickers. Anything you do it wrong in this step is not permanent, you can just take the stickers / masking tapes out and do it again.
Step 6 : Painting
It’s a rather straight forward step. However, you should really practice spraying on other subjects before going on for the real deal. As any mishaps in this step might require you to restart the whole process from step 1. Do not over spray or stop in any particular spot for too long else you’ll get running paint which might require you to restart the whole process. Also, for best results, please use the best paint gun you can afford, and a minimum 2HP air compressor. And always, 2 coat with 10 minutes of drying time in between will give you the best possible result. So here is the result.
Step 7 : Unmask, Touch Up and Stickers
Another straight forward step. Unmask all the stuff you had masked previously, check for imperfections and touch up as you like. Bear in mind that some imperfections can never be touched up. So don’t over do the touch up part until you’ll need to restart the whole process again. Touch up, smooth the surface, add on stickers as you like, then we’ll be going into the final step.
Step 8 : Top Coat
Top coat can be split into 2 big category, gloss or matte. Depending on what you want for you bicycle, you can choose the one you like the most. There’s no right or wrong on going into gloss or matte finish, just personal preferences. Our customer had chosen the low gloss top coat to avoid high gloss top coat destroying the classic / vintage design of the whole new paint job. And voila! Here is the end result.