Bike Frame Painting: Unleashing Your Creativitiy

Cycling isn't merely a test of speed and endurance; it's an avenue for style and personal expression. The art of bike frame painting lets enthusiasts manifest their unique personalities onto their bikes, be it to rejuvenate an aging steed or distinguish a fresh purchase.

Painting a New Bike Frame

Embracing a blank canvas opens up myriad possibilities. Brands like Open are tapping into this burgeoning trend, introducing frames tailor-made for personalization. What is called as RTP. Ready To Paint. So, how does one embark on this journey?

Open painted by Olaf from Edit Velo Girona
Conceptualization: Begin with an idea. What story or emotion do you wish your bike to tell? Where does your inspiration spring from? What do want to achieve?
  • Selecting a Painter: Your vision requires a masterful touch. Seek out an accomplished bike painter who can resonate with your concept. Proximity can also be a bonus - we'll delve into that shortly.
  • Post-Painting Assembly: When your frame reemerges, adorned with your envisioned artistry, the reassembly commences, culminating in a bike that's authentically yours. Would you do the reassembly yourself? Count the time needed. Would you send everything to your bike mechanic? Ask for an estimate. 
David from M-Level painting a bike frame for Trinity Team

Challenges with Painting Used Bike Frames

Venturing to repaint a used bike demands resolve:

  • Meticulous Disassembly: Going the DIY route? Each component demands careful removal, cataloging, and secure storage. If your bike mechanic would do that, plan accordingly to match the timing with the painter. 
  • Eradicating History: Stripping the original paint must be necessary in some cases.
This is what David Meirhaeghe from M-Level (Belgium) has to say:
    “When repainting frame, it is not necessary to remove all the old paint, this would be too time-consuming and would increase the price for it. Of course in repaints where carbon must be visible we will then take off the old paint completely without violating the carbon. You will then pay more for this. And of course if you want the lightest paint job, then it is best to remove all the old paint and keep carbon visible and finish with a satin varnish”
    • Patience in Spades: There's a waiting game between dispatching your frame for painting and its subsequent reassembly. For those with a single bike like myself, this hiatus can feel extended and it's the main issue against re-painting it. 3-5 weeks without bike? Ummmm.

    DIY vs. Professional Painting

    The allure of DIY might beckon, but it comes laced with pitfalls. The risks are evident. In the absence of the requisite expertise or tools, you might end up with a lackluster result. Frankly, entrust professionals with professional tasks.

    A veteran bike painter doesn't just bring skill; they ensure your frame boasts a finish that's both impeccable and enduring.

    Choosing the Right Bike Painter

    Entrust your bike only with the finest. When scouting for painters, reputation is paramount. Engage in groundwork, solicit recommendations, and engage with social media cyclists who've treaded this path. Proven expertise is indicative of a painter's prowess.

    The sky is the limit regarding bike frame painting
    Moreover, local options trump distant alternatives. A neighborhood painter not only saves on shipping expenses (and shrinks your carbon footprint) but also slashes potential damage risks. Minimized transit equals diminished mishap possibilities.

    Reasons to Paint Your Bike

    The motivations to repaint span a spectrum:

    • Perhaps it's rejuvenation – undoing the toll of time, from nicks to grazes. An effective preventive measure? Well, you're in the perfect site. Check AMS Frame Protection.
    • Or, in a world awash with identical bikes, you crave uniqueness. A bespoke paint job lets you defy the norm, making your bike a direct reflection of your essence. As mentioned before: way easier to do on a new purchase.

    Costs and Resale Implications

    Ok, so far so good for now, but let's talk money. Personalization comes at a cost, determined by design complexity and the initial state of the bike. Yes, but ... how much exactly?. It can vary quite a lot.

    David from M-Level telling you the options: 

    “A repaint of a carbon frame and fork in a solid color with painted text comes to 790 EUR.
    Different techniques or paints may include supplements, Starting at 58 EUR.
    For an unpainted carbon frame and fork that is RTP (ready to paint) this starts at 410 EUR.
    A paint job starts at 216 EUR.
    If you want to go special at all you are usually around 1000 EUR”.

     

    Olaf from Edit Velo Girona explains how and why prices might vary:

     

    "The cost is associated with the finish/design that the client wants. It all depends on the hours and work we spend on that particular frameset."
    "It all depends on whether the client comes with a clear design or wants us to design something special (which also has a separate cost), the condition in which the frameset comes, whether it has been repainted, if any carbon fissure needs to be repaired... every bike is unique, and that's why there isn't a fixed price."
    "As I explained earlier, we encounter different situations. Clients who come with a clear design, and clients who give us free rein to do what we want, sometimes with a small indication and sometimes complete freedom. It depends on the finish they want, design... a bit of everything."

    However, remember: A niche design, while resonating with you, might not charm all. A bike draped in a universal color scheme could prove an easier sell than one graced by your cherished memories. I'm sorry, I get that your mum's face paint on the top tube of your bike is nice, but ... 

    Going Beyond the Frame

    Beyond the frame lie other realms: handlebars, stems, and seatposts, to name a few. These can be painted to echo your frame's theme, amalgamating aesthetics with functionality.

    But also the stuff you wear like goggles, helmets or shoes. 

    AMS Sterrato themed Fizik gravel shoes
    Olaf from Edit Velo Girona
    "Of course, just as you give new life to your frameset, you can give it to your other parts, using the same design as on the frame or the same logo colors. You give it new life without needing to buy another one because the color has worn out or you're tired of it, and you also make your bike more exclusive, which is what many people seek when personalizing it."

    Protecting Your Custom Paint

    Post customization, preservation becomes paramount. The AMS Clear Frame Protection stands sentinel, ensuring your artwork remains pristine, thwarting potential blemishes and abrasions.

    FAQ

    How much does it cost to paint a bike frame?

    The cost varies, starting from around 216 EUR for basic paint jobs to upwards of 1000 EUR for elaborate custom designs.

    What's the price difference between new and repainting a bike frame?

    Repainting usually costs more due to the prep work involved. Prices range from 790 EUR for a solid color on a carbon frame and fork to more for detailed custom work.

    Are there specific costs for painting a mountain bike?

    Costs are similar across bike types but may vary based on the frame's condition and the desired design's complexity.

    What factors influence the cost of getting a bike painted?

    Factors include the design's complexity, the condition of the bike, and whether the frame needs repair or prep work.

    How can I ensure my bike paint job lasts?

    Invest in high-quality paint and protective finishes like AMS Clear Frame Protection to guard against scratches and wear.

    Conclusion

    Bike frame painting is a tapestry of imagination, hurdles, and gratification. It's about molding a bike that mirrors your individuality. Embarked on such an expedition? We're eager to partake in your tale or assist with any inquiries. Dive headfirst into the vibrant realm of custom painting and pedal your creativity into the horizon!

    Carles Carrera

    Co-Founder, Product&Marketing

    Carles' passion for Enduro MTB ignited the creation of AMS. Nowadays, you're more likely to find him speeding along scenic gravel paths, enjoying the thrill of his gravel bike.