That time I painted a bike

I bought my Fixie from Edinburgh Bike Co-op for a bit of a steal.  It’s a heavy bike but I have my cycle-cross for going fast and had been talking about fixed gear for an age.  I must have had the bike for about 9 months, riding it a handful of times before deciding to repaint and rebuild.


I had no real idea on how to proceed at first so began happily pinning and researching through Pinterest and the wonderful web, had enough inspiration and went for it!

 First up I stripped the bike down to the frame and chain, greased any open or vulnerable parts (threads in the bottom bracket, head tube, seat tube) and masked off bits I didn’t want to get any paint in.  I then roughly sanded down the frame by hand which took a wee while but I was really aiming to remove all the lacquer and then a little bit further.  I probably should have done more but basically got the frame and forks to the point all the lacquer was off and the paint lightly removed, rubbing it down with a damp cloth to remove any residue.  I know other ways are using paint stripper but I wanted to avoid using chemicals when a bit of elbow grease would do just as well.

cropped frame.jpg

I then sprayed the frame and forks with white primer, leaving 15 mins to dry between coats.  After the 3rd coat I lightly sanded down before adding the final coat and let it dry (which was when I ran out of primer).   I then added some off set masking tape to one of the bottom brackets as I was adding fluro pink to parts of the bike and wanted a bit of a ‘outside the lines’ look.  I proceeded to spray the seat stem, part of the back bracket and forks with Halfords own Fluorescent Pink, leaving to dry between coats as before.  I left this overnight and began the hard work the next day

 This part took roughly 50+ hours over 6 weeks.  I was sitting from 30 mins to 4 hours if I got into the groove, in the spare room, with a yoga mat, tea or beer and a couple of lamps if it was dark, listening to audio books and using my ‘Fixie of Dreams’ Pinterest board for inspiration.  I used POSCA pens which were incredible to use, a paint brush to blend or thin the paint, a pencil to sketch out bits I was too scared to freehand and an industrial black sharpie for the leopard printing.

The tense part came when it was time to lacquer my handiwork.  I had intensely tested the lacquer by applying a large amount to a scrap of metal I’d drawn on and it had bled, however, multiple layers of thin, even layers didn’t cause any bleeding and after about layer 3 or 4 I was able to spray freely.


I finished the Fixie off with a Brooks saddle, some lush sky blue Ergon GA2 Grips and some fluro Spokin Thunderbolts and Stars. I’m really stoked with the outcome, finally seeing something artistic through to the end and as a result, enjoy riding this bike about 60% more!  It’s like being a kid again, blasting around, bunny hopping and skidding, saving up to add different parts to the bike and make it even more RAD!

If you have any questions on the project please leave me a comment as I actually love talking about it!

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