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How to Paint a BMX Bike Frame

Updated on August 23, 2010

Steps to Painting a BMX Bike Frame

OK there's two ways to paint your BMX bike frame: the quick and easy way and then there's best of class - obnoxiously, anally retentive way.

For the latter (that's the second one for all of you linguists) you're going to need a pretty nice shop and some pretty pro tools - things like a sandblaster and a pro sprayer. I'm more inclined to spend less time in the shop and more time out on my bike so let's explore the former, that's the 'quick and easy way'.

Step #1 - Strip it! Kind of obvious I know but, it's amazing how may guys skip this part. They just try and cover everything but the frame with tape and plastic. End result = a really crappy paint job. Besides stripping your bike gives you a chance to inspect every part for wear and to clean it. You'll just love the way it rides and feels once you get it back together. Plus you'll learn a ton about how your bike works by doing it. BTW when I say strip I mean strip it - everything off. Check out the pics and videos below if you want to see a completely stripped bike.

Step #2 - Strip the finish. OK, I know I already said strip it but you know I meant take it completely apart. Get it down to just the frame. In this second step we're working with the frame and we really want to make it naked. So, you're going to need to good quality stripper. Look for 'aircraft grade' stripper and you'll be fine. Don't go cheap on me here. Get new product - no used stuff that's been hanging around for years. Once you're done and it looks like you've got every last bit of paint off take time to rinse the frame thoroughly. Inspect it carefully. You may need to use a heavy brush, like a wire bristle brush to remove any little flakes or flecks that remain. Inspect it again and rub it down all over rag. Make certain there is nothing left. This will insure a beautiful final finish and no pealing.

Step #3 - Degrease. I know this seems like overkill but grease can kill your paint job. It can also hide from all the stripping and washing you did above so take this extra step to be sure. Get a good quality degreaser and give your frame a once over. Go over it again with a clean white cloth to be sure it's dry and ready for the first step of prep. 

Step #4 - First Prep. Think of your frame like it was wood. For painting wood you need to make sure the wood is dry and read before applying primer. The process for metal or aluminum painting is even more complex. Your frame needs to be chemically ready to receive the primer so it and the subsequent layers of paint will all adhere properly. For steel frames use something like Metal-Prep. For aluminum use Alumi-Prep. Make sure you get the right one for your frame material.

Step #5 - Time to Prime. Doing this right will give you a bullet proof finish. Well not really but to will make sure you end up with the best finish possible. The type of primer you use will depend on the kind of material the frame is made of. If you have a steel frame use a primer specifically made for steel. If you have an aluminum frame it is very important you get a quality primer that is made for aluminum. Mixing this up or using a cheap generic primer is the recipe for disaster and your frame will chip, peal and look awful in no time. Use an epoxy primer for best results. 5b. If you really want to get anal here you can apply a primer-sealer over the epoxy primer but if you've done all of the other prep properly it's really not needed.

Step #6 - Put on you Top Coat. Acrylic lacquers are OK but if you really want a top quality job spend a little more and go for Acrylic Polyurethane. 

Step #7 - Clear Coat. If you've just painted with a plain solid colour you can skip this step. But if you really want that 'bullet proof' look than it's worth doing. If you've done anything fancy with your frame paint, like beads, neon, etc. than definitely do a Top Coat. Finish Tip: apply your decals before you do the Top Coat. This really gives your paint job a pro look. 

Step #8 - Let it Dry! At this stage everyone gets excited and impatient and wants to start putting it all back together so they can jump on their ride to show off their awesome work. Don't! Keep your baby safe, warm and dray for at least 3 days (72 hours).   

Step #9 - Reassemble... gently! Take time to clean and inspect every part. Now is the time to replace anything that is worn. Go slow and gently. You've just done a killer paint job and the last thing you want to do is scratch or chip it by rushing reassembly.

Step #10 - Show off your Ride! Hop on at 7am and don't come home til dark or at least until everyone in town has seen your creation. If you belong to a Bike Club you definitely want to go hang out there.

How to Paint a BMX Bike

Gradient BMX Bicycle Powder Coating
Gradient BMX Bicycle Powder Coating
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Blue White Gradient BMX Paint
Finished Product: Gradient Painted BMX Frame
Finished Product: Gradient Painted BMX Frame

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Got any Bike Painting Any Tips to Share?

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    • profile image

      Manami 2 years ago

      Nutzu / That video went 30 dollars over bdgeut and is the November rain of song clips, Jipa the critics wil slag you off but in the future you will be visonary!!!2nd that ginga call

    • Jambles profile image

      James Watson 3 years ago from Scotland

      Nice page! Good to see i'm not the only one on here who is interested in BMX Riding.

    • john hayls profile image

      john hayls 6 years ago

      These tips are very helpful for those people. who have bicycle. I used these tips for my cycle. I did nicely do.

    • profile image

      matt g  7 years ago

      do i need to prime it 1st ?

    • Caverson profile image

      Caverson 7 years ago from Left Coast

      My son has been thinking about restoring his BMX bike. I picked up some great tips here. Rock On!

    • motricio profile image

      Mauricio Rodriguez 7 years ago from Bogota DC, Colombia

      Nice hub!

      When I was younger I used to assemble my own bikes, I had 2. First one was a BMX frame that I get new and it was Red, I wanted it black so I turned out painting it in black.

      Second was a BMX but Chrome frame, it has about 14 years! Used to jump on it and go long distance with a bunch of others friends. Now it is with my nephew.

      Good times! =D

    • profile image

      Al Mistral 7 years ago

      Dude - love the photos of the blue gradient powder coat!

    • PanamaPaul profile image

      PanamaPaul 7 years ago from Toronto

      Hey Guys! Thanks for the feedback.

    • PartyPlannerDeb profile image

      PartyPlannerDeb 7 years ago

      Nicely done Paul. I appreciate the comments you leave on my HUBs and I will be sure to visit yours when ever you write. Get to it and let's see some more! Deb

    • PAMark profile image

      PAMark 7 years ago from Victoria, BC Canada & Boquete, Panama

      Hey Paul, good stuff. I've appreciated your comments on my HUBS in the past and wanted to let you know it's nice to see you writing your own. I have to admit I've never painted a bike before but my son has a BMX and I'm now prepared when he comes to me with that inevitable question, 'Hey Dad, how about we paint my bike?' Thanks for the tips and the plan. Now I know where to start and how to do it. By the way. You didn't mention how to apply the primer and paint? Can you buy that stuff in cans or can I rent a sprayer?