Frequently Asked Questions

One 400mL can of paint will cover a typical frame and fork without problems if you applying it with proper technique needed for Spray.Bike. Be sure to consult the spray distance recommendations and base coat recommendations for each colour, as spray distances vary greatly. We recommend a base coat (either white metal primer, Marylebone, or Whitechapel) if you are painting with any of the Fluro colours.

Yes. You will want to remove all the parts and mask off any areas where a part goes back on the bike.

We recommend finding some way of suspending the frame so you can paint it without having to set it down. Various methods will work: a bike stand, a rope through the head tube hanging from a tree or garage rafters. Make sure you access all areas of the frame. Get creative if necessary.

More paint is not better and too much paint will make your finish less durable. We recommend that you use the minimal amount of paint to get the job done. Unless otherwise noted on the product page, one coat of paint is recommended. A coat being one layer of paint (not one entire can) with a trip back to cover any light spots or areas that were missed. We recommend painting the bike and letting it sit for about 30 min. Take it into different light and touch up any light spots. You do not need to add more layers if there is good coverage. 

Compared to chemical stripping off of all the old factory finish, painting over an existing paint job is preferable both in terms of both prep work and durability of the new paint job. A sanded factory paint job acts as a primer very well. The goal is to scuff up the paint without completely removing the existing paint. 400-800 grit sandpaper will do the trick. Chemical strippers can leave a residue that prevents Spray.Bike from properly adhering. Sand blasting is an acceptable way to remove old paint, however you will want to use a primer (Metal Primer or Cold-Zinc Primer) as your first coat. 

All bikes are different and encourage you to do some independent research or tests before you start. Generally, we suggest prepping raw metal frames by wet sanding with about 220 grit sandpaper and then follow up with 400 grit. Otherwise, the goal is to provide a rough, clean old coat of factory paint for the new paint to adhere to without exposing the raw metal. Basically the sanded factory paint acts like a primer. We recommend cleaning your frame with rubbing alcohol to clean before you paint. Never use acetone or an acetone based cleaner on your bike and never use rubbing alcohol over Spray.Bike.  

All bikes are different and we encourage you to do some tests and research before you start. Generally we recommend prepping your painted carbon bike by wet sanding with 600 grit. The goal is to provide a rough, clean old coat of factory paint for the new paint to adhere to without exposing the raw carbon. We recommend cleaning your frame with rubbing alcohol to clean before you paint. Never use acetone or an acetone based cleaner on your bike and never use rubbing alcohol over Spray.Bike. Applying one light coat of Carbon Primer after the frame has been sanded and cleaned can help with durability and adhesion. 

All bikes are different and encourage you to do some tests before you start. Generally, we suggest prepping metal frames by wet sanding with about 300 grit for metal bikes and wet sanding carbon with 800 grit for carbon bikes. The goal is to provide a rough, clean old coat of paint for the new paint to adhere to without exposing the raw metal or carbon.  We recommend cleaning your frame with rubbing alcohol to clean the bike before you paint. Never use acetone or an acetone based cleaner on your bike. 

You only need Metal Primer (aluminum or steel) / Cold Zinc (steel) if you are down to the exposed metal. You only need Carbon Primer if you are painting over raw carbon fibre or a resin composite frameset. If your bike is prepped for paint and still has the factory paint, you do not need primer. If you bike has some exposed metal after sanding and some original factory paint, we recommend priming the entire frame. 

The best thing to do is to sand down that rusty areas, starting with steel wool (or similar) and working to about 300 grit sandpaper. Try to remove as much of the rust as possible. Ideally you want that area rust free and smooth with the rest of the frame. Clean with soap and water and wipe down with rubbing alcohol. We recommend a coat of Cold-Zinc Primer to help prevent further rust from developing. If that rusted area is still rough after sanding and priming, you can use our Smoothing Putty to help build up the area / sand back so its smooth with the rest of the frame. 

Absolutely. Although Spray.Bike is an amazing consumer spray paint, it is still spray paint and, especially on a mountain bike, expect it to get scratched up. Chain slap on a mountain bike can be particularly difficult on paint jobs, use of a chain stay protector can help protect the frame from rapid wear.

  • Solid colors: spray surface from a distance of 2-4 inches
  • Frame Builder’s Smoothing Putty, Frame Builder’s Transparent Finish, Frame Builder’s Cold-Zinc, Frame Builder’s Metal Primer, Frame Builder’s Carbon Primer, Frame Builder's Metal Plating: spray surface from a distance of at least 8 inches
  • Keirin Flake and Keirin Sunlight: spray surface from a distance of at least 12 inches/li>
  • Frame Builder’s Top Wax: Spray onto a paper towel or soft lint-free cloth and apply gently

Drying times vary on product, how thick the paint was applied, temperature and humidity. Generally, we suggest 7 days before building the bike in order to let the top coat cure. Generally, 2hrs for colours and 24hrs for Top Coats. We suggest 2 to 24hrs dry time between Top Coats. Cooler temperatures, thicker paint and humid conditions will increase drying times.

The fluros are a little tricky to work with due to their high powder content. The biggest mistake people make with them is painting too far away. You want to get nice and close, 2-3 inches from the frame. This seems too close, so practice a bit first to get the feel. We suggest trying to make it drip to see where that point is. If you are getting a rough, orange peel effect, it means the paint is basically drying before it hits the frame. It could be too hot (check above for details) or you are painting from too far away. We also suggest a light coloured base coat (Metal Primer, Cold-Zinc Primer, or any of the light coloured paints) to help the bright colour pop. Additionally, rubbing the paint down to compress it with parchment paper (not wax paper please) about 20-30min after you paint will help compress the paint.

  • Make sure you shake the can for 3 full min, you need to be able to hear the ball inside moving around freely.
  • Optimal temperature for Fluros is between 13°-19°C (55-65°F). Do not paint when it is over 24°C (75°F).
  • Sometimes the cans spray gunk for the first few seconds, shake it again for a few seconds and then spray again until you get a nice flow of colour.
  • The biggest mistake people make is that they paint too far away. Practice spraying 2-4 inches from a wall or other object to the feel of the spray distance before starting on the frame. Always spray out first to get a nice flow going before spraying the frame.
  • If the paint gets "spitty" shake the can for a few seconds and get a nice flow going again against a wall or other test object before taking it back to the frame.
  • Keep the can upright while you spray as much as possible. It doesn't like to spray upside down, so flip the frame while you are painting, not the can.
  • Paint one nice coat, let is sit and come back to in in about 30 min to see if you have any light spots, ideally under different light conditions (take it outside or inside) Touch up the light spots if necessary.
  • 20-30 min after you finish painting rub the frame down with parchment paper to smooth and compress the paint.
  • A few coats of Top Coat may help smooth out the finish and help the fluro colour pop.
  • Flip the can upside down and spray until the paint stops coming out to clean the can after each time you paint. You don't have to do this in between every time you spray, just if you are finished painting and going to leave it for longer than a day.

You may but you don't have to. If you do, we recommend a fine grade sandpaper and being careful not to blend colours together. 

No, all of the colours we offer are available on the website. 

This does happen. Remove the nozzle from the can and scratch off the dried paint on the outside of the nozzle. Replace the nozzle on the can, shake the can well and see if you can get it spraying. Sometimes you need to hold the nozzle down to see if you can get the clogged paint to blow through. This is usually enough to get the paint spraying again. If that doesn't work, you can swap the nozzles from other Spray.Bike cans as long as they are the same colour.

Yes! The Keirin is Transparent Gloss Top Coat but with suspended bits of metallic coloured flakes (in the Flake) or glass dust (in the Sunlight), so it is great as a top coat. Generally, we suggest 7 days before building the bike in order to let the Keirin top coat cure. 

Our understanding of using clear coat over raw steel is that it is nearly impossible to permanently prevent rust, and our clear coat certainly won't entirely do that.  It will definitely slow down the development of rust however, and if you are willing to intermittently brush out some rust and re-spray clear it will probably remain a cool looking finish. We recommend sandblasting, or sanding with a somewhat coarse grit and cleaning with rubbing alcohol (never acetone) before spraying.

Probably.  However, it can be difficult to get a powder coated frame well prepped for painting, especially if it has a hard clear powder on top. If you can get the frame sandblasted, that’s best. If not we recommend sanding through the top coat, making sure the frame is roughed up and well cleaned for the best chance of adhesion. 

Titanium is a wonderful, if very expensive, material for bikes, however it is notoriously difficult to get paint to adhere to it. Theoretically, Spray.Bike should work as well as any type of paint, as in the end it is composed of pigment and an emulsifier (just in combinations that work really well for a spray paint.) The question is really about what type of preparation is needed for any paint to adhere to titanium, and that is where we don't have a good answer for you. There are various etching processes that are recommended to get titanium ready for paint, but we don't have direct experience.  From working with steel and aluminum, we would assume that sand blasting is a good prep for the underlying surface as that seems best with the other materials.  Primer usually helps with the other materials too, so that is probably a safe bet to maximize performance. The bottom line is that it will likely work as well as any other paint, but the durability may be unsatisfactory. 

Yes is the short answer.  Painting metal parts can be a little tricky though, as there are a wide variety of finishes that are commonly employed in component manufacture.  Many parts are anodized alloy, which is a surface that is quite difficult to get paint to adhere to.  Others are polished, which also leaves a slippery surface.  With a bit of prep work — mostly careful sanding and cleaning — you can probably get paint to adhere to most aluminum parts.  Durability is another question though, as parts often take even more abuse than the frame/fork, and in our experience painting components often results in difficulties with durability. We recommend using our Metal Primer before painting and be ok with a little trial and error. 

Yes, but the durability depends to some degree on how flexible the plastic is. We recommend sanding and cleaning the surface first and applying a coat of Carbon Primer to act as an adhesive helper and to help in allowing the paint to flex without it cracking. 

We recommend making sure the paint is fully cured (~2hrs) before adding any sort of adhesive. That said, if you can wait longer, that's better. 24hrs is great, so let it sit overnight if you can.

We recommend using an automotive masking tape (not painter's tape), available from Canadian Tire and most auto parts stores. If you have digital design you want to have made, we suggest calling your local sign shop and seeing if they can print your design on High Bake Paint vinyl or a low-tack vinyl. You can use stickers but sometimes the adhesive can be very strong and leave adhesive residue or pull the paint if not fully cured. 

You might mess up. It's okay. It's not the end of the world and we make mistakes too, your bike isn't broken! There are lots of ways to make mistakes when painting a bike, espcially if you have never done it before, but there are also lots of ways to fix it. We don't think that should prevent you from a fun creative endeavour and making the bike your own. Generally, if something gets screwed up (you touch the frame when it's wet, the masking pulls, you get a drip in your clear coat, the paint ends up textured or you just decide you want to start over) there are ways to make it right. Often times it means sanding down the area that needs fixing, masking off other areas and painting it over again. 

We suggest 7 days before building the bike in order to let the top coat cure.  Again this varies. Thicker paint, espcially top coats and Keirins, increase curing time as does temperature and humidity. Generally, the longer you can give it to cure, the better.

You can lightly sand the paint off but you will not be able to take the frame back to its original condition.

It's common sense, but it's smart to be cautious with breathing paint fumes.  We use respirators and always paint in well ventilated areas, even if the acetone solvent in Spray.Bike isn't long-term dangerous, it's still not pleasant to breathe.

Be careful with temperature and humidity ranges as this can affect paint adhesion and performance more than almost anything.  Don't paint when it's hot, moderately cold, or raining or humid. 

Be ready for your DIY project to come out totally awesome, but rarely exactly will it turn out exactly how you expect it. 

Now have some fun painting your bike! Share it with us and the world if you're on social media.