How to Paint Your E-Bike (Part 3)
You have disassembled and now you are ready to paint your electric bike!
First, arm yourself with knowledge. This blog is a walk-through and offers tips based on the writer's experience painting Super73 S-1 bikes.
But be sure to:
Read and familiarize yourself with the detailed information from Spray.bike paints that we have posted here.
Watch videos and demos for Spray.bike.
Watch basic how-to video about Roth Rattle Bombs if you are using those cool paints.
Step 1. Decide about Labels.
You will need to decide if you want to keep the Super 73 insignia or not. You can mask off the existing Super 73 labels when painting and keep them. In the last step of your paint job, you will apply a clear coat so existing labels will blend in somewhat with the new paint. Most DIYers will go this route.
Alternatively, you can sand the labels off and leave them off. Use a 400 grit and take your time. You don’t want to sand all the way down to metal. Don’t use a super heavy grit, because you are more likely to cut into the frame. (If you DO end up with a gauge, you can use spray.bike putty or SEM hi build primer to repair it.). An alternative to keeping the old stickers is to use replacement labels or stickers of your own choosing. If you have a vinyl cutter, you can make your own. If stickers are going to be integrated into the paint job, lay them down before the clear coat.
Finally, a stencil can be made to re-paint the Super 73 insignia or paint some other design where the stickers went. It is a bit of work and best done with a cutter. A lot of people these days have crikit or silhouette cutters and you can ask around in your communities for help if you don’t own one. If you create your own stencil, a lot of interesting options open up. (If you buy paint from us and want stencils for the large Super 73 logos on the fork and frame, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Step 2. Scuff Sanding.
Scuff or sand the surfaces to be painted. This will improve help the next coat of paint to stick. A scuff pad is adequate to lightly roughen the paint and promote adhesion of the new paint. Spray.bike recommends a light wet sanding with 400 grit on a painted frame before painting a new solid color on it.
-Our Paint Kit includes a couple pieces of 400 grit sand paper and a scuff pad.
-For most people re-painting a bike, scuffing is all you will need to do before wiping the frame clean (see last paragraph) and then applying a base coat of color paint.
When to use Primer. Do not scuff or sand all the way down to metal, unless you intend to add a primer coat. If that is the route you take, then you will want to prime, wet sand the prime coat, and lay a base coat over that. For super smooth base layers, add a primer layer, then spray a color over it as a guide layer and sand that away to really smooth the surface out, then add more primer as needed, and sand again. For bike paint on a smooth tube, that is probably overkill – but some of you are into overkill.
What if you have large dinks or dents? You can use Spray.Bike putty to fill in any large dinks if needed. Follow the directions on the can and on line. Alternatively, you can also use SEM hi build primer. In either case, you will want to let it dry and then gently sand it with 400 grit. You may want to wet sand: soak the 400 grit paper for a couple of hours and add water as needed as you gently sand.
The photo below shows how to use putty to fix damaged paint.
Wipe the Frame Before Painting. Last, after sanding or scuffing, clean the frame. Spray down the frame and/or use a degreaser or hot water and soap to wipe down the frame. Paint does not adhere easily to oil. The right way to use a degreaser is to spray it on and immediately wipe it off – Mr. Myagi style. It floats the oil and dirt to the surface so you can wipe it – don’t just spray it on and leave it to dry. Ideally, use a lint-free cloth for your wipe down (examples: microfiber, lense wipe clothes, violin polishing cloth). Blue shop towels can do the job, but are not perfectly lint free.
Step 3. Masking. Mask off anything you don’t want painted. That includes the inside of the crank case (if you completely removed pedals). Our Paint Project Kit includes large, medium, and fine line tape. You can use newspaper or other material to mask off large areas.
There are a few parts of the frame that should be left paint-free:
- The posts for the brakes.
- Any bearing surfaces.
- Any threads on the bike where something will need to be screwed in when you reassemble it.
You can trim masking tape with an exacto so it neatly fits the area.
Step 4. Inspect. Look every every part of your bike and find any large pits or scratches that will need extra care. You can use spray.bike putty to fill these in if they are troublesome enough. Also inspect to make sure you have taped off all threaded surfaces.
Step 5. Hang your Bike Frame. Plan your paint angles. This is a very important step. You want to hang your frame in a way that you can walk all the way around it, or rotate it when spraying so that you can easily spray all sides of the frame. Walk around the bike and make sure you can do this. If you have to spray from a weird angle or where you cannot see the surface being sprayed, you will end up with either runs or with areas that did not get painted.
ALWAYS paint in a ventilated area – outside in the open is best. Be sure to protect anything you do not want overspray on with a drop cloth or newspaper. We recommend that you use gloves, eye protection, and a breath mask.
Ways to hang a bike:
-Clothes hanger through neck tube
-Rope through necktube (if the rope sheds, wrap it in masking tape so you don't get little rope hairs in your wet paint)
-Broom handle and dowel.
I found an old iron shop-light stand that almost did the trick for front-porch painting. It kept the whole frame off the ground. However, you can see that with placed in the corner, it’s a little bit of a squeeze to reach some areas - not perfect. I later set up a party awning, made walls out of plastic drop cloth, and hung everything up so that I could walk all the way around and spray from all angles.
Step 6. Base coat. If you are using Roth Rattle Bombs, you will add a base coat after scuffing (and priming and sanding if that was necessary).
If you are using Spray.bike paints on an existing painted frame, you do not need a base coat.
Step 7. Apply color coat layers. Follow the directions for the specific brand of paint. One can of Spray.Bike paint will paint an entire bike.
Shake rattle can for at least 3 minutes. That is longer than you think. Use a watch or phone to monitor time.
Spray.Bike paints recommends specific distances for the different types of paints. For a color coat, the nozzle should be about 2 - 5 inches (5 – 12 cm). That is probably closer than you think it is—consult a ruler or tape measure and watch the online videos.
See this video (at around 3:10).
Roth Flake base coats should be sprayed at a distance of 2 to 5 inches. See video (at 3:58).
A note about spray.bike paints. These are powder-based paints. If you wanted something like a powder-coat finish texture, you could spray from a slightly further distance and achieve a matte slightly powdery effect.
Tip on polishing: If you accidentally get a dry powder effect that you don't want, there is a simple fix. Wait 2 hours and then polish the paint with a cloth while it is still just a bit soft.
Allow each coat to dry before applying a second coat. Paint can dry in a matter of minutes in direct sun, or 15 - 20 minutes in the shade. Wait for the paint to dry before applying a third coat if that is needed.
At this point, you may dive deep into a real creative process. You may add masking tape for stripes and paint another color, or add a stencil. You may add a fade with spray.bike “clear” products. Take your time. Allow coats to adequately dry.
If you are using Roth paint products, take time to watch their videos, especially this one-color job (base plus candy plus flake plus 2K hard clear coat).
We used gold leaf over this stencil on the stock S-1 fork. If you are buying paint from us and want this stencil for free, just send a note to email@example.com
Step 7. Finish products. When your color work is done, finish your job with a clear coat layer. Spray.Bike makes clear finish products and also the special Kieren sparkle finishes. The clear coat layer protects the paint and makes the colors more vivid. Several layers of finish will create a nice glossy shine. Allow each layer to dry for about 15 – 30 minutes before applying the next. Allow it to dry and harden completely for at least 24 hours before re-assembly. Do not touch it or allow dust to settle on it.
Roth Flake recommends 2K Max over its paints. We stock 2K Max which is a special professional-grade hard clear coat.
Here is an example of 2K Spray Max applied over Kieren Tokyo Gold (gold glass) over Blackfriars.
Step 8. Re-assemble.
-Helpful reference diagrams may be found in your user’s manual. The original Super 73 User’s Manuals are downloadable.
-You can consult our "how to dissemble" blog and basically reverse the process.
- The rear forks are intentionally tight. Getting the rear wheel back in may be easier with two people - one to stretch the frame apart.
- If you get confused - ask a bike shop for help! Certified bike techs will make it easy!