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I'm trying to remove all these annoying labels from my bike. On the main frame there is one big logo, but I'm not sure if it's a sticker or not. The frame is black, but it's very cheaply made, and the logo is a bit higher, but between the letters it gets lower again. Is there some laser techique to get logos like this onto a frame? Or are that also just some weird kind of stickers?

Anyhow, how shall I go about removing the logo without damaging the underlying varnish?

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7 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

It's almost certainly stickered if it's a cheap bike, plus laser etching is usually reserved for bare metal frames - Titanium in particular. Cheap or not, it's still probably got a clear coat over it, and that sticker is almost certainly underneath the clear coat. Unless you're prepared to strip it down to raw metal, prime it, and paint it, you're probably better of just leaving it as it is - especially if it's a cheapie.

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I've seen a lot of as-described stickered frames without coating (actually, coated cheap bikes are difficult to see these days). So, it would be possible to strip the stickers if that's the case. –  heltonbiker Aug 3 '12 at 13:45
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I use 3M Adhesive Remover. It has gotten off all my stickers and duct tape, even some very tough [stuff] that I thought was a lost cause, and has not hurt any of my paint jobs, even some pretty ghetto paint I have used. I got mine at Walmart, but I'm sure any hardware store will have it.

Make sure to test it on a small area that is not too visible, like the inside of your rear triangle, before using it, just in case!

3M Adhesive Remover

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Goo Gone is another solvent useful for removing stickers. Available at most hardware stores. –  Daniel R Hicks Aug 3 '12 at 0:15
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If the bike was inexpensive it is likely a sticker. Can you feel an edge with your finger nail? You can try to warm the adhesive with a hairdryer and gently peel the sticker off. If the glue residue won't come off try alcohol or GOOF OFF a chemical made for that purpose. Try the chemicals on a small area that is likely to get scratched anyway (like the rear drops near the axle slot) in case it damages the paint. If you cannot feel an edge the sticker may have been applied before the clear coat of paint in which case you can't remove them without ruining the paint.

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+1 for the hairdryer (already used it, it works!). This is the answer I'd follow if I needed to. –  heltonbiker Aug 3 '12 at 13:47
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Be real carefull when using decal removers, such as those used by model builders ( I have been a builder for a very long time) many of thes removers will also remove paint. Then you have a nasty spot on your bike. If you want to disguise the make of your bike, try masking the surrounding area and use auto body touch up spray paint. Most auto part stores will carry this. just try to get as close a color as possible, OR tape up a cool pattern and get a contrasting color.

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The traditional bike label is a decal. This is essentially the same sort of decal you used to botch while trying to apply it to the wing of a model airplane as a kid, except that, after application, a solvent is applied to dissolve the decal and cause it to "become one with" the paint/varnish.

A hobby shop would have the solvent used for decals -- you could try a little of that and see if it loosens the decal. But keep in mind that a layer of varnish may have been applied over the whole mess.

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I'd be very careful with solvents, some are quite strong and will damage the paint. Be sure to check before. Sometimes nothing happens for a few minutes, and then the paint comes off suddenly. I've been quite successful removing "void if opened" stickers by freezing with liquid nitrogen or freeze spray http://www.techspray.com/category-listproducts.php?cId=10&lang=1 or a hot air gun as mikes proposed.

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If it's a decal, it was applied by first putting it in HOT water, then put in place. I use the exact opposite to remove these. Get a rag soaked in HOT water, steaming or boiling, and wrap or cover the decal. It will slip lose in short order, say a 10-30 seconds.

If it's a sticker, you can heat it with a hair blow-dryer until it's soft, then peel it away. You'll need something to remove the sticker's glue, though. It's messy, and likely to mar or dull your paint job. The Wall-Mart adhesive remover mentioned above should be nice for this.

I personally wouldn't bother with sticker/decal removal unless I want to custom-paint the machine, but your mileage will vary on this. Good luck.

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