I'm getting ready to purchase a new bike which I love but I hate the color scheme.

I can't find any custom bike paint shops in the area. Can I simply take it to a car paint shop and get a professional team bike paint job? The frame is aluminum, the forks are carbon. Am I overlooking something?

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    Not sure I'd have them paint the carbon, but they should be able to do the aluminum just fine. You should remove the derailer and chain, and maybe the cranks. They should mask everything else. Commented Jul 17, 2012 at 1:57
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    (Might want to remove the cables too.) Commented Jul 17, 2012 at 2:11
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    Be sure if you have a paint shop do the work that they don't prep with bead or sand blasting. The force could damage your frame!
    – WTHarper
    Commented Jul 17, 2012 at 15:09
  • One, car paint shops are more set up for mixing larger batches of paint.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 16:13
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    @criggie I visited a local bike painting shop and decided the bikes looked too spray painted. I'm not convinced anyone could replicate the gloss of the original carbon paint coating for less than the price of the bike : |
    – Chandler
    Commented Mar 16, 2017 at 16:38

4 Answers 4


You might want to talk to a motorcycle shop that does paint. They are most likely setup to do smaller parts with lots of details. They would be more familiar with masking threaded holes and bearing surfaces.

  • Great suggestion. The smaller planes, curves and joins on a bicycle are quite tricky to paint, and most automotive painters probably are not practised at it.
    – zenbike
    Commented Jul 17, 2012 at 11:04
  • Though it should be noted that auto paint shops often paint other things, like refrigerators and metal building doors. Commented Jul 17, 2012 at 12:10

I have repainted almost every single bike I have owned and have found the absolute best way to be sure you are satisfied with the finished product is to strip the frame COMPLETELY! Pop out all the bearing cups, remove the wheels, cranks, chain, everything that is not welded on. Automotive shops can do it, and might be the best but might not be the cheapest, and even if you mask it, bikes are easier to spot minor mistakes on. Don't forget about places that powder paint farming fences or folding chairs.

I have always preferred to do it myself. I was trained to paint cars, but it really isn't hard, just remember to start the motion before pressing the trigger and release it while still in the stroke. Stay about 8-12 inches from the bike. (and be careful when touching up around the string)

I would suggest going to a paint shop that sells touch-up paint for cars and have them sell you 2 or 3 spray cans of the paint you want (you can customize to any color on the planet and include "pearl" for that cool shine). Most bikes can be done in 2, but get 3 just in case. string the bike up through the head tube to a tree or something and give it a nice thin bottom coat. Let it dry in the sun for a few hours. Give it a 2nd thin coat. Dry it over night. Then apply the 3rd coat and let it dry. As long as you have decent paint and don't over paint any of the layers, it should last for YEARS!

  • Do you think we could see some pictures of your bikes after they were painted? I'm interested in how that turned out
    – Chandler
    Commented Jul 18, 2012 at 3:59
  • The bike I ride now I painted in 1998 and I no longer own the other bikes. If you want to wait a few weeks I am getting a new bike and I will be painting that one when I get it. Fortunately I don't buy complete bikes, only frames, so no need to strip it down first ;-)
    – BillyNair
    Commented Jul 18, 2012 at 4:42

I took my wife's frame to a local powder coating shop after having the seat tube replaced. I had it completely stripped down with all bearings and attachments removed.

They did a really good job and masked all the thread holes. The only awkward thing was that they hadn't masked the pegs where the cantilever brakes are mounted so they needed sanding back.

It was just something that I didn't think about mentioning.


The one of the differences between bicycle painting and auto painting might be the diameter of the painting gun. The smaller gun could do better detailed work on bicycle. While those guns used in auto shop usually have larger diameter.

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