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After doing a very bad job at transporting my aluminium-framed mountain bike on a horrible bicycle rack, it ended up with some nasty scratches. These are not surface scratches; they go into the metal. Most sources only tell you how to remove light scratches and chips in the paint. My bike is a Scott with a matte paint job.

How can I address this?

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  • Is this steel or aluminium? I see silver so it can't be carbon fibre. – Criggie Mar 31 '17 at 3:43
  • You can fix the bike rack using old tubes. Cut into pipes then lay them around the boles in a spiral. Overlap them by a lot for thickness, and then lock down the loose end with duct tape. If you lack tubes, pool noodles work too, or you can even cut the bead off an old tyre and it will lie flat around a pole/bar. Or just ride your bike and don't bother with the rack at all :) – Criggie Mar 31 '17 at 3:46
  • Fortunately there are a LOT of red polishes. Getting the similar colour as on your bike might be more difficult. You might try collecting some paint swatches/swathes from the local paint shop, and then compare them to the bike under sunlight (not artificial lighting) – Criggie Apr 1 '17 at 0:57
  • 2
    Why try to "fix" it? A bike is a tool. You expect it to show some wear and tear if you use it. – Daniel R Hicks Apr 1 '17 at 1:57
  • @DanielRHicks - yeah I was expecting that comment to come sooner or later. – user2670468 Apr 1 '17 at 2:55
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My road bike is aluminium and I got a couple of scratches from a car rack too.

Fortunately, rust is not a significant problem. Your options are

  1. Leave it, and admire the battle scars.
  2. Hide it with decals or accessories or tape.
  3. Gently spot-sand and then use some nail polish or similar to hide the damage. Generally takes two applications, sometimes more, to build the depth of colour and hide the silver. You want a colour as similar to your paint as possible. Don't bother touching up stickers
  4. Full strip and respray - this is significant amounts of work and expense.

For completeness, if your bike was steel I'd say spot sand and prime with undercoat, then apply enamel touchup paint in a suitable colour.

If it was carbon fibre, I'd take it to an expert in carbon repair for a check. Deep scratching that touches the fibres could be a weakness.


The first two images show chips in the topcoats, which revealed the bright white undercoat. Possibly a poor preparation procedure, which make the top coat separate easy.

Chainstay and Seatstay

Top Tube

This last picture shows a length about 70 mm where all the top coat had come off. Its got ~3 layers of $2 shop nail polish in place and seems to be holding the edges of the original paint in place pretty well too.

Brake area of Seat Stay

  • Steel used in bikes (Note BSO's) does not rust significantly. I have a 20yo MTB outside in the rain and its still perfectly serviceable despite scratches similar to above. – mattnz Mar 31 '17 at 4:45

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