Hi all odd question but here goes. I know there are many options in frame restoration powder coating respraying hydro dipping etc etc but these all cost money I don't have. What I do have is lots of patience a keen eye for detail and several rolls of weather proof self adhesive vinyl. If done right would it be possible to recolour a bike frame completely using self adhesive vinyl and a heat gun then cut and apply decals and finish by helicopter taping the entire frame?

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    Probably achievable, but I've never tried. You'd have a hard time at the bottom bracket, and have to be mindful of any moving parts. Plus the frame would have to be scrupulously degreased first. Probably requires a complete stripdown before wrapping, else bits would get in the way. Commenting cos not an answer. – Criggie Sep 9 '17 at 10:59
  • People have wrapped their bikes with the same stuff that they use to wrap cars; its just a pain in the ass and a decent amount of time due to the detail involved. – Batman Sep 9 '17 at 14:03
  • Self adhesive sounds like a disaster. Car body wrap can be stretched with the aid of a heatgun. Effectively it is held in place by vacuum when all the air is squeegeed out. I don't know what helicoptor taping is. – Transistor Sep 9 '17 at 15:49

Frame coatings serve three purposes:

  1. Corrosion, UV, oxidation, and liquid protection for frame materials that can corrode or oxidize (namely steel) or might get damaged by UV (carbon fiber, wood, polymer, or the glues used in such)

  2. Abrasion protection

  3. Marketing and looking flash

Stickers, skin, and tape can do a good job of #2 and #3.

They might not do as good a job as powder coating in #1 (oxidation, water) protection especially in wet environments and around areas with complex shapes such as the bottom bracket.

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  • The frame I have is about 10 years old and rust free with good bearings and bushings... but cosmetically it's definitely seen better days. I don't think it's really worth spending money for powder coating etc on an old frame (2007 specialized big hit 2) but I do have a large amount of helitape and various rolls of different coloured vinyl to have a good go at it myself – user31395 Sep 9 '17 at 18:52
  • I'm confused. I'd expect a plastic wrapping to be good for #1 and #3 but pretty lousy for #2, since plastic is much softer than paint. Typo, or am I missing something? – David Richerby Sep 9 '17 at 18:52
  • @user31395 well it sounds like you have nothing to lose - I'd suggest wrapping a bit on the main tubes of the frame and fork and see how it survives for a couple of months. – Criggie Sep 9 '17 at 20:39
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    Helicopter tape is extremely tough and abrasion resistant. It's the stuff car modders use on their bumpers to protect their paint finishes from kicked up stones. However, water can get under it especially at the corners and seams. – RoboKaren Sep 9 '17 at 20:53
  • @RoboKaren not sure if water penetration matters as the frame is aluminum – Rider_X Sep 11 '17 at 1:38

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