Blog 11-05-23

My custom paint bicycle project is now underway and yes, spray painting has started. So good to finally get off the ground, so to speak. First components to be painted were the wheel rims. However, before this I had some decisions to make and the pattern here would also be reflected in the bicycle frame, forks and handlebars.

The wheel rims are 32-hole, so that means 32 different sections in the rim, i.e., between spoke holes and that offered up quite a wide range of options with 8 different colours of paint in the box. For example, I could use two colours, going 50/50, or have a different colour in each section with each colour repeated 4 times. That was actually my original idea but looked far too much work. Finally decided on a compromise. I’d paint each pair of sections a colour with the matching opposite pair the same colour. So, I’d have 16 panels of colour with all 8 colours used twice. Might be easier to wait for the final pictures!

Quite a learning curve this spray-painting lark! You think you’ve read and understood all the instructions then find that first spray cans spurts and spots all over the place. However, let it dry, rub down with wet ‘n’ dry and try again. Was wishing at one point that I simply got everything powder coated. Anyway, making good progress now that I’ve got the hang of it. Wheels are about 50% done, as are the forks and handlebars. I’m leaving the frame to last as it’s much easier to correct mistakes on smaller components than the more complex frame.

There’s one thing I want to share about masking parts you don’t want painted. And that is do not use newspaper. I found that the ink marks the freshly painted surfaces and they had to be cleaned and/or repainted. I’m using cling film now. Wish I thought of that sooner. And it’s so easy to be clumsy doing silly things like letting the piece you are painting hit something or handling the wheel rim by the other freshly painted section. Duh!

I initially thought that painting the wheel rims would be easy. I was quite wrong. Well, the spray painting isn’t too difficult it’s keeping track of what section gets which colour that is challenging. Looks easy but isn’t. Can get quite complicated as work proceeds. What I ended up doing, and I wish I started off this way, was to run some masking tape around the inside of the rim, the same place you put the rim strip. I then used a marker to label each two-pair section with the paint colour. So much simpler to keep track now.

I’m having second thoughts about going single speed and now favour installing a Shimano Alfine 8-speed hub gear. Wish I could make up my mind. Was also looking for a good bicycle wheel builder. All my bike wheels were done by Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative and have faired really well. However, EBC is a pain to get to. Fine when I worked near Bruntsfield Links but not to easy now. Scott at Mutts Cycles has suggested BG Cycles in Portobello, so I’ll be giving them a try. Easy to get reach and find parking. So, that’s where we are at the moment. Hopefully, the weather will be good enough tomorrow to continue painting. Back soon.

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