Last month I refurbished my vintage bike. After my lovely grandmother passed away, I was given her Raleigh bicycle; I think it’s a late 80’s or early 90’s model, making it older than me! My grandad had kept it serviced in great condition but it wasn’t the pink dutch style wicker basket-laden bike I’d dreamt of. Refurbishing a pre-loved bike is a much cheaper and more planet friendly way of owning a beautiful, unique bicycle!
What you will need to refurbish a bike
- An old (working) bike frame
- 2 cans of rust-resistant primer paint (I used this by Rustoleum)
- 3 cans of coloured spray paint (I used Montana Gold in Frozen Strawberry from Fat Buddha Store)
- 2 cans of clear top coat (I used Crystal Clear Matte by Rustoleum)
- Fine sand paper
- Sugar soap
- Masking tape
- Two bike tyres if changing them
- A new saddle
- Handle bar grips
- A basket
- Old sheets
- A mask
I bought all of my bike refurbish accessories from Bobbin Bikes.
Where to find an old bike to refurbish?
There are preloved bikes in need of refurbishment all over the place! You might have one in the back of your garage or a family member or friend might have an old frame they’re happy to pass on. Alternatively, look on eBay, Gumtree and Facebook market place. You can pick up a frame very cheap or even free.
How do I make sure my bike is safe?
Dismantling and rebuilding a bike can be a bit daunting, especially if you’re not sure of the safety of the components in the first place. The inner tube of one of my bike wheels got a puncture whilst we were rebuilding it so I booked it in at Halfords for a free safety check. As well as replacing the inner tube, they identified an issue with the gear cable which they then fixed too at a really reasonable price.
How long does it take to refurbish a bike?
It’s a weekend job. The actual spraying etc doesn’t take too long but you need to leave adequate drying time, so allow 2-3 days to complete the project.
How to Refurbish a Bike: Step by Step Method on How to Paint a Bike Frame
- Dismantle the bike. You’ll need to remove as many components as you can, but don’t worry if you need to leave the chain or cables on. Youtube has lots of tutorials showing how to do this.
- Decide what you’re going to prop the bike up on. You might have a work bench or something to hang it from. I didn’t, so I left the old saddle on and the handlebars and worked on it upside down on top of some old sheets.
- Clean any dirt or soft rust off of the frame and peel any stickers off.
- Lightly sand the frame. You want to remove the top shiny layer of paint without leaving grooves or shavings of metal.
- Wash the bike down with diluted sugar soap and a clean cloth or sponge.
- Masking tape any areas that you don’t want to get paint on. I placed the chain inside a bag as I didn’t remove it.
- Spray the frame thoroughly with white primer. It only takes about half an hour to dry. Don’t forget the underneaths. You may want to use something to prop up the wheel arches etc.
- Spray the frame with two coats of coloured paint. Leave 20 minutes between each coat and at least an hour for the second coat to dry, or ideally overnight.
- Spray the frame with a layer of top coat sealant. Be really thorough and then leave it to dry for at least 24 hours.
- Change the bike tyres if you’re doing so. You’ll need a tool to remove the tire and inner tube safely from the wheel. Be careful not to puncture the inner tube (like we did…)
- Rebuild the bike with your new accessories! Youtube can help with this again. Make sure the breaks are working correctly etc.
Key tips for refurbishing a bike
- Shake the spray paint really thoroughly and spray from 20-30cm back with constant movement
- Be as thorough as you can, but you can fix any little bits you might miss or dinks it might pick up after its finished
- Decide whether you’re going to spray the metal work or not, same for the cables
These photos are edited with my Spring Lifestyle Preset Pack: buy here.