Colorful tires do a lot for your bike’s aesthetic. You can make your bike stand out by painting its tires. This guide will cover everything you need to know about how to paint bike tires.
You can paint bicycle tires to create a unique look. Acrylic paint is usually the best choice for this job because it is the most durable. However, latex paint is better if you want to be able to remove it later. Avoid oil-based paints, as they can cause damage to your tires.
Although you can paint the tires of your bike, you may want to consider other options before you begin.
Although it may seem easy, properly painting your bike tires takes a lot of time and effort.
- Choosing the right paint
- Preparing the tire’s surface
- You can mask everything that you don’t wish to paint
- Make sure the paint dries evenly
Once everything is done, your tires will stretch and bend as you ride, which can dramatically reduce the life expectancy of your paint.
Worse, you don’t want the tools that you use to remove old paint (sandpaper or paint stripper), anywhere near your bike tires.
Painting your bike’s tires may be a risky option if you intend to ride often and don’t expect to need to change the tires for more than a year.
Do You Need to Paint Your Bike Tires
These are the most important questions to ask when you think about whether to paint your bicycle tires.
What do I like about my current tires?
If your low-end bike comes with factory tires, it’s likely that you won’t mind having them replaced if the paint begins to wear or if the tire gets damaged during painting.
You might wait to paint your new fancy tires until they are a bit older and near the end of their life span.
You should always check the price of new tires for your bike. Fat tires and other variations can be much more costly than you think.
How much do I ride?
Air-filled tires are designed to bend and deform as you ride. You can expect any tire surface you paint to expand and contract as you ride.
Your paint will experience more bends and straightenings the more you ride. This is a common problem for paint, even paint made specifically for it.
These cycles can cause your paint to peel and crack over time, making your tires appear worse than before.
This is a major concern if you ride often. Your paint will wear faster and you’ll be forced to deal with the faded look for longer hours on the trail or road. You’ll notice that your paint will wear out much faster if you don’t ride as often, which makes painting your tires more feasible.
How to paint your bicycle tires
Choose the Right Paint
Once you have decided that painting your tires is the best option, the next step is to choose the appropriate paint.
Certain types of paint, such as oil-based paints and most oil-based paints contain chemical solvents. These solvents can eat into your bike tire’s surface, weakening it and causing irreversible damage long-term.
It is therefore crucial to choose the right paint color before you start.
Latex paint is the best option for your tires. However, it won’t bend well and will not last long. You can easily correct mistakes with latex paint, but it is very easy to make mistakes.
Acrylic paint is flexible than latex paint, and sticks to rubber well. Acrylic paint’s downside is its inability to last. Acrylic paint is not like latex paint which can be cleaned off with soapy water and some scrubbers, but acrylic paint requires chemical solvents to be removed.
Acrylic paint can crack over time, which is a fact that will eventually happen.
No oil-based spray paint should be used on your bike tires, no matter what you do.
You can ask an employee for assistance if you are unsure of the type of spray paint that you are looking at in the store.
Spray paint is the best choice for an even coating. However, you should be aware that spray can come in many forms including oil-based, acrylic, and epoxy. Don’t grab the wrong spray paint for your needs.
You will need a primer that is compatible with the paint you are using. Avoid primers made from oil or solvents, as they can eat through rubber. Spray paint is similar to spray paint. If you have any questions, ask someone at your local paint store.
Check out the Primer Directions and Read Your Paint
Be sure to read all labels before you proceed.
It’s not a good idea to find out at the last minute that your paint isn’t compatible with your primer, or that you have to do a different set of steps to match your chosen paint.
It’s not fun to find out that your paint won’t work after the second coat of primer has dried.
Get your tires cleaned
Once you have found the paint, clean your bike tire thoroughly.
Use soapy water and a rag to clean your tire. Next, use sandpaper to lightly rub the tire’s surface. Use rubbing alcohol and a clean cloth to remove any residues from the tire before you prime it.
Get ready for your tire
You will need to place your tire flat on your sidewalls if you plan to paint them. This will ensure that the paint doesn’t drip in one direction.
Once your tire is secured and positioned, use masking tape to mask any area of your tire or your rim that you don’t want paint.
Masking is difficult to clean up paint. You might need to mask your rims and wrap your spokes in tape. Finally, you will need to place protective strips around your tire, above the sidewall.
Prime Your Tire
Once your tire has been masked, it is time to apply primer.
Make sure you read all directions and prepare your surface. Then, apply the primer according to the label.
Some primers require that they dry completely before you can paint over them. Others work better with multiple coats. For best results, make sure you read and follow the instructions.
Now it’s time for you to paint your tire. Take it slow, apply paint evenly and be ready to go back for another coat.
A double thick coat is usually more attractive than a single thin one.
Once you have your paint on, let it dry and repeat as necessary. Then, enjoy the final result.
How does paint affect the life span of bicycle tires?
Two problems exist when trying to determine the exact effects of paint on bicycle tires.
First, people who bike for thousands of miles per year don’t usually paint their tires. It is difficult to get accurate information on different combinations of paint and tire types.
Second, your tire wear can be affected by many factors including the climate, surface on which you ride, how high your tires are and where your bike is kept.
Two things can be said for sure.
Your tire will be damaged by any oil-based paints or paints that contain solvents that eat rubber.
Tires that have been painted may develop cracks or other visible erosion. Flexible acrylic paint can be applied to tires that have been painted. Your tires will eventually wear faster than your paint.
You’ll likely find yourself cleaning the latex paint off your tires much sooner than the tires show any signs of wear.
It’s a good idea to avoid painting expensive tires on your bike, especially new ones.