Let's get one thing straight, right off the bat.  I have not painted a whole bunch of vintage road bicycle frame sets, but those that I have painted, turned out looking pretty good, the Carlton Flyer pictured above being a good example of the kind of results one can expect.  The Carlton, by the way was the third bicycle that I painted using the brush method.  The other two bikes were an eighties something Cambio Rino 2000 and a mid seventies Sekine SHC270.

The most recent offering to the Paint a Bicycle With a Brush Gods, is my Peugeot PX10 that turned out looking pretty good.  Seems one gets better with practice.

What exactly does it mean to paint a restored bicycle with a paint brush?  The whole notion seems absurd, when you stop to consider the fact, that today's norm would be to spray paint the bicycle.  But spray painting a bicycle frame and fork set, might not work out well, at all, for the average person.  Two problems present themselves immediately.  What about overspray and how can one control the mess that spray painting makes?

Overspray is, indeed, a problem when painting a bicycle frame set.  To achieve good looking results, the spray can must be held a certain distance, from the surface being sprayed.  This is almost impossible to do, since, often times, two of the frame's tubes will be in the spray path, at the same time.  The one properly distanced, will look just fine, but the other one won't.  The second one will be coated with overspray, with the paint appearing rough or dull.  To that, add the nook and cranny problem.  Reaching all of those hard to reach places with spray paint will lead to runs elsewhere, if you are not really careful when spraying.

Secondly, spray painting creates a mess throughout the entire room that the painting takes place in.  Some of the paint will become airborne, dry while in the air,  and then settle here, there and everywhere in the paint room.  Not only that but the paint spray dust will be sucked into the heating or air conditioning system and spread out throughout the entire house.  Now most people do not have access to a complete set of bicycle tools, a wonderful bicycle shop to work in complete with a spray painting booth.  Nope.  But we all have kitchens and you can easily paint a vintage road bicycle frame and fork set in your kitchen without making much of a mess at all - if you paint it by hand with a brush.

No matter what you do it will cost a bit of money to paint a frame set.  Needless to say, the more colors you choose to use, the greater the cost.  But the cost will never come even remotely close to what it would cost to have the bicycle painted by a professional.  And, if you do choose to use the brush paint method, the whole exercise will cost less than if you decided to try using an aerosol can to paint with.

For me, there is one final and somewhat hidden value.  If the paint does get scratched or chipped, so what?  I have plenty of material left, to touch up the odd scratch or chip.  A plus, for a bicycle that is to be ridden on a regular basis.  Anyway, back to the task of painting a vintage road bicycle with a brush.

The materials list is not all that extensive.

A bit of very fine sandpaper, let's say 400 or finer, and a nylon scouring pad are the primary abrasives.  Wet and dry paper works well, for this job, and you do not always have to use it wet.  The scouring pad, used lightly, will remove tiny lumps, without doing much scratching of the painted surface.

The trusty tack rag used when preparing the frame set for painting will also prove to be invaluable once the painting begins.  Before applying paint, and I mean immediately before, ensure that you clean the surface off with a tack rag.  This handy little cleaning tool will pick up most small particles that will want to cling to the newly painted and/or sanded surface.

In addition to the color or colors that you have chosen, you will also need a bit of paint thinners, to clean brushes, and perhaps, even thin out the paint, a wee bit for that last coat.  If you intend to work with more than one color, or if there is to be any chrome work left exposed, you will also need some masking tape.  And finally, the paint brushes themselves. 

I like to use a good quality 1" tapered brush for most of the work.  In fact, the entire frame and fork set can be painted with this one brush.  However, many bicycle frame sets had two colors, included in the art scheme.  Lugs were often painted a different color than the frame tubes, as is the case in my Peugeot PX10.  If you do intend to paint details, you will also need an assortment of smaller artists brushes.  For fine work I use a 1/4" brush or smaller, depending on the task at hand.

To that more than modest list you can add a couple of cotton rags to clean hands, wipe away the odd oops or two and dry off paint brushes once cleaned in thinner. 

When street restoring a vintage road bicycle and deciding on what color to use my choices are somewhat limited.  I always choose an easy to find and even easier to use plastic based paint.  Look for brand name paints such as Rustoleum, Tremclad or Krylon.  These paints are easy to work with and tend to flow to a smooth glossy finish.  Though the color selection is somewhat limited, I can usually manage to choose contrasting colors that do the job.  And if the color you want is not included in the colors offered, there is no reason why you cannot mix one or more colors together to get the color you want.

Finally, you will need a means to hold the frame set in position while brushing on the paint.  I use a Black and Decker Clamp bench.  I start by clamping the frame set's bottom bracket housing in the bench.  I will not be able to paint this section while clamped in place but that is not a really big deal.  I can come back to the housing and paint it at a later time when the other paint has dried.

Now that everything is on hand and you are prepared to begin the paint work, it is time to apply the paint.