Random Ephemera

How to Paint a Motorcycle With Spray Paint and Get Great Results

Several months ago I bought a used chopper from its original owner. Great bike, but it had a ridiculous-looking "Tribal tattoo" paint job that was pretty much the exact opposite of anything I would consider cool.

I entertained getting a professional repaint done, figuring a realistic budget for a solid color might be around $600 - $800. I was wrong. Both places I contacted quoted me around $2,700, enough to buy another cheap bike.

No way I was going to pay that much.

So I did some research on various custom motorcycle forums, and there are lots of people doing great paint jobs with cans of automotive spray paint. The stuff you can buy at any auto supply store.

You'll read scary warnings about how crappy spray can paint jobs will look, but don't believe that, those rumors are probably started by guys that paint motorcycles for a living. Any person willing to spend a few days doing prep work and taking their time can get great results.

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Chris Lane is a contributing writer who enjoys covering art, music, pop culture, and social issues.