Thursday, April 7, 2011

DIY Painting Motorcycle Rims on the Cheap

I'll confess, I'm sort of cheap. And impatient to ride. Last weekend I finally painted my motorcycle rims black. I've been photoshopping it for years and finally got around to it. I'm fully aware that powdercoating is the way to go when painting your bike rims, but, here's a quick way to paint your rims yourself using Appliance Epoxy Paint, without even having to remove the tires. This works for car rims as well.

Step 1. Prep.
Thoroughly clean the rims with a degreaser.
Wet sand the chrome and rinse. Allow to dry.
Mask off the rim using playing cards. (Much better than masking tape). They create a very precise mask and it only takes about 5 minutes.

Step 2. Prep some more.
Flip over the wheel and place on a bucket. Use another deck of cards to mask off the other side of the rim to prevent overspray onto the tire.

Step 3. Primer.
Use a self-etching primer. I used Duplicolor - available at auto parts shops. Let dry, lightly sand, add another coat of primer.

Step 4. Paint.
Use Appliance Epoxy paint by Rust-oleum. I recommend painting one side and flipping it over to paint the other side before the first side dries. To keep from marring the wet paint, I propped the rim up on a small bowl, on top of the bucket. The small bowl fits inside the area I'm not painting.

Step 5. Mount Wheels and Ride.


  1. Ok,that's a pretty neat "card trick,' but what happens if the wheel should ever need to be trued up?
    I'd think it's kind of like painting wooden window frames and then forgetting to open & close the windows a couple of times
    the next day break the new seal...

  2. I'll cross that bridge after I've burned it.

  3. Ingenious! Not only a useful post but visually delightful, as well, one of the reasons this blog excels. Thanks, Chris!

  4. Great. A week after I pulled the trigger and powder coated my rims and hubs. OK if I repost? Thanks!

  5. >>You've already burned it, I'd say<<

    Hopefully somebody has an equally elegant solution to the painted spokes/nipples problem.

    Looking on the bright side of things, if you're rims are true and the spokes
    are tight painting or powdercoating them could only help keep them that way.....

  6. Grear idea, can you tell me how the paint holds up around the nipples to rims area? I'm wondering if the paint kinda chips where the nipples go into the rims from flexing etc.?
    Great blog by the way.

  7. So Chris- 3 weeks on the bike- how are they holding up? Any flaking or cracks?

  8. In the your text it says duplicolor primer + Rustoleum Epoxy, in pics
    Rustoleum 2X primer. Just curious, some have said you gotta use same brands of paint/primer. Thinking of using your combi, for rims left side
    engine cases...if it seems really, really tough. No $$ for powdercoat at present, also might not like the look on the cases.And it's easier to unpaint
    than to unpowder I'll bet.

  9. Great post, looks great too! Any recommendations on what product to use to achieve a flat/matte black appearance? Does rustoleum make that epoxy spray paint in anything other than glossy black?

  10. Hello there!

    10 months now. Hows this paint job holding up? Current pics?

  11. Super awesome post! I'm really excited to see this. I'm picking up my next project bike and depending on the condition of the rims, I was going to make this bike my first "blacked-out" cafe racer. So seeing this post made that whole process easier. I was afraid I'd have unlace the rims from their hubs to get the paint in the grooves of the hubs, but apparently not. That saves a lot of time and money. Especially since I don't have the tools to true the rims after I've re-assembled them.

    Truely, it's nice to see that someone has had success in this very simple, but yet ingenus way of coloring you're rims. Cheers!

  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  13. I wet my pants and i loved it

  14. One of the best card tricks I’ve seen so far! LOL! =D Kidding aside, it is easier to use powder coating instead of using ordinary paint. With powder coating, you won’t need to apply a primer. All you need is to sand blast any old coatings, degrease, and then apply the powder coating using an air gun.

    Lonnie Summerall

  15. So glad I saw this. I got a Kawasaki ZZR600 and most of the paint has come off the front wheel after years of neglect. This idea should do the trick.

  16. What grit of sand paper did you use

  17. Great post,
    I like the valuable info, you are providing in your post.

    Thank you for sharing with us
    Motocross Wheels

  18. This is really a best article,.
    i really like it,
    Thanks for the share,.
    " powder coating"

  19. Awesome post,
    i like the valuable information in your post.

    Motocross Wheels

  20. What should be used to clean chrome rims?
    chrome rims

  21. but after calling three different tire places it turned out that they were backordered until the end of March. Cheap tyres

  22. Thanks to share nice post. I am Amazon seller offers R3 Rapid Rim Restore spray to clean bike and car wheels rapidly that anyone can appreciate.

  23. I'm new to painting ...can you tell me what's a primer....and is there a specific type of paint we have to look for....that being said that's a good looking RE