What Kind of Paint Is Used on Mountain Bikes?

Last Updated on December 24, 2021

Mountain biking is a fun and adventurous sport. It allows us to go to places which we previously thought unreachable. This also allowed us to lead a healthier lifestyle whole promoting competitiveness and camaraderie with your riding buddies.

However, we usually forget that mountain biking usually boils down first to the kind of bike you are riding. Or in this case, the look of your bike, more especially on the kind of paint you have.

This article aims to discuss all that because here, we’re going to talk about the most common paint used on mountain bikes. We’ll also share information about their pros and cons, as well as their properties so you know what to expect from them.

Brush paint

Brush paint is the most common kind of paint used for mountain bikes because of its convenience, affordability, and top-quality use. This is also one of the first methods of painting bikes. However, its use and popularity have gone down due to the fact that more people want a more modern and sophisticated look on their bikes these days.

Nonetheless, brush paints are still the original paint types used for most classic mountain bikes, as well as for those who are into DIY.

Here are the most common kinds of paint used today:


Plasticote is one of the most common paints used for mountain bikes because it is very good when it comes to avoiding leaving any sign of brush marks on the surface of the bike frame.

This is made possible because it is an oil-based paint that creates a glossy surface with a hard textured finish once it hardens as a coating on the bike. This paint also dries very fast and it doesn’t require you to rush the process of painting your bicycle.


Humbrol is another kind of paint that is commonly used on mountain bikes. Specifically speaking, Humbrol is a paint brand that features the same viscosity and properties as most enamel paint. This is also very similar to plasticote because of its oil-based nature. Enamel paint has a thick substance that leaves a bumpy surface on the bike frame. This is why you need to make sure that you just apply the right enough amount to have an even surface.


Undercoats are oil-based paint made of strong chemicals that stick well on a steel frame, metal frame, and aluminum frame. This is great to be used if you are going to apply a white topcoat later on so that the colorway would not look dull, regardless of the bike frames you have with bike paints.

But make sure that you apply it evenly and just the right amount so you don’t need to sand it out later. Also, note that there is a chance that there might be brush marks left on the surface if you are going to paint in a hot and humid climate.

Household gloss

Household gloss is another type of paint that is very popular among mountain bikes. What makes this stand out among other bike paint types is that it leaves a thick surface that requires a bit more time to apply.

It also dries slower compared to other kinds. In fact, there’s a good chance that you’ll wait for a few weeks before you sand it down after a paint coat. Nonetheless, you can still apply clear coat gradually just like epoxy paint every other day without the risk of messing up the final results.


Hammerite is commonly used as a base powder coat for a mountain bike frame. What is special about this is its thick consistency and viscous property.

This makes it a bit difficult to apply especially if you are still new to painting bikes. This is also used mainly as a paint primer. If you want to use this one, make sure that you don’t delay the painting process because the paintbrush’s texture can get hard fast if it cools down.

Spray paint

If you are not very comfortable with using a brush, then there’s another nice option to try. And these are spray paints.

What’s great about spray paints is that they create a more uniform and even surface when being applied to your bike frame.

A spray paint is also the most common kind of paint used by commercial factories and big-name brands on cross-country, enduro, and downhill bikes because of their level of quality and reliability in tolerating extreme usage and weather conditions.

Hence, they are commonly referred to as the best paint in the market.

Another nice thing about spray paints is that they don’t require sanding once you have applied it to the frame. This is the reason why many DIY bike painters and those who want to customize their bikes choose spray paint because it is very easy compared to using brush paints.

Simply use the spray head and target it directly on the area that you want to color. If you are going to apply the spray paint evenly, then you can see a very premium result especially if you applied clear coat before.

It is also best if you leave it for a few minutes after every layer before you spray another layer on it. This thickens the paint surface and makes it more durable.

What’s also nice about a spray paint is that they are a great choice because they already have ready-mixed colorways, making them very beginner-friendly. You simply just have to open the spray bottle and target it directly on the surface you want to get painted.

Just make sure that you maintain the right amount of distance between your bike and the spray head.

Also, see to it that there are no objects or people that are near the bike when spraying as the paint may go beyond the surface. You can do this by placing the bike frame on the floor and putting it on top of newspapers.

We also recommend that you maintain the right distance because the closer you are, the thicket paint will be applied. You can also hold the bottle vertically and shake it before you spray the paint directly on the frame.


The kind of bike paint used on a mountain bike is an important thing to consider if you are planning to buy one or if you want to customize and repaint your bike.

Always remember, though, that painting your bicycle isn’t all about looks. It is also about adding protection to the layer of your frame so it can better withstand the elements, knowing that mountain biking is an extreme sport.