The Path to Custom Paint

01 May 2020


A lot of customers come to Shand, because they have the freedom to choose absolutely any paint and graphics design for their new bespoke hand built bike. Your can make your bike as individual as you are, so you stand out from the crowd with something completely unique. Alternatively, if you want to blend in and not attract unwanted attention to your bike, you can choose a subdued colour and have no graphics at all, it’s all about personal choice at Shand.

Whatever paint & graphics scheme you choose, we go through the same process and we thought we would share that journey with you to let you see what goes into making a Shand look as beautiful as it does.


The Path to Custom Paint

The painting process at Shand begins with choosing the correct colour of bike for you. However, if you’re unsure or have something special in mind, be it a specific colour, a nod to Martini liveried race cars or just a personal meaningful graphic, we work with you to tailor what you want into your perfect bike design.

What starts out as a conversation in colour and ideas ends in a series of graphic mock-ups ensuring everything is just right. Signing off on how the bike is going to look is just the start of a long multi stage process.

That begins with a bare frame being blasted with a fine grit to clean and prepare the metal for the first layers of paint. Next any of the remaining blasting media is removed with air and then degreaser to ensure there are no contaminants before any paint touches metal. After all this has all been done the important stainless steel surfaces, or anywhere something needs to be inserted is masked off and the bike is finally ready for the first layers of primer.

Initially an etch primer is sprayed to protect the steel from rusting, which is followed up with multiple coatings of primer to create the best surface possible to paint on. After this has cured it is ready to be sanded to remove any imperfections and create a flat smooth surface that is the basis of great looking paint. Just like before, the frame is cleaned and surfaces are masked again.

Now everything is ready for the chosen base colour to be sprayed. This can vary from something as simple as a solid Grey, more flamboyant like Metallic Orange, or time consuming like a chameleon flip which requires multiple careful applications of different paints.

How graphics or details are added next, vary depending on what is required and an experienced eye goes a long way in making sure it happens correctly. Every single detail added to the frame is painted on with the help of masking.

Graphics are reproduced in vinyl mask, with intricate details being picked out with the sharpest surgical scalpel blade. Multiple colours for one graphic require at least one layer of masks per colour and very careful alignment to get everything looking perfect.

Blocks of colour, like stripes, lines or bands, are masked off by hand using a fine line tape with great care to keep everything straight and symmetrical. With masks in place each colour is carefully applied with an airbrush, which allows for the smallest possible graphic details to be recreated on the bike.

With all the masks removed and the graphics in place, the frame and fork are ready for their final clear coat. This is a personal choice for each customer, either choosing the high gloss finish or a more subdued matte effect. Just like the basecoat and primer before it, the clear coat is carefully sprayed in multiple layers to give the best possible finish for the paint beneath it.

After the clear coat has cured it is ready for final finishing. The remaining masks are removed then any imperfections are addressed, through a process of using very fine wet & dry sandpaper and polishing.

The very last steps in the painting process are to apply wax to the inside and outside of the frame. A layer of high quality carnauba wax is applied and then buffed off the clear coat to protect it and the inside of the frame is coated in a spray wax treatment as a barrier to moisture.

Painting a bespoke Shand bike is a long, time consuming process, where every stage is important to the next. It starts with a blank slate and results in something that is very personal to you.

A few of our previous paint designs are shown below. Bear in mind, (especially when you see the tartan designs!), there are absolutely no stickers on a bespoke Shand bike, all our graphics are lovingly hand painted. The only limit is your imagination.



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