Tech Podcast: How do bicycles get painted?

Painting a bicycle seems like it should be a simple process, but a closer look reveals design and process challenges the pros tackle with artistic zest.

Photo: Photo: Trek

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As the bicycle becomes more complex, so too does the process for making it look, well, super pretty. Of course, that means epic paint jobs and killer designs, but how do all those shimmery, color-shifting, glittering finishes make it onto the frame in the first place?

Hint: You can’t get a finish like that with a rattle can from the hardware store.


Micah Moran from Trek Bicycles knows a thing or two about what goes into all those nifty paint jobs; he has been deeply involved with Trek’s in-house custom paint shop, Project One, as well as the Icon paint schemes that grace some of the most eye-catching designs on the road.

Moran joins tech editor Dan Cavallari to give us a sense of what’s new in bicycle paint, where we’ve been in the past, and what we can look forward to in years to come. He also lends some perspective on how much Trek has grown over the years, particularly when it comes to the company’s in-house paint facilities. And surprisingly enough, given how large the operation has become, many of Trek’s frames are still painted by hand right in Waterloo, Wisconsin.

Trek Icon paint
Moran has helped create some eye-popping designs for Trek’s Icon lineup. Photo: Trek

Moran has created designs for some of Trek’s most successful riders, and he lends some insight into how Trek tackles the process of creating custom yellow bikes for leaders at the Tour de France, and other custom paint jobs like John Degenkolb’s special lineup just a few seasons ago.

If you have questions about this podcast or recommendations for topics you’d like us to cover on a future episode, you can reach out to VeloNews Tech Editor Dan Cavallari via email, Instagram, or Twitter.

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