I'm just about to paint up an old MTB frame for touring use. I haven't put a lot of thought into the colour yet, so I was just wondering if anyone had any thoughts. I'm torn between a vividly bright colour like orange (benefit: highly visible) or a more sombre colour like dark green (better for stealth camping). Looking at the Fully Loaded page, most bikes seem to be of a darker colour.
I'm also tempted to paint it with house paint, so it has a heavier coating and the bike looks less valuable. Is that a terrible idea?
1940s Fothergill, 1959 Allegro Special, 1963? Claud Butler Olympic Sprint, Lambert 'Clubman', 1974 Fuji "the Ace", 1976 Holdsworth 650b conversion rando bike, 1983 Trek 720 tourer, 1984 Counterpoint Opus II, 1993 Basso Gap, 2010 Downtube 8h, and...
House paint will definitely reduce the resale value, which theives know, so that's a benefit as long as you're sure you don't want to sell it.
Another option is to cover the frame with reflective tape, or a combination of that and paint. You can get some amazing tape from... uh, I think the company is called identitape or something. Google it.
Argos or bob jackson will cover the frame in stove enamel or powdercoat for a fair price. I had a frame done by Argos (not the argos with the catalogue shopping over in the grafton centre, but a bike painting place...) when I lived in Cambridge.
I would go with a simple, dark powdercoat colour. less enticing to thieves, but retains a modicum of civility and self respect for your bike
powdercoating is the way to go.... last year I had my Trek 950 powdercoated for $75 including the sandblasting. Powdercoating is not like painting. The coating is actually a thin layer of plastic powder applied electrostatically to the frame and then baked to form a very chip resistant surface.
olivedrab or a medium brown is my recommendation, I wish I would have had my bike frame, Bob trailer, water bottle cages, front rack and handlebars all powdercoated at the same time olive drab
I like to be visible, but I have red panniers, and typically wear a high-vis yellow jacket or brightly colored jerseys. I also stick an orange flag out the left side of my rack when I tour (to discourage drivers from passing too close. I found it by the side of the road in Idaho. It's one of those flags you're supposed to hold up in your boat when a waterskier is in the water.) So I don't worry about having a visible bike. My LHT is blue. I let my wife look at the two colors available at the time and she picked blue. Fine with me. My Allez is royal blue. I think it's pretty but I didn't pick it - it came on the frame I bought off Ebay.
There's something to be said for having an ugly bike, however. My previous tourer is an old pink Nashbar. The pink is quite faded after 17 years, but faded different amounts on different parts of the bike. When it had quite a few rust spots, I sanded them off and put fire-engine red enamel paint from the hobby section of the hardware store on them. In short, to anyone with any taste, it's hideous! I recently gave it to my 22-year-old nephew who lives in Long Beach. He reported that a bunch of bikes got stolen from the rack in the parking area below his apartment, but the thieves didn't touch the old, pink Nashbar!
A guy on the 50+ forum recently reported on an old Stumpjumper he bought for a commuter. It was very beat-up, and he likes projects, so he stripped it down and had it powder-coated. Now it looks so good he has to worry about it being stolen!
Rattle can jobs flake, but then again you wanted it to look less valuable anyway. If you do a couple of coats with the heavy duty Krylon it won't be too bad.
Have you thought of maybe using engine paint? My father has painted things with that before.
(Things aside from engines, duh)