Frame / Fork Stripping

As part of the workshop bike build and painting, I decided to undertake the project is stipping an old 2013 Rose Xeon XD. Boy was it fun and if you follow on Instagram you have been inundated with a constant feed of stories. I will break down the options I had available, what I choose, the results and finally the cost.

Ways to strip

You have a few ways to strip a frame Sandblasting, Acid Dipping, Chemical removal or sanding. Acid dipping will be the best way to remove the paint but also comes with an £80+ price. That leads you to chemical remove such as Nitromors, Biostrip and so much more this will be a little more expensive running anywhere from £8 - 30 depending on the stripped chosen. For the final chose sandpaper the cheapest option but the most work, you have your standard sandpaper or you can go the Silicon Carbide on a drill bit. All these options do have pros and cons. I will do my best to list these out below.



  • Strips down to the bare metal quick

  • Price is reasonable depending on the provider

  • Needs very little prep to start painting


  • Cant be used on carbon ( A lot of providers will say done and owners risk )

  • Can be used on steel but old frames will run the risk of pitting ( old frames run a higher risk of this

Acid Dipping


  • Strips down to the bare metal quick

  • Needs very little prep to start painting

  • Can be used on Aluminium and Steel


  • Cant be used on carbon

  • highest cost

Chemical Stripping


  • Strips down to the bare metal quick

  • Very cost-effective

  • Low amount of work needed

  • Can be done at home


  • Cant be used on carbon (they did have a carbon-specific chemical stripper Carbolift. these seems to now be obsolete )

  • Doesn't work well in grooves

  • Still require Prep work

Sandpaper / Sandwheels


  • Strips down to the bare metal quick

  • Cheapest off all methods

  • Can be done at home

  • Can be used on all materials

  • Requires low Prep Work


  • The most time consuming if you are trying to get down to the bare metal

  • Some of the Sanding wheels can leave drop scuffs in materials like aluminium and cannot be used on carbon

What Did I Pick

I choose to use a combination of two methods Chemical stripping and Sandpaper as I was stripping an Aluminium frame and carbon forks. This was for two reasons to keep the cost down and I would be able to do it at home.

The process would be

  1. Chemical strip the aluminium frame

  2. Once the frame is stripped I would then use the sandpaper/ Sandwheel to remove the stubborn paint or paint within the groves

  3. Cabon Forms I will sand by hand and not with the sand wheel

Chemical Stripping

I went with Rustins Strypit, I would love to say I researched this for hours and this was the best one for the job but I picked the one on amazon that had good reviews and wasn't too expensive. Rustins Stypit was £6 for a 250ml Tin. Below you will see the results of the chemical stripping.

First Coat

The first coat didn't do too much from the look but once you start scraping the paint off you see how much it had done. It ae away at the lacquer and the decals raising them after 5 minutes. The first coat I left on for 20 minutes as advised. I then scraped the paint off this can be done with a scourer, scrapping knife or sandpaper. I used the scourer as I grab a pack of 6 from the corner shop for £1.

Second Coat

Second Coat

I then applied a second coat to eat away are the colour and base coat left on the frame. This I left for 2/3 hours for the Rustins to get as deep as it could. The results speak for themself.

Third Coat

Third Coat

To try and get the more stubborn parts of the paint that are in the welds, tight corners or just paint that isn't shifting. I left this overnight and it wasn't needed. I find the best results are after the 2/3 hour mark.

Final Results from the chemical stripping

For a total of £12, I found that the chemical (as I had to use two Rustin Stypit to get the job done ); stripping worked very well with only a few bit left mainly in the welds that didn't come off.


This process will be the remaining paint left on the frame and the carbon forks. For the frame, I used P80 which is low grit sandpaper with the main aim of removing paint. this worked well on the stubborn bits that the chemical stripper didn't take off. I then use a silicate sand wheel with a drill to get into the welds and remove as much of the remaining paint. The sandpaper was fantastic. The sand wheel even with the higher grit ( less harsh ) still left fairly deep scratches in the frame as aluminium is quite soft.

Final results Frame

I'm happy with how the frame came out and was well worth the £12 paid for Chemical Stripper, £10 spent on Sandpaper and £18 spent on the sand wheel. I would change one thing and not use the sand wheel. it did remove the paint very well but also scratched the frame a lot which will take more coats of paint to cover up. it made it easier in one department but harder in another.

Sanding - Carbon Forks

Sanding the forks is the most delicate part as the last thing you want to do is remove too much paint and start to sand carbon. I decided I would not be going down to the raw carbon as that leaves too big of a margin.

P80 & P120 Sanding

I used low grit sandpaper as this removes the most material. This removed the paint and Decals super easy from start to finish it took less than 10 minutes. This was the most expensive sandpaper I used 3M paint stripper sandpaper this cost £10. Well worth the money. I then followed the P80 up with a high grit 120. This is to remove material slow but also remove some of the scratches caused by the p80.

P320 Sanding

320 Sand

Once the decal was removed I wanted to scuff the rest of the forks to give the new paint something to grab on and stick to. This process was a little bit longer and took roughly 30-45 minutes. You can see how uneven the original paint was laid as for some areas it is down to the raw carbon mainly on the inside of the forks.

Wet & Dry Sanding

Wet & Dry Finished

This is the last step of sanding and is just to make sure you have a nice smooth carbon. This can be down after the colour coat and between clear coats. I was just being extra. I would say to also sand wet as you are not trying to remove material.

Carbon Results

Finised Result - Forks

Forks came out nice removing the decals, scuffing the paint and making use of the painting surface was smooth didn't cost too much. P80 sandpaper was £10, 120 sandpaper was £5, 320 sandpaper was £5 and the wet and Dry cost £10 so for the total of £30. I'm also left with enough sandpaper to sand about 5/6 forks and frames.

Overall Results and Cost

I am happy with the result of what I managed to produce at home the stripping was great on both the frame and forks. It ended up costing me £60 in total and I still have enough sandpaper to strip more frame and forks. I would steer away from the sand wheel as they are just too rough and will cause you longer painting time trying to cover these scuffs up or trying to sand these out.

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