Choosing your colours. How to decide what colours to paint your NorthRoad bike.

Choosing your colours. How to decide what colours to paint your NorthRoad bike.


Reliably one of the most difficult decisions you might ever make. Deciding what colours to dress your new ride in doesn’t have to be stressful. We’ve put together this little guide to make your life just that teeny bit easier.

Don’t get hung up on the detail

Choosing bike colours is like choosing ice cream toppings. Kinda.

When faced with the prospect of having whatever you want it’s not uncommon to find yourself in a childlike state of wonder. Like that time when, as a sticky fingered 8 year old, you’re asked what toppings you’d like on your ice cream.

“All of them” you whisper in disbelief. This power of choice isn’t something you’ve experienced before. The person in the ice cream van nods a quiet acceptance of your order, and dips the cone in sugars, sherbets and nuts before drizzling with chocolate and strawberry and wedging in a flake and a rainbow fizzy thing.

It’s handed over to you with a knowing smile. You turn away glaring into the techno-colour Mr. Whippy that’s being propped up by the thin and increasingly soggy napkin in your hand.

The next 30 minutes are a whirr. You don’t know how it’s happened, everything was so wonderful. Now, however, you’re now lying on your side clutching your stomach as the wild sugar rush comes crashing down around you. The conflicting flavours are still lingering in your mouth but the idea of washing the flavours away with a drink is repressed as putting anything else in your mouth right now will likely result in a vomit-y Vesuvius.

This is a valuable lesson I’m sure we’ve all learned the hard way at least once.

As our experiences widen, we become more in tune with complimentary flavours, when to be subtle, when to be bold, and when to stop adding more. These are all key points when it comes to choosing how to finish your new NorthRoad bike.

We paint 100s of frames per year, so come to us with inspiration rather than detail and we can work out the rest. We know where all the lines, curves, and planes are on our bikes and we can ensure that the colours and designs are balanced and don’t look jarring when the finished article is produced. Read on for the best ways to find inspiration.

Find Inspiration

Inspiration can come in all shapes and sizes – from obvious and iconic to really personal. Providing us with inspiration is invariably the best way to get the best results. Here’s a few examples.

Iconic car colour combinations

Classic and Classy.

This is Ben’s Lotus inspired explorer. Not pictured are the two yellow stripes on the top. We found a contact who was kind enough to give us the exact colour codes for the match and finished it in a deep gloss. The chrome seatpost and stem/bars combo are topped off with classic Brookes brick tape and saddle. Classy.

Match your motor

We don’t remember what prompted Ruth to pose like this, but we’re certain it was deserved.

Ruth has a rather tasty VW Golf that she’s rightfully quite proud of. A quick phonecall to a local dealership and we found the colour codes and got to work. An ever so slightly purple-y blue with white high contrast finish. Not sure there’s a better feeling than getting to an event and pulling a colour matched gravel bike from your hot-hatch!

Match your… shoes?

90’s kicks inspired colour scheme

When we first spoke to Kirstie it was clear we were in for a treat of colour choices. She wanted to encapsulate the late 90’s pastel colours on tracksuits and trainers. Sat in the bikery we seemingly-all-at-the-same-time looked at the Reebok shoes she was wearing and proclaimed; “Like that?!”. The rest, as they say, is history.

Match your favourite high street bakery

Now, we have to be a bit honest on this one. This wasn’t intentionally the iconic colour scheme employed by Britain’s favourite vegan sausage roll supplier. But once we saw it… One of the most legendary Mistrals we’ve ever built.

Black is still the new black.

Kevin with his matte black iO. Ninja or Stealth?

Choosing something stealthy is not a cop-out. Black is excellent. It will match all your kit, it’s easy to keep clean (or more difficult to see when it’s dirty, we won’t tell anyone if you don’t) and it’s just classically beautiful. Matte, satin, and gloss, are all options.

But if you still want to go mad…

Tony’s Mondrian Inspired Mistral
Marks Pink Splatter iO
Simons Snake Skin ARES

What does it cost?

Most custom colours won’t come at any additional cost. This is what we do. We hand paint bikes for people. Typically one colour for the frame and one colour for the logos is included. We don’t usually have to charge for an additional block colour elsewhere on the frame, either.
If we are going to be using multiple textures, patterns, or types of finishing each order is priced individually – just ask!

Final Points

You don’t have to be a poser to match your kit to your bike. If all of your jerseys are red and you choose a purple bike you’re going to either be in for a continual clash or an expensive wardrobe replacement. When you’re out on your bike feeling good is half the battle, so think about the colours that you’ve already got to help you choose.

Some finishes show dirt and grime more than others. It’s obvious to say if you have a white bike it’s going to look dirty sooner than a black one – but we can be quite clever and have darker colours in areas that attract the most grime and lighter colours everywhere else.

We paint everything by hand in Manchester with love. If you still don’t know what you’re looking for. Talk to us! We’re passionate and honest and will do our utmost to make sure you ride away on a bike you’ll absolutely love.

Click here to get in touch


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