Matte Finish vs. Glossy Finish Paint

Matte is in. “Blacked out” or the “Murdered” look are drooled over. Put them together and you’ve struck bike lust gold. Matte finishes are being marketed by a few brands and are certainly sought-after by riders. So much so, most of the inquiries we’ve received lately have been for matte finishes. Riders are gung-ho for matte, especially matte black as I noted above. Below is a quick post not about matte vs glossy, but about the basic differences between glossy and matte finishes.

Glossy finishes or glossy clear coats are what they sound like. Your bike is going to be shiny, have more depth, and provide a “clear” barrier between the environment and your frame. On the opposite end of the spectrum are matte finishes or flat coats that have minimal shine, lack depth, and hopefully a “matte” barrier between the environment and your frame.

Things You Should Avoid with a Glossy Finish

-Cleaning your dirty frame with a rag with out rinsing it first — This causes tiny scratches in the clear as dirt and debris are dragged across the frame. While not always noticeable, over time it may change the quality of the clear coat. You may notice “swirl” marks.

Things You Should Avoid with a Matte Finish

-Polish or buff — This may cause the area to become shinier. If you like polishing and waxing your frame, you’re better off with a glossy finish.
-Wax based polishes — It can leave a white residue or potentially bring a glossier shine to your frame.

Jump past the photos for more

custom painted cervelo p3 matte black _ blog matte vs glossy

How does this make you feel? Matte frame with matte wheels.

Glossy baby!

Give me some shine. As one customer put it, a “glass like finish”

Glossy Finish

Why You May Prefer It Over Matte

  • Scratches can be buffed out
  • Colors have more depth
  • Easier to clean
  • Cool paint effects – pearl, metallic, flip flop, etc

  • Dirt can be more apparent
  • Scratches can be more visible
  • Little scratch swirls may be seen in the finish over time
  • Now to the matte list

Matte Finish

Why You May Prefer It Over Gloss

  • Surface scratches may be harder to see (if not down to the sealer/primer)
  • Broad range of finishes — stove top – egg shell – satin
  • Harder to see micro marring — swirls/spider webbing in the finish
  • Hides imperfections in carbon layers and tube shapes because it absorbs more light

  • Cannot buff out scratches. If you try, the finish will begin to change
  • Can sometimes have chalky appearance
  • Oils, sweat, and smudges may show more easily — requires more maintenance to look clean
  • Colors lack depth
But Zane, what about those bikes that have a matte finish and glossy decals? Lest I forget! It’s an alluring look for sure. Here’s what they do: A company sprays the matte and then applies a glossy (hopefully all weather) decal on top of the finish. It’s yet to be known how well the decals hold up over time. When customers ask us for this look, we can do it this way or we offer a more resilient solution — matte and glossy finish — together. See it here Wilier Triestina Cento1. The potential downside for this is that there may be a slightly raised edge between the two finishes, but how often are you stroking your frame? Wait, don’t answer that.

The Jack Kane matte finish difference. The internet is rife with armchair “experts” with conflicting information. There are statements that matte finishes chip more easily. That can be true, but only if extra steps are ignored. If it’s really cheap price, that may be why. When we paint a matte or flat bike, our finishing process takes a couple steps. We do not paint the bike with flat paints and leave it to battle the elements. After your bike is painted, we spray our matte finish coat to protect your frame from the environment.

What’s special about our matte finish? Like our Jack Kane bikes, nothing comes stock. We do not use pre-mixed finishes — meaning we find the right finish specifically for you at no added cost. Regardless of the finish you choose with us, both provide UV protection and an additional barrier between your frame/paint and your outside stomping grounds.

Now that you’re armed with more knowledge you can make an informed decision about your next bike purchase or custom paint job. If you still have questions, give me a call, email me, or click the chat box on the lower right hand corner to talk with me instantly… unless I’m out riding.

We look forward to painting your bike.


P.S. If you have a glossy bike and are interested in making it matte, we can do that for you and vice-versa!

At Jack Kane Bikes we do it right the first time.