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  1. #1
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    Repaint/chrome = devalue?

    Hey, I've got a '78 Colnago Super, it's in pretty decent condition but I'm not to keen on the paint. It's just a regular gloss blue, fairly boring. I thought I'd see if anyone had opinion on whether repainting a frame devalues it as far as vintage-ness goes? I'd obviously be getting it professionally done and re-decaling it as well.

    And I guess while I'm asking, I really dig the chromed head tube lugs on the colnago master, is it possible to chrome just a small part of the frame, like those lugs, before painting, or does the whole frame have to be chromed? I'm not too familiar with the process but I'm assuming as it involves dipping the frame so you'd have to do the whole thing, but maybe it's possible to just dip the head tube, I don't really know. And would doing something like that -- steering away from the original build scheme with additional chrome -- devalue it also? I really want to keep it true to roots but still looking fresh.

    Anyways, just looking for opinions while I weigh my options, thanks guys!

  2. #2
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    You would be better off just buying a different frame with the looks you want. Chroming can be a can of worms if not done right, and the expense is not worth it in this case. The parts that you want to leave exposed will have to polished to a mirror finish, then the whole frame will be have to be plated.

    A '78 Colnago is not a huge collectors bike at this time, but if it's nice original condition it would be worth more to keep it that way. Even properly restored bikes will be worth less than clean original finishes. When you start "customizing" to you own vision you will probably hurt the value even more.

    But then again, it's your bike, and your money, so you can do it if you want.

  3. #3
    Bottecchia fan
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    Yes, you can have just a part of the frame like the head tube lugs chromed although on many vintage Italian bikes the whole frame was chromes but only the partsd that showed were polished. It is expensive and you should make sure to have it done by a place that specializes in bicycle frames rather than cars or motorcycles. I'm of the opinion that if you're in it for the money than you should probably find something other than vintage bikes to collect. I like to ride them and I want them to look the way I want so I'd say get a quote and see if it's something you want to pursue. Yes, it will likely reduce the collector value but if YOU like it, so what. You're the one that has to ride it.
    1959 Bottecchia Professional (frame), 1966 Bottecchia Professional, 1971 Bottecchia Professional (frame),
    1973 Bottecchia Gran Turismo, 1974 Bottecchia Special, 1977 Bottecchia Special (frame),
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  4. #4
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    Oh, no definitely not in it for the money, it definitely gets ridden, I just didn't want to ruin any chance of it being worth something down the road.

    The paint is in really good shape, a few scratches here and there, but no rust or flaking, perhaps I'll just keep it as is, I guess I'd really just be fixing something that isn't broken.

    After looking into it a bit I think a professional paint job is going to be worth nearly as much as the frame set so it's probably not worth it.

  5. #5
    Dr.Deltron
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kommisar89 View Post
    Yes, it will likely reduce the collector value but if YOU like it, so what. You're the one that has to ride it.
    EXACTLY!!!

    Which is why my Oldnago is French Blue with pink pearl.
    And only two decals...Campagnolo on the right rear of the toptube
    & a "Made in Italy" on the bottom end of the seat tube.
    As for it being "devalued" by my custom build, that's irrelevant. I got it used in '87 and painted it in '88.
    So it's NOT going anywhere without ME, so I built it to suit ME!
    Mavic headset (that came with it) Phil BB, Bullseye hubs & pulleys (red), 27" MA40 rims with Avocet 1" tires...basically as far from "stock" as possible.

    And a final note....
    Painting a bike should never be done for "value", as it will usually only DEcrease the resale value.
    Paint it because it makes it more "valuable" to YOU!!!!

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    IMHO, you have four choices (five if you consider selling it and getting something you like better).

    1. Do only what is needed to prevent further deterioration.
    2. Restore to original (make it like new)
    3. Restore to, so called, museum standards (like restoring a Ford Pinto to Rolls Royce standards)
    4. Hot rod it. (anything that does not look original, including non-factory looking paint jobs)

    Value to serious collectors from low to high goes something like this: 4, 1, 2, 3. However some purists would not even consider it in any condition other that 1 or 2. You also have to realize that 3 is very expensive to do, and you will never recover your cost of doing it. Thee are also collectors who want things to look old and beat up, but in my experience they also want it cheap so I would not base my options on them.

    If one is a collector and wants to ride it 2 is probably the optimum cost/benefit option.

    If one has no collector interest 4 is a lot of fun (if you want to retain some of the collector value, do nothing to it that can not be undone, and keep all the original parts).

    The exception is that if something is 30+ years old and like new it will be most valuable if kept in that condition, especially so if it is relatively rare.

    The general guidelines above apply to almost any collectable, BTW.
    Graywolf--
    http://www.tomrit.com

    Longing for a stately old roadster

  7. #7
    Senior Member jet sanchEz's Avatar
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    I have a chrome fork that needs to be painted, can I use any old automotive paint or is there something better?

  8. #8
    FalconLvr
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    What, the OP thinks "Colnago Blue" is boring? I guess some folks think Bianchi "Celeste" is boring too. But some colors are just really associated with the bike brand!
    Last edited by evwxxx; 04-24-08 at 01:40 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by arppra View Post
    Oh, no definitely not in it for the money, it definitely gets ridden, I just didn't want to ruin any chance of it being worth something down the road.

    The paint is in really good shape, a few scratches here and there, but no rust or flaking, perhaps I'll just keep it as is, I guess I'd really just be fixing something that isn't broken.

    After looking into it a bit I think a professional paint job is going to be worth nearly as much as the frame set so it's probably not worth it.
    If it's in clean, original condition, and "down the road" indeed matters to you, you're better off leaving as is.

  10. #10
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    Besides, new chrome jobs won't compare to the old stuff. It's dull and done wrong these days. There may be vast tracts of toxic, uninhabitable land underneath wherever they used to chrome stuff, but dammit, the chrome on my Raleigh will outlast me, you, and the EPA.

    Quality stuff, back in the day.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by sciencemonster View Post
    Besides, new chrome jobs won't compare to the old stuff. It's dull and done wrong these days. There may be vast tracts of toxic, uninhabitable land underneath wherever they used to chrome stuff, but dammit, the chrome on my Raleigh will outlast me, you, and the EPA.

    Quality stuff, back in the day.
    True of raleigh chrome, perhaps, and certainly of Schwinn chrome. Italian chrome, not so much.

  12. #12
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    It will devalue it in that you will sink a lot of money into it you'll never recover, but if you like the bike, want it different and can afford it, why not? But I'd suggest a good bicycle painter over powdercoat.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Picchio Special View Post
    True of raleigh chrome, perhaps, and certainly of Schwinn chrome. Italian chrome, not so much.
    Don't forget Swiss chrome. I recently stripped the non-restorable paint from a Mondia Special, 1974. However, the chrome looked literally just about as good as the day it was applied. I couldn't find any pitting anywhere, and it was a frame that clearly had regular use.

    I went through a phase of thinking about chroming a frame, but decided that the expense isn't worth it. A decent job is going to cost 600+, for that price you can find a vintage chrome bike in good shape, maybe with some valuable components. A lot of the older painted frames w/chrome stays, lugwork are completely chrome underneath. The chrome under the paint may not be polished, but stripping the paint and getting some chrome polished is a lot cheaper and easier than chroming a frame. I'd only resort to chroming a frame for restoration, not for satisfying the desire for a chrome bike - again, just not cost effective.

  14. #14
    Senior Member RK1963's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Picchio Special View Post
    True of raleigh chrome, perhaps, and certainly of Schwinn chrome. Italian chrome, not so much.
    I beg to differ, as my bianchi tsx chrome is super

  15. #15
    Chrome Freak Rabid Koala's Avatar
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    And then there is French chrome, which surrenders to rust and deterioration faster than French paint!
    1971 Paramount P-13 Chrome
    1973 Paramount P-15 Opaque Blue
    1973 Gitane Tour De France
    1974 Raleigh Professional
    1991 Waterford Paramount
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  16. #16
    Senior Member RK1963's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rabid Koala View Post
    And then there is French chrome, which surrenders to rust and deterioration faster than French paint!
    +1

  17. #17
    Bottecchia fan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rabid Koala View Post
    And then there is French chrome, which surrenders to rust and deterioration faster than French paint!
    And I was gonna make a snarky comment about the French army but I won't go there

    Probably true about French chrome/paint but I must say the chrome on my UO8 fork is perfect and the paint on the frame is damaged only through physical contact (nasty chips and scratches) that would have occured to any paint job - most likely due to the fact that it was my wife's bike and neither she nor apparently its original owner took it out of the garage very often

    (And now she wants me to put a basket on the front of her current bike and rig it up so our French Bulldog mix can ride in it - sheesh! That's gonna happen Maybe I'll put a basket on the Peugeot to carry a bottle of wine, some cheese, and a baguette but a 25-lb squirming dog hanging on the handlebars doesn't sound like a good idea to me! (No doubt someone will disagree ) )
    1959 Bottecchia Professional (frame), 1966 Bottecchia Professional, 1971 Bottecchia Professional (frame),
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by RK1963 View Post
    I beg to differ, as my bianchi tsx chrome is super
    I always find the absence of logic breathtaking whenever someone attempts to disprove a generalization with a single example.
    However, I also over-generalized in my post, which was poor form on my part. To be more specific, Italian bikes had relatively poor chrome from sometime just before the bike boom through the mid-1980's. That covers a pretty big chunk of the bicycles discussed here, but by no means all. Earlier (and some later) Italian bikes often have very good chrome.

  19. #19
    Senior Member tradtimbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robatsu View Post
    Don't forget Swiss chrome. I recently stripped the non-restorable paint from a Mondia Special, 1974. However, the chrome looked literally just about as good as the day it was applied. I couldn't find any pitting anywhere, and it was a frame that clearly had regular use.

    I went through a phase of thinking about chroming a frame, but decided that the expense isn't worth it. A decent job is going to cost 600+, for that price you can find a vintage chrome bike in good shape, maybe with some valuable components. A lot of the older painted frames w/chrome stays, lugwork are completely chrome underneath. The chrome under the paint may not be polished, but stripping the paint and getting some chrome polished is a lot cheaper and easier than chroming a frame. I'd only resort to chroming a frame for restoration, not for satisfying the desire for a chrome bike - again, just not cost effective.
    How did you go about stripping the paint off your Mondia. I have a 1973ish Mondia that I want to strip. will a liquid stripper hurt the chrome on the lugs?
    Thanks,
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    Can anyone give me a ride from Monterey to Big Bear on Wednesday or Thursday?

    The Sustainable Cyclist

  20. #20
    Gammal cyklist Reynolds's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by graywolf View Post
    IMHO, you have four choices (five if you consider selling it and getting something you like better).

    1. Do only what is needed to prevent further deterioration.
    2. Restore to original (make it like new)
    3. Restore to, so called, museum standards (like restoring a Ford Pinto to Rolls Royce standards)
    4. Hot rod it. (anything that does not look original, including non-factory looking paint jobs)

    Value to serious collectors from low to high goes something like this: 4, 1, 2, 3. However some purists would not even consider it in any condition other that 1 or 2. You also have to realize that 3 is very expensive to do, and you will never recover your cost of doing it. Thee are also collectors who want things to look old and beat up, but in my experience they also want it cheap so I would not base my options on them.

    If one is a collector and wants to ride it 2 is probably the optimum cost/benefit option.

    If one has no collector interest 4 is a lot of fun (if you want to retain some of the collector value, do nothing to it that can not be undone, and keep all the original parts).

    The exception is that if something is 30+ years old and like new it will be most valuable if kept in that condition, especially so if it is relatively rare.

    The general guidelines above apply to almost any collectable, BTW.
    Some collectors I knew will prefer the most dull, peeling, rotten original paint over the shiniest and neatest repaint.

  21. #21
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Picchio Special View Post
    True of raleigh chrome, perhaps, and certainly of Schwinn chrome. Italian chrome, not so much.
    Run-of-the-mill Schwinn chrome from the '60s and '70s is decent, but I would hardly call it astounding. Same for Raleigh chrome dating from the late '60s into the 1980s, though I have yet to see anything match the unbelievable quality or hardiness of Raleigh brightwork dating from the 1940's and '50s.

    I polished a pair of '50s rims that appeared to be rusted through entirely, and it turned out to be a hellish layer of rust. I was shocked to find out that it had not in the least bit affected the chrome below it, however - not one single case of spiderwebbing under the plating. Simply unbelievable!

    -Kurt

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