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Old 08-19-09, 09:00 AM   #1
NYC_zx10
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When do you decide to paint/powdercoat it or leave it as is?

I picked up 2 bikes this weekend, one of them being a Miyata 310. Has the Golden arrow 105 group on it. But the bike has definitely seen its fair share of use. Its dirty, the frame has wear and tear on the paint. The decals are barely legible due to them being scraped off in certain areas.

I'm torn between cleaning her up as best I can, polishing up the components and calling it a day, sending the frame to get powdercoated, or even just doing a nice clean satin black spray paint job on it and just riding it.

Is it worth it to really invest THAT much time/money in a low to mid level vintage bike ?

I totally understand if it was a rare, high end bike that needed the same kind of work. Restoring it to original specs would be worth it at the end.

I really don't know what to do. I recently picked up a Univega Gran Record that is in almost 9.5/10 condition. I was going to use it for commuting to work (locking it up outside, etc) but its WAY too nice of a condition in my eyes to use it for that now. So then came the Miyata......
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Old 08-19-09, 09:05 AM   #2
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I'm interested to hear what others' opinions are about your question. I have just started thinking about powdercoating my Peugeot. The paint is horribly chipped and rust is starting to show through. But I hate to lose the decals. The replacement decals are kind of pricey.
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Old 09-11-09, 04:43 PM   #3
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I had a Raleigh Twenty stripped and powdercoated Nottingham black. The original white was hideous! It now matches my full-size Raleigh Superbe.
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Old 09-11-09, 05:04 PM   #4
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Painting is expensive, any way you look at it -- even if it's just rattle-can. I would not spend that money on a low- to mid-grade bike. Clean it, and wax it up, and ride it. Look for a nicer bike to spend money on, if that's your wont.
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Old 09-11-09, 05:08 PM   #5
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Unless the bike has some sentimental value to you, don't invest more in it than it would be worth when you are done. You could probably pick up a comparable level frame in great condition for less than the cost of painting or powdercoating.
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Old 09-11-09, 06:20 PM   #6
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+3 Painting a good but lower end bike makes no sense financially.

There is no way to get the added cost out of it as a flip. My basic rule on flip candidates (before I buy them) is either the frame paint has to be good enough with some cleanup OR I consider the bike a donor. With some elbow grease and polishing compound, original paint can often be rescued. Then a little touch up and you are ready to go. Frame defects like dents and dings won't polish out of course.

And a lackluster repaint will lower the value of the bike, so definitely not worth the time and effort.
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Old 09-11-09, 06:46 PM   #7
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Powdercoat is the way to go with a restoration. Its tough, durable and looks good. Paint fades but a powdercoat looks like new for years.
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Old 09-11-09, 06:53 PM   #8
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Everyone's saying "don't paint it," but it all seems to be with the qualifier "if you're flipping it."

I notice you said you wanted to ride it as a commuter. I don't see why painting it (or powdering it) is such a bad idea in this case. If you're gonna ride it, then who cares whether you can sell it for what you've put into it? Paint it your favorite color.
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Old 09-11-09, 06:53 PM   #9
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+4 for a few reasons...

Pro painting is expensive, looks great, and should be done if you simply want that particular bike to be painted, or the frame is worth a second life. As far as what happens after you paint, be prepared to simply accept the paint job expense as what it takes to keep the bike going or make it the way you want it.

Powder coating is much cheaper, and is gaining on the paint pros all the time. It's cheap enough here that I'm going to try and get the expense out of a couple of flips. The flips will not be to people who want a particular bike, but to someone who wants a great bike in a certain price range with a level of components in mind. In this way, I can re-use frames I'd otherwise give away or discard.

Restoration painting is a whole other ball game. Cost is not the issue, results are.

Rattle-can painting is a temporary, decent fix if you happen to be good enough at it so it doesn't look like a rattle-can job. I'm not. Bob Barker is.

Some bikes simply are great but have crappy paint jobs. I won't mention brands, but Gios and Pinarello come to mind. In those cases, the frames are good enough to stand the expense, and the paint isn't that intricate.


Custom paint on bikes, like custom paint on cars, is not a value enhancement, it's a personal choice or project. Done well enough to a high-level bike, it can enhance value, just like a Jesse James motorcycle or car... it's art, craft, and aesthetic. Dr. Deltron comes to mind.

Touch-up, though painstaking and tedious, can turn some really battered frames into decent bikes. It takes patience, time, and follow-up with rubbing compound, wax, etc, but often gets pretty good results for just labor and a small amount of materials.

I'll always have a couple bikes that are worth powdercoating if they get really torn up. I generally can't afford the level of bike that is worth a repaint, and I'm not up for one just for the sake of the project. However, I'm always looking....we're optimists here, or we wouldn't be always on the lookout for that one bike, eh?
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Old 09-11-09, 07:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtgotsjets View Post
Everyone's saying "don't paint it," but it all seems to be with the qualifier "if you're flipping it."

I notice you said you wanted to ride it as a commuter. I don't see why painting it (or powdering it) is such a bad idea in this case. If you're gonna ride it, then who cares whether you can sell it for what you've put into it? Paint it your favorite color.
+1. I think a 310 is a good enough bike to powdercoat for a keeper. You'll get years of commuting out of it, and it will cost you about as much as 2 or 3 tanks of gas.
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