I received word that my new frame has completed it's construction phase and that the builder is awaiting further instruction regarding paint. Before starting, however, he wants to know what I want done to protect the frame. The options he gave are as follows:
I asked the LBS who is the mediator in the build for some information regarding the latter two processes and they replied with this:
They haven't quite revealed any specific information of the treatment other than its effect. Both Anodized Surface Coating and Phosphate Surface Coating are supposed to protect inside and underneath surface of the painting from corrosion. I can't say for sure how effective the treatments are as I myself have not watched one over a lengthy period of time. What I can tell you is that the tubings produced these days are not very much prone to corrosion (the frame is being built up with Kalavinka/Kasei tubing and Kalavinka lugs). In my experience with cromoly frames, the framesaver has worked well protecting the inside. With outside, it's visible even if it's developed underneath. Once you get several spots of corrosion developed, maybe it's time that you get a new paintjob. Considering the condition in Chicago, maybe getting as thick a clear coat as you can might be the most practical and economical way to go.
Anodized Surface Coating and Phosphate Surface Coating are what you can choose from for surface coating. Anodized Surface Coating is supposed to be stronger than the other and a bit more expensive.
I'm not quite sure what to do. When I'm done here in Korea I'll be taking the bike back home with me to Chicago where it'll have to survive the salt-drenched streets so at the very minimum Frame Saver is a must but should I look at the others too? How durable of a paint job would be necessary given the extra coatings? Or would I still need something super thick? Can I get away without a big drain hole or will the hole they drill to mount the cable guide do the trick?
You didn't mention what material the frame is made of but I assume steel.
Frame Saver is all you need for the inside of the tubes but it doesn't do any good on the outside.
Anodizing is for aluminum - I don't understand why the shop would suggest it for steel.
Phosphate coatings are a good idea but not strictly necessary. It leaves a coating on the metal which protects it while the frame is awaiting paint. It also provides a small amount of additional protection and gives the paint something to bite into to.
What kind of paint is the shop going to use? I think this is where you should focus your energy, not on the undertreatments. Powder coat is the most durable finish, although a two part urethane top coat on top of some sort of two part epoxy primer is perfectly acceptable as well. I'd avoid using single stage paints such as acrylic enamels since these won't be as durable.
Hope this helps and good luck.
Becareful buying/selling bike parts on-line. I learned the hard way. :(