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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    The arguement against powder coating... for steel frames

    Hi,

    I was talking to a popular custom frame builder who recommends against powder coating of frames and much prefers primer/paint for frames.

    He claims for steel, powder coating is porous and they did a test after a long period
    the powder coated frame developed "spider veins" to the finish, while the painted
    frame remained perfect.

    All thoughts on this??

  2. #2
    Junior Member
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    Apr 2009
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    Santa Fe, New Mexico & San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua
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    '72 Colnago, 84 Trek 600, 87 Specialized Sirrus, 87 Specialized Rockhopper, '04 Cannondale Optima, '06 Motobecane 600HT, 08 Motobecane Single Speed
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    The one time I had a steel frame powder coated was pretty depressing.
    The powder coat was applied so thick, much detail around the lugs was lost.
    It can probably be done in a thinner coat - but be careful!
    I have not noticed any "spider veins".

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Dec 2006
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    Northern VT
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    I'm very fortunate to have two steel bikes from "custom" makers; one is lugged and one TIG. The lugged one is powder coated, TIG is painted - both are about the same age, have experienced similar environmental exposure and handling [neither has been pampered in any way]. When new, the painted one looked awesome, like the paint was alive. Powder coated bike looked great. Now a few years and thousands of km later both continue to look very nice. They are both in the basement right now for cleaning and tune up. When the painted bike is cleaned up - it still looks wonderful. However if you look closely there are a number of paint dings, there were a couple rust spots I had to work over with a rough eraser and some extra find steel wool then touch up with fingernail polish. The powder coated from cleaned up very nicely, perhaps it looks a little dull aside of the painted frame - but I didn't need to touch up anything & didn't see any spiders. IMHO - If you ride your bike for the looks, perhaps painted is a better way to go. If your bikes get a lot of weather and hard knocks exposure, consider powder coating.
    ride long & prosper

  4. #4
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    While I haven't had it a "long period", I had a '87 Bianchi Grizzly powder coated about 4 years ago and it looks as good today as it did when I had it done. Personally I'm a fan of it. Very durable and the options that you can do with it is pretty cool.
    Demented internet tail wagging imbicile.

  5. #5
    Senior Member jputnam's Avatar
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    Nov 2009
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    Pacific, WA
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    Had my custom touring bike powder coated by CycleArt about 15 years ago. More than 50,000 miles on it, stored outdoors, and the finish looks fine where it hasn't been scraped off in crashes.

    Quality makes a difference -- you don't want powder coating by the folks who do cheap disposable lawn furniture.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jputnam/collections/72157604835074312/

  6. #6
    Junior Member
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    The guys at Spectrum can give you the ins and outs of both. Why not shoot them an e-mail with your questions and see if they have any data to provide on the longevity vs aesthetics of each process (since they do both)?

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