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Old 08-21-12, 08:39 AM   #1
Ozonation
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Bike paint jobs and trends - do you like the way your bike looks?

I recently bought a Rivendell Sam Hillborne (nice green, cream accents, blue handlebar tape, cream fenders), and unfortunately, the freehub was defective so I brought to my LBS to have them service it. My LBS is great, but they don't carry an Rivendell or other comparable looking bike.

Because the bike was so "nice looking" and new, they didn't want to get it scuffed in the back shop area while it was waiting the service queue, so they put in the show room area. Apparently, a LOT of customers asked about it. I guess they liked the understated, classic look, and the overall aesthetic. A local bike builder even commented on the detailed build, the nice paint job, etc., and a couple of the LBS employees really liked the way the bike looked. Everybody just had to ring the brass bell!

Now, eventhough the Rivendell was pricey, the LBS had lots of bikes much more costly or at least comparable in price. So what I can't quite figure out is if many people like the "classic look" or at least more understated look, why don't more bike manufacturers produce more - what's the word, "subtle"? - bike paint schemes? I know that custom manufacturers can spend more time and money because clients will pay more, but even mass manufacturing doesn't mean that paint schemes have to be a riot of crazy colours or patterns, or that lettering on a bike should look like a rolling billboard. I'm vain enough to admit that part of the reason I gravitated to the Rivendell was its appearance, and that when I was considering other bikes, it wasn't because of major performance needs, but because I didn't want to ride a bike that looked like a candy cane! Ironically, I found higher priced bikes to be more pleasing to look at. I can see extreme or performance riders want to show their stuff, but the majority of us... ah well... getting from point A to point B is really all there is now, isn't it?

Perhaps I'm just getting old, but I don't quite get it...
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Old 08-21-12, 09:04 AM   #2
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Bicycle paint jobs (and I'm talking mass produced bikes) took a downward turn sometime in the mid 1980s. In my view, the best paint colors and finishes were in the late 1970s or early 1980s. A touch of metallic flake on a rich pallet of basic colors: deep blue, apple red, mid-to-dark brown, granite grey...

Look at the paint on early 1980s Trek frames and you'll get my meaning.

I don't find much of my aesthetic in today's opaque paint colors. Bare carbon looks okay to me, though. PG
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Old 08-21-12, 09:22 AM   #3
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I guess to each their own....but what really turns me off is what you called the "rolling billboard."

Way too many words/brands/descriptions plastered all over bikes these days. Those letters are huge and seem to be all over frames, rims, forks, bars, etc.

Words on rims kind of has a cool effect when the bike is moving, but just looks tacky to me when standing still. But obviously somebody likes brand names standing out because these bikes and components are selling.
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Old 08-21-12, 09:25 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
Bicycle paint jobs (and I'm talking mass produced bikes) took a downward turn sometime in the mid 1980s. In my view, the best paint colors and finishes were in the late 1970s or early 1980s. A touch of metallic flake on a rich pallet of basic colors: deep blue, apple red, mid-to-dark brown, granite grey... Look at the paint on early 1980s Trek frames and you'll get my meaning. I don't find much of my aesthetic in today's opaque paint colors. Bare carbon looks okay to me, though. PG
Yes... I'd agree. In fact, I think many of the boutique or niche makers, such as Rivendell, emulate that aesthetic.

I'm wondering if this is a case where the professional/sports world marketing takes over the consumer market. You can see it everywhere, especially in athletic shoes and apparel. Everybody is wandering around in graphic gilded track suits, caps, and over the top sneakers. If the bike is painted in-your-face colours, then by virtue of you riding it you must also be outrageous!

I must be getting old!
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Old 08-21-12, 11:42 AM   #5
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Add me to the understated camp. A little graphics goes a long ways. I love the vintage head badges and a bike with a lugged frame with the ornate lugs and a simple overall paint jobs. Not a big fan of the oversize tubes and all the suspension claptrap.
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Old 08-21-12, 12:14 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
Bicycle paint jobs (and I'm talking mass produced bikes) took a downward turn sometime in the mid 1980s.
Maybe it's my age, but I LOVE obnoxious 80's - early 90's paint jobs. Neon and splatter paint make me happy. My least favorite paint jobs are on a lot of roadies, that generic, tri-colour, stripy-swooshy look. Basically this. It's getting kind of stale, IMO.

I do think the non-mass produced bikes have a seriously better look. Linus and Civia being some exceptions.
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Old 08-21-12, 12:57 PM   #7
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New classic-look Raleighs are probably right on.
I like matte-black personally, but cream, green, red...all good. Not a fan of bright colors.
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Old 08-21-12, 01:25 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Antaresia View Post
Maybe it's my age, but I LOVE obnoxious 80's - early 90's paint jobs. Neon and splatter paint make me happy. My least favorite paint jobs are on a lot of roadies, that generic, tri-colour, stripy-swooshy look. Basically this. It's getting kind of stale, IMO.
Got to agree... neon and splatter paint might not be to everybody's taste, but at least they're original and distinctive. The generic, tri-colour, stripy-swooshy look is getting really bland and repetitive. I recall visiting another bike store, asking about cross cycles, and they pointed out a Jake-the-Snake Kona to me, but I had a hard time picking it out from all the other ones hanging on the wall! They all sort of looked... the same...

Last edited by Ozonation; 08-21-12 at 02:12 PM.
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Old 08-21-12, 03:15 PM   #9
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When I broke down and replaced the Krylon flat black on my DIY Touring frame
I had the Imron color offerings to choose from..

other than that I take the bike in what color it came ,
Italian red and Japan red are slightly different
from the 'Red is good luck' at the Chinese bar/restaurant i eat and drink at.

Previous client, at BI Fri didn't like the dark metallic grey.. so I got a good deal
on the refused due to insufficiently Schwartz, Built to order bike..
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Old 08-21-12, 06:49 PM   #10
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imho - solid color and minimal graphics,
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Old 08-21-12, 10:26 PM   #11
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Congrats on the new Sam!! Hope it is up and running soon!
I have a Rivendell and I love the lugs and the creme/aqua color.

Last edited by lungimsam; 08-21-12 at 10:53 PM.
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Old 08-21-12, 11:05 PM   #12
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MY bike. I never cared for white bikes, I hated red graphics but after putting on over 72,000 miles in the last 16 years, I've ridden so many different color bikes I could care less what color my bike is now.

As long as it is clean and runs smoothly, the color isn't even a fraction of consideration. Give me a purple bike, an orange bike or even a pink bike. I'll make it run smooth and I'll like it.

I dont like the colors but I don't really care.

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Old 08-21-12, 11:16 PM   #13
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Congrats on the new Sam!! Hope it is up and running soon!
I have a Rivendell and I love the lugs and the creme/aqua color.
I just found out from the LBS that the part that is needed could take a while. I might be Rivendell-less for up to two weeks!
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Old 08-22-12, 09:50 AM   #14
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I was able to choose the paint scheme for my Marinoni and I chose a light blue/grey and dark blue combination. I think if I were to choose a similar combination again, the dark blue might be a bit darker and there might be a bit less of the light blue/grey. But nevertheless it was a rather understated look. Sadly ... that bicycle was stolen.

My next bicycle was a titanium Hasa. I could have had names plastered all over it, but I opted to leave it bare titanium.

My touring bicycle is a plain royal blue. Very nice.
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Old 08-22-12, 11:38 AM   #15
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Maybe it's my age, but I LOVE obnoxious 80's - early 90's paint jobs. Neon and splatter paint make me happy.
Same here. My SIL has a Trek road bike that's black spatter on a bright fluorescent green base (what many jersey manufacturers now call hi-vis yellow), and I still think it's one of the most attractive bikes I've seen. I also liked the fade paint schemes that were popular in the 80s. My brother has a 3Rensho of that era that fades from a beautiful pearlescent white at the top of the frame to a rich blood-red at the bottom bracket.
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Old 08-22-12, 12:37 PM   #16
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I'm stuck in the 1920's "trend".....I have black bikes.

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Old 08-22-12, 02:01 PM   #17
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I like the classic lugged frames in a solid color with a contrasting head tube and some nice outlining of the lugs. Kind of hard to outline lugs on a odd shaped aluminium or CF frame. I absolutely DO NOT like the rolling billboard look...on anything. If you want me to hawk your brand, pay me. I damned sure am not going to pay a premium to advertise for you. FWIW I look for and buy quality products that don't have bold, aggressive, obnoxious logos. Funny thing is they usually cost the same or even a bit less than the garish stuff. Nearly all of my bikes are vintage with most being either British or French. They knew how to make things look nice in their day. I have no problem with colors, even bright colors but not logos.

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