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  1. #1
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    A discussion of pure aesthectics

    Is repainting a frame worth the hassle? What sort of paint would I need for it?

    I really like the look of retro non-flashy looking fixies-- the cheaper looking the better. I picked up an iro mark v, with a nice shinny black coat, so obviously I need to hit it with a matt-black coat and get some dull black grip tape. Thinking about going for some drop downs instead of bullhorns too, but I'm not sure if I want to go that far with aesthetics vs. usability.

    Any thoughts? Mainly I'm curious about paint.

  2. #2
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    Because I want to generate a discussion on the subject

  3. #3
    Delusional Laserbrain Germanicus's Avatar
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    I just painted my bike this past fall and while it wasn't too difficult, it was time consuming.

    I took everything off the frame and sprayed it with stripper. Then took an old BBQ grill wire brush and scrubbed the devil out of it until all of the paint was off. Getting everything off required patience and repeated coats of stripper, finally going over the frame with steel wool.

    At this point, the frame looked so good as raw brushed steel (after the steel wool) I almost just clear coated it and called it a day. However the welds were kind of sloppy and the cable mounts were this shiny brass color that looked funny so I decided to paint it after all.

    As far a painting it goes, my only advice is to TAKE YOUR TIME. Don't rush anything and don't cut corners. Mask what you need to and make sure you adequately prime it, and then put several thin coats of color on, building it up to full coverage. Then finally put several THIN coats of clear coat on and wait for each to dry. It is so easy to put too much on and then you have globby, streaks.

    You may want to practice on a metal tube or pipe first if you are not experienced in painting a bike. ( I wasn't)

    Mine came out pretty good, but If I had to do over, I would have used even more thin coats and just stretched out the job a few more days.

    Good luck.

  4. #4
    Bastard of Reality Scrodzilla's Avatar
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    An auto body shop will properly paint a bike for 50 bucks or less if you do your own prep work.
    Last edited by Scrodzilla; 12-30-09 at 10:29 PM.

  5. #5
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    Prepping is tedious and 90% of the job. Rattlecans can come out nice if you know what you are doing, but most of the time you will end up with a finish that will chip and scratch very easily and look like hell after a couple months of daily use/locking up.
    Quote Originally Posted by Santaria View Post
    because physics has more street cred than tarckstars.

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    Bastard of Reality Scrodzilla's Avatar
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    Any respectable auto body guy will tell you that you don't need to strip down to bare metal when prepping. Just scuff so the new paint will grab. I've had quite a few frames refinished and have never had any trouble.

  7. #7
    extra bitter kyselad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
    Any respectable auto body guy will tell you that you don't need to strip down to bare metal when prepping. Just scuff so the new paint will grab. I've had quite a few frames refinished and have never had any trouble.
    And in fact this yields a much better paint job than completely stripping the bike. The initial prime/paint job tends to be a lot more durable than the refinishing folks do at home.

    On the other hand, if you're going for a non-flashy finish, I'd just have it powdercoated and be done with it. In that case, it needs to be blasted for the prep, but you can (and should) have the powdercoater handle both the blasting and coating. It's honestly well worth the $100 or so -- most home paint jobs end up regrettably sloppy and not very durable.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I've rattle can painted many bike frames. My personal experience has been quite a bit different from several of the previous posters.

    1. Whenever I've wimped out by not completely stripping the frame down to bare metal, the result has been frequent and rapid chipping. I use a chemical stripper to remove all of the old paint and primer. It only takes me 2 or 3 hours to do, but it's mega messy.

    2. When I strip the frame down to bare metal my paint jobs don't chip but the result isn't as durable as a factory paint job. After a few years, the paint wears through where cable housings rub against it.

    3. Spraying, even with spray cans, is a skill that has to be learned. Do the ackward places, like where the stays meet the seat tube first. A tube has 4 sides so you have to hit it from 4 different angles. If you lose patience, you'll get runs.

    4. All colors don't act the same. Reds and yellows are relatively transparent so they're picky about primer color and they require more coats. They run more easily too.

    5. The only good reason that I can think of to do a rattle can paint job is for the satisfaction of having done it yourself. It's a labor intensive process and materials, by the time you buy stripper, sandpaper, steel wool, paint thinner, primer and paint, will cost more than you probably suspect. After doing all that, my paint jobs look OK but they don't rival a factory paint job.

    Since I already own an air compressor, I'm seriously considering buying myself a spray ***. Hopefully that will help me to do a better job. The thing that's stopping me is how much I have to learn to develop the new skill and the cost of materials for something I'd only do maybe once a year. Like I said before, the only good reason I can think of for doing it is for the satisfaction of doing it myself. It'll probably happen this spring once the weather warms.

  9. #9
    Senior Member TrekFix's Avatar
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    I decided to have my steel frame powdercoated because it had some rusty spots and chipped paint. I was buying some new parts and wanted it to look good once I completed the build. I felt the condition my frame warranted a paint job and I could not be happier. It cost me 100$ and that included all prep work and paint.
    I just took my 23 year old bike and gave her a new life....all with just a little paint.

  10. #10
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    This may be a stupid question, but if you powdercoat a bike and want to add decals later, would it still look ok to add clear coat on top of the powdercoat to make the decals look more like they're supposed to be there?

  11. #11
    Bastard of Reality Scrodzilla's Avatar
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    Yes.

  12. #12
    Senior Member FixMe's Avatar
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    I repainted my bike towards the end of summer. I brought home some griptape from work, stripped my whole bike down, sanded the frame just a bit to scuff/scratch up the factory paint so the primer would take, hung it with a broom stick through the head tube, sprayed it with grey/white primer, let that dry for a day, and then hit it with some neon yellow paint and let that dry for about 3 days (only because we had crappy weather), and it turned out pretty awesome. Granted it has some chips from trying different skids and stuff, but it still looks great months later considering I ride it everyday.

    before

    after


    If you're going to do it yourself, just make sure you give yourself plenty of time to prep it right and allow the paint the right time to dry fully, otherwise you'll get these funky little ripples and cracks in the paint, especially near the weld points on your frame. Good luck!

  13. #13
    Senior Member bigvegan's Avatar
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    If you want. Or just add the decals and skip the clearcoat so you or the next owner can remove them easily when you get sick of them.


    Quote Originally Posted by BurnseyBoy View Post
    This may be a stupid question, but if you powdercoat a bike and want to add decals later, would it still look ok to add clear coat on top of the powdercoat to make the decals look more like they're supposed to be there?

  14. #14
    i'll probably break it 91MF's Avatar
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    ^thats funny i also repainted a langster. it was an 06 comp frame and crabon fork i picked up off CL. evenly scuffed the whole thing and did very light coats of matte white.

    after all the work i realized the bike was a little too small for me and i didnt like the sloped top tube. sold the frame for double what i paid for it.



    and commute steez

    bike. throw. #MFDCR

  15. #15
    Delusional Laserbrain Germanicus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Germanicus View Post
    I took everything off the frame and sprayed it with stripper. Then took an old BBQ grill wire brush and scrubbed the devil out of it until all of the paint was off. Getting everything off required patience and repeated coats of stripper, finally going over the frame with steel wool.
    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    I use a chemical stripper to remove all of the old paint and primer. It only takes me 2 or 3 hours to do, but it's mega messy.
    The only other thing I will add about paint stripper is that it is very toxic and can in fact burn your skin very easily. Make sure you cover yourself up and use goggles if necessary. I found just a few specks of the stuff on my skin burns quite bad. The fumes are also very caustic so do it in a well ventilated space (like your driveway.) Safety first.

  16. #16
    Bastard of Reality Scrodzilla's Avatar
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    Stripping the frame would have been a lot easier if you had used a drill and a set of these:


  17. #17
    Senior Member
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    If you just want to matte the frame you could just get the stock glossy paint very lightly bead-blasted. If you wanted to be a little more interesting you could mask areas to remain glossy.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
    Stripping the frame would have been a lot easier if you had used a drill and a set of these:

    Been there, not as easy as you might thing. Also, no auto body guys in my area will paint bike frames for a reasonable amount. I've been doing powdercoating, seems the best option available.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
    Any respectable auto body guy will tell you that you don't need to strip down to bare metal when prepping. Just scuff so the new paint will grab. I've had quite a few frames refinished and have never had any trouble.

    bad idea. as a body shop does not paint bikes on a normal basis they usually get paint in places it shouldn't be I.E. the btm bracket threads and in the head tube.I have seen a few people have this done and no mater how much prep they did, they still had to rechase all the paint out of the bottom bracket and such.
    " Its worth noting that it would have taken you less time to remove it or thread it on than it would have for you to start this thread."

  20. #20
    Junior Member FixieGoonie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by archaic View Post
    I picked up an iro mark v, with a nice shinny black coat, so obviously I need to hit it with a matt-black coat and get some dull black grip tape.
    I've never really understood this mentality. I see it all the time with amateurs' drift cars, they purposely take a once decent looking car and make it look like garbage, complete with rattle can flat black paint job and stickers.

    I can understand if what you're working with is vintage and you just want to keep it that way, but to take something with a good coat and ruin it on purpose? Difference in taste I suppose.

    You might check around with local powder coating companies in your area and see what they can do. I found a place not to far from me that was able to powder coat my frame and fork for $75 total and that included bead blasting.

    Good luck and be sure to post pics when its done!

    David

  21. #21
    Bastard of Reality Scrodzilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by letsgetsandy View Post
    bad idea. as a body shop does not paint bikes on a normal basis they usually get paint in places it shouldn't be I.E. the btm bracket threads and in the head tube.I have seen a few people have this done and no mater how much prep they did, they still had to rechase all the paint out of the bottom bracket and such.
    I've never had that trouble with the two body shops I've had spray bike frames for me. They both were, however, quite skilled in painting motorcycles. Also, by "prep it yourself", I should have mentioned that meant masking off inside bb shells and head tubes. It's not that difficult.

  22. #22
    * adriano's Avatar
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    i saw a picture where they installed a throw away bottom bracket for painting.

  23. #23
    Steel Member fiataccompli's Avatar
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    you can put vasoline on the places you don't want paint to stick...like the BB threads.

    as far as the "why" part (which isn't the reason, but it was added to the thread)...I did the same thing in the late '80s when I had a nice, expensive MTB that I was commuting to school with. Every day I saw bikes that were randomly vandalized, wheels & seats stolen, etc. etc. & most of the people I knew who had nice bikes kept them pretty to show them off. I covered mine with stickers and even used oil & dirt to make the components look like old crap and my bike was never bothered. (I didn't paint it other than random splotches here & there). So, there was a reason I was trying to make my bike look like a POS. I was also pretty avidly anti-spandex & general bike elitism too so I enjoyed knowing I had something nice and didn't subsribe to the whole status thing....hey, I was young...just being honest.

    I've painted lots of stuff, including completely restoring & repainting a car...so along the way I learned a lot about painting. One thing I learned is that it's a lot of work if you want it to look nice...so I generally avoid repainting and thankfully I kinda like the cheesy '80s paint/decal schemes on my bikes. More often than not a good scuffing - as long as paint types are compatible - ought to be better & more durable than going to bare metal. A few thoughts to add to the thread, though:

    1. If you are going to bare metal & spraying paint, get REALLY GOOD (probably etching) primer. The base coat(s) make the quality of the paint job.

    2. Use a degreaser like prepsol (or something like that??) between coats to make sure you aren't getting any grease (even from your fingers) between coats. You can get a can of this in an auto parts store & I think they have pads for applying it.

    3. Paint is damned expensive these days. Back when a can of pretty decent spray paint was a buck or two, aerosol painting a bike frame could save you money. Today, I think it's only something to do if you just like doing things yourself (which I completely relate to).

    4. +1 about chemicals. Good paint with a good hardener (which makes it shiney & makes it durable) will kill you if you aren't working intelligently. The same chemicals that make the paint cure and develop a nice hard, polishable finish will destroy your lungs while their fumes fry your head. Chemical-activated masks are under $50 and you can get them at Home Depot, auto parts stores or Harbor Freight.

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