Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Bicycle Mechanics
Reload this Page >

Complete beginner - looking for painting advice

Notices
Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

Complete beginner - looking for painting advice

Old 04-07-12, 10:14 AM
  #1  
cpt. Howdy
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 102
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Complete beginner - looking for painting advice

Hi, yesterday I found a really nice old (Vintage?) Schwinn on Craigslist. It has no identifying markings except for the plate on the handlebar stem that says Schwinn. I'm guessing it is about 20 - 30 years old, and is made out of aluminum.

It really needs a new paint job, and I was wondering what my options were. I'm hoping I can take it somewhere and get a power coat. Where can I start to look? Should I talk to Automotive shops, motorcycle shops? Anyone have any idea how much a process like that would be for a bike frame?

Plan B is to spray paint it, but I want it to look nice, and one of a kind. Unfortunately I have Zero experience with painting of any kind, and am not exactly artistically inclined. Any good options I can use here? I'm hoping to do several colors.

How would I go about Identifying the Metal? I've read you can't just paint aluminum, that it needs to be chemically treated to make it more Porous.

Any help is greatly appreciated. I'm gonna go snap a few pics of it now to add to this post for anyone curious.
cpt. Howdy is offline  
Old 04-07-12, 10:33 AM
  #2  
dsbrantjr
Senior Member
 
dsbrantjr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Roswell, GA
Posts: 8,152

Bikes: '93 Trek 750, '92 Schwinn Crisscross, '93 Mongoose Alta

Mentioned: 28 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1371 Post(s)
Liked 905 Times in 630 Posts
Do a Web search on POWDER (not power) coating. It will look really nice and hold up well but you will be limited to one color as the whole frame is done at once. Be sure to ask specifically if they have experience with bike frames as the frame will have to be properly prepared so that the paint doesn't get where it isn't supposed to.
You can spray additional colors over the powder coat, but if you want it to look nice don't try to learn how to spray paint on your frame. It will look "one of a kind" alright, but probably not "nice". You can differentiate steel from aluminum with a magnet, it won't stick to aluminum. For your first time painting you should seek help from a pro.
Take some sharp, clear photos of your bike to help identify it. There should be a date code stamped into the "Schwinn" plate on the front which will be helpful as well.
dsbrantjr is offline  
Old 04-07-12, 10:45 AM
  #3  
Hendo252 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: SoCal
Posts: 371

Bikes: 1983 Trek 620, 2010 Roubaix

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
Do a Web search on POWDER (not power) coating. It will look really nice and hold up well but you will be limited to one color as the whole frame is done at once. Be sure to ask specifically if they have experience with bike frames as the frame will have to be properly prepared so that the paint doesn't get where it isn't supposed to.
You can spray additional colors over the powder coat, but if you want it to look nice don't try to learn how to spray paint on your frame. It will look "one of a kind" alright, but probably not "nice". You can differentiate steel from aluminum with a magnet, it won't stick to aluminum. For your first time painting you should seek help from a pro.
Take some sharp, clear photos of your bike to help identify it. There should be a date code stamped into the "Schwinn" plate on the front which will be helpful as well.
Use powercoat with care on Aluminum. Powdercoat is a thermal process, and unless care is taken the heat-treat in the aluminum can be affected.

I'm not saying it can't be done, but it has to be done by somebody that knows what they are doing and controls the temps very carefully.

-Tom in SoCal
Hendo252 is offline  
Old 04-07-12, 10:59 AM
  #4  
cpt. Howdy
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 102
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks alot for the Uber quick reply. I meant to type Powder coat, must of been a typo.

Thats what I thought as well about the magnet, but I heard Stainless steel isn't magnetic either. I just snapped some pics. Sorry not the best quality.

cpt. Howdy is offline  
Old 04-07-12, 11:05 AM
  #5  
Spoonrobot 
Senior Member
 
Spoonrobot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 3,100
Mentioned: 63 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1170 Post(s)
Liked 115 Times in 81 Posts
That's steel, bro.

And the paint looks fine, leave it alone.
Spoonrobot is offline  
Old 04-07-12, 11:11 AM
  #6  
cpt. Howdy
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 102
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks. I was really hoping for steel. It does look good in this pic,but in reality the whole this is sloppily done . I'm pretty sure someone already spraypainted it, because it's lumpy, chipped, and VERY uneven.
cpt. Howdy is offline  
Old 04-07-12, 12:12 PM
  #7  
jyl
Senior Member
 
jyl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Portland OR
Posts: 7,642

Bikes: 61 Bianchi Specialissima 71 Peugeot G50 7? P'geot PX10 74 Raleigh GranSport 75 P'geot UO8 78? Raleigh Team Pro 82 P'geot PSV 86 P'geot PX 91 Bridgestone MB0 92 B'stone XO1 97 Rans VRex 92 Cannondale R1000 94 B'stone MB5 97 Vitus 997

Mentioned: 140 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 389 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 43 Times in 28 Posts
Powder coating will cost around $100-150. Find a place that does bicycles. If there is frame work needed, do it first. Like dropout respacing, adding braze ons, etc. Then the coater will sandblast off the old paint, hopefully without blasting the bottom bracket threads too much, put plugs in the open tube ends, tape off the fork steerer tube threads. You pick the color, there are many choices and they should have a sample board. End result is a little thicker than paint, a lot more durable, some paint effects are hard or impossible to achieve like tone tone, fade, pearlescent, etc. But for a nice single color job, hard to beat it.
jyl is offline  
Old 04-07-12, 12:53 PM
  #8  
Bianchigirll 
Bianchi Goddess
 
Bianchigirll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Shady Pines Retirement Fort Wayne, In
Posts: 27,494

Bikes: Too many to list here check my signature.

Mentioned: 146 Post(s)
Tagged: 2 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1997 Post(s)
Liked 834 Times in 510 Posts
What are you intentions for this bike? Since it is "new to you" I would suggest cleaning it within an inch of scrubbing it out of existance. Ten use a decent wax on the frame, I just use Turtle wax on my bikes. Then tune it up or have it tuned. After riding the bike for a few months then revisit the paint/powder coat idea.

If you put alot of time and sweat into cleaning and tuning this (well maybe $50 for the shop to do it) and decide you don't like it it is way easier to resell it in July for $30 or 40 more than you paid.

But if you spend $200-300+ powdercoating it (will you be tearing the frame apart and rebuilding it or will a shop do it?) and then decide you don't like it you'll have a harder time getting that $300 back.
__________________
Bianchis '90 Proto, '90 Campione del Fausto Giamondi Specialisma Italiano Mundo, '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '86 Volpe, '97 Ti Megatube, '93 Reparto Corse SBX

Others but still loved; '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape SLX Bertoni "Speckled Trout"
Bianchigirll is offline  
Old 04-07-12, 01:03 PM
  #9  
IthaDan 
Senior Member
 
IthaDan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Ithaca, NY
Posts: 4,915

Bikes: Click on the #YOLO

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 26 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
Don't put any more money into that frame that the bare minimum (this means don't bother refinishing it). Those schwinns are a dime a dozen and weigh an ungodly amount. You'll soon find the limits of what this bike can be, and you'll kick yourself for wasting money on this bike. Between the limitations of the cranks and the frame, I'd make it work and leave it at that.

Own it. Ride it. Move on.

I have an old varsity, with the matching chesnut bar tape still intact and I still ride it from time to time, but I use it more like one of those donuts baseball players use in the on deck circle- it's soooooo heavy and slow it makes all my other bikes feel like featherweight rockets. Even the mountain bikes with knobbies.

Last edited by IthaDan; 04-07-12 at 01:06 PM.
IthaDan is offline  
Old 04-07-12, 01:16 PM
  #10  
surreal
Senior Member
 
surreal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: NJ
Posts: 3,084
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 4 Posts
i wouldn't spend more than $100 plus tax on a single-stage powdercoat job. Even doing a clear or a metallic, and you should still come in under $150. That being said, Bianchigirl still gives good advice, as the paint looks good in that pic.

Don't let anyone heckle you for your electro-forged schwinn. Yes, they're heavy and common, but the prices keep going up on them, and they're very durable. A nice bike, made in the USA, easily serviced components, matched fenders...I like it. And the value of old bikes in terms of money changes a lot from year to year. The value of old bikes in terms of preferences are variable from rider to rider.

-rob
surreal is offline  
Old 04-07-12, 02:28 PM
  #11  
dsbrantjr
Senior Member
 
dsbrantjr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Roswell, GA
Posts: 8,152

Bikes: '93 Trek 750, '92 Schwinn Crisscross, '93 Mongoose Alta

Mentioned: 28 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1371 Post(s)
Liked 905 Times in 630 Posts
"Own it. Ride it. Move on." Clean it up, lube it, put on some new brake pads and enjoy the ride. Those old steel Schwinns will outlast the latest and greatest carbon/titanium/composite wonder machines; it'll oulastyou, probably.
dsbrantjr is offline  
Old 04-07-12, 02:31 PM
  #12  
IthaDan 
Senior Member
 
IthaDan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Ithaca, NY
Posts: 4,915

Bikes: Click on the #YOLO

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 26 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
Agreed it'll last, but is it worth the "investment" in a new finish? Think about where else that money could go. If you're deadset on a refinish, OP, try your hand with a rattle can.

And what's a refinished vintage bike worth compared to a patinaed survivor, anyway?
IthaDan is offline  
Old 04-07-12, 05:40 PM
  #13  
surreal
Senior Member
 
surreal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: NJ
Posts: 3,084
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 4 Posts
Some ppl look at bikes as "investments", but I doubt if very many of us can say we're truly "ahead" of the game in terms of dollars spent versus dollars returned. I'd advised the OP to follow BianchiGirl's advice (clean it, buff it, tune it...then reassess the paint situation). I say, if you really love the bike, and wanna keep it, and a shiny new powder-job would please you, then go for it!!! If you're gonna end up selling the bike anyway, then obviously it wouldn't be worthwhile. I feel like, when a new rider comes around with a "i like my new bike; how should i repaint it?" post, and he gets the "your bike is worthless; move on" response, that's demotivating. And, given that ppl are getting multiple hundreds of dollars for Varsities these days, that bike might not be worthless. Especially a few years from now.

But, yes, obviously the collector value of a vintage bike is diminished by refinishing. The enjoyment value of owning a bike you like and making it your own is a personal variable; I've put powder on bikes that aren't worth much money, but I like 'em and intend to keep them until they're no longer usable...

-rob
surreal is offline  
Old 04-07-12, 05:45 PM
  #14  
gmt13
Half way there
 
gmt13's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Durham, NC
Posts: 1,110

Bikes: 69 Hercules, 73 Raleigh Sports, 74 Raliegh Competition, 78 Nishiki Professional, 79 Nishiki International, 83 Colnago Super, 83 Viner Junior

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
That's steel, bro.

And the paint looks fine, leave it alone.
+1 Beat me to it on both counts.
gmt13 is offline  
Old 04-07-12, 06:21 PM
  #15  
IthaDan 
Senior Member
 
IthaDan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Ithaca, NY
Posts: 4,915

Bikes: Click on the #YOLO

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 26 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
Originally Posted by surreal View Post
I feel like, when a new rider comes around with a "i like my new bike; how should i repaint it?" post, and he gets the "your bike is worthless; move on" response, that's demotivating.

-rob
If it came across that I was saying to avoid the bike all together, I apologize. The point I was [trying to be] making was that the OP would probably be wise to minimize his payout with this one because as his passion for bicycling builds, he'll soon find the limits of what this frame can be and start looking elsewhere.
IthaDan is offline  
Old 04-07-12, 06:52 PM
  #16  
Jeff Wills
Insane Bicycle Mechanic
 
Jeff Wills's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: other Vancouver
Posts: 9,561
Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 684 Post(s)
Liked 332 Times in 221 Posts
I'm an old Schwinn mechanic (in both directions- my certificate is from 1980!). You can ask on the Classic & Vintage forum, but I think you've got a Schwinn Suburban from the late '70's/early '80's. It's got the now-unusual Shimano Front Freewheeling System and Positron shifting. Here's some original literature about these systems: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/shimano1982/pages/35.html and https://www.sheldonbrown.com/shimano1982/pages/36.html . Other than that, it's a pretty standard Schwinn steel frame: https://sheldonbrown.com/chicago-schwinns.html and https://waterfordbikes.com/SchwinnCat...0/1980_15.html (below). As others said, they're heavy but bombproof. Yours has definitely been spray-bombed- the fender stays were plated and should contrast with the rest of the fender.

If you wanted to repaint it, seek out someone who knows powder coat and can do a good job. I had a frame & fork done locally for $150, and it came out great: https://brookerenterprises.com/

__________________
Jeff Wills

Comcast nuked my web page. It will return soon..
Jeff Wills is offline  
Old 04-07-12, 07:04 PM
  #17  
surreal
Senior Member
 
surreal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: NJ
Posts: 3,084
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by IthaDan View Post
If it came across that I was saying to avoid the bike all together, I apologize. The point I was [trying to be] making was that the OP would probably be wise to minimize his payout with this one because as his passion for bicycling builds, he'll soon find the limits of what this frame can be and start looking elsewhere.
No need to apologize; I just gotta say, as an experienced cyclist, I'd love to have that bike! I'd prolly wanna set it up with fat tires on 700c wheelswith hub-brakes, probably some kind of IGH... But, I have a pretty full stable of riders and projects; I'm not so sure If I'd want that to be my ONLY bike, either. So, my opinion might not be worth a whole lot. I'm just saying, instead of "Own it, ride it, move on" I might see it more as "own it, ride it, and if you decide to keep it.....make it yours". Refinish it if you wanna, mod it if ya want to...

I've worked on a few bikes with the front-freewheel. I thought it was fascinating, but I'm not so sure I'd wanna live with it. I think it's cool that it's OPC.

-rob
surreal is offline  
Old 04-07-12, 07:56 PM
  #18  
IthaDan 
Senior Member
 
IthaDan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Ithaca, NY
Posts: 4,915

Bikes: Click on the #YOLO

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 26 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
Front freewheel scares me more than fixed gear on the pantleg entrapment front.
IthaDan is offline  
Old 04-07-12, 09:28 PM
  #19  
Jeff Wills
Insane Bicycle Mechanic
 
Jeff Wills's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: other Vancouver
Posts: 9,561
Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 684 Post(s)
Liked 332 Times in 221 Posts
Originally Posted by IthaDan View Post
Front freewheel scares me more than fixed gear on the pantleg entrapment front.
The trick the Shimano FFS was that there was a "freewheel" built into the rear, too. It just had a lot of friction built into it. If you caught something in the drivetrain (pants leg, stick, or small child), the chain would stop but the rear wheel would keep turning. Clever people, these Shimano engineers.
__________________
Jeff Wills

Comcast nuked my web page. It will return soon..
Jeff Wills is offline  
Old 04-07-12, 10:56 PM
  #20  
dedhed
SE Wis
 
dedhed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 7,912

Bikes: '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400, 2013 Novara Randonee, 1990 Trek 970

Mentioned: 28 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1702 Post(s)
Liked 1,346 Times in 869 Posts
I just recently worked on one of the FFS bikes (80's Ross) What a PITA. The crank freewheel bearing preload was set with different thickness shims. Had the thing apart doz times trying to set that, as the bearings keep dropping out! Got it "good enough" with the shims I had available. That system didn't last long for good reason. If you need a positiron I have one in a bucket around here.
dedhed is online now  
Old 04-07-12, 11:07 PM
  #21  
cpt. Howdy
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 102
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I don't plan to sell it, I just want to customize it, and make it one of a kind. Its most def. a suburban from everything I found. I can even see the original paint job where the blue is chipping.

Its definately a fun ride. Much heavier the the Giant Option I'm used to, but I love the looks I get on it. I'm thinking of painting it myself, maybe seeing if I can put flames or maybe pinstripes on it. Worst case scenario I have to resand and paint it.

First of all I have to find a hard cable for the rear derailleur. Something gives me the feeling I'm gonna be looking for a while
cpt. Howdy is offline  
Old 04-07-12, 11:24 PM
  #22  
Jeff Wills
Insane Bicycle Mechanic
 
Jeff Wills's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: other Vancouver
Posts: 9,561
Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 684 Post(s)
Liked 332 Times in 221 Posts
Originally Posted by cpt. Howdy View Post
I don't plan to sell it, I just want to customize it, and make it one of a kind. Its most def. a suburban from everything I found. I can even see the original paint job where the blue is chipping.

Its definitely a fun ride. Much heavier the the Giant Option I'm used to, but I love the looks I get on it. I'm thinking of painting it myself, maybe seeing if I can put flames or maybe pinstripes on it. Worst case scenario I have to resand and paint it.

First of all I have to find a hard cable for the rear derailleur. Something gives me the feeling I'm gonna be looking for a while
Ouch. EBay "Positron". The cables came in different lengths, so don't be surprised if you end up with one or two that don't fit.
__________________
Jeff Wills

Comcast nuked my web page. It will return soon..
Jeff Wills is offline  
Old 04-10-12, 01:59 PM
  #23  
cpt. Howdy
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 102
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
The trick the Shimano FFS was that there was a "freewheel" built into the rear, too. It just had a lot of friction built into it. If you caught something in the drivetrain (pants leg, stick, or small child), the chain would stop but the rear wheel would keep turning. Clever people, these Shimano engineers.

Just put that to the test, and you were right again.
cpt. Howdy is offline  
Old 04-10-12, 02:08 PM
  #24  
IthaDan 
Senior Member
 
IthaDan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Ithaca, NY
Posts: 4,915

Bikes: Click on the #YOLO

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 26 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
The trick the Shimano FFS was that there was a "freewheel" built into the rear, too. It just had a lot of friction built into it. If you caught something in the drivetrain (pants leg, stick, or small child), the chain would stop but the rear wheel would keep turning. Clever people, these Shimano engineers.
That's cool. I was always surprised the [non-existent] fixed multi speed cogs were never sourced and assimilated by the fixie crowd. Now I know why- they don't exist.

Didn't suntour do something with the freewheel on the crank for MTBs?
IthaDan is offline  
Old 04-10-12, 08:34 PM
  #25  
Jeff Wills
Insane Bicycle Mechanic
 
Jeff Wills's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: other Vancouver
Posts: 9,561
Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 684 Post(s)
Liked 332 Times in 221 Posts
Originally Posted by IthaDan View Post
That's cool. I was always surprised the [non-existent] fixed multi speed cogs were never sourced and assimilated by the fixie crowd. Now I know why- they don't exist.

Didn't suntour do something with the freewheel on the crank for MTBs?
You may be thinking of the Suntour/Browning "Beast" front shifting system. It was interesting and innovative, but failed to get traction in the marketplace: https://www.mombat.org/Suntour.htm (first entry under 1990)



Front freewheels are used on some trials bikes to ease positioning of the cranks while hopping.
__________________
Jeff Wills

Comcast nuked my web page. It will return soon..
Jeff Wills is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
ahilito
Bicycle Mechanics
8
03-16-19 02:08 PM
hotsauce
General Cycling Discussion
14
07-18-16 10:10 AM
bfloyd6969
Bicycle Mechanics
3
04-25-12 10:24 PM
illdthedj
Bicycle Mechanics
24
07-01-11 10:29 AM
bleedingapple
Framebuilders
5
04-27-10 01:26 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.