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Resurrecting a winter bike

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Resurrecting a winter bike

Old 04-10-24, 03:33 PM
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Resurrecting a winter bike

Twenty years ago or thereabouts, I traded a touring rack for an early-80s Univega Viva Sport frame. I originally used it as a test bed for various experimental drive trains and as an extra ride for visitors, but it eventually became my winter bike. This is a thankless role in Vermont, and it has served me well for a long time. It's now looking pretty beat up and rusty. But it has always been a nice ride, and now I find myself thinking of having it media blasted and powder coated, building it back up with some decent parts, and returning it to warm-weather service.

Alternatively, I could try to find another 63cm Viva Sport of about the same age that still has good original paint. That would likely be cheaper.

What have others done in this type of situation?

JV
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Old 04-10-24, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by jonwvara
Twenty years ago or thereabouts, I traded a touring rack for an early-80s Univega Viva Sport frame. I originally used it as a test bed for various experimental drive trains and as an extra ride for visitors, but it eventually became my winter bike. This is a thankless role in Vermont, and it has served me well for a long time. It's now looking pretty beat up and rusty. But it has always been a nice ride, and now I find myself thinking of having it media blasted and powder coated, building it back up with some decent parts, and returning it to warm-weather service.

Alternatively, I could try to find another 63cm Viva Sport of about the same age that still has good original paint. That would likely be cheaper.

What have others done in this type of situation?

JV
Derusted and paint it yourself! I am imagining that 63 is hard to source in specific frames.

I built one of those with the flashy splotched red and black paint for my exGF. She loved it.
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Old 04-10-24, 04:10 PM
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If it were mine, I'd have it painted. Unless another Univega Viva falls into your lap, Go with the one you know. Yes, I know it could be more money to get the onld frame powder coated and blasted, but you have a history with it and this hobby isn't so much about the money. Not like vintage cars or other expensive hobbies.
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Old 04-10-24, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Velo Mule
If it were mine, I'd have it painted. Unless another Univega Viva falls into your lap, Go with the one you know. Yes, I know it could be more money to get the onld frame powder coated and blasted, but you have a history with it and this hobby isn't so much about the money. Not like vintage cars or other expensive hobbies.
Thia is my vote as well. In my experience, another frame, even of the same type, will never quite feel the same.
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Old 04-10-24, 06:17 PM
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I had a pretty rusty Motobecane media blasted and powder painted . It came out nice , I decided to splurge and put new decals from Greg Softley . It is a 25” frame that fits perfectly. I paid about 150 for the media blast and powder paint , 40 for the decals that I put on myself. The bike looks new again and , although not as shiny as a pro paint job with clear coat, it is very nice. Powder paint is a very good alternative to rattle can (too much work) and pro paint(too much $$) .
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Old 04-11-24, 05:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Kabuki12
I had a pretty rusty Motobecane media blasted and powder painted . It came out nice , I decided to splurge and put new decals from Greg Softley . It is a 25” frame that fits perfectly. I paid about 150 for the media blast and powder paint , 40 for the decals that I put on myself. The bike looks new again and , although not as shiny as a pro paint job with clear coat, it is very nice. Powder paint is a very good alternative to rattle can (too much work) and pro paint(too much $$) .
Nice job! I'll probably go that route, minus the decals.As others have said, it could be a long wait to find another frame with better paint. And to be honest, I think what really appeals to me here is the satisfying prospect of bringing a neglected old bike back to life. Especially since I'm the one who neglected it.
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Old 04-11-24, 07:24 AM
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It is very rewarding to see an old favorite , or any nice steed , brought back . Be sure to post pics of the journey . Joe
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Old 04-11-24, 07:40 AM
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An old favorite revitalized would give the most satisfaction in my humble opinion. If the structural integrity isn’t compromised from rust then go for it.

May we the esteemed members of C&V see a picture of the ol’ winter ride?
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Old 04-11-24, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by IdahoBrett

May we the esteemed members of C&V see a picture of the ol’ winter ride?

Okay, here it is. It's not quite as rusty as it seems, since at one point I sanded some rusty areas and dabbed them with primer and gold automotive paint that is itself somewhat rust-colored:




I expected the touch-up work to look like crap, and I was not disappointed.




The 1x3 drive train features three cogs on a Suntour Perfect five-speed body (a 17, a 24, and a 32), along with some additional spacers. Chainring is a 36-tooth Biopace. That yields one moderately low gear, one low gear, and one even lower gear. But you can't ride fast in the winter around here, anyway, so it has worked fine. Having only three speeds also minimizes the need to shift at all, which is a consideration when you're wearing heavy mittens.




This is my only bike with upright handlebars, which makes it easier to see over snowbanks. The studded tires make for a harsh ride, but they do get me across icy patches. The "ball grips" are something I cooked up to provide extra hand positions with the upright bars. They work pretty well. I think I posted about them once, some years back.

A Univega Viva Sport isn't a high-end bike, but I can't help feeling that it deserves better treatment than it's had from me so far.
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Old 04-11-24, 04:03 PM
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Has it complained to you about its treatment? I think it is happy to be useful and loved!🤪

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Old 04-11-24, 04:24 PM
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I think it's a fine looking winter bike!
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Old 04-11-24, 05:23 PM
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jonwvara ,
I have powder coated a number of frames that all worked out quite nicely. Jdawg has one he is currently riding, and bboy314 has the cranberry Raleigh that had the PC treatment. I have found that you can decal the frames and use a lacquer clear coat to get great results. The Raleigh had that treatment and it would be great if he could post a picture so you can see the results. Smiles, MH
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Old 04-11-24, 05:46 PM
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Raleigh, courtesy of Mad Honk

Great powder coat with a nice metallic finish.
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Old 04-11-24, 06:05 PM
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While we’re on the subject, here’s a bike I had powder coated about 13 years ago. The PC has held up quite nicely.
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Old 04-11-24, 06:48 PM
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That bike has character. I'd be tempted to just deal with the rust issues and keep riding it as is with maybe a bit more gearing for summertime riding. IMO, that is a machine with serious lock up bike potential.
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Old 04-12-24, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Mad Honk
jonwvara ,
I have powder coated a number of frames that all worked out quite nicely. Jdawg has one he is currently riding, and bboy314 has the cranberry Raleigh that had the PC treatment. I have found that you can decal the frames and use a lacquer clear coat to get great results. The Raleigh had that treatment and it would be great if he could post a picture so you can see the results. Smiles, MH
That Raleigh is nice looking indeed. But maybe too nice for me. Also, I admit to being a little bit skeptical of powder coat in general. I've seen a great many powder-coated car racks and pieces of lawn furniture and barbecue grills that looked great right up until the moment they actually broke in half from internal rust that was concealed by the hard powder-coat shell. Admittedly, bikes don't (or at least shouldn't) get left out in the weather continuously, and so shouldn't be as vulnerable to that kind of failure. But it's a mental image that I find it hard to shake.

As others have said, a rattle--can job would be another option, but I've ruled that out because I just don't like working with paint. Sigh.
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Old 04-12-24, 09:27 AM
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Jonwvara,
I use some folks in Indy that do PC for most of the major race teams in Nascar, Monster trucks. etc. They do a clean, media blast and then PC (usually a two coat process) and the finish comes out really nice. They normally will add bottle cages and other items for very low cost as well. I find it easy to trust them because they have done quite a few for me with good results, and even hooked me up with a chrome plater that re-chromed my Faggin. The boys in the shop called it "the little Italian bike". That wasn't cheap, but boy did it come out nice. I don't think any good PC group would let your frame rust from under the PC. Smiles, MH
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Old 04-12-24, 09:34 AM
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Derusting would be the first thing I’d do. I got the idea from someone out here but a wallpaper glue tray and evaporust can get every tube except the seat tube. Then a brake cylinder hone and WD40 can get at the seat tube.

By the time you do that, you can decide on the finish!
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Old 04-12-24, 09:41 AM
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The looming question, what will the Replacement Winter bike be?
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Old 04-12-24, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage
The looming question, what will the Replacement Winter bike be?
Good question! I think winter bikes are a little like dogs--you acquire one somehow, enjoy it as best you can for as long as it lasts, then replace it with another one. But because you don't want the dog to outlive you, a wise person does not, beyond a certain age, start over again with a new dog. As a 70-year-old, I'm not sure I really need another winter bike. The most practical thing would be to just baby this one along in its current role. But I'm not very practical.
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Old 04-12-24, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by jonwvara
Good question! I think winter bikes are a little like dogs--you acquire one somehow, enjoy it as best you can for as long as it lasts, then replace it with another one. But because you don't want the dog to outlive you, a wise person does not, beyond a certain age, start over again with a new dog. As a 70-year-old, I'm not sure I really need another winter bike. The most practical thing would be to just baby this one along in its current role. But I'm not very practical.
I know you hate painting but you could make it fun! Especially for the winter! Neon colors, outlandish splatter combos...? Reflective paint?
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