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to repaint or not to repaint

Old 12-15-12, 03:30 PM
  #1  
geezerwheels
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to repaint or not to repaint

Greetings-

having found myself in possession of a 1973 (so I am told) De Rosa frameset, with original (lipstick red) paint, and more or less intact decals (including one that reads "Trophee Super Prestige / Arc en Ciel / Eddy Merckx), I am torn with how best to restore it. unfortunately, the chrome is peeling from the chainstays, and the chrome fork caps are somewhat pitted.

so the big question for today, is to have it stripped down to bare metal and rechromed and repainted--or to accept these defects as part of the aging process and put it together as-is.

mind you now, my beard has gone grey, and a spare tire is beginning to emerge--so I am somewhat inclined to go with plan B. But I would love to hear what others recommend--

--GW
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Old 12-15-12, 03:32 PM
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Welcome to the Forum

Pics, please - you'll get far better results from your request for opinion/comment if we can see what the condition really is.

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Old 12-15-12, 04:39 PM
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Plan "A"
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Old 12-15-12, 04:52 PM
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Welcome to the forums and you have a very nice bicycle there. For better responses, it would be wise, on your part, to share some good pictures with us. That said...

Should I Paint My Bicycle? is a commonly asked question and somewhat involved, when answered. You might be doing yourself a favor by looking through that information and then consider the pros and cons of to paint or not to paint.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 12-15-12, 05:05 PM
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Generally speaking, I think that you'll lose minimum value if you document the condition of the bicycle as it is now with many, many photographs, and then if you don't cheap out on the reconditioning. Use a good chrome plater-- there was one who was lauded recently in the past 6 weeks here on C&V-- and sent the frame to one of the handful of guys who have made a name for themselves: Joe Bell and Chris Kvale spring to mind, but there are others.

Reconditioning the DeRosa like this will drop the resale value very little. Certainly it'll be worth more than as a peeling shxtheap.
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Old 12-15-12, 06:32 PM
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Others made good points, not the least of which is pictures are needed.

I see nothing wrong with building/riding it as is, so long as the condition is stable. You certainly don't want rust progression to eat away at anything that nice. Other than that, it's really personal preference. If you're the kind of person who enjoys signs of age and use in an object, just enjoy it the way it is. If you're one who needs everything perfect and shiny, you probably won't be happy without a rehab.

If I was lucky enough to be in your shoes, I'd probably clean and wax it, treat with framesaver, and ride it for a season or two, then decide.
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Old 12-15-12, 07:06 PM
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Hey, my beard is grey, too.

But I'm thinking Plan B. Try tinfoil on the chrome first, then post some pictures.
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Old 12-15-12, 07:30 PM
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Geezerwheels, in my experience Bike Forums members tend to be rabidly anti-restoration, to the extent that they'll spend multiple pages yelling about destroying the "value" of a rusty Nishiki from 1987. So I'd take some of what you might see on your thread with a grain of salt.

My personal opinion (which, on this topic more than most, is worth exactly what you paid for it) is that it's your bike and if you'll get more satisfaction from riding it restored then you should do it - and if you won't, then don't.

If you're worried solely about resale value, then restoration almost never makes sense because even if it increases the resale value it almost certainly won't increase more than the amount you paid for the restoration.

Beyond that, a single caveat: mediocre restorations are never worth it, IMO. If the bike is to be just a "user" and you're worried about rust, then just powdercoat it. But if you want the bike to be nice; something you really enjoy, then you need to find a reputable specialist and pay him what he asks. Otherwise you'll be forever dissatisfied with your could-woulda-shoulda.
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Old 12-15-12, 07:46 PM
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Many good points here so far.

How about some pics?

They really do help the discussion and quite often the process for you in the long run.
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Old 12-15-12, 07:55 PM
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To echo the above - please let us see the extent of the damage; people's idea of patina varies.

I think part of this answer is going to depend on what you want the bike for and why you're asking the question. Are you looking to sell and maximize value? In that case the answer is almost sure to be leave it alone - you very rarely get money back from a restoration. Are you trying to save it from rust? We need photos. Are you using it as a frequent rider? Is it meant to win shows? What you're going to do with it will really determine the answer and it really could go either way.
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Old 12-15-12, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
My personal opinion (which, on this topic more than most, is worth exactly what you paid for it) is that it's your bike and if you'll get more satisfaction from riding it restored then you should do it - and if you won't, then don't.

If you're worried solely about resale value, then restoration almost never makes sense because even if it increases the resale value it almost certainly won't increase more than the amount you paid for the restoration.

Beyond that, a single caveat: mediocre restorations are never worth it, IMO. If the bike is to be just a "user" and you're worried about rust, then just powdercoat it. But if you want the bike to be nice; something you really enjoy, then you need to find a reputable specialist and pay him what he asks. Otherwise you'll be forever dissatisfied with your could-woulda-shoulda.
I agree with some points but I would disagree on the just powder coat it part. I would either treat the rust locally with naval jelly or bar keepers friend or whatever and touch up the paint there (yeah you can use crappy spray chrome paint too) and just make sure you keep all the decals etc intact. It won't look good but you are just trying to stop the rust and preserve what is there while you use it. The other option of course is a full professional restoration. Figure on spending at least $1000 on this. Others will say it can be done for less, but if you want the real deal I would be very careful about who you choose to chrome it and paint is and then add in shipping cost and decals (not to mention time)... you're looking at $1000 easy. Of course we would all love to see photos so please please do share.
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Old 12-15-12, 08:34 PM
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Restore it to perfection, ride it forever.
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Old 12-15-12, 08:45 PM
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Do whatever makes you happy and what's going to make you want to ride it more.if you hate looking at a bike with scratches and rust. Then restore it.
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Old 12-15-12, 08:51 PM
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Ride it ratty.
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Old 12-16-12, 10:46 AM
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Thanks for the welcome and advice. pix are up at:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/36900237@N07/

(the pix include some parts acquired from eBay auctions...)

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Old 12-16-12, 10:51 AM
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I don't believe that De Rosa dates to 73'...it looks mid-80s to me. Interesting, few De Rosas of that period had chrome fork crowns.

if you want a beautiful bike, paint it. Otherwise, I wouldn't. It's not a rare enough De Rosa to really be a show piece, you won't get your money out of it and it looks good as is. I'd ride it and enjoy it for the fine Italian you have.

Edit - decal is SLX - so it's 84' or later. Decal looks original and consistent with ic lugs and double bottle braze ons.

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Old 12-16-12, 11:00 AM
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The paint looks pretty good overall. The blem on the down tube adjacent to the head tube is a challenge as it was touched up at one point and not very well, you will have to go and get that clean then prime to secure, then touch up.
The chrome is the real problem. The fork crown looks a bit better than the chain stays but no by much.
I think it is a what to do with the chrome situation, not respray. This is from a time where the Italians by and large got short changed by their chrome platers, I don't even see any nickel under that chain stay chrome, talk about cutting corners.

On the fork crown I would be tempted to clean it up, and paint the top of the crown only then clear coat it.
Ont the chain stays...they will be a continual problem, especially on the drive side with chain slap.
Might be a candidate for brush plating, I am not really confident on what tom advise.
Perhaps others have faced this and been successful.

As it has SLX tubing, it is from the middle 80's at the youngest. Not bad at all, but a '73 would be really really rare.
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Old 12-16-12, 12:01 PM
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Great frame. I raced a nearly identical one back in '87 or so.

If you're going to use it you'll need to do something. Otherwise it will rust into uselessness.

If it was mine (and I was really attached to it) I'd probably have it completely stripped and competently repainted with the correct color and decals. Unless it was the bike I used to win Paris-Roubaix or something, though, I probably wouldn't try to have it rechromed. Those bikes look just fine without the chrome, all done in a single color.

And again, if I just wanted it as a rider, I'd probably just powdercoat it. I have no doubt that offends the gods, but it will at least preserve the frame until someone decides to spring for a proper restoration.
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Old 12-16-12, 02:30 PM
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please tell us more...

Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
Great frame. I raced a nearly identical one back in '87 or so.

If you're going to use it you'll need to do something. Otherwise it will rust into uselessness.

If it was mine (and I was really attached to it) I'd probably have it completely stripped and competently repainted with the correct color and decals. Unless it was the bike I used to win Paris-Roubaix or something, though, I probably wouldn't try to have it rechromed. Those bikes look just fine without the chrome, all done in a single color.

And again, if I just wanted it as a rider, I'd probably just powdercoat it. I have no doubt that offends the gods, but it will at least preserve the frame until someone decides to spring for a proper restoration.
Please tell us more about your experience--what type of racing? how was the bike outfitted? how did it help or hinder your abilities?
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Old 12-16-12, 06:44 PM
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Criteriums and road racing. Super Record, Cinelli, Mavic GP4s, Vittoria CX front and CG rear, San Marco Regal, Binda Extra... the usual for that time. And as race bikes were pretty much identical to each other back then, the bike had no effect on my abilities, relatively speaking. I recall it as a solid, competent bicycle with no surprises, and always pleasant to look at.

I'm sure I gave the bike away (or sold it for a few hundred dollars) at the end of the season, as most of us did back then. If I'd kept all those bikes for Ebay today, well, I'd be depositing twenty or thirty grand next week!
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Old 12-16-12, 06:49 PM
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Looks fine to me. Clean it, remove the rust and ride.

Want a shiny new bike? Buy a shiny new bike.
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Old 12-16-12, 07:04 PM
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I agree with six Jours. Now that we see the age of the bike, it changes everything. A '73 would be substantially more valuable. The chrome is done for, I would get a complete repaint in a single colour and new decals... this will be much cheaper and I do not think it is necessary to go with the most expensive painter, just a decent one locally.
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Old 12-16-12, 07:20 PM
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I agree with the single color and no chrome. I have done a few that way and I think they look fine without the chrome.
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Old 12-16-12, 07:24 PM
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Do not, for the briefest moment in time, consider spending one cent on painting and/or chrome plating the bicycle, until you are sure that the frame and fork are straight.

I always measure frames/forks, to determine geometric integrity, and prefer to actually ride the bicycle, before I worry about the aesthetics. You will be very sorry, if you drop hundreds of dollars on the appearance of the frame set, only to find that it rides poorly, due to structural damage.

So,worry about making it look good only after you have determined that it rides good, and that you like the ride quality as well as the fit.
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Old 12-30-12, 12:47 PM
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just to bring closure to this discussion--and to thank all for their valuable perspectives--the De Rosa is boxed and ready to ship to Cycle Art in Vista CA, for a frame alignment check and a paint job. And given that I travel with backpacks and locks, and that I am inclined to be clumsy, and sometimes hitch up to stanchions where other bikers are not so careful--and mostly because I am somewhat of a cheapskate--it's going to be powder coated.

and that's really not the entire story--I'm into function first. I'm not trying to recreate the past so much as to experience a good steel framed ride. I actually think the original decals are a little doofy, too--except for the heart on the crown. That I would spring for.
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