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When do decide to repaint your bike?

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When do decide to repaint your bike?

Old 03-04-15, 11:58 PM
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When do decide to repaint your bike?

I love my Ironman's original paint job but I also want the frame to last. There are a few scratches and nicks and some look like their starting to rust. At what point do you consider repainting the frame to improve its longevity?
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Old 03-05-15, 12:24 AM
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Short answer: when I feel like doing a repaint project for my own amusement.

Best answer: if it's just a few scratches and nicks, maybe just wetsand the rust off and then coat over the areas in question with some sort of clearcoat, nail polish (lacquer) of an appropriate color or Testors enamel. With a little experimentation, you can get pretty close to the original colors.

The only bikes I've ever done a full repaint of were absolutely beat to death, paint-wise. Really trashed. If I had an fairly iconic bike like an Ironman, I'd just touch it up if possible.
● 1971 Grandis SL ● 1972 Lambert Grand Prix frankenbike ● 1972 Raleigh Super Course fixie ● 1973 Nishiki Semi-Pro ● 1980 Apollo "Legnano" ● 1984 Peugeot Vagabond ● 1985 Shogun Prairie Breaker ● 1986 Merckx Super Corsa ● 1987 Schwinn Tempo ● 1988 Schwinn Voyageur ● 1989 Trek 400 ● 1989 Bottechia Team ADR replica ● 1990 Cannondale ST600 ● 1993 Technium RT600 ● 1996 Kona Lava Dome ●

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Old 03-05-15, 12:43 AM
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I normally only do a repaint if it's already been repainted and it's really bad. I've only had two frames professionally repainted. One was a 73 Schwinn Sports Tourer that had a lot of framework done and then a Ciocc that was spraybombs and missing all the decals. My Guerciotti has chips, scratches and parts of the decals missing but it's all original and a pre TSD model so it was all done in Italy hence the reason the decals and paint are chipping off.
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Old 03-05-15, 01:58 AM
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I've done a few repaints and it's a ton of work. I get better with each one and feel I could do an adequate job myself, but I would pay a pro to repaint a very special frame, never for a flip. I would only do a repaint if there is major original paint damage to the point that I am worried about corrosive damage impacting the integrity of the frame in multiple places. Otherwise, either some touch out paint or treat the rust depending on the finish of the bike. Certain paints are very difficult to retouch. Sometimes it depends on the paint. Pearls and glitters and fades are difficult to match. They tend to look like scar tissue when touched up: blotchy, a shade off, and bit more shiny that the rest. I wouldn't know where to start retouching a Klein with a wacky pearl fade paint job. I find solid colors much easier to touch up with a few layers of brush painting and wet sanding. For an Ironman, I might touch up a white and red one, but simply treat the rust and protect for a Miami Vice purple and yellow one unless I was able to find a really good color match. The older the original paint, the less willing I would be willing to fuss with it.
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Old 03-05-15, 03:07 AM
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I repainted a number of frames BITD. Repainting is a major amount of work. Having someone do it will cost $200 to $500, good jobs are at the higher end of the range. Also consider a nice newly painted frame with bad chrome looks - well you figure it out. Same with tatty components.

I had a frame repainted a few years ago - $300 +$50 for decals (extenuating circumstances).

I avoid buying bikes that need repainting. I flipped a few but I picked them up cheap for a friend and sold them for my costs.

On older frames you never know what you're going to find after you strip the paint off. Rust pin holes = tube replacements.

I've seen a few nicely done rattle can jobs done by people who took their time. Most LOOK like rattle can jobs!

I use a dental tool to remove small areas of surface rust in areas where the paint has chipped. After removing light surface rust I use Testors hobby enamel paint to mix up a close match. It will last a long time if you keep the bike in a dry area with low humidity.

You can also find auto touch-up paint at car parts stores.

When touching up, you're just doing a camouflage job, not a concors restoration. The bike just needs to pass the 10 foot test... anyone getting closer... GET AWAY FROM MY BIKE YOU PERV!!

Before and after:


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File Type: jpg
Gitane1969TdF0004.jpg (99.9 KB, 130 views)
File Type: jpg
Touchup4.jpg (94.9 KB, 116 views)
Don't believe everything you think! History is written by those who weren't there....

Chas. ;-)

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Old 03-05-15, 04:47 AM
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I'm on the fence about repainting my old Colnago Super. The paint is in really bad shape, but it could also be termed nearly a half century of Patina including places where spending too much time out of the saddle simply rubbed through the paint.

If I wanted a frame with flawless paint, I could just buy a new frame.
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Old 03-05-15, 05:47 AM
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Every case is different. Last fall my, just purchased, Raleigh Pro Mk IV had a lot of surface rust on the top tube and down tube and the original frame clips for the rear brake were gone, replaced by DuraAce clips. That just said the bike had been ridden alot and 'put to bed wet'. It could have also been on a trainer a lot to as it appeared to be saltwater damage from sweat. I treated the corroded sections with rust converter and tried to touch up with nail polish. Close match but it really just looked blotchy. I wiped all that off and decided to spray just those two tubes.

I found a GM Maui Blue metallic Duplicolor that looked pretty close to the frame color. BTW this frame was not Blue Mink and there were no decals anywhere nor any sign of there ever being decals. It may have been a Worksop respray but the original Blue Mink was under the slightly darker top coat. So waddaell, it's not original anyway.

I knew that a slight color mis-match would be easier on the eyes if there was a joint of some kind between the two paints. So I masked off the lugs on each end of the TT and DT and masked the rest of the frame (the bike was totally apart for the renovation anyway). I light sanded those two tubes, cleaned them and sprayed according to instructions then cleared according to instructions. I was surprised at how close the match was when I pulled the masking. Better than a 10 foot job, maybe a 3 foot job.

Note: that paint was pretty soft at first even after 'baking' it in the back of the car on a hot day. Now, 10 months later it seems pretty tough and may last nicely. I've been living with it and have about 1000 miles on that bike now but I was pretty careful with it early on. I'm happy I sprayed mine as the damage was way more than a few scratches.

I'm enjoying the Mk IV experience now and will never represent this bike as 'original'. The paint suits the condition of the components and the intended use of the bike. I get this all 531 DB & rapid taper tubing thing. Great ride, great look. I may even get a couple of decals some time (maybe those cool '72 Carlton bits).
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Old 03-05-15, 06:01 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
... including places where spending too much time out of the saddle simply rubbed through the paint.
I'm trying to figure this one out. Out of the saddle? What?... were you sitting on the top tube?
Thigh resting on top tube?

I'm just trying to understand how you could wear down paint.
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Old 03-05-15, 06:11 AM
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When I get bored. Certainly not to save a frame from a few nicks and scratches, especially when not riding in snow/rain or by coastal salt breezes. I factor the frame as being in worse hands than it was before me, the frame isnt rusting out then or now.
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Old 03-05-15, 07:05 AM
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I'm a brush and roller painter. Painted my VW Bus with a waterborne alkyd gloss paint. Cleans up with water, dries to the touch in 1/2 hour or less, and dries hard in 24 hours. Levels out like a premium oil enamel. Painted a frame with it and its tough as nails. Highly recommend it for a brushed paint job.
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Old 03-05-15, 07:07 AM
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Short answer: Never.

I like patina. If the paint is really super bad, well, I have 100+ other frames to choose from, so I just use one of those instead. I leave my paint projects for others with the time/tools/patience/expertise to do a quality repaint, or to those with access to low cost powder coat.
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Old 03-05-15, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
Short answer: Never.

To improve longevity, you never need to repaint. Wax, WD-40 and just plain oil are popular choices for protecting bare metal.

To improve aesthetics is another story and I go with whatever floats the owners boat.

This bike is about 40% bare metal. I use wax to protect it.

Frejus001 by iabisdb, on Flickr
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Old 03-05-15, 07:35 AM
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I love my Master Ironman and if the paint got to where it bugged me I would not repaint but would look for another just like it with good paint and sell mine, done carefully and patently this could cost me little. On my Colnago Master or one of the customs it was a no brainer to paint as a $500+ new paint job with quality decals under the clear coat is gorgeous and assuming the chrome. etc. is still nice, a bargain compared to a new Master ($3,500!).
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Old 03-05-15, 08:08 AM
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You can take your bike frame to an autobody shop.
Call ahead, let them scan the good, old paint and mix up a touch-up liquid or spray aerosol.
Cost- around $25.
Apply liquid paint with a hobby brush.

I usually get by with Testors enamel paint as Chas said.
You can mix different colors to get a pretty close blend.
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Old 03-05-15, 08:39 AM
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If a frame has its original paint and graphics, I won't repaint it. Condition doesn't really matter. I might do a partial repaint if there are particular trouble spots.

If the paint isn't original, looks terrible, and has terrible or bogus graphics, sure, I'll repaint. And when I'm done, the bike will have good graphics, possibly even correct ones. Not too incorrect, though; my 1970s Holdsworth has graphics based on 1930s Holdsworth graphics.
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Old 03-05-15, 08:40 AM
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I differentiate between use and abuse. There is a difference. I don't think any amount of honest wear would prompt me to repaint.
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Old 03-05-15, 09:25 AM
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I usually buy frames or complete bikes that desperately need paint jobs. I can get nice quality frames for a lot less, plus I enjoy doing it.
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Old 03-05-15, 09:26 AM
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Mostly after returning from one of those "Velo Meets". Thankfully the impulse wears off rather quickly and I go back to enjoying what I've got.
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Old 03-05-15, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
I'm trying to figure this one out. Out of the saddle? What?... were you sitting on the top tube?
Thigh resting on top tube?

I'm just trying to understand how you could wear down paint.
Here are a couple of photos of my top tube on the Colnago, side view, taken in June 2014, and January 2015. I was somewhat startled by the increased wear in just the last year (this winter?).

When standing the wobble of the frame abraids somewhat on my pants.

However, I think I've concluded that the abrasion and wear is much greater when wearing rain/slicker pants than just cotton. It is extremely rare for me to be riding the bike with just hairy legs. It is possible that the rain pants also hit the frame when simply pedaling while seated.

I've finally built a Titanium "rain bike", so hopefully both wear and rust will be reduced on the Colnago. The frame will probably be used as a pattern for my first bike build from scratch and any necessary jigs to build it (other than figuring out how to do 130 or 135mm dropout spacing). Then I will decide how much restoration to do on it.
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Old 03-05-15, 12:34 PM
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Good thread. The powder coat option is a good one and it seems like most cities of a good size have a powdercoater that has experience with bikes. I have heard of folks getting $100 powder coat jobs that they are happy with. It it is a rider, it will be a more durable finish. The downsides might be limited color choices and a thicker coating.
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Old 03-05-15, 01:22 PM
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I am of the never repaint school as well.

Early on, I had a frame powder coated. Looked great, but I moved that bike on and never wasn't able to recoup the cost of a powder coat. Also, people never factor in the cost of chasing & facing threads on the powder coats.

I move bikes in and out of my fleet all the time. Nothing deters potential buyers of a high end frame like a repaint. If considering repainting a low end frame, why bother? You can get a nicer one in better condition for less than the cost of a paint job.
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Old 03-05-15, 01:23 PM
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Generally, I avoid the urge to repaint a bicycle, allowing myself to be content with the appearance that took the bike's lifetime to achieve. That said, when the "as found" paint condition looks like this...

...I dig out the paint brush and get busy, until the bike looks like this...

My question is, when should I repaint this...

"98% of the bikes I buy are projects".
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Old 03-05-15, 01:25 PM
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It may be sacrilegious what I did by some peoples standards here but I had a rough Bruce Gordon Chinook that had many spots like these:

Bruce Gordon Chinook 1987 Plum

Bruce Gordon Chinook 1987 Plum

And had it powder coated it to this:

87 Bruce Gordon Chinook

87 Bruce Gordon Chinook

All in all cost me about $220 for powder coating (Groody Brothers), acquiring decals (Alan Wanta), a clear coat over that (GB), and some little red touches (GB). I'm happy I did it, and still need to build the frame up, and would rate powder coating 8 out of 10 compared to what was originally a wet spray paint job. If you just get a straight color and clear coat it would have been only in the $140 range which I think is just fine too. I got my wife's bike done at the same time and it was just one color and clear coat, and it made a HUGE difference in how well the frame looked. Don't know if that helps at all but I went through this and really have no regrets.

If you are anywhere near KC, then use Groody Bros they do a great job: Groody Brothers
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Old 03-05-15, 01:32 PM
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My wife's bike for reference, her's was like a 10 out of 10 improvement:

Mongoose Dynametric 325 Hybrid

Mongoose Dynametric 325 Hybrid

Mongoose Dynametric 325 Hybrid

Mongoose Dynametric 325 Hybrid

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Old 03-05-15, 01:34 PM
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Also seeing your top tube, if it were me, I would get it repainted.
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