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Just clear coat?

Old 12-07-19, 04:11 PM
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delbiker1 
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Just clear coat?

I have some pix attached. I disassembled a 2001 Lemond tourmalet to the frame and fork, and then stripped them to bare metal. I was planning on having them powder coated. However, today I was wet sanding, 800 grit, and I like the looks with the bare metal. There are some obvious dents and scratches/imperfections that will not be fixed or hidden with just the clear coat, but I think they will just show the many miles and hard use the bike has endured, and preserve some character. The components the bike came with; mix of Tiagra, Sora and Ultegra, can be cleaned and polished to look better, but are still going to have the well used look. My plans for the bike are to ride it a lot and have it as a traveling bike. So, I am looking for any thoughts, comments or ideas you all would like to throw out here. You can see the dent on the seat tube above the braze ons, and also one on the drive side seat stay. A couple other small ones elsewhere along with minor scratches.






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Old 12-07-19, 05:23 PM
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It will rust under the clear. It's been tried many times and it may last a few years before the rust starts, but there will eventually be rust spidering under the clear. It's one of the more common requests that people make of framebuilders. I built a frame for a close friend that wanted to clear coat it. I was able to talk him out of the clear coat and coated the bare frame with a light coat of Frame Saver. He doesn't take it out in the rain and it still looks very nice 5 years later. He told me that it occasionally gets a spot of rust and he just cleans it with scotch brite and applies more wax.

If you decide to go with powder coating, The guy I use for my frames is experienced with bike frames and his prices are reasonable. It's not too far from you in South Jersey..

Last edited by dsaul; 12-07-19 at 05:31 PM.
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Old 12-07-19, 07:18 PM
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That's a nice looking Titanium color frame. I agree on just applying clear over that. As long as the bare metal is covered with a clear coat it shouldn't rust again...unless the rust is forming from inside of the tube and eating up the metal. Make sure to use 2k clear...those acrylic lacquer clear stuff is no good especially when exposed to lots of sunlight.
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Old 12-07-19, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by dsaul View Post
It will rust under the clear. It's been tried many times and it may last a few years before the rust starts, but there will eventually be rust spidering under the clear. It's one of the more common requests that people make of framebuilders. I built a frame for a close friend that wanted to clear coat it. I was able to talk him out of the clear coat and coated the bare frame with a light coat of Frame Saver. He doesn't take it out in the rain and it still looks very nice 5 years later. He told me that it occasionally gets a spot of rust and he just cleans it with scotch brite and applies more wax.

If you decide to go with powder coating, The guy I use for my frames is experienced with bike frames and his prices are reasonable. It's not too far from you in South Jersey..
Just out of curiosity, does it rust more with clear coat than it does with colored paint, or is it just that the rust shows under the clear coat and doesn't under color?
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Old 12-07-19, 07:37 PM
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Clean

Nice
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Old 12-07-19, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Just out of curiosity, does it rust more with clear coat than it does with colored paint, or is it just that the rust shows under the clear coat and doesn't under color?
It's a matter of bonding. Steel wants to rust, all it needs is oxygen. Applying a clear coat without primer actually traps air under the paint, right against the steel. The supply is limited, so it's a slow process. Once the clear is breached by the rust, it can spread through the paths of least resistance under.

Powdercoat and paint get around this with primer, which is unfortunately opaque. The primer contains a chemical that etches or stabilizes the steel. It works because it forms a film over the steel and removes or converts the microscopic rust molecules.
I'd imagine that there's a method to apply a clear durable rust preventive coating, but it's likely not clear coat as we'd know it.
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Old 12-07-19, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Just out of curiosity, does it rust more with clear coat than it does with colored paint, or is it just that the rust shows under the clear coat and doesn't under color?
My understanding is that it will rust the same under colored powder coat, if no primer is used. The rust is not enough to cause damage to the metal, but is unattractive under the clear. If a color coat is being applied, various rust preventative coatings can be applied under the color.
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Old 12-07-19, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Unca_Sam View Post
It's a matter of bonding. Steel wants to rust, all it needs is oxygen. Applying a clear coat without primer actually traps air under the paint, right against the steel. The supply is limited, so it's a slow process. Once the clear is breached by the rust, it can spread through the paths of least resistance under.

Powdercoat and paint get around this with primer, which is unfortunately opaque. The primer contains a chemical that etches or stabilizes the steel. It works because it forms a film over the steel and removes or converts the microscopic rust molecules.
I'd imagine that there's a method to apply a clear durable rust preventive coating, but it's likely not clear coat as we'd know it.
Unca Sam, thanks for that explanation, it does make sense. I was wondering why the steel would rust under the clear coat. My thoughts were that if oxygen and moisture are not getting to the steel, it would not rust. I did not think of oxygen being trapped by the clear coat, or the chemical reaction of primer with the steel to prevent that. I am going to come up with a different plan. Early this year I had a frame/fork powder coated by a local guy. He did a great job. Now I am thinking a single stage powder with a color similar to the bare steel. No hurry, I have time to ponder that.
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Old 12-08-19, 08:35 AM
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I believe there's a 'clear coat' powdercoat available now, ask at your local powdercoating shop. It goes on white, but comes out of the oven as a 'clear' finish (slightly opaque). There are also some metallic finishes that look like bare steel/aluminum, also some that look like the frame has been anodized.
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Old 12-08-19, 10:26 AM
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This pic of my Langster doesn't clearly show the "raw look" of the frame but whatever Specialized did....it looks good!
Op....if it can be done....do it!
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Old 12-08-19, 10:36 AM
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Might want to check out what Cerakote has to offer. I know they make several clear coatings, but I donít know if they are for use in steel.

My ti frame has a colored Cerakote finish.
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Old 12-08-19, 10:50 AM
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As mentioned above...there is the possibility of clear powder coating. Link: https://www.fullblowncoatings.com/wh...owder-coating/

Dan
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Old 12-08-19, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by dsaul View Post
It will rust under the clear. It's been tried many times and it may last a few years before the rust starts, but there will eventually be rust spidering under the clear. It's one of the more common requests that people make of framebuilders. I built a frame for a close friend that wanted to clear coat it. I was able to talk him out of the clear coat and coated the bare frame with a light coat of Frame Saver. He doesn't take it out in the rain and it still looks very nice 5 years later. He told me that it occasionally gets a spot of rust and he just cleans it with scotch brite and applies more wax.

If you decide to go with powder coating, The guy use for my frames is experienced with bike frames and his prices are reasonable. It's not too far from you in South Jersey..
how do you use JP Weigle Frame Saver on the outside of the frame on the metal exposed surfaces? that stuff is a sticky oil type of substance, not unlike linseed oil, and all matter of dirt and bugs will become attached to the frame as you ride, so please explain how you coated the external frame and had it stay without being tacky.
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Old 12-09-19, 04:20 AM
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Originally Posted by greatscott View Post
how do you use JP Weigle Frame Saver on the outside of the frame on the metal exposed surfaces? that stuff is a sticky oil type of substance, not unlike linseed oil, and all matter of dirt and bugs will become attached to the frame as you ride, so please explain how you coated the external frame and had it stay without being tacky.
You spray it on a rag and wipe the frame with it. It just leaves a thin layer of wax behind that can be buffed with a dry cloth after it dries.
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Old 12-09-19, 04:45 AM
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Originally Posted by greatscott View Post
how do you use JP Weigle Frame Saver on the outside of the frame on the metal exposed surfaces? that stuff is a sticky oil type of substance, not unlike linseed oil, and all matter of dirt and bugs will become attached to the frame as you ride, so please explain how you coated the external frame and had it stay without being tacky.
The outside of the frame is already protected by primer and paint and chemical pre-treatment which is used before painting...Rust starts on the inside and then it spreads outside. The best way to rustproof a frame is to spray some rustproofing oil on the inside of the frame. If you notice most frames and forks have very small vent holes. You can spray rustproofing oil into those vent holes and also remove the seatpost and spray some oil inside there... You don't even have to rustproof your frame, as most frames will outlast you and it takes extremely long time for a frame to completely rust out and become unusable.
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Old 12-09-19, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
The outside of the frame is already protected by primer and paint and chemical pre-treatment which is used before painting...Rust starts on the inside and then it spreads outside. The best way to rustproof a frame is to spray some rustproofing oil on the inside of the frame. If you notice most frames and forks have very small vent holes. You can spray rustproofing oil into those vent holes and also remove the seatpost and spray some oil inside there... You don't even have to rustproof your frame, as most frames will outlast you and it takes extremely long time for a frame to completely rust out and become unusable.
Did you even read the thread or the question he was asking me? It has nothing to do with a painted frame.
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Old 12-09-19, 10:28 AM
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Semi-related question: Has there ever been a production bicycle with a stainless steel frame?
Why are stainless steel frames pretty much just a novelty?
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Old 12-09-19, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Semi-related question: Has there ever been a production bicycle with a stainless steel frame?
Why are stainless steel frames pretty much just a novelty?
Can't answer the first question, though I suspect no, because of the answer to the second question. Stainless frames cost a good bit. Though modern alloys (Reynolds 953, Columbus OCX, KVA MS3) supposedly surpass the lightness and strength of titanium and aluminum, a frame built with stainless costs around as much as a titanium frame. Metallurgy is an ever-evolving technical field, and I wouldn't be surprised that relatively lightweight high tensile stainless alloys are relatively recent, compared to aluminum and titanium. (Don't forget to say thanks to the Military-Industrial complex for your titanium and aluminum frames!)
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Old 12-09-19, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
The outside of the frame is already protected by primer and paint and chemical pre-treatment which is used before painting...Rust starts on the inside and then it spreads outside. The best way to rustproof a frame is to spray some rustproofing oil on the inside of the frame. If you notice most frames and forks have very small vent holes. You can spray rustproofing oil into those vent holes and also remove the seatpost and spray some oil inside there... You don't even have to rustproof your frame, as most frames will outlast you and it takes extremely long time for a frame to completely rust out and become unusable.
I'm pretty sure the grain structure of steel is dense enough to prevent oxygen saturation beyond the surface layer. Rust spreads and pits and perforates because Fe2O3 changes the microcrystalline structure, exposing more Iron atoms to oxidation. Aluminum doesn't do this because the aluminum oxide layer doesn't affect the structure.
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Old 12-10-19, 03:47 PM
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I actually tried this, after doing a bunch of research---all of which said it wouldn't work, because it was impossible, in anything but a vacuum, to get all the oxygen out of the equation.

Unfortunately, they skeptics were right.

That clear powder coat is probably your best bet. it won't leave the look of raw steel, but you won't have ugly (but harmless) rust blooms under your clear coat.
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Old 12-12-19, 01:41 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Semi-related question: Has there ever been a production bicycle with a stainless steel frame?
Why are stainless steel frames pretty much just a novelty?
Crescent (Swedish) used to sell production stainless-steel frame bikes in the 70's. IIRC the price was not super-high but they weren't lighter than 531 or Columbus frames so the brand didn't get popular in the US. Nowadays not much point in a production stainless-steel bike...aluminum frames can be cheap & quite light; carbon is lighter than stainless.
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Old 12-12-19, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
Crescent (Swedish) used to sell production stainless-steel frame bikes in the 70's. IIRC the price was not super-high but they weren't lighter than 531 or Columbus frames so the brand didn't get popular in the US. Nowadays not much point in a production stainless-steel bike...aluminum frames can be cheap & quite light; carbon is lighter than stainless.
Stainless would not have to be painted and would look cool. Obviously, those attributes haven't been enough to popularize titanium, but do you get those benefits cheaper with stainless?

Last edited by livedarklions; 12-12-19 at 06:50 AM.
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Old 12-12-19, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Stainless would not have to be painted and would look cool. Obviously, those attributes haven't been enough to popularize titanium, but do you get those benefits cheaper with stainless?
One of the local Professional Framebuilders was working on coming up with a full stainless TIG welded frame and decided to go with Titanium instead. Basically the stainless required similar welding procedures to Ti, such as additional weld prep and back purging, with no real benefit over Ti. I did a quick price check and found that Columbus XCR stainless tubes are more expensive than similar sized Dedacciai Titanium tubes.
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Old 12-12-19, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Stainless would not have to be painted and would look cool. Obviously, those attributes haven't been enough to popularize titanium, but do you get those benefits cheaper with stainless?
You could also get that bare metal look with brushed aluminum which has been clear coated with powder...
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Old 12-12-19, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by dsaul View Post
One of the local Professional Framebuilders was working on coming up with a full stainless TIG welded frame and decided to go with Titanium instead. Basically the stainless required similar welding procedures to Ti, such as additional weld prep and back purging, with no real benefit over Ti. I did a quick price check and found that Columbus XCR stainless tubes are more expensive than similar sized Dedacciai Titanium tubes.
I'm surprised there's even more than one manufacturer of the primo stainless tubes since stainless steel frames seem like a boutique item. Genesis (UK) makes ~production Reynolds 931 stainless frames for $2,300--931 is a bit cheaper than 953 but supposedly easier to construct. Interestingly, those frames come with carbon forks.

Personally I think 'bare' metal frames look a bit plain but taste varies of course.
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