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I overhauled my Giant TCR (pics)

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I overhauled my Giant TCR (pics)

Old 12-27-08, 06:19 PM
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Maaku
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I overhauled my Giant TCR (pics)

Some of you guys might remember my Giant TCR which I painted a few months ago. I made a thread on it: https://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycling/463119-another-sanded-carbon-frame.html



I put nearly 2000mi on since I bought the bike in May and it was filthy. I never used a chain cleaner until now. The cassette and derailleurs were gunky and the frame was a mess because I used weak spray paint that was starting to dull. I also just purchased some new Ultegra pedals and Michelin Pro3's. I'm a little look-conscious (maybe a little OCD.) Winter vacation arrived, and I had time to clean all the dirt and grease off it and give it an overhaul.



Recently, I purchased a compressor and spray gun so I don't have to deal with spray cans anymore. I build and finish prototype models for a living so painting is something I have experience in. So I decided to redo my frame:




And here it is built up. I actually meant to do a photoshoot before I rode it, but i couldn't wait because it was out of service for over a month while I was painting it. So you can see the bottle cages and frame pump.



It took many, many hours spread over a few weekends to sand the paint off and being careful not to touch the carbon (as I was the first time I painted it.) I then sprayed black over the joint areas and gave it a nice clear coat. Buffed and polished it a little so it's smoother to the touch than any factory paint job. In this pic you can see the different weave of carbon Giant used for the back end of the frame. Originally there was paint over it. I'm not sure what the reason for this was, probably cost cutting by not using the traditional carbon weave. I personally like this alligator skin look so I left it exposed.



I'm not gonna lie, but for the amount of time I spent on it, I could have worked instead and bought another frame, but that's not the point. I'm a decent rider, but I have more pleasure building or maintaining my bikes than riding them. That's why I had the patience to work on this and it makes the bike worth a lot more to me.



(you can see in this pic I have my signature and date near the bottom bracket.)

Last edited by Maaku; 12-27-08 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 12-27-08, 06:38 PM
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Very nice. I like Giants for its "low-key"ness. Not flashy or anything.
The guys on mechanics and C&V section will disagree with "overhaul" though. Cause everything today is sealed. Overhauled is really taking things apart, degreasing, repacking with new grease. Ahhh, those long nights before the innernet and overhauling Campangnolo Super Record pedals and completely taking apart NR rear derailleurs. Good times (wouldn't want to do it again ).
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Old 12-27-08, 07:27 PM
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You are a talented guy and thanks for sharing your bike with us. Everybody has a slightly different sense of aesthetic and I prefer the stock decals for example. By contrast the new TCR is over the top IMHO in logo size as are many of the new frames that are rolling billboards.
I agree with you that working on bikes is part of the fun of the hobby. I am changing the handlebars and shifters on my bike as I write this.
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Old 12-27-08, 07:35 PM
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Awesome!
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Old 12-27-08, 07:55 PM
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I admire your dedication. That looks damn fine. Well done.
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Old 12-27-08, 08:09 PM
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thats beautiful. I love a bare black frame. especially faded out to carbon. GORGEOUS!

it looks like only the joints are painted and they fade out to carbon in the tubes. is that right? professional looking job, no doubt.
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Old 12-27-08, 08:09 PM
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Bike would look sick with Ultegra SL & black wheels.
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Old 12-27-08, 08:11 PM
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great job
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Old 12-27-08, 08:21 PM
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Damn. That crank is still spiffy after 2000 miles. My Ultegra logo is gone by 200 miles.
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Old 12-27-08, 08:24 PM
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what grit sandpaper did you use to take it down to the carbon? If I were to guess I'd use no less than 600 (wet). Maybe take the clear off with something a little lower.

more in depth process please?
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Old 12-27-08, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Impulse666
thats beautiful. I love a bare black frame. especially faded out to carbon. GORGEOUS!

it looks like only the joints are painted and they fade out to carbon in the tubes. is that right? professional looking job, no doubt.
Any black paint fades very well with carbon so it actually doesn't take much to get a nice fade. I made sure the fade had a nice transition and was even on both sides. I only put paint over the dropouts, bottom bracket area, and the area where the seat tube, down tube, and top tube meet. I didn't need paint at the head tube because it shared the same weave in that area.

Originally Posted by kergin
Bike would look sick with Ultegra SL & black wheels.
I actually really love my silver Ksyriums and silver Ultegra groupset (aesthetically.) The silver provides contrast with the black and matches the other components like screws, seat rails, etc. The ice gray might be too close to the black carbon.
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Old 12-27-08, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by kergin
Bike would look sick with Ultegra SL & black wheels.
Funny, I was thinking the same thing about the wheels, and the silver components, when I first saw the pix. I've got a red Giant OCR C1, and for some damned reason, they put the same silver Ksyrium wheels on it, even though everything else on the bike is black. And surprisingly, my neighbor's celeste Bianchi came with black Ksyrium's, which match nothing on his bike. I would consider a swap with his, but mine are newer, with a different design, and far fewer miles.

At any rate, back to the bike. Job well done! Very impressive.
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Old 12-27-08, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Impulse666
what grit sandpaper did you use to take it down to the carbon? If I were to guess I'd use no less than 600 (wet). Maybe take the clear off with something a little lower.

more in depth process please?
Sure. I honestly believe anybody with a fair bit of painting experience can do a nice carbon frame paint job, but i don't recommend it unless you're absolutely certain and comitted. Be advised that you run the risk of damaging your frame if you screw up by sanding into the carbon and you'll void the warranty. My process is by no means a professional technique. Others might take even more caution than myself. The following steps might take you weeks in the process.

So with most frames, the layers of carbon fiber tubes from inside to outside goes like this: 1) carbon 2) gelcoat 3) paint 4) clear coat

1. Sanding the paint. Factory paint/clear coat can sometimes be thick. You might be surprised, I used 120grit sandpaper for the INTITAL sand. This might be only a few strokes. I'll move up to 220grit where i MIGHT touch the gelcoat very lightly. You'll know when you get close to the gelcoat and when you're close, stop. Go up to 400 grit, wet. Since you're close, the thin layer of paint thats remaing will come off easy with 400. And once the gel coat appears, stop immediately. When it's all sanded, the gel coat will be, admittedly, weird looking. It looks almost looks like dry water spots on the carbon but this will go away when you clear coat. If you want to have a preview of what the clear coat will look like, drop some water on it. If you hit the carbon you will be able to tell because the dust will be black (I never once hit the carbon with this frame.) Always wear respiratory protection when you sand. Don't use any paint strippers or any media blasting on carbon.

2. Prepping the frame. My final sanding was done with 600. If theres a section on the frame that you couldn't get all the paint off, that's fine (such as the edges where the tubes and the bottom bracket meet, or the little details on the drop outs.) Scuff these areas with a fine scotch brite pad so the paint will stick. Clean the frame well and use rubber gloves and lint-free rags. If you must use acetone be quick with it so you don't disolve the epoxies in the carbon. I used Wax & Grease remover from a paint store.

3. Paint and clearcoat. Mask off your design. I also masked off the holes for the screws, bottom bracket, and headset (i removed it when I needed to mount the frame using these holes.) If you are doing a black fade like mine, practice your fading techniques. The most important step is to find a way to mount your frame. I actually mounted the seatpost (and masked it off) so I have something to hold. I mounted some long rods on a ladder and passed the rods through the BB and headtube to support the frame. The trickiest part will be painting sinside the rear triangle. Practice your technique that will let you spray evenly and perpindicular to the frame. I would recommend using a small HVLP detail/spot streatment spray gun and automotive paint if you have access to it. Spray cans will work decent but they wont have the perfect finish like spray guns.

4. Finishing. Make sure to get any excess paint out of the headset (facing) if you had to leave these holes exposed like I did. You'll need to get the gunk out of the BB threads. My clear coat turned out pretty well straight out of the paint booth but I polished it anyway. I wetsanded with 1500-2000 sandpaper and used rubbing compound. I will be waxing the frame eventually.

Last edited by Maaku; 12-27-08 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 12-27-08, 09:27 PM
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Gorgeous. Nice work. Just read your old thread, too. So... How about that tutorial? (If you have time, that is. I'm sure there are plenty of painting tutorials around...)

I have a Giant, also. But I don't like the way it looks. I'd paint it if it were a two-hour job.
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Old 12-27-08, 10:28 PM
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Thanks for the info. I have a few good chips in the clearcoat on my allez and planned to do some work on the frame. The frame is near perfect considering its age ('93). I might just do it on the fork to strip the BRC logo off. I considered removing the frame graphics but I think looks clean and understated as it is (i like it).

I already sanded the anodizing off the cranks and polished the raw aluminum (to match the shifters that I also sanded and polished), stripped the rims of labels, and used acetone to take the bianchi logo off the saddle.


keep the spec graphics? i think so.
now if only i had some black tires...
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Old 12-27-08, 10:50 PM
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I like the thin stripe of red on tires actually.. Maybe if you had red or black bar tape. I would keep the decals too. I'm not sure about putting new clear coat on top of the old. Blending clear coat is kinda tricky.

Looks like you have an MA40 front rim! The Gun metal color is so nice. I have MA40's on Dura Ace hubs on my steel road bike, I might consider putting them on the Giant to see how they look. It has a 7-spd DA cassette on it, i'm not sure how to put the 10-spd on. Maybe a freebody transplant.
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Old 12-28-08, 12:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Maaku
I actually really love my silver Ksyriums and silver Ultegra groupset (aesthetically.) The silver provides contrast with the black and matches the other components like screws, seat rails, etc. The ice gray might be too close to the black carbon.
Regardless of what components are on it, the bike is beautifully finished. Very nice work. FWIW, my OCR 2 had a CF fork with the same / similar weave as your rear stays.
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Old 12-28-08, 09:41 AM
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Nice job!
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Old 12-28-08, 09:47 AM
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i love the stealth look!

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Old 12-28-08, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Maaku
I like the thin stripe of red on tires actually.. Maybe if you had red or black bar tape. I would keep the decals too. I'm not sure about putting new clear coat on top of the old. Blending clear coat is kinda tricky.

Looks like you have an MA40 front rim! The Gun metal color is so nice. I have MA40's on Dura Ace hubs on my steel road bike, I might consider putting them on the Giant to see how they look. It has a 7-spd DA cassette on it, i'm not sure how to put the 10-spd on. Maybe a freebody transplant.
No MA40, just a humble wolber gtx. The rear is the same but the light hit it differently.
I'll keep the tires til they run thin, then I'll try some yellow striped or plain black.
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Old 12-28-08, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Campag4life
Everybody has a slightly different sense of aesthetic and I prefer the stock decals for example.
For me it's a little too boring now.
I would have tried to duplicate the stock silver touches, just not the name.
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Old 12-28-08, 01:59 PM
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I think it looks great. Congrats!
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Old 12-28-08, 09:02 PM
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wow..
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