The Chainlink

I have a 90's Fuji MTB that I upgraded the wheels and a few cosmetic things. I'm thinking about getting it sanded, powder coated black, and put back together again. Can anyone recommend a shop and/or give me an idea how much I should expect to spend on this?

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How bout these guys:  http://uv-powder-coating.com/ I've seen their posts/pics and things around here in the past.  Seems like a nice set-up but too expensive for me.  I painted my last bike with latex paint and it looked fine for a couple months, but now it looks pretty terrible.      

Several years ago, I had a bike stripped, powder coated and rebuilt.  UV's price for stripping and powder coating is competitive for the quality of the work he does.  This is one of those "get what you pay for" situations.  Most places doing work of his quality charge more than he does, and some of them are out of state, so shipping would be extra there. 

When I had mine done, I waited until it needed a full overhaul, because that's essentially what you need to do if you're fully disassembling the bike for stripping and repainting.  It boosts the total you're spending at that time, but leaves your bike in like-new condition when it's done.  I wasn't able to get both the mechanical work and stripping/powder coat done at the same place, so I had the bike shop disassemble the bike and store all the parts. Then the frame and fork went to the powder coat shop, and were returned to the bike shop for reassembly.

Good quality powder coat work isn't cheap.  If someone's offering it for cheap, I'd question the quality of their work and materials.

If you've got a beater bike and $200 is more than it's worth, you can use automotive spray paint and clear coat for a DIY paint job after you've stripped and primed the frame.

I'm not necessarily endorsing any particular source for paint.  The above is just an example.  If you want to go a few bucks cheaper than that, Rustoleum or Krylon spray enamel at your neighborhood hardware store will work, but you won't get the cool color selection that you do from the automotive color match sources. 

Years ago, I had an ancient beater bike that I stripped and repainted with Rustoleum spray enamel, then covered with a clear coat.  That paint job held up well for years.

It's a tough call but with the cost of powder-coating it's often a better deal to just get a whole new frame rather than refinishing unless the frame is something really special/rare/collectible.   Unless the frame is a lugged, butted, high-end steel example I'd just buy something new or maybe try and find something used but in great shape off of craigslist.

For $100 you can get a double-butted alloy MTB frame from Nashbar.  You can probably sell the frame you have for $40-50 on craigslist and end up with a brand new lighter frame with brand new paint for pocket change.

I wish this wasn't true but powerdcoating aint cheap.  A whole new frame is often cheaper.

Thanks Anne! I love the look of a nice powder-coat, but I'm not gonna spend $200 to get a frame coated when my whole investment in a project rarely exceeds $300 or $400. But this sure looks interesting:

http://www.automotivetouchup.com/spray_paint_trim.aspx

Are there flat(ish) clear coats? I'd love to end up with a flat finish on my two-speed project...



Anne Alt said:

Several years ago, I had a bike stripped, powder coated and rebuilt.  UV's price for stripping and powder coating is competitive for the quality of the work he does.  This is one of those "get what you pay for" situations.  Most places doing work of his quality charge more than he does, and some of them are out of state, so shipping would be extra there. 

When I had mine done, I waited until it needed a full overhaul, because that's essentially what you need to do if you're fully disassembling the bike for stripping and repainting.  It boosts the total you're spending at that time, but leaves your bike in like-new condition when it's done.  I wasn't able to get both the mechanical work and stripping/powder coat done at the same place, so I had the bike shop disassemble the bike and store all the parts. Then the frame and fork went to the powder coat shop, and were returned to the bike shop for reassembly.

Good quality powder coat work isn't cheap.  If someone's offering it for cheap, I'd question the quality of their work and materials.

If you've got a beater bike and $200 is more than it's worth, you can use automotive spray paint and clear coat for a DIY paint job after you've stripped and primed the frame.

I'm not necessarily endorsing any particular source for paint.  The above is just an example.  If you want to go a few bucks cheaper than that, Rustoleum or Krylon spray enamel at your neighborhood hardware store will work, but you won't get the cool color selection that you do from the automotive color match sources. 

Years ago, I had an ancient beater bike that I stripped and repainted with Rustoleum spray enamel, then covered with a clear coat.  That paint job held up well for years.

If one wanted indestructible one could use Herculiner bedliner.   Brushing or rolling it on makes for quite the rough texture but if it is thinned (with xylene) it can be sprayed for a nice matte finish.   I've seen it done on motorcycles and on jeeps where it looked very nice.  

The problem is that it is sort of expensive due to needing to buy a LOT of it.  A gallon is more than enough to do a whole truck bed, they sell it by the quart at Menards for about $30.  If you knew someone who had experience with spraying and a cheap disposable paint gun from Harbor Freight one could get a super-durable nice-looking coating.  

The nice thing about Herculiner is that if the worst happens and you DO somehow scratch it or damage it the repair is very simple -just clean with a little acetone or xylene and dab in more of it.  If you are careful the patch will totally disappear. 

I'm pretty sure it'd be really tough to damage the coating though.  You could drag a heavy metal chain over the frame and the Herculiner would just laugh it off.   You'd need something sharp like a hacksaw blade or knife to cut into it even a little bit.   Another downside is that once something is coated with Herculiner it is coated until the end of time.  There is no getting it back off.

For a cargo bike I've thought about using it and just brushing it on.  The texture would be cool.   Maybe even on a MTB it would be cool.  For a road bike, not so much ;)

The bike I had stripped and powder coated years ago was a 1970s road bike - a high end bike in its time - beautiful lugged steel frame, rides wonderfully.

In response to Tony's question about a matte finish clear coat, I don't know.  With a little research, perhaps you could find a matte alternative to Herculiner.

James BlackHeron said:

It's a tough call but with the cost of powder-coating it's often a better deal to just get a whole new frame rather than refinishing unless the frame is something really special/rare/collectible.   Unless the frame is a lugged, butted, high-end steel example I'd just buy something new or maybe try and find something used but in great shape off of craigslist.

For $100 you can get a double-butted alloy MTB frame from Nashbar.  You can probably sell the frame you have for $40-50 on craigslist and end up with a brand new lighter frame with brand new paint for pocket change.

I wish this wasn't true but powerdcoating aint cheap.  A whole new frame is often cheaper.

They (the ubiquitous "they")  sell a matte spray-on bedliner but I have heard that it isn't nearly as hard or durable as the Herculiner.  It does have a nice matte sheen to it, unlike the Herc which does tend to have shiny and matte bits interspersed as the texture mottles.    As Herc ages in the sunlite it does tend to get more matte, and it tends to collect grunge a little bit too in the nooks and crannies of the texture which also tends to make it more matte as time goes on.   If one wants it more shiny/clean a rag moistened with Xylene tends to freshen it right up.

I actually used this technique on my motorcycle's gas tank where I wanted it rough so as to be more grippy.

I also put a little bit on the bottom scoop part of the fairing to protect from stone chips thrown up by the front wheel.  I like how it turned out.  I'm not sure how I'd like that same texture on a bicycle though.

Forgive me if I'm over-posting and dominating this discussion but as someone who likes to fix-up and restore bikes I've found that often times the factory paint on a bicycle is often salvagable and can be made to look quite nice again if one knows the tricks.

Usually a frame will start to look pretty haggard if it has a lot of grunge, messed-up decals and a few scratches and dings that have been allowed to rust or look pitted.

But under all that mooge is usually good paint hidden deep down.  If decals are peeling and looking icky I will just remove them (unless they have been clearcoated over but when they are they tend not to get messed up)   A good hair dryer usually has enough heat to remove decals but a heat gun does it much better.  You want just enough heat to make them shrink and pull but not damage the paint under them.  Sneak up on the heat setting until you hit this point and they come right off.

Then use a product like Scratch-X or other automotive paint polish available at any car store like O'Reiley's or Pep boys.  This is best done when a frame is stripped and with a little bit of rubbing the oxidized surface paint, crud, surface rust stains, road tar, and other yuck will be slowly stripped off revealing a nice hard paint underneith that will shine up like new.  Even rusty chips and scratches will clean up and will turn a nice metal-grey instead of ugly brown rust.  A few scratches and chips will fade into the background when a nice shiny polished paint surface is brought back up to a high gloss.   Even a severely chipped and scratched frame can look great again if  some work has been put into it.  

This mixte frame was REALLY nasty and has chips and scratches scarring the entire surface.  But after this treatment it looks fairly nice.  The patina that is left is still pleasing to the eye IMHO.  Maybe that is just me.

I wish I could find a "before" picture of this frame but it was REALLY nasty and gross/rusty.  I'm sure it was much worse than the frame you are working on now.  

When it is clean and polished just put on a few coats of high-quality auto wax over the paint and the chips/scratches to make it even more glossy and to protect the bare metal parts from re-rusting.  It's surprising how nice an old factory painted frame can look if you polish it up.

If one prefers to have some new decals you can make your own decals fairly cheaply at this place.  They are very nice if you get the "premium vinyl" and not very costly at all if you do your own "weeding" rather than have them do that for you.  A large decal can be under $3 and smaller ones around a buck.  Look at my  other photos to see some of the lettering I have done on my bikes and some of the ones I've restored to sell.   I'm very happy with their product and their prices.  Put the decals on before you wax -or strip the wax off with windex first or they won't stick -then rewax over them too. 

For an older frame on a budget bike you don't want to spend a lot of money on,  doing a scratch-x polish on the frame and a nice wax goes a long way toward making the bike look fabulous again without dropping a couple hundred on a powdercoat if it isn't something super-special that really deserves that kind of cash being spent on it (some bikes really do deserve this though.)

I'll shut up now before I get yelled at for posting too much.

I have a Lotus Legend Compe that I'm willing to throw down a lot of cash on fully restoring-- my plan is to take it to UV for powder coating. AFAIK UV is currently undergoing a change in management and powder coating services will be available in July (this is hearsay so don't quote me). My only reservation is that I won't be able to preserve my bike's original decals, and I'm having a hell of a time finding the ones I want online. Boo.

It is all useful stuff James. I would not worry about posting too much as long as your content is this good.

I'm kinda torn about what to do with the two speed - I love the idea of something super matte, but I also love the idea of just leaving it as is. Less work, less noxious waste, etc. I'll strip the donor to the frame and clean it up - that might make the next step(s) more obvious.


James BlackHeron said:


I'll shut up now before I get yelled at for posting too much.

Check out Chester Cycles on the NW side, they do some good work:

 

http://www.chestercycles.com/

Messing about with bicycles, no matter how trivial (or even if the bike in question is a POS) is never time wasted in my opinion.

Talking about, and actually riding bicycles is also just as fun.  Most time not spent doing any of the above 3 is just "off time" as far as I'm concerned -with a few notable exceptions ;)

Tony Adams said:

I'm kinda torn about what to do with the two speed - I love the idea of something super matte, but I also love the idea of just leaving it as is. Less work, less noxious waste, etc. I'll strip the donor to the frame and clean it up - that might make the next step(s) more obvious.

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