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  1. #1
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    Stripping my Giant Trance X1 Frameset to bare, polished aluminum.

    So I have a 2009 Trance X1 frameset that I picked up off Craigslist last summer and built up with components from an even older Trance. I decided it was time for a drivetrain upgrade and I got a deal on SLX and XT 10 speed stuff from JensonUSA. My frame was kind of beat, and it is the drab olive green and grey to start with. I thought If I am going to drop a bunch of cash in this bike that I would like it to look a little nicer. I really like the polished look of the Trance XO so that is what I am going for.

    I stripped my bike down today and tried the Rustoleum Aircraft Remover. The results were impressive. Maybe this isn't going to be as hard as I thought. Here are some photos of the rear triangle today. I could literally brush off the paint flakes with perfect shiny brushed aluminum underneath.
    Last edited by Venturewest; 02-06-2013 at 06:19 AM.

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    Photo 10 minutes after applying the aircraft remover.

    I couldn't believe how fast it ate the finish, or how perfect the aluminum was underneath. The paint just brushed off with a paper towel.Stripping my Giant Trance X1 Frameset to bare, polished aluminum.-triangle-stripper.jpg

  3. #3
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    First look at the bare aluminum.

    This is a shot showing how the aluminum looked before I did anything to it. No buffing, sanding, polishing.

    I was super happy to see the finish already had a perfect brushed finish like I imagined I would want.

    I applied the aircraft remover a few differant times to get to this point. Every application left a few areas of stuck paint. After wiping off the loose paint I would reapply the stripper and then wipe again in 10 minutes.

    I think this Trance is going to look sweet! I hope the maintenance is not a PITA.Stripping my Giant Trance X1 Frameset to bare, polished aluminum.-triangle-bare.jpg

  4. #4
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    A little polish.

    This is after one quick hand application of Mother's Mag polish. Very little elbow grease involved. The polish eliminated some of the "whiteness" of the aluminum and gave a deeper look. I am getting excited.Stripping my Giant Trance X1 Frameset to bare, polished aluminum.-triangle-first-polish.jpg

  5. #5
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    Does anyone know what factory polished aluminum bikes are protected with? Are they clear anodized? Are they clear coated?

    I spoke to powder coaters, and they said that they have to media blast the aluminum before they can powder coat, so I guess I will leave it bare.

  6. #6
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    Clear Anodizing is a common finish for factory frames.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venturewest View Post
    This is after one quick hand application of Mother's Mag polish. Very little elbow grease involved. The polish eliminated some of the "whiteness" of the aluminum and gave a deeper look. I am getting excited.Click image for larger version. 

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    Very cool, good idea.

  8. #8
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    The Whole Frame is Stripped, my insights.

    I spent some time on the front triangle and the paint is completely removed from the whole frame.

    Here are my insights:

    Absolutely make sure the frame is cleaned and degreased. The aircraft remover didn't seem to touch the heavier paint before I cleaned the bike. I used a scotch sanding pad to scuff it up also and I think it allowed the remover to work more efficiently than applying over the gloss paint.

    Let the remover do the work: I would spray remover, let set, buff off with a towel and then re-apply to stubborn paint. I repeated these steps until all the paint was gone. It took about 3 hours, but only a few minutes at a time. Paper towels worked perfectly to buff off the old paint and remover.

    Don't scratch the aluminum with scuff pads or scrapers. My original Trance finish is just about perfect. I accidentally scuffed some bare areas with my scuff pad and those are the only blemishes. It would be a disaster to scrub the paint off with an abrasive pad.

    Here is a pic of the whole frame, completely stripped, but no polishing.Stripping my Giant Trance X1 Frameset to bare, polished aluminum.-stripped-frame.jpg

  9. #9
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    Here is a shot of the frameset before I started this.Stripping my Giant Trance X1 Frameset to bare, polished aluminum.-trancerightfront.jpg

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venturewest View Post
    Does anyone know what factory polished aluminum bikes are protected with? Are they clear anodized? Are they clear coated?

    I spoke to powder coaters, and they said that they have to media blast the aluminum before they can powder coat, so I guess I will leave it bare.
    Using a high quality aluminum polish every few rides or so should prevent the aluminum from oxidizing or getting stained. Using a fine gray scotch-brite pad to remove minor blemishes doesn't hurt either and will polish right out. Frame looks sick btw.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyclesnIPAs View Post
    Using a high quality aluminum polish every few rides or so should prevent the aluminum from oxidizing or getting stained. Using a fine gray scotch-brite pad to remove minor blemishes doesn't hurt either and will polish right out. Frame looks sick btw.
    Thanks. I have some Mother's Mag Polish but I hear good things about Mothers Billet and a few other products.

    The other thing I want to do to the frame is mask off a cool design and lightly media blast some subtle graphics. Almost the look of the XO frames, but maybe a little differant pattern. The only downside of doing a blasted finish is it will a bigger process getting scratches out.

  12. #12
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    I stripped and polished my frame and was considering doing graphics also. Let me know how you go about it and maybe post some pics of the finished product.

  13. #13
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    Input on Graphics Layout for Media Blasted Etched Design on the Frame

    I have been playing with some different graphic design layouts for the frame. Here is the one I think I am going to go for. The shaded areas are the areas I am going to lightly etch with media blasting. I am going to mask the bike with vinyl tape so I will refine the design as I go. Let me know what you think.

    I hope to pick up my little blast gun from Harbor Freight later today.

    This is going to be a huge experiment. If I can't get a really even etched surface with the gun, I will have to abandon this plan.Stripping my Giant Trance X1 Frameset to bare, polished aluminum.-trance-graphics.jpg

  14. #14
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    Nice Looking Not to take the focus off the current frame, but I am thinking of doing the same thing to mine. I have a Gold 08 El Guapo and from what I can find its been powder coated. Will the stripper work on that or is there something else involved?
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  15. #15
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    No problem. It sounds like you can use the Aircraft Remover to remover powder coating also. I bet it is a little tougher. Your finish underneath the powder coating will probably be quite a bit different than mine. I am sure it was media blasted before powder coating. Once you get to bare aluminum there are many differant finishes you can apply by hand. I was just lucky because mine looked exactly like I wanted it to.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by dustyduke22 View Post
    Nice Looking Not to take the focus off the current frame, but I am thinking of doing the same thing to mine. I have a Gold 08 El Guapo and from what I can find its been powder coated. Will the stripper work on that or is there something else involved?
    Powder coat will take a lot more effort to remove using any stripping agent. It is different to paint - think of it more like a 'tight fitting plastic coat' on the bike. The stripping agent can only affect the very outside layer of the powder coat, unless it can get in underneath the coating - then it will peel off in chunks.

    It might be worth checking out a good blaster for a more uniform finish. Just make sure they have done something similar in the past as care needs to be taken to not damage/warp the frame.

    If you still want to do it yourself, go slow and be prepared for many coats of stripper. Wear gloves as it will also strip the skin off your hands from prolonged exposure.
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  17. #17
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    Oh No!! I just bought a Tallboy Al Frameset!

    Hah! Tallboys are on clearance again! Just got a new shiny black frameset! I guess I will put this bike back together and sell it. Anyone want a polished Trance X1?

    Seriously though.....do you think it will be easier or harder to sell like this?

  18. #18
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    Did you ever sell it or did you end up doing the graphics work?

  19. #19
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    Stripping my Giant Trance X1 Frameset to bare, polished aluminum.-trancesalelarge.jpgStripping my Giant Trance X1 Frameset to bare, polished aluminum.-trancesaleframedetail.jpgStripping my Giant Trance X1 Frameset to bare, polished aluminum.-trancesalehandlebar.jpgStripping my Giant Trance X1 Frameset to bare, polished aluminum.-trancesalerightchainstay.jpgStripping my Giant Trance X1 Frameset to bare, polished aluminum.-trancesaleleftshock.jpgStripping my Giant Trance X1 Frameset to bare, polished aluminum.-tranceheadtube.jpg
    Quote Originally Posted by vikingshelmut View Post
    Did you ever sell it or did you end up doing the graphics work?
    I finally got this bike put back together after stripping and polishing. I am ready to sell it. I tried some media blasting but I don't have a big enough compressor to get the look I am going for so I gave up on the etched graphics and decided to go with the clean look. I still think it looks fantastic. Here are a few photos I just snapped for craigslist.

  20. #20
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    Very nice job, if I strip mine I hope it looks half as good as that!

  21. #21
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    Nice job Dude, came out really nice I've had thoughts of stripping my original '05 Trance and wasn't sure if I'd get it refinished with PC or leave it raw and you've shown that the raw undercoat looks fantastic and not a lot of work needs to be done.
    Quote Originally Posted by Venturewest View Post
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    I finally got this bike put back together after stripping and polishing. I am ready to sell it. I tried some media blasting but I don't have a big enough compressor to get the look I am going for so I gave up on the etched graphics and decided to go with the clean look. I still think it looks fantastic. Here are a few photos I just snapped for craigslist.
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