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  1. #1
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    How easily scratched are the matte black finishes on Specialized carbon bikes?

    I'm considering a 2013 Epic carbon Marathon 29er and am wondering how easy-to-scratch is the carbon finish? I always slather all of my bikes with film of some sort and will go with matte frameskins for this bike, assuming I decide to buy it and not something else/used. Unlike gloss clearcoat bikes, I don't think a matte finish can be easily touched up or polished.

    My '94 S works has a matte gray finish that is anodized and super-durable. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
    Last edited by Mark in Baltimore; 01-20-2013 at 09:01 AM. Reason: Added "carbon" for clarity
    '12 S-Works Stumpjumper carbon HT
    '13 Specialized Carve Comp
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  2. #2
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    On my '13 Stumpy Comp I have the matte black finish and haven't noticed that it scratches more or less quickly than a gloss frame would. Then again it's only a few months old.

  3. #3
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    Okay, great. Thanks for your post!

    Anyone else?
    '12 S-Works Stumpjumper carbon HT
    '13 Specialized Carve Comp
    '94 S-Works M2

  4. #4
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    For touch up, just use a black permanent marker. Works even better that the frame is matte

  5. #5
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    I have a 2008 matte black enduro and my brother has a 2009 stumpy in matte black as well. Both show very view signs of wear and and have held up very well to bushes and falls with over 2k miles on the enduro alone. The majority of time people scratch their bike while the bike is being transported to the trail or while it is being stored, I've seen the way my friends treat their bikes. I take care of my bike and there are no marks on it at all with the exception of a few from falls.
    08 Enduro: '12 Van RC2, Push DHX 5 coil, Flow EX, Hope m4, 750mm bar, Blacklite Post.

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loll View Post
    For touch up, just use a black permanent marker. Works even better that the frame is matte
    Great idea, thanks. My local art store has a set of Prismacolor permanent markers that might offer a very close match.

    Quote Originally Posted by camarosam View Post
    I have a 2008 matte black enduro and my brother has a 2009 stumpy in matte black as well. Both show very view signs of wear and and have held up very well to bushes and falls with over 2k miles on the enduro alone. The majority of time people scratch their bike while the bike is being transported to the trail or while it is being stored, I've seen the way my friends treat their bikes. I take care of my bike and there are no marks on it at all with the exception of a few from falls.
    Thanks for the post; that's helpful. I, too, am very careful with my bikes and always slather them with film of some sort. Riding near dirt, rocks and wood is hard enough on a frame. I like for my stuff to look good for a long time, and don't treat my mountain bikes like a cheap hammer.
    '12 S-Works Stumpjumper carbon HT
    '13 Specialized Carve Comp
    '94 S-Works M2

  7. #7
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    It's an MTB, so it'll get scratched

    The carbon will last better than the Al though. Here are a few pictures of my 2010 Epic expert. The front triangle is carbon, the rest Al. The seat stays are only a year old as I had to get them warrantied.

    Show pics of your 1x9 setup

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbco1975 View Post
    It's an MTB, so it'll get scratched

    The carbon will last better than the Al though. Here are a few pictures of my 2010 Epic expert. The front triangle is carbon, the rest Al. The seat stays are only a year old as I had to get them warrantied.

    Show pics of your 1x9 setup
    I was waiting for someone to say that!

    Thanks for the info. Cool bike! As I mentioned before, I take really good care of my bikes and hardly every drop it or crash. Clear film helps with the occasional oops.
    '12 S-Works Stumpjumper carbon HT
    '13 Specialized Carve Comp
    '94 S-Works M2

  9. #9
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    Mark - I have a 2013 Marathon and a Tarmac as well, both with the Matte Black finish. I was also concerned about the durability as they appear to be more delicate than gloss for some reason. So far, I've found it to be pretty tough - so I would tell you not to be concerned about it. Plus, it looks awesome

  10. #10
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    Great feedback, thanks!
    '12 S-Works Stumpjumper carbon HT
    '13 Specialized Carve Comp
    '94 S-Works M2

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark in Baltimore View Post
    Great idea, thanks. My local art store has a set of Prismacolor permanent markers that might offer a very close match.



    Thanks for the post; that's helpful. I, too, am very careful with my bikes and always slather them with film of some sort. Riding near dirt, rocks and wood is hard enough on a frame. I like for my stuff to look good for a long time, and don't treat my mountain bikes like a cheap hammer.
    No problem. I find it funny when I see other riders' bikes all banged up and abused, most likely thats from being thrown around while sitting at home or they throw them on top of one another in the bed of a truck. I've seen this and its pretty stupid. My motto is that the bike will eventually get scratched, but it better be from me riding it and not from something that could have been avoided.
    08 Enduro: '12 Van RC2, Push DHX 5 coil, Flow EX, Hope m4, 750mm bar, Blacklite Post.

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by camarosam View Post
    No problem. I find it funny when I see other riders' bikes all banged up and abused, most likely thats from being thrown around while sitting at home or they throw them on top of one another in the bed of a truck. I've seen this and its pretty stupid. My motto is that the bike will eventually get scratched, but it better be from me riding it and not from something that could have been avoided.
    I hear ya. I'm thinking of selling my two year old Top Fuel and pulled off the crankskin film to do a through cleaning of the bike. The bike looks almost brand-new with a couple of scratches and rock chips here and there, but the condition is a 9 out of 10.
    '12 S-Works Stumpjumper carbon HT
    '13 Specialized Carve Comp
    '94 S-Works M2

  13. #13
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    I have a '12 Stumpy EVO HT, its got the black finish. I think it has been pretty durable and I am a freak about keeping my bike clean/detailed.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT

  14. #14
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    My 2011 Stumpy EVO's matte and gloss paint combination has held up well....I did make a custom down tube protector out of black vinyl tape when the bike was new (barely even noticeable) When a chip does appear, it is easy to see because the primer is light grey almost white color! I have only had to patch a couple of 1/8 inch or so chips with automotive touch up paint, blending it with a bit of polishing compound, a very easy repair.

    I have just under 2,000 miles on this bike, mostly off road.....It still looks great.

    As someone else mentioned above, the matte finish is easy to patch with a sharpie marker.

    I wish the Stumpy was anodized black like my 08 Trance X2.....The black finish still looks like new except for a couple of rock dents on the down tube...According to my LBS, anodizing is more expensive than painting and most manufacturers have backed away from it.
    Last edited by borbntm; 01-17-2013 at 08:35 PM.

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    I have a '05 P2. It is grey, not black, but it is matte. I use it for pumping and jumping, so it falls a lot. I find that the coating is more durable and resistant than the gloss (black) one on my '10 Enduro Comp. Scratches are more evident on this one.

    Cheers

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by borbntm View Post
    I wish the Stumpy was anodized black like my 08 Trance X2.....The black finish still looks like new except for a couple of rock dents on the down tube...According to my LBS, anodizing is more expensive than painting and most manufacturers have backed away from it.
    Anodizing is a process that actually oxidizes the surface of aluminum as opposed to a 'coating', which is why it's so durable. Unfortunately, it's not possible to do this to a carbon frame, which is probably why more companies aren't anodizing as so many are moving away from aluminum for many [or most] of their frames.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    I have a '12 Stumpy EVO HT, its got the black finish. I think it has been pretty durable and I am a freak about keeping my bike clean/detailed.
    Sweet. Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by borbntm View Post
    My 2011 Stumpy EVO's matte and gloss paint combination has held up well....I did make a custom down tube protector out of black vinyl tape when the bike was new (barely even noticeable) When a chip does appear, it is easy to see because the primer is light grey almost white color! I have only had to patch a couple of 1/8 inch or so chips with automotive touch up paint, blending it with a bit of polishing compound, a very easy repair.

    I have just under 2,000 miles on this bike, mostly off road.....It still looks great.

    As someone else mentioned above, the matte finish is easy to patch with a sharpie marker.

    I wish the Stumpy was anodized black like my 08 Trance X2.....The black finish still looks like new except for a couple of rock dents on the down tube...According to my LBS, anodizing is more expensive than painting and most manufacturers have backed away from it.
    I plan on using crankskin or frameskin film to protect my new bike. The stuff works very well for high impact areas.


    Quote Originally Posted by tugamik View Post
    I have a '05 P2. It is grey, not black, but it is matte. I use it for pumping and jumping, so it falls a lot. I find that the coating is more durable and resistant than the gloss (black) one on my '10 Enduro Comp. Scratches are more evident on this one.

    Cheers
    I take it your bike is aluminum?

    Quote Originally Posted by 00XJCO View Post
    Anodizing is a process that actually oxidizes the surface of aluminum as opposed to a 'coating', which is why it's so durable. Unfortunately, it's not possible to do this to a carbon frame, which is probably why more companies aren't anodizing as so many are moving away from aluminum for many [or most] of their frames.
    Pretty sure his bike is aluminum. I should have specified in my thread that I was most interested in the matte/black carbon finish.
    '12 S-Works Stumpjumper carbon HT
    '13 Specialized Carve Comp
    '94 S-Works M2

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark in Baltimore View Post
    Pretty sure his bike is aluminum. I should have specified in my thread that I was most interested in the matte/black carbon finish.
    Considering that's the only option for the Marathon, I think you did!

  19. #19
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    In terms of paint durability my all black 2010 Epic Marathon 26" carbon frame was very good without any major scratches or chips in the finish. My 2009 Epic Marathon 26" carbon frame was very good too.

    My current white/black 2012 Epic Expert 29er carbon frame's finish hasn't held up so well though. The white paint is fine but the black on the seat tube is covered in lots of shallow but long scratches. This is from where I've wiped off dust and dried mud from the frame post ride with a cloth, rather than taking the time to wash it off. You can't see the scratches from a long way away but it looks scruffy close up.

    The black paint on the aluminium rear swimgarm hasn't scratched, despite being subjected to the same treatment. It's only the black on the main frame triangle that has scratched.

    Apparently the 2013 carbon Specialized Epics' use a different finish to previous year's bikes. It's claimed to save 90g per frame in weight. From pictures the 2013 Epic Marathon Carbon 29er frame looks to be mostly bare carbon fibre with a coating over it, rather than a painted finish, so I'm not sure how easy it is to compare that frame with previous year's finishes.

    Specialized 2013 Mountain Bikes Launched - BikeRadar

    .

  20. #20
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    Some of the bikes listed in this thread are matte black but have a completely different finish than what you're asking about. I have 2013 stumpy marathon with 505 miles on it (over half of those are race miles). So far the finish is holding up very well. I'm different from some of the posters in this thread in that I do tend to use my bike as hammer, and I know it'll be tired and used up by the time I'm through with it. I crash frequently and am not afraid to try new trails or features "because I might scratch my bike." I tend to crash quite a bit just trying new things. That said, it's already survived several wipeouts into solid rocks, and the resultant scratches are barely noticeable (2 on chainstay, 1 on seatstay). The worst cosmetic blemish was actually from me scraping one of my metal cleats over the top tube as I dismounted during a cyclocross race (she still took me home for the win). The shoe cleat scratched off some of the white accent paint on the top, but the matte carbon finish beneath stayed strong. Compared to my alum Jet9 (white powder coat finish), the stumpy seems to be holding up quite a bit better. It's obviously not impervious to scratches, but it's more durable than the Ano frames I've had in the past.

    MTBing isn't as fun if you treat your bike like a princess

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by WR304 View Post
    In terms of paint durability my all black 2010 Epic Marathon 26" carbon frame was very good without any major scratches or chips in the finish. My 2009 Epic Marathon 26" carbon frame was very good too.

    My current white/black 2012 Epic Expert 29er carbon frame's finish hasn't held up so well though. The white paint is fine but the black on the seat tube is covered in lots of shallow but long scratches. This is from where I've wiped off dust and dried mud from the frame post ride with a cloth, rather than taking the time to wash it off. You can't see the scratches from a long way away but it looks scruffy close up.

    The black paint on the aluminium rear swimgarm hasn't scratched, despite being subjected to the same treatment. It's only the black on the main frame triangle that has scratched.

    Apparently the 2013 carbon Specialized Epics' use a different finish to previous year's bikes. It's claimed to save 90g per frame in weight. From pictures the 2013 Epic Marathon Carbon 29er frame looks to be mostly bare carbon fibre with a coating over it, rather than a painted finish, so I'm not sure how easy it is to compare that frame with previous year's finishes.

    Specialized 2013 Mountain Bikes Launched - BikeRadar

    .
    Solid info, thanks. I think your 2012 Expert has a glossy clear coat on it, yes? I spoke with a rep at Specialized a few days ago and was told that the 2013 finish is a light matte coat on top of the carbon. Additionally, the logos are not decals but are painted lettering.

    Calfee Design said that they can supposedly replicate any decals or stripes in the event of a frame crack. Good to know if I go used.

    Quote Originally Posted by jd1072 View Post
    Some of the bikes listed in this thread are matte black but have a completely different finish than what you're asking about. I have 2013 stumpy marathon with 505 miles on it (over half of those are race miles). So far the finish is holding up very well. I'm different from some of the posters in this thread in that I do tend to use my bike as hammer, and I know it'll be tired and used up by the time I'm through with it. I crash frequently and am not afraid to try new trails or features "because I might scratch my bike." I tend to crash quite a bit just trying new things. That said, it's already survived several wipeouts into solid rocks, and the resultant scratches are barely noticeable (2 on chainstay, 1 on seatstay). The worst cosmetic blemish was actually from me scraping one of my metal cleats over the top tube as I dismounted during a cyclocross race (she still took me home for the win). The shoe cleat scratched off some of the white accent paint on the top, but the matte carbon finish beneath stayed strong. Compared to my alum Jet9 (white powder coat finish), the stumpy seems to be holding up quite a bit better. It's obviously not impervious to scratches, but it's more durable than the Ano frames I've had in the past.

    MTBing isn't as fun if you treat your bike like a princess
    Thanks for your post. I didn't know that the MTB line had different types of finishes for matte black. Do you have any more info on that? It might be a good data point for the archives.

    Interesting about your anodized frames not being as durable. My '94 M2 has a zillion miles on it and doesn't have any rock chips on it. Amazing.

    Regarding usage, some people are okay with "patina" while other people such as me like to take care of their stuff. My bikes are like my cars; every door ding or scratch I get pains me and just makes me feel like my stuff is looking like sh*t. It doesn't mean that I don't drive the wheels off of them, but it also means that I don't, say, scrape the side of the car along an alley wall as I pretend I'm Jason Bourne doing a Rockford in between two dumpsters. Good for you that you don't care. One can have huge amounts of fun on a mountain bike and, yet, still care for their steeds.
    Last edited by Mark in Baltimore; 01-23-2013 at 09:02 AM.
    '12 S-Works Stumpjumper carbon HT
    '13 Specialized Carve Comp
    '94 S-Works M2

  22. #22
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    My Spec road bike is a matte carbon finish, and it's held up pretty well. I only have one scratch that I think came from it falling over in the garage and hitting the corner of a table saw. Today I had it leaning against a road sign, and it slid down, and it didn't do a thing (to my surprise!). I know it's not the same as mountain biking, but for the tumbles it has taken and being thrown in the back of my car with another bike, I'm amazed that there isn't a blemish on it aside from the one scratch.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark in Baltimore View Post
    Sweet. Thanks!


    I plan on using crankskin or frameskin film to protect my new bike. The stuff works very well for high impact areas.



    I take it your bike is aluminum?


    Pretty sure his bike is aluminum. I should have specified in my thread that I was most interested in the matte/black carbon finish.

    Yes, itīs aluminum. Both are in fact. Sorry, didnīt realize you were talking about carbon frames...

    Cheers

  24. #24
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    Good job!

    ...
    Last edited by ratherbmtbiking; 08-14-2013 at 04:03 PM.

  25. #25
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    JEGS surface protection tape works very well and it's relatively inexpensive, too. I have it on my '13 Epic Marathon & Tarmac Pro - both in matte finishes and it adheres without a hitch. The finish does appear to be glossy, however, where the tape is applied.

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