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  1. #1
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    Restoration - Tips, Ideas and Questions.

    OK let this be the restoration thread. See how it goes.

    This is thread is intended to give tips, ideas or ask questions on methods to restore paint, decals, other finishes and components that can be found on any bike.

    Let's see your before and after photos.

    Let's hear your ideas about how to perserve and protect frames, paint, decals, other finishes, components, tires, etc.

    Let's hear about what didn't work and what does.

    Have you made any parts because you couldn't find originals? Let's see them and hear how you made them.






    Original post:

    Can't find one on MTBR or RB.

    Am I missing it or are those discussions just incorporated into other forums randomly?

    It would be helpful to some of us, like me, who like to restore old bikes and their associated parts. I see it as a forum to post photos of your project, share tips and ask questions.

    Surely I am not the only one who likes to restore a bike and then ride it gently, while using other bikes for more aggressive riding. Or am I? ...if so then it would be a very lonely forum. I can moderate it too since it might be only me.

    Thoughts, comments?
    Last edited by sq_root_of_2; 05-31-2013 at 08:57 AM.

  2. #2
    velocipede technician
    Reputation: hollister's Avatar
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    Why subdivide an already niche hobby. Just post it here. This is the target audience after all
    looking for 20-21" P team

  3. #3
    Master of the Face Plant
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    The last thing MTBR needs is another forum.
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  4. #4
    VRC Illuminati
    Reputation: Rumpfy's Avatar
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    What Hollister said. Same reason we don't have a plebeian vintage bike forum and a high end vintage bike forum.

    A restoration thread is definitely something you could/should start though...but I think you'll find that not many people can restore/clean/refurb at the level you do. Not sure if you'll find that frustrating or not.
    For example, restoration to me is washing the bike.
    -eric-

    http://www.rumpfy.com
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  5. #5
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    There should be a restore thread. I tend to hit up the BMX forums when I have an inquiry (or ask a friend!) . Those dudes are light years ahead of us.
    Seek: Koski Trailmaster. Breezer Series 2, or 3. Fillet brazed Ibis Custom. Cunningham Racer. Otis Guy (but not that softride model). That's all I need I don't need anything else... except... except for an old Mountain Goat bar stem combo. And that's all I need. I don't need anything else. Except.....

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rumpfy View Post
    What Hollister said. Same reason we don't have a plebeian vintage bike forum and a high end vintage bike forum.

    A restoration thread is definitely something you could/should start though...but I think you'll find that not many people can restore/clean/refurb at the level you do. Not sure if you'll find that frustrating or not.
    For example, restoration to me is washing the bike.
    I think I can/will start one and watch the cobwebs accumulate.

    Thanks for the compliment. I really love doing that kind of work. There are way more frustrating things to get bent about in my world.

    I have seen some photos of your bkes...they look very nice...way beyond just washed.


    Quote Originally Posted by Aemmer View Post
    There should be a restore thread. I tend to hit up the BMX forums when I have an inquiry (or ask a friend!) . Those dudes are light years ahead of us.
    Yes, I have also referenced car and BMX restoration forums as well.


    I think lots of vintage objects have proceedures and topics regarding restoration, for example: vintage cars, boats, clocks, art, etc. etc. Should vintage mountain bikes be different? Just asking.

  7. #7
    All Lefty's, all the time Moderator
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    I can see a forum dedicated to restoration turning into the OK Corral.

    Guys with 12 year old, beat down Treks getting bagged on by the guys who wouldn't touch anything newer than 1986.

    It would go south, fast.

    I'd suggest starting a thread, making it as informative and detail oriented as possible, and let it do it's thing for a little while. If it grows legs, it's easily made into a sticky, since not too many pop up, it'd keep it front and center.

    Just my 2 cents.
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

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  8. #8
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    FWIW, I'm currently restoring a 96 ControlTech to period correct but I'm afraid to post pictures until it's done because I've seen some stunning examples of restorations and I want to make sure it's in the same league.
    I'd be interested in seeing a thread on all restorations...

  9. #9
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    I think some are missing the intention of the forum or thread.

    It is not necessarily intended for any specific bike but could be (as above), it is meant to give tips, ideas or ask questions on methods to restore paint, decals, other finishes and components that would be found on any bike.

    Also a place to share anyone's successes and failures during a project. It might save some original paint on these old bikes.

    Therefore the information would be applicable to any bike.

  10. #10
    the new Gilbert Grape
    Reputation: laffeaux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sq_root_of_2 View Post
    I think some are missing the intention of the forum or thread.

    It is not necessarily intended for any specific bike but could be (as above), it is meant to give tips, ideas or ask questions on methods to restore paint, decals, other finishes and components that would be found on any bike.

    Also a place to share anyone's successes and failures during a project. It might save some original paint on these old bikes.

    Therefore the information would be applicable to any bike.
    So is this the thread? or is another one starting?

    My tips for keeping frames looking nice:

    - Painted steel frame: It's amazing what a coat of Turtle Wax will do to make an ugly frame look nice again. The wax is a paste that is applied to the frame. After it dries, buff the frame until the excess dull wax is removed. Afterward the paint looks much nicer and all of the nicks and areas with missing paint are protected (by wax) and also much less noticeable.

    - Unpainted aluminum frames: Aluminum oxidizes quickly and a shinny frame becomes very dull. There's a product called "Mother's Aluminum Polish" that you can buy at an auto parts store that will make the aluminum finish shine like new. Polishing the frame takes a bit of elbow grease, but when you're done the frame will look brand new. It's well worth the effort.
    Each bicycle owned exponentially increases the probability that none is working correctly.

  11. #11
    Humanoid Lobster
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    Seems like a good place to ask this; has anyone got experience with a powdercoater who will do components at a reasonable price? (NYC area, but I'm talking about parts so it would be cheap to ship them I suppose.)

    I've got some bar-ends that I would like to have re-coated with black powder.

    Also, I have some Bontrager fork blades that I would like to have re-plated (they have a dull nickel finish now, not chrome). Problem is that they also have aluminum reinforcement inserts pressed in near the top of the blade. I think that this means that they cannot be plated without removing the aluminum sleeves as the chemicals for nickel plating seem as though they would not be nice to aluminum. I think that it will be a problem to remove the sleeves without damaging them.

    So, should I just get the blades powdercoated also? Anyone else tackled a similar problem?
    Don't call it a gooseneck.

  12. #12
    one chain loop
    Reputation: fishcreek's Avatar
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    would hand polishing the hubs with mothers aluminum rub off the shimano xt print? i always envy those mirror polished hubs with prints intact.
    everything sucks but my vacuum cleaner.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishcreek View Post
    would hand polishing the hubs with mothers aluminum rub off the shimano xt print? i always envy those mirror polished hubs with prints intact.
    My opinion any abrasive can take that off. That doesn't prevent you from using it on all the other areas but lighten up the pressure around any lettering on anything. Keep watching while you are polishing to make sure you are not losing any lettering. As with anything a soft touch is always better.

  14. #14
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    [QUOTE=laffeaux;10434891]So is this the thread? or is another one starting?

    See my modified title and edited original post....Let's make this the thread and see how it goes.


    Thanks for the polishing tips as well.

    Re painted frames: I agree using a good cleaner wax or light polishing compound (not rubbing compound) will remove the oxidation on old paint and bring out the shine. If you use a polishing compound go lightly and look at the rag you are using to make sure you are not removing too much paint. Always keep an eye on the area you are working on. Work on small areas at a time. And if you do use polishing compound remember to wax the area afterward so like you said you have a coat of wax on it.

  15. #15
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    Over the years I have restored a lot of bikes, most of which would not be applicable for this forum. But the techniques were the same. Here are some of the products I've used with success:

    Cleaning - If I'm going to polish/wax the frame, I'll use dish soap. If I'm not going to polish/wax separately, I'll use automotive wash containing a wax agent. I've also taken frames into the shower to use warm water since I don't have an industrial sink.

    Polish - Meguiar's Ultimate Compound for polishing and paint restoration. Apply via foam pad, rub off with a microfiber or terry cloth. I've also used a Mothers Power Ball with the drill to save time.

    Wax - Any brand works here. Liquid wax, paste wax, etc. They all get the job done if applied and buffed properly.

    Steel Frames - Use Weigle's Framesaver. Tape all the holes, the head tube and the BB shell. Spray the framesaver, rotate the frame around so it coats the inside, and let dry. I have never used oxalic acid or anything to remove rust from the inside of the frame.

    Rust Removal - Speaking of rust, my favorite product for rust removal, by far, is Evapo-Rust. I got a gallon of it at Harbor Freight for around $20 and have been using it for years. It's non-toxic and can be reused many times before you have to dump it. I keep some in a Nalgene bottle and throw rusted bolts and small parts in there. Let it soak overnight (shaking a few times) and then remove the parts with a magnet. I've also used it in a plastic tub for bigger parts.

    Polishing Aluminum - As laffeaux mentioned, use Mothers Mag and Aluminum Polish. By far the best option out there. I also have used a Dremel with a polishing wheel with the Mothers product. For really beat up parts, I've used a aluminum wire attachment on the Dremel. It works to reverse pitted oxidized aluminum but it can take a layer of the metal off, so use with caution.

    Solvents - Soap or Simple Green. If I'm short on time or am not too worried about damaging paint, I use rubbing alcohol. Sometimes I soak really old, really dirty parts in another Nalgene with paint thinner in it. A good option if you don't have a parts washer, and you can decant the unused spirits after the sediment precipitates to the bottom of the Nalgene, making it somewhat "reusable."

    Lube - Everyone has their favorites. Thick white synthetic grease, like the kind used for marine applications, works exceptionally well as a hearty bearing grease. It also helps to polish the races of old bearings if they show any kind of wear prior to reassembling the hubs/headsets. I use teflon-based lubes for pivots (Finish Line Dry) and Phil's Tenacious Oil for the in-between jobs. I don't have any good recommendations for rubber conditioner, as just about anything you put on grips or tires will make them slippery.

    Tools - As mentioned, the old Nalgene bottles work well for soaking small parts. Costco carries terry cloths that are cheap and last a while. I really like using a large brush made for automotive wheels to clean bikes with soap - it was $4 at Target. I also use a lot of toothbrushes, toothpicks and shishkabob skewers (to remove built up grime in a cassette, etc.)


    To me, there is something very satisfying about taking a bike completely apart, cleaning and polishing every piece, then reassembling it.

  16. #16
    Master of the Face Plant
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    Most of the resto tips I have used may not apply to most mountain bikes but here goes.

    Like Jmartino said, dish soap, it is cheap and environmentally safe and you can use it without gloves.

    For mega bad caked on 30 year old grease use cheap autozone or Orielly auto brake cleaner. I got 4 cans once for $1. The best thing about it is it will not leave a residue. Bad thing is it stinks. Wear gloves in an open area.

    Rusty pre war skip tooth chain? Soak it in white vinegar and it will look new and all the links will free up. The same applies to any part with rust.

    Oxalic acid (wood bleach) works great on rusted chrome, just soak it. Don't breath it or touch it. It will eat up your mucous membranes and skin.

    Red Devil Lye is great for removing old ano from parts like rims and cranks. Just don't mix it too strong or leave it too long. It will eat right through the metal if you do. It also works great for clearing drains.

    If you have a newly painted bike you want to preserve use 3m clear automotive paint protectant tape. It really works well against chips and scratches and comes off easily. I used it on a frame I bought for $500, I rode it for a year and then peeled the tape off, polished it up and sold it for $400.
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  17. #17
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishcreek View Post
    would hand polishing the hubs with mothers aluminum rub off the shimano xt print? i always envy those mirror polished hubs with prints intact.
    The XT print around some of the polished hubs is a sticker. I was surprised to see this peeling up on my Rock Lobster's front hub.

  18. #18
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    Anyone have any luck (advice) on reconditioning the dried out gum walls of hard to find tires that sit around ones place for years with plenty of tread on them but cannot be used or parted with?
    p

  19. #19
    Phobia of petting zoos.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PiasRoller View Post
    Anyone have any luck (advice) on reconditioning the dried out gum walls of hard to find tires that sit around ones place for years with plenty of tread on them but cannot be used or parted with?
    p
    Don't know about gum walls, but on the gum hoods of my vintage road bikes I use olive oil. But that's before they get dried and cracking, once they crack I don't think there's anything that can make those cracks rejoin but I would be happy to stand corrected on that.

    Grumps

  20. #20
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    does anyone have any idea how to 'touch up' a scratch in an anodized surface?

  21. #21
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    Sharpie marker

  22. #22
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    Some ano colours are hard to make look right with touch up...what colour ano?

  23. #23
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    I had luck with clear shoe polish, kinda like the turtle wax tip, it get in the bad spots and bonds them together, but if you ride where is dry and rocky like i do in eastern Washington it won't matter i've ate up few sets of gumwalls this year already. Got that one from a vintage BMX forum. Use it on cracked or dried out gumwalls or if the threads on the sidewalls are dry and have sandy like texture, not sure if those are gumwall types but it works.


    Quote Originally Posted by PiasRoller View Post
    Anyone have any luck (advice) on reconditioning the dried out gum walls of hard to find tires that sit around ones place for years with plenty of tread on them but cannot be used or parted with?
    p
    1985 Ritchey Timber Comp
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    1987 Ritchey Timberwolf

  24. #24
    Hi.
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    Grumps is right - cracked, old rubber has lost the oil and cellular structure that keeps it elastic and pliable. There is really nothing you can do to get that back. Every "treatment" is simply for aesthetics, unfortunately.

    That's why re-relases of vintage tires (like the ones that the guys at MOMBAT hooked up) are really nice. New rubber with an old design that'll keep you riding so you don't chew up a bunch of vintage tires.

    Another good question - how do people keep their tires? What's a good way to keep a pair long-term without having them dry out? Plastic bags?

  25. #25
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    Sorry i should have been more specific, u probably dont want to run old tires for trail riding that are damaged anyways, its not safe. usually people do the clear polish for show bikes or to preserve originality of a complete original bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    Grumps is right - cracked, old rubber has lost the oil and cellular structure that keeps it elastic and pliable. There is really nothing you can do to get that back. Every "treatment" is simply for aesthetics, unfortunately.

    That's why re-relases of vintage tires (like the ones that the guys at MOMBAT hooked up) are really nice. New rubber with an old design that'll keep you riding so you don't chew up a bunch of vintage tires.

    Another good question - how do people keep their tires? What's a good way to keep a pair long-term without having them dry out? Plastic bags?
    1985 Ritchey Timber Comp
    1985 Ritchey Ascent
    1987 Ritchey Timberwolf

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