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  1. #1
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    Powdercoat or paint?

    I need to repaint my '95 Specialized Stumpjumper SS. It is a cromo frame and I want to know if I am better powder coating or respraying it? Someone told me powdercoat was heaps stonger but if it is why are some bikes not powdercoated from the factory?

    If I do go the powdercoat route how do I prep the bike?

    Cheers and thanks

    Timbo

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by rusty_ss
    but if it is why are some bikes not powdercoated from the factory?
    same reason you aren't getting a porche finish when you pay the price of a honda civic: cost.

  3. #3
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    Idea! PowderCoat all the way.

    Way more durable, and better finish with less overall work. Investment pays for itself. Take it to the local powdercoater, because anything you do, they have to do again, in order to guarantee nothing's been missed, or the powder won't cure properly. They'll probably media blast the old paint, and dip tamk the frame to remove any oils/etc. from inside and out.

    I paid $45 for the stripping, and $65 for a single stage gloss color.

  4. #4
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    Thanks obi.one. I respoded to weather's post b4 I saw yours but you answered it for me.

    Cheers

  5. #5
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    thanks weather, I take it you mean that powdercoat is better then. Should I prep the bike by sandblasting?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rusty_ss
    thanks weather, I take it you mean that powdercoat is better then. Should I prep the bike by sandblasting?
    The powder coater will probably include sandblasting in the price of the overall job. Just clarify that point with them and you'll know how to proceed. And I must concur that powdercoat is very durable and the best way to go on any bike that's going to see hard use.

  7. #7
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    Different perspective/experience

    Frame prep is critical to a quality powdercoat finish. If the powdercoater is used to working with quality bicycle frames, you're probably okay. But if not, make sure they don't attack the thin tubes with the sandblaster (it's possible to blow right through a thin tube) and consider going with paint instead.

    Although I don't know all the ins and outs of preparing metal for powder, I know it has to be done right. My Vulture wasn't. Powder is tough but it can still chip. Once applied, powder becomes like a one-piece plastic coating around your frame's tubes. Since powder doesn't stick to poorly preped metal as well as wet paint does, if the powdercoat chips, water can get in. If this happens, the water will get drawn down the length of the tube between the powdercoat and the frame tube itself. This happened to my Vulture, which was powdercoated by an industrial finishing company. Their quote was cheap but they were not well versed in working on quality bicycle frames. I eventually had to have the frame refinished as it developed rust under the "plastic coating" after the finish chipped.

    I would consider powdercoating a frame again but only if it was done by a company that was proficient at working with high quality bike frames. Otherwise, it's wet paint for me.

    --Sparty
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  8. #8
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    Well...

    hate to disagree with most of you, but look at it this way. Surly's are powdercoated, IF's are painted. That really says it all. Theres very little color choice in powdercoat, it doesn't polish well, and if water gets under it you'll have creeping rust and chipping. Paint is the best way, you just need to use the proper kind of paint and it will be stronger than the powdercoat. Also, never sandblast any metal unless its rusted heavily. Either just sand off the old finish, or have it plastic bead blasted(best method).


    MC


    Quote Originally Posted by rusty_ss
    I need to repaint my '95 Specialized Stumpjumper SS. It is a cromo frame and I want to know if I am better powder coating or respraying it? Someone told me powdercoat was heaps stonger but if it is why are some bikes not powdercoated from the factory?

    If I do go the powdercoat route how do I prep the bike?

    Cheers and thanks

    Timbo

  9. #9
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    Powdercoat!

    FYI http://www.spectrumpowderworks.com/ This place did an awesome job on my frame.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the info guys. I will look into local powdercoaters (in Melbourne Australia if anyone has any suggestions for this side of the globe), see if they have bike experience and then go from there. Cheers.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MellowCat
    hate to disagree with most of you, but look at it this way. Surly's are powdercoated, IF's are painted. That really says it all. Theres very little color choice in powdercoat, it doesn't polish well, and if water gets under it you'll have creeping rust and chipping. Paint is the best way, you just need to use the proper kind of paint and it will be stronger than the powdercoat. Also, never sandblast any metal unless its rusted heavily. Either just sand off the old finish, or have it plastic bead blasted(best method).


    MC
    Actually I have to disagree with you now. There are quite a few colors to choose from with powder coat and some really cool color combos and fades. The most interesting of which I've ever seen was on a team Panasonic road bike done by Santa Cruz Powderworks (The same guys who do the powder for Santa Cruz bicycles and Bontrager, Rocklobster, etc.). humm how do I explain this. First off it was a STEEL bike done in translucent blue to red fade. This may seem like a bit of a paradox because translucents are usually only done on aluminum because aluminum can be made shiney, and the color is more vibrant because it's a translucent color or semi see through. They got around this by first putting a coat of "Las Vegas Gold" Powder on the frame then after cooking that layer they applied a blue to red fade. Where the two colors met in the light you would see purple, the type of effect you can only get with powder and was a real visual phenomenom not a paint "trick". It was sweet.

  12. #12
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    Let me chime in:

    As for colour choice, I have a book of 250+ "basic" RAL powder coat colours, there are also BS colours and various addatives fro glitter or glow-in-the-dark finishes

    If the frame is prepped correctly the powder will not only fuse to its self but also to the metal as the pores in the steel open up when heated and will allow the semi-molten powder to stick better.

    Getting a good company to do the work, like everything else in life, is the key. The company I use have done a lot of classic motor bike and car restorations plus high-spec car wheels and shop fittings.

    Best to give a few a ring and speak to them (or visit if you can) and get a feel for how they work.

    Alex
    "Put any one on one of these singlespeed bikes and they could not help but have fun"
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  13. #13
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    why....

    do you think a painter couldn't have done the same thing?

    Paint is endless, powercoat is still very limited in comparison. It's cool the powdercoaters are getting more creative though. I just don't understand why so many of you fight for this option all the time, is it alot cheaper perhaps? It certainly doesn't look better than a nice paint job, and its not more durable than an Imron or Glasurit painted frame.

    How do you properly touch up a powdercoat frame once its chipped or scratched?

    MC

    Quote Originally Posted by cdad_martinez
    Actually I have to disagree with you now. There are quite a few colors to choose from with powder coat and some really cool color combos and fades. The most interesting of which I've ever seen was on a team Panasonic road bike done by Santa Cruz Powderworks (The same guys who do the powder for Santa Cruz bicycles and Bontrager, Rocklobster, etc.). humm how do I explain this. First off it was a STEEL bike done in translucent blue to red fade. This may seem like a bit of a paradox because translucents are usually only done on aluminum because aluminum can be made shiney, and the color is more vibrant because it's a translucent color or semi see through. They got around this by first putting a coat of "Las Vegas Gold" Powder on the frame then after cooking that layer they applied a blue to red fade. Where the two colors met in the light you would see purple, the type of effect you can only get with powder and was a real visual phenomenom not a paint "trick". It was sweet.

  14. #14
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    It certainly is more durable.

    I hade a frame done and it certainly is alot more durable. It also has a thicker coat so only very bad scratches go all the way thru. Like they said above it bonds to the frame. I would recomend getting your frame media blasted though it is not sand it is shredded paper/plastic it doesn't wear on the metal.

  15. #15
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    what proof...

    does anyone have on this durability ? Last time I checked the paint on my old BMW didn't chip at all after rocks hit it at 90mph. That car had Glasurit on it. How much more durable than that does you bike frame require?

    MC



    Quote Originally Posted by chruby99
    I hade a frame done and it certainly is alot more durable. It also has a thicker coat so only very bad scratches go all the way thru. Like they said above it bonds to the frame. I would recomend getting your frame media blasted though it is not sand it is shredded paper/plastic it doesn't wear on the metal.

  16. #16
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    Actually....

    Quote Originally Posted by MellowCat
    does anyone have on this durability ? Last time I checked the paint on my old BMW didn't chip at all after rocks hit it at 90mph. That car had Glasurit on it. How much more durable than that does you bike frame require?

    MC
    First hand experience. Like others have pointed out, a scratch has to be very deep to get through to the metal. I have had truck rims powdercoated gloss black and ride with more than few people that have had frames powder coated. The stuff, if done right, can not be touched when it comes to durability. Sure you can get a frame painted that will be durable and looks better than powder, but have you ever priced what a paint job like this cost. It easily goes for well over twice of what the same quality powder coat can go for. Take a look at Spectrumpowderworks website, their work is outstanding and better than the majority of finishes that come from the factory. There lies the key, make sure you ask around before taking a bike frame to just any place to get powdercoated. I know a guy that likes to get a new coat every couple years on his SS. He gets one color, it looks like good work and its cheap. I also know another person that took his Gary Fisher to a local place and they baked it at a temperature that actually ruined the frame. I personally would spend the money on having it done by people that are well known and have plenty of experience with bikes frames.

    Brian

  17. #17
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    Powdercoat is more durable. It's the coating of choice on most parts subject to a lot more abuse than bikes, like farm machinery. It's thicker, more resistant to chipping and scratching (because it's more pliable and not as brittle as paint). Proper preparation is as important for paint as it is for powdercoat. Poor preparation = poor performance for both. I've had three bikes powdercoated for $50-65 each, including all the prep work. The powdercoat performs superbly. I had many color choices but the coater I use doesn't do anything fancy, all my jobs are one color for that price. If you want fancy you can get anything done in powder that can be done in paint, anything. One reason powder is not as common is that a lot of companies have money invested in paint and don't want to make the investment in powder. Up front costs can be more to set up a powdercoat operation and there are a lot more good painters out there than good powdercoaters, simply because powdercoating is newer.

  18. #18
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    me too

    My first hand experience is that powdercoat sucks. I've had 4 bikes with it, all of them chipped and rusted. They were all factory finishes too. My painted bikes have held up much better.

    Cost is the real reason to pick powdercoat, period. There's no functional difference in durabilty between the coatings for bikes. I think powdercoat just looks like crap after awhile too, it doesn't hold a shine like paint does.

    Rant off.

    MC


    Quote Originally Posted by BrianU
    First hand experience. Like others have pointed out, a scratch has to be very deep to get through to the metal. I have had truck rims powdercoated gloss black and ride with more than few people that have had frames powder coated. The stuff, if done right, can not be touched when it comes to durability. Sure you can get a frame painted that will be durable and looks better than powder, but have you ever priced what a paint job like this cost. It easily goes for well over twice of what the same quality powder coat can go for. Take a look at Spectrumpowderworks website, their work is outstanding and better than the majority of finishes that come from the factory. There lies the key, make sure you ask around before taking a bike frame to just any place to get powdercoated. I know a guy that likes to get a new coat every couple years on his SS. He gets one color, it looks like good work and its cheap. I also know another person that took his Gary Fisher to a local place and they baked it at a temperature that actually ruined the frame. I personally would spend the money on having it done by people that are well known and have plenty of experience with bikes frames.

    Brian

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by MellowCat
    ...Cost is the real reason to pick powdercoat, period...I think powdercoat just looks like crap after awhile too, it doesn't hold a shine like paint does...
    This describes my experience, too. I have nothing against powdercoat when prepped & applied correctly. I just don't think it's superior to paint. And I could never get my powdercoated frames to keep a lustrous finish like I can my painted frames.

    Maybe a clear coat of paint over the powder?

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  20. #20
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    Powdercoat

    Like everyone else is saying not all powdercoats are created equal and prep has alot to do with it. As to the BMW response, your car has many layers of paint and clear coat on it. If you were to do that to a bicycle frame it would gain probably more than a quarter of a pound and you'd never find your water bottle bolts. Why is powdercoat when done right stronger? Do you know how the powdercoat process works? look it up, it's pretty cool.

  21. #21
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    If you want, you can have a clear powdercoat applied. Paint and powdercoat don't mix well. You can easily touch up scratched powdercoat with paint but a paint clear coat wouldn't work well. One other big advantage to powdercoating is it's environmentally friendly and easier on worker health, too.

  22. #22
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    Well...

    thickness means little in the strength catagory honestly. Most cars are painted Basecoat/clearcoat anymore. 2 steps/layers, thats it. Your thinking of the old laquer finishes which did require building up the base so you had something to polish against, the new stuff is not like that(and hasn't been for 10 years I bet). A thicker coating actually adds to the chipping problem.

    I've been holding back my sources. My father has been working in the custom welding business for over 40 years. They've coated more steel with paint or powdercoat than all of the bike companies in the U.S. a hundred times over. I get my info from him. If you've ever ridden on a steel rollercoaster you've seen their companies more recent work. They do the track welding and finishing for most major coaster companies the world over. Oh, most tracks are painted, not powdercoated, for durability reasons... The leaching rust problem with powdercoating is the main reason I believe they paint the track though. Its to hard to inspect the track properly since the rust can hide better under powdercoat.

    And to those who talk about the powdercoating bonding to the metal, look up etch primer, it does the same thing, and any decent painter will use it on your bike.

    Rant back off!

    MC



    Quote Originally Posted by cdad_martinez
    Like everyone else is saying not all powdercoats are created equal and prep has alot to do with it. As to the BMW response, your car has many layers of paint and clear coat on it. If you were to do that to a bicycle frame it would gain probably more than a quarter of a pound and you'd never find your water bottle bolts. Why is powdercoat when done right stronger? Do you know how the powdercoat process works? look it up, it's pretty cool.

  23. #23
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    Cost is the real reason to pick powdercoat, period. There's no functional difference in durabilty between the coatings for bikes. I think powdercoat just looks like crap after awhile too, it doesn't hold a shine like paint does.

    I beg to differ, having carried out scientific tests on a range of paints and powder coats I can say that powder coat is tougher and less scratch resistant (down to the metal) than wet-paint. The other thing going for powder coat is that it does not use some of the nasty thinners associated with traditional wet-paint and is nicer to work with. The only caveat I will add is proper prep and application are key to the best results with any coating.

    The cost issue is not that key, my wet painter charges £10 more than the powder guys and I still need to do all the masking! That is for a one colour coat, anything fancy and the price sky-rockets...and the tears shed when you scratch it also increases

    Plus the powder coaters are much quicker and more adaptable than the painters who seem to make endless excuses and take weeks for a single colour (and I have used pretty much every place in the UK in the last 10years)

    At the end of the day I want something to cover my frames and stop them rusting. How shiny it remains after 12months is not high on my list of priorities as shiny bikes do not ride better (tested this too!)

    Now I see why MC builds with Ti....no need to paint

    And relax...

    Alex



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  24. #24
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    Ti?

    I build with Ti? Cool, must be my other personality working with it though!

    MC, shiny painted bike lover.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by MellowCat
    I build with Ti? Cool, must be my other personality working with it though!

    MC, shiny painted bike lover.
    MC

  26. #26
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    Wink Luster of Powder Coating

    MC= Matt Chester...

    Any type of finish will fade eventually. Yes some higher end paint jobs will hold their finish longer, but so will an industrial powdercoat finish such as the newer two stage finishes.

    Personally, I look at light scratches, loss of shine as Patina, but if it's a concern for you, Mother's makes a wonderful product called MicroFinish. It's a fine grade polish that you follow up with a coat of wax. Been using them on Show Cars for years, that have both powdered and painted items.

    As far as chipping, that'll occur with paint too. the solution for this is, properly prep the chip by feathering it out, then run to your local Long's, Walgreens, wife's drawer, and find a matching color of nail polish.

    (Man, this went from a basic conversation to an all out geek-a-thon.)

    Obi
    Last edited by Obi; 02-06-2006 at 08:25 PM.

  27. #27
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    Thanks everyone

    for all the responses (I dont think I have ever asked a question that has generated this much debate on a forum). I certainly have a better idea of the pro's and con's of each now. I suspect the point may be moot anyway because I have not been able to find a powder coater nearby with experience on bike frames yet and given everyones advice I think Ill steek clear of the guys who usually do 4WD wheels. Anyhow whichever way I go Ill post some pics when its done.

    Cheers and thanks

  28. #28
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    What

    Quote Originally Posted by MellowCat
    . Oh, most tracks are painted, not powdercoated, for durability reasons... The leaching rust problem with powdercoating is the main reason I believe they paint the track though. Its to hard to inspect the track properly since the rust can hide better under powdercoat.

    MC
    I would guess that the main reason that roller coaster tracks are painted is that they have to be welded on site. This tend to rule out powder coating since you cant fit a whole roller coaster into an oven.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by chruby99
    I would guess that the main reason that roller coaster tracks are painted is that they have to be welded on site. This tend to rule out powder coating since you cant fit a whole roller coaster into an oven.
    Besides the inspection process on steel coasters are done daily with binoculars since it is nearly inpossible to walk a steel rollercoaster. And at least once a year it is inspected with an X-ray device and magnetic scanners since the most likely place for rust would be from insided the track The place where it cannot be pained or powder coated.

  30. #30
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    There's nothing special about a bike frame. Most coaters know how to mask threads and areas that shouldn't be coated. A little instruction about areas they may not be aware of is all they need (brake bosses for instance). I'd look at their work and if it's good I wouldn't rule out a powdercoater just because they haven't done bicycles before.

  31. #31
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    Their ....

    bolted together in sections. Each section fits on a semi trailer.

    Quote Originally Posted by chruby99
    I would guess that the main reason that roller coaster tracks are painted is that they have to be welded on site. This tend to rule out powder coating since you cant fit a whole roller coaster into an oven.

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