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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jun 2005

    Painting a classic frame advice needed

    I have one of the last Bontrager Races made in SC. Bought new when I worked in a shop who was a dealer. I can't remember if Bonti power coated or painted their frames. My question is to refinish or just touch up trouble areas?

    The frame, paint and decals are in good shape but I have a couple of trouble spots. Most of the finish (like 90%) of the is fine. On the seat stays a few chips have some surface rust, plus some rust under finish around those chips. The frame itself has no rust inside. I decided to overhaul the bike this winter and discovered the finish around the BB, drive side chainstay, and a small spot by the seat post clamp was peeling off. Metal underneath is fine. Finish wise I would need to hit the bottom of the bike and both seat stays and seat post clamp area.

    I know value wise it better to keep it original, but I don't want rust. My thought is to color match the paint, wire brush and treat the rust spots. Then sand to fade in the chips, mask the rest of the bike, prime and paint the spots. The finish peeling is concerning and I'd sand back to where it is stable again. OR get new decals, have it striped and treated for rust and get it powder coated.

    Not so sure how concerned I am about value as I doubt I'll ever sell it, but I don't want to ruin the original finish if I don't have too. Thoughts or suggestions, what would you do?

  2. #2
    VRC Illuminati
    Reputation: Rumpfy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Well thought out question on a popular debate topic.

    Personally I prefer patina. They're only original once and those battle scars tell a story...especially if it's an original one owner bike.

    If you don't ever plan to sell it and you don't care about total originality, but rather prefer a bike with a clean bill of health protected by a reliable power coat...then by all means, paint away. PC is cheap and replacement decals are plentiful (originals more expensive than repops).
    Bontragers are awesome and have a great cult following, but they're by no means 'rare'.

    In this instance, I think it will boil down to your personal preference and how much you're ok spending on the restoration.

    Hope that helps some!
    Wanted: NDS Suntour XC Pro Microdrive 175mm Crank Arm.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: laffeaux's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Bontrager's were originally powder coated. If the finish is bad get it redone.

    Don't worry about the value of the frame. Bontragers are awesome frames, but there are a ton of them available and the prices reflect that. You could likely buy a new frame for the cost of anew powder coat. So refinish it as you see fit.
    Each bicycle owned exponentially increases the probability that none is working correctly.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    True, one of the reasons I don't want to refinish it is the earned battle scars. If I redo the finish it will look new again as I have no dings or dents.

    Powder coat ... I kind of remembered that and the peeling off part gives me pause. Meaning when will it stop? So redoing it all makes sense.

    I don't really use this as my main or even secondary bike. It gets on single track maybe twice a year and spends most of its time towing my kids trail-a-bike on the C and O canal. So I kind of want to be cheap and just touch it up, but it represents the last bike I built when I worked in a shop. I even keep a worn out sid ti on it because of nostalgia (and the difficulty of finding a 1" aheadset fork).

    Another idea ... use POR-15 on the rust and spray clear coat on it? That might be too half ass though.

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