Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Theoretical Bicycle pt.5

As the Theoretical Bicycle stayed Theoretical for a little too long I mulled over every part probably more than was healthy. Now I have custom paint on the fenders and cargo rack. Worth it? Well, it looks pretty good in my eyes and it kept me busy while the frame was not showing up. Pretentious? Hell yes. One of the very few non-new parts on the bike is the cargo rack. I had this Axiom Phoenix rack for a couple years and I've been impressed with the sturdy construction and the style of the curved aluminum sheet on top. The colors were not right for the Theoretical Bike though, I wanted to get it back down to bare aluminum. Powder Coat is stubborn stuff though, it doesn't like to come off without a fight. After some time on bicycle and automotive forums, it seems the best chemical assistant for removing powder coat is spray-on gasket remover. After the first application the layer of coat turns really rubbery and puffs up, easily peels right off in layers. I was able to get most of the powder coat off both parts with subsequent applications of the gasket remover but the really stubborn bits took a lot of elbow grease, steel brushes, scraping. It took about a month.

Painting was a lot easier. I had emailed Volagi and they sent me the Pantone code for the cream color paint they were using. I was able to find a local company that sells quality spray paint in the same color - bonus! I set up the extra bathroom shower as a paint booth with some plastic drop cloths and a lot of tape. The biggest trick to good looking paint is careful masking ahead of time. I drew the lines on my fenders by laying the fenders flat on the floor and just dragging a sharpie, also laying flat, along the edge. It gave me just the right amount of exposed silver and left a perfect line that was easy to follow with tape. For the curves I laid strips of tape down on a surface that I wouldn't mind marring but could also be peeled back off. Then I scrounged around to find round shapes around the house with the correct radius, a mix of coins and spice jar lids, and they were easily traced out and cut with an X-Acto. Then just peel them off and reapply to the appropriate fender or rack part. Then Primer and Paint, a few coats of the latter - easy peasy. The black pinstriping is 3M black reflective tape (.25"), I found it on amazon. Its very reflective and supposedly plenty durable for longterm outdoor use. I then just cut more radius forms out of black electric tape for the curved black pinstriping at each end (the reflective tape not quite flexible enough for that tight of a turn). I hit everything with a few coasts of clear coat for a final layer of durable protection and they are ready to mount!

It seems I don't have any decent pics left of the paint application, you'll have to wait until the next post (soon) to see the finished product.

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