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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm about to get my frame back in a raw state and I'd like to keep it looking that way with a clear finish. I've read a few old threads but have some new ideas and looking for feedback. This is a Fillet Brazed steel hardtail.

Things I'm considering
- Fluid Film both inside and outside of frame.
- Clear enamel spray paint
- Parafin Wax
- Powder coat- last resort

Questions
- No experience with FF, it says "non-drying", does that mean it remains in a tacky/sticky state and would get all over clothing and gloves when you touch the frame? Would probably need to be reapplied 1-2 times per year but does not require disassembly of bike. Can it be cleaned or blasted off the frame down the road if I decide I want to go another direction or does it bond to the metal?

- Spray paint seems simple enough. Would go for a satin or matte finish. Read some reports of it flaking off over time. Not the end of the world, could be touched up or blasted and powder coated down the road if needed.

- Wax: intriguing. Parafin gets rubbed on frame and melted with heat gun. Sounds messy but I've seen one of these in person and it was pretty cool. Some surface rust is expected.

- Powder coat- will be more durable and longer lasting than others. More expensive too. I've had a couple frames powder coated with good results, just looking for something different.

Thoughts?
 

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Questions
- No experience with FF, it says "non-drying", does that mean it remains in a tacky/sticky state and would get all over clothing and gloves when you touch the frame? Would probably need to be reapplied 1-2 times per year but does not require disassembly of bike. Can it be cleaned or blasted off the frame down the road if I decide I want to go another direction or does it bond to the metal?

- Spray paint seems simple enough. Would go for a satin or matte finish. Read some reports of it flaking off over time. Not the end of the world, could be touched up or blasted and powder coated down the road if needed.

- Wax: intriguing. Parafin gets rubbed on frame and melted with heat gun. Sounds messy but I've seen one of these in person and it was pretty cool. Some surface rust is expected.

- Powder coat- will be more durable and longer lasting than others. More expensive too. I've had a couple frames powder coated with good results, just looking for something different.

Thoughts?
I've dealt with three of the four personally.

1) 'Spray Paint'. I'm including an actual spray job under this category. I had one frame sprayed with Imron clear coat. Between the blasted finish and the gloss clear, it had an interesting look to it. There was something like 5% pearl in the clear too, so there was a bit of sparkle. This was a $50 special, which is why I include it in this category...far better than anything you could do with a can, at almost the same price.

2) Wax. PITA. Sounds like a good idea, but at the end of the day, wax is soft, and will be taken right off by brushing up against a bush or whatnot. Despite what you might think, Minwax (AKA, furniture wax) makes for a harder surface than, say, Turtle Wax, but is more of a pain to apply. *edit* To clarify, the harder it is to apply the wax (ie, the wax is more solid than liquid), the harder the finish will be.

3) Powder Coat. Had one that was a stock raw finish with a matte powder coat. No complaints, just wasn't a huge fan of the matte job. Made it look like it was hazy.

1+3 WILL rust eventually. You'll get spider webs underneath the surface, since you can't put down a rust inhibitor underneath a clear coat (well, you can, but then you won't have a raw finish).

Fluid Film sounds/looks like Boeshield, engine flogging spray, framesaver, etc. Essentially a 'self-healing' film. All of them are a ***** to remove when you go to try to paint something, and will make powder coating next to impossible (weeps from the vent holes when the frame is heated. They need to be removed with a solvent, and again, can't re-iterate this enough, it is a ***** to remove from inside the frame so powder coat will not be ****ed up around the vent holes. If the brazer filled the vents when they were done, this is less of a concern...
 

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Cool idea. IIRC there was an On-one offering a few years back in raw that was intended to age gracefully. Not sure if it grew out of the classic car movement of impeccably maintained but showing their age cars and especially trucks.

I had an early year Surly CC that was stripped for a repair and ultimately clear coated. It showed some spider wed rust lines but it's just character. Sold it a while back to work colleague as it was too small for me. I liked the look though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Cool, good feedback.

I contacted FF and they got right back to me. Basically said it would work great on the inside of the frame, on derailleurs, chains, cables, etc. but probably not ideal for the exterior of the frame. I think I'll probably use it internally though.

This frame was previously powder coated with a translucent powder. It looked great and I could see some spider webbing after only 2 years. Not a big deal, just interesting to see.

I think I've narrowed it down to Rustoleum Clear Satin or powder coat. Thinking I'd rather do it myself for now. I can always have it professionally done later if it doesn't hold up well or looks like crap.
 
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