This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Nuovo Retro Trek-powdercoating

      As you probably remember, however vaguely, I have been giving my favorite and only road bike, a vintage TREK 560, a face lift.  I needed to replace the bottom bracket and, since I wouldn't be using it for a couple of weeks, I decided to leave the old beauty at a powdercoater to have the "custom" (rattle can) finish removed and replaced.
It really wasn't a bad looking job but I got tired of scratching it every time I rode it.  Powdercoating is supposed to be the most durable finish available these days so I gave it a try.  One minor problem made it take longer than I expected, they use a very aggressive stripping method and my seat post is stuck.  Since I really didn't want to remove it, it took a few days longer to strip it by hand.  I was afraid they would try to charge more when I picked it up but the people of Pro Finish Powdercoating of  Grand Rapids were really nice, accommodating and did it for the quoted $115. 
   A lot of vintage bike enthusiasts don't believe in using powdercoat because it is thicker and obscures the details of the lugwork.  I really didn't see that in the result.
I used a high metallic color of silver, which I am told shows details more clearly.  I think the lugwork was very well defined and shows off the cast trademarks quite well.

My cat gave it his blessing and approval,so I continued with the finish work.  Being a tried and true vintage bike aficionado (aka obsessive nutcase) I couldn't leave it one simple color. The lugs had to be detailed, so I sweat through the evening news masking the headtube and those interesting cast trademarks
and then masking the rest of the frame to prevent any overspray.

    I was all ready to add some color and, after priming the headtube, sprayed it with a contrasting metallic gold.
    Those nifty little tradmarks were fun to play with, I simply sprayed over them, gave it a minute to set and wiped the excess off the lettering with mineral spirits before it completely dried.
When I'm finished, the lettering will stand out in clear relief against a contrasting base.  I am able to get period correct decals from a number of different sources, but since this is an unusual tradmark that Trek used for only a few years, I decided to dispense with any other identification.
More fun through the weekend.


  1. Very interesting...

    I've got a 1985 Trek 520 in really good shape (luck of CL!).

    Wondering what year your 560 is?

    Thanks Marc.

  2. I bought mine in '86. I think the 520 was their tourong model wasn't ?


  3. I'm glad that you opted for silver. It indeed gave your bike an appealing look. Now, you don't have to worry about your bike's look for a long time as powder coating does not fade easily.

    Lonnie Summerall

  4. The hilarious part of the choice was that I finished the bike, was admiring it and realized I had chosen my high school colors (silver & gold) without thinking about it!