Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cyclcross Practice and Feeling Out The Bike

So last night, my buddy Billy hollered and wanted to see if I wanted to go do some cyclocross practice drills. I headed over to his place and we took off down the road. We warmed up with a 4 or so mile warmup down the road to a local park which looked like it was built to be a 'cross course.

When we got there, we tooled around the paths for a minute looking for a good place to do some drills. We found some fallen branches and set up a makeshift barrier. After that, we started doing dismount/remount drills going both uphill and downhill.

Next, we tried some runups and around a big stump followed by an immediate downhill. That was interesting.

After a few drills, we stopped for a bit and watched each other to give each other some suggestions on how to make improvements. I won't say either of us came away with any changes, but it was interesting to hear someone critique my technique, as well as interesting to watch someone elses.

Time to get ready to race (still 2 wks away)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Painting the CX Bike - Part 8 Completed

Well, she's done. I'm pretty pleased with the result. I know several mistakes I made, but also how to fix them, as well as how to not make those mistakes next time. The end result is pretty doggone good, and most people will never know of, realize or see the mistakes either.

I need to finish assembly so I can get to practicing the dismounts/remounts, but should be able to do that tomorrow.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Painting the CX Bike - Part 7 - Final Clear

So last night, I checked the weather to see what time would be the magic time to put the final clear on the frame. By the weather, it looked like 10am would be the magic time.

I hit the garage this morning at 8:30 and sanded down the frame with some 600 grit and fresh soapy water. I knocked down the rough spots, and the edges of the decals. Everything was nice and smooth.

Then I mixed up a cup of clear and started spraying it. It laid down nicely and the gloss was looking really good. Then, lo and behold, it started to rain!!!!!! Only a few drops hit the frame, but they make a wierd little blemish that has to be buffed out.

I waited 15 mins and hit it with the final really wet coat. This time, the frame really shined. I'm happy with the way it turned out in total.

I'll sand down some of the blems tomorrow and hit it with the buffing compound. That will really make the bike look good.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Painting the CX Bike - Part 6 - Decals and Clear

With the color on the frame, I checked over everything and it looked pretty good. I pulled out the extra decal set that came with the frame when I bought it. I then trimmed the edges of the decals to get rid of some fuzz they picked up and pulled out the measurements I had done of the frame before I stripped it.

I took my time installing the decals and they still came out a little crooked. Measure twice and stick once is the rule here!

Stickers in place, its time to mix up some clear and shoot it. As you can see from the pics, I shot the bike outside. Clear is dangerous nasty stuff. I did not want the fumes anywhere near myself or my family. I shot one misty coat and followed it shortly with a wet coat. I followed that with a wet coat 15 mins later.

The results are pretty doggone good. The clear laid down well and the finish is nice.

There a few too many places with an eggshell look to them, so I'll wetsand this down with 1000 grit paper to knock off the highspots and then spray it with 2 more wet coats. The results of that will be a glassy finish.

Painting the CX Bike - Part 5 - Color

After all that prep work, it was time for some color. This is when the paint job starts to look like a paint job!

I shot the white of the main tubes first. I used the touchup gun to lay the color and it went on very well with 40psi and approx 10% reducer.

Masking for the blue was the next task. Intially, I masked with standard green masking tape and used an Exacto to cut the shorelines. The result was terrible. I was beyond dissappointed with my results......

So I started over. This time I used 1/8" blue polyurethane 3M masking tape. This tape pulls and stretches around the shorelines very well. I then put the green tape around the ends of the tubes and cut the tape back from the blue tape. This gave a nice masked line. Finally, I sprayed a line of white AutoAir around the blue tape to seal its edges. This ensures the next color does not bleed under the tape.

Finally, I sprayed blue on the frame to finish the color. I used the touch up gun for the main body of work, and followed up with the airbrush for the shoreline areas.

Painting the CX Bike - Part 4 - Preparation

One of the things my uncle taught me was that a paint job is 95% prep work, and 5% spraying the paint.

So I started sanding down the frame. I started with 220 grit wet/dry paper. A tub of hot water with a little Dawn dishwashing soap to wet the paper in kept the paper from gumming up and becoming useless.

I hit the entire frame and spent extra time on all the problem areas. Wherever there was rust, I went all the way to bare metal.

This is a lot of work, especially on a bicycle frame. Cars are much easier in this respect.

The goal of this process is the level the surface and fix any chips or rusty spots.

After smoothing the frame and taking it down to a leveled surface, I shot a coat of primer.

At this point, I found a ton of flaws that had not been addressed the first time. So I sanded it down again to level and smooth those flaws. Then I primed again. Three more times this process flowed until I had a nice smooth surface to lay color on.

The final step of this section of the process was to lay the Auto Air Sealer. This is part of the Auto Air product and makes sure that the color base coat will adhere correctly to the frame. It comes in different shades, so I stuck with white to match the white coat of paint.

Painting the CX Bike - Part 3 Picking Paint

The next detail I had to deal with was/is that I needed to pick some paint for the bike. Specifically, I needed to pick a brand and type to shoot.

I painted bicycles, motorcycles and cars when I was younger. I was lucky enough to learn to paint from my uncles. They are farmers and have made money painting cars, motorcycles and farm equipment for people during the winter after harvest. I was lucky enough to learn the process from them.

Things have changed since then though. When I learned, we used single stage paint. That is, you shot it, it was shiny and had the color. When it hardened, you polished it and it was shinier. Good stuff, but not great. These days, people shoot bicycles with urethane 2 stage paints. Paint a base coat of color and then lay down a shiny clear on top of it. The beauty of this is that the clear will seal down the stickers on the frame! The clear is also tough.

As I looked for products, my problem quite literally was volume. Paint vendors sell qty's to paint cars. Bicycles use very small volumes. Eventually I found TCP global. They sell small volumes to motorcycle customizers. Next up, I found Auto Air. This is a waterbased urethane airbrush paint that can be used for higher volume applications like motorcycle tanks and bicycle frames. Finally, I found their Kustom Klear. Shoots easily and mixes well in small volumes.

I decided to shoot the paint in a touch-up gun, and to use my trusty double action airbrush for touch up work. I've shot a lot with the airbrush and it works well. I've also shot a lot with large siphon automotive guns, but they don't do small volumes well, so I went with a gravity fed touch-up gun.

So there ya go. There is my paint and my equipment. I ended up using a standard primer, sanding papers as well as typical tapes of different types to mask the bike when ready.

My repair stand was also invaluble during the process.

Painting the CX Bike, Part 2

So I posted below what the final product should look like When completed in the prevous post.

Here is what the bike looked like to start.

The bike did not look terrible before, but there were some issues with the original paint.

1. There were several rust spots on the frame where the paint had been rubbed away or chipped and rust had started to form. Not good on a CX bike, and something that is hard to stop once started.
2. The transfers on the frame were all coming off and looked pretty worn. 80's stickers were not the best quality.
3. I did not love the color of the frame, and it had a pearl clear coat on it which was peeling off in sheets in different places. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

New Paint For the Cyclocross Bike

Well, I decided a couple years ago that I wanted to re-paint my cyclocross bike. I'm now well into the process, but I thought I'd show some of the process here....

To start, I had to decide what I wanted the bike to look like. I pulled up BikeCad and had a go at putting together the paint scheme.

Here is the result......

Next up, I'll show some detail of the actual work......

Monday, September 12, 2011

177 Miles On A Vintage Bike

This past weekend was the annual Rock N Roll MS150 bicycle ride. The event goes from the Memphis, TN area to the Tunica MS casinos via a nice winding route. This was my 10th year participating in the event, and I've been lucky to be part of the ride committee for the past two years (not much participation on that team this year though).

My company sponsors our team, and even pays for jerseys for us to ride in. Pretty sweet deal! I also enjoy getting out and just riding for a whole weekend. Not training, Not racing, just riding.

So the weather for the weekend could not have been better. The temperature was perfect, the clouds were just enough to keep us from getting burnt, and the wind was pretty nice to us most of the time.

For this year, I elected to ride the Colnago Super I built this summer. At the beginning of the ride, I got a lot of looks from folks on carbon bikes. Their eyes said 'what is he doing out here with that old thing?'. Later in the ride, I started getting all sorts of comments from folks who really appreciated seeing a well maintained vintage bike. Over and over again, I told the story of finding it and the build. People were amazed that I had no trouble keeping up on a bike that was older than them.

The best compliment came when I pulled up along one of the LBS shop owners. As I rode up, he eyed the bike for a few hundred yards and said 'now that is a bike with class and character'. That made me feel real good.

One other fun detail of the weekend was day 1. On day one, they had an option for riding a century. I've never ridden a century in all my years riding (20+). Countless metric centuries, but never a regular Century. The weather was so good, I just had to go do it. I finished with a comfortable (not fast) time and headed to the banquet hall for some good food.

Day 2 was just as nice, but we only had a 75 mile option.

In the end, I rode 177 miles in two days. Definitely a personal record and one I'd like to duplicate next year.

Monday, September 5, 2011

CX Magazine

Well, I've written pieces for other hobbies I've been part of. I like to pass on what I've learned over time and through experience. It can be really fun to pass these things on.

To that end, I got an opportunity to write for CX Magazine. Fun gig. I've had several small snippets published, and just had my first longer piece published.

Give it a read. I hope you like it!

Click here -->CX Magazine Ridley Article