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Thread: Spray.Bike city/beater conversion

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    Default Spray.Bike city/beater conversion

    I thought this might spark some interest.

    A good friend approached me over the summer about changing over his Felt flat-bar commuter into more of a sporty drop-bar commuter/mixed surface adventure bike. He quite liked the frame and it fit well and a couple of local shops ahem...declined to take the project on, citing time and costs - not an unreasonable position. We got the thing stripped down and the paint was super rough, covered in stickers and pock mark chips. The drivetrain was dirty but perfectly fine. Shimano Alivio 8 speed rear hub and derailleur and an idiotic Altus front derailleur. Since he wanted drop bars anyway and road shifters, we used Claris 8sp levers and front derailleur, cheap Tektro mini-v's, and new Gravel Kings and a chain. All in a little over $250 with new parts and some bits and bobs from my leftovers drawer.

    I've had my eye on the Spray.Bike site and videos for a while as I have a couple of frames and forks that are really ready for a repaint. Since this project was intended to be DIY/not precious, my friend jumped at the chance to re-think the look for very little money and time. He chose a forest green matte (Parsons green?) and a brass gold, as well as their putty primer intended to cover old decals and trashy frames. We lightly sanded the existing paint and did a thick primer coat and followed up a day later with a full coat of the brass. My friend made some masks out of Avery labels - next time use vinyl - and I scavenged some stationery dots to do a polka-dot pattern. The green went on in two coats, and the matte color goes on really dry. It's actually tricky to keep the can vertical and close enough to make sure the color goes on wet. Otherwise it basically dries before it hits the frame. All coats were dry to the touch in 10 minutes and we waited a couple of days to build it up.

    It's not perfect, but we spent very little time fussing. More time was spent masking then anything else. All told this was easy, and fun. He's a bit of a Hold Steady nerd, so the headbadge logo and Stay Positive are a little earnest, but charming. The frame is surprisingly delightful, the worst of the weight is in the fork, but it's stiff enough, great low speed agility but still tracks well at road speed. And there seem to be tapped fittings everywhere - for fenders, racks, mid-fork mounts, etc.. A lighter set of wheels with some knobbies and this would be great fun on gravel. Before and after:

    IMG_0351.jpgLRG_DSC00595.jpg
    LRG_DSC00597.jpgLRG_DSC00598.jpg
     

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    Default Re: Spray.Bike city/beater conversion

    Looks Peachy! How many cans of green paint?
     

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    Default Re: Spray.Bike city/beater conversion

    You did a good thing there.
    Breathing new life into old bikes is a blast.
    Thanks for that.

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    Default Re: Spray.Bike city/beater conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by Clyde View Post
    Looks Peachy! How many cans of green paint?
    Just one can of each from Spray.Bike. They imply that each can is enough to coat one frame and fork and they’re basically right. The green was two full coats, though we were definitely a little light in some spot but the can isn’t quite empty. Doesn’t really matter with 3 complete layers of primer, brass, and green over the factory paint. For $50 and about two hours of working time, it’s really satisfying.
     

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    Default Re: Spray.Bike city/beater conversion

    Looks great! I'm a huge fan of Spray.Bike (Squid Bikes as well) and that Parsons Green is a great color. I want to do a splatter or fade from Parsons to their Meise Orange or Bomber Blue.
     

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    Default Re: Spray.Bike city/beater conversion

    How does this paint stand against scratches/chipping?
    Andrea "Gattonero" Cattolico, head mechanic @Condor Cycles London


    "Caron, non ti crucciare:
    vuolsi così colà dove si puote
    ciò che si vuole, e più non dimandare"

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    Default Re: Spray.Bike city/beater conversion

    that is a fun and nice bike. good effort. I would happily ride something like that around town but the saddle/bar drop would need to be adjusted somewhat.
     

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    Default Re: Spray.Bike city/beater conversion

    Saddle to bar drop is personnal. I don't thing having a significant drop is detrimental to riding in the city as long as it fits.
    --
    T h o m a s

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    Default Re: Spray.Bike city/beater conversion

    Yeah. In the “before” photo you can see the saddle set for me testing the build - around 77cm above BB - but it’s not my bike. And my friend, though we are almost the same height, has legs nearly 2” shorter than mine. I marveled at how our reach was essentially the same, and yet need a radically different saddle position on a frame that would basically fit us both.
     

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    Default Re: Spray.Bike city/beater conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by Gattonero View Post
    How does this paint stand against scratches/chipping?
    I guess time will tell. Though Spray.Bike show just spraying right over existing paint and rough finishes, I would guess that like regular coatings, the prep and cure matter a lot to adhesion. We sanded the factory finish a little, cleaned with alcohol and then did multiple coats of primer and two colors. The primer cured for a few days before we added the color coats. This stuff really dries quickly - touchable in literally a couple of minutes. And they claim a 24 hour cure time is plenty before building back up. I did rub the whole frame with parchment paper per their instructions, which allegedly compacts the powder before it totally cures for more durability. They do a spray matte, but it’s not imported into the US for some reason. All told, it’s so easy to use and takes so little time that masking around a significant blemish and respraying would be very little effort. As would a whole repaint.
     

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    Default Re: Spray.Bike city/beater conversion

    Do mini vees work with normal road levers then? Bike looks ace, I liked it in the first photo too!
    Lee James Jones
    105 fan

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    Default Re: Spray.Bike city/beater conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by bertiewhang View Post
    Do mini vees work with normal road levers then? Bike looks ace, I liked it in the first photo too!
    Sure do ... "mini" usually means short pull levers. I have Paul mini vees on my Serotta and love them. Work great w/ 6700 levers.
     

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    Default Re: Spray.Bike city/beater conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by zambenini View Post
    Sure do ... "mini" usually means short pull levers. I have Paul mini vees on my Serotta and love them. Work great w/ 6700 levers.
    That's good to know. Thanks pal!!
    Lee James Jones
    105 fan

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    Default Re: Spray.Bike city/beater conversion

    Yeah, part of our process in converting from flat bar, MTB levers was switching from full-size Vs to mini Vs. Tektro's instructions are pretty good about the effective range of distances between the noodle-exit and the pinch bolt. With that distance within spec, and the pad washers arranged to get the pads close enough to the rims, the power and modulation from road levers is good. Especially for cheap brakes - something like $13/wheel.
     

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    Default Re: Spray.Bike city/beater conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by nick k View Post
    Yeah, part of our process in converting from flat bar, MTB levers was switching from full-size Vs to mini Vs. Tektro's instructions are pretty good about the effective range of distances between the noodle-exit and the pinch bolt. With that distance within spec, and the pad washers arranged to get the pads close enough to the rims, the power and modulation from road levers is good. Especially for cheap brakes - something like $13/wheel.
    Thanks man. This all good info. I'd ride my old MTB loads more if it had drop bars. Maybe one day!
    Lee James Jones
    105 fan

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    Default Re: Spray.Bike city/beater conversion

    I think this is a golden moment for those kinds of conversions - drop bars in widths and flares that make sense off-road are cheap and mainstream products from Salsa, Ritchey, etc., no longer expensive exotica. Stem standards are basically the same. Those Claris STI levers are totally fine and shift the 8sp mountain rear derailleur just perfectly. I had to replace the FD with a current Claris model that would swing enough for the given cable pull to shift the triple rings cleanly. Even so, that was all cheaper than many options for simple levers + finding 8sp bar-ends.
     

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    Default Re: Spray.Bike city/beater conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by nick k View Post
    I think this is a golden moment for those kinds of conversions - drop bars in widths and flares that make sense off-road...
    I'm genuinely curious/ignorant - why does a flare make for a better off road bar? I come from road/track. Everything other than straight narrow bars feel weird for me.
     

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    Default Re: Spray.Bike city/beater conversion

    My experience (limited) is that if you're looking for a slightly wider bar for leverage, which makes sense with some terrain and average speeds offroad, then the flare is helpful to keep from crashing your wrists or forearms on the outside edges of the bar top ramps while in the drops. Especially with today's shallow drops.
     

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