From red to grey - Planet X respray and rebuild

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  • This is, or rather was, my Red Bike. I imagine the reasons for its name is fairly obvious.

    Not everyone's cup of tea, I appreciate, but I rather liked it. I built it to use on the Fred Whitton Challenge, which features both Wrynose Pass and Hardknott Pass after the 100 mile point. Since both get up to about 33%, I wanted a very wide gear range so I could ride them rather than walking, which plenty of people end up doing. That's why it has a triple up front and an XT MTB rear mech. I originally ran it with a 11-34 rear cassette (giving a 30/34 bottom gear) but last year used an 11-32.

    This year I'm going to HTFU and use a compact double on the Fred, so the Red Bike needed a rebuild, switching from Ultegra/XT to 10 speed SRAM Force. I'll also be replacing the red Ritchey WCS components with some black Ritchey components, including a Superlogic seat post and handlebars. So I thought I'd take the opportunity to make the bike a lot less red.

    It currently looks like this:

    The sanding's about half finished - the other side of the frame is pretty much untouched. My garage workbench is now a fetching shade of pink, thanks to the pink gloop which is formed when wet-sanding red paint, and I no longer have any finger prints on my right hand. I'm also heartily sick of sanding the bloody thing. Still, no going back now.

    Hoping to paint it this weekend.

  • Good effort! Wear latex gloves, I find it makes so much difference.

  • I've done some of it wearing nitrile gloves (my hands get irritated by latex ones if I wear them for too long) but they start to annoy me after a while. I'll try going back to nitrile for the other side...

  • Why you sanding it so much?
    as long as the old red paint was in half decent condition, and not flaking off, then all you need to do is create a smooth surface for the new paint.

  • It had a few fairly deep scratches on it which went down to the primer, so I needed to sand down to the primer to get rid of them. And then I got a bit carried away. And (hangs head in shame) I keep on thinking that if I simply lay another coat of paint over the existing paint it'll be heavier. #weightweenie. I know I'd save more weight by getting my hair cut more often.

    I fear I may lose interest in taking off so much of the red topcoat on the other side. Then one side of the bike will be heavier than the other and it will explode.

  • Oh, i see.'s pointless me getting involved in this conversation then, as logic has already abandoned ship!

    I wish you the best of luck with the sanding. invest in some 3M foam finishing pads, as they will make your life a little easier.

  • Oh, logic ran off whimpering and gibbering in despair a long time ago! Given that it's my second-best UK road bike, and therefore a bike I'm supposed not to worry about too much, I should've just left it red and built it up with the new components. As @Cycliste has pointed out on many, many occasions.

    Are the 3M foam finishing pads the ones for final machine polishing?

  • Ah, haven't seen them before. I suspect I won't be able to use any on this job - I'm hoping to finish it off tomorrow and I don't think the local retailers in the City of Ely will stock any. I'll bear it in mind for my next endlessly dull sanding job though.

  • Good progress over the weekend. I finally finished off sanding the other side of the frame:

    Upgraded the lighting in the spray booth from 2x 70W flourescents to 8x 53W, which makes a big difference - not surprisingly.

    The old lighting setup was OK for car panels, with big flat areas, but didn't really provide enough light for more detailed work like bike frames. And I've also made a couple of spraying stands from some IKEA speaker stands I've had lying around unused for years - one for the frame, and one for the fork. I've even masked up the frame, so with a bit of luck the paint will go on this evening.

  • Paint has been applied - Mazda 25G Titanium Grey, some decals, and some good ol' full-fat isocyanate laden Maxilack clear. I fear there may be some epic runs, however, as my frame-painting touch-up gun was playing up, so I ended up having to use the full-size DeVillbiss FLG. Perfect for spraying car panels, less good for bike frames. Still, from a distance and in a photo taken with a crap phone camera, I reckon it looks OK...

  • looks amazing! although what's that curved line from the top left corner of the N through to the middle of the X? Just frame shape and lighting?

  • It's a detail in the frame which is shown up by the lighting. There's similar fluting on the top tube and on the chain and seat stays.

  • I see, good stuff then.

  • Wow, looks fantastic! Original (even though I admired its functionality) reminded me of:

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  • Silver will be blingin in the sun!

  • Looks brilliant.
    Wish my bike was grey :(

  • Much, much better!

  • Was sceptical, but kudos! That looks great

  • Rather annoyingly, it turns out that the clearcoat has reacted with the stickers - I put the stickers on after the basecoat and put the clearcoat on afterwards. I've done this previously, on the Dawes and it was fine, but I think I put on the clearcoat too thick this time round. The clearcoat has also run along the edges of the stickers, which supports this theory. So I've removed the stickers, and I'll have to block sand the clearcoat back and respray it down the downtube. I've ordered some new stickers, but I think this time I'll put them on after I've done the clearcoat.

    So the Planet X won't be coming on holiday next week to Gran Canaria - I'll have to take the Dentist's Chair instead, and finish off the Planet X when I get back. Such is life.

  • Lovely shade of grey, would've prefer an darker shade but nice touch sir. The stickers could be in red, so that it maintains a little bit of her former identity

  • So, back from Gran Canaria, I was surprised to find that the clearcoat on the frame still seemed a bit tacky. Normally the Maxilack clearcoat sets pretty hard overnight, but it was strangely reluctant to cure. Then there was the mysterious vinyl sticker lifting. And the runs were much worse than I'd expected. But the really odd thing was that the clearcoat wasn't curing properly.

    Experienced spray gun slingers have probably worked out my mistake by now, and are either hooting with derisory laughter or have their head in the hands praying this fuckwit is never allowed near a spray gun again. Or possible both.

    I can't be sure, but I think I forgot to add the hardener to the clearcoat, and added thinners instead. It's consistent with all the problems. So I've burned my way through another load of sheets of wet'n'dry, and removed all the clearcoat and basecoat. It was surprisingly easy to remove, even if it tended to clog the wet'n'dry, which supports the lack-of-hardener thesis.

    I've ordered some new stickers, and given it 3 coats of basecoat and 3 coats of clearcoat, making sure to add hardener to the clearcoat. The frame and forks are now dark silver once again, and are busy baking under the heat of 4 400W halogens for the weekend. I'll pick them up on my way back from the airport on Sunday evening. Here's hoping I haven't fucked it up again...

  • Unfortunate turn of events but sounds like you've got a handle on it, love the colour, I would like that with a sparkly clear coat for my road biek.

  • Nice

  • Thanks. The basecoat actually has a lot of metallic in it, although you can't see it in the photo, so adding pearl clear could be considered OTT. Not that that would stop me - I just don't have any pearl or candy to add to the clear yet. Proof of the pudding will be when I fly back on Sunday night. The spray booth will either contain a beautifully cured frame, or it'll be burned to the ground because I left the halogens on. Fingers crossed...

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From red to grey - Planet X respray and rebuild

Posted by Avatar for Brommers @Brommers