Vintage Bicycles Done Proper :: Corvallis, Oregon
In 1986 steel framed bicycles were in their prime. High quality bikes, at reasonable prices, were being cranked out by manufactures such as Miyata, Schwinn, Univega and of course, Fuji. Who knew at the time, legends were being born? This ’86 “Glacier White” Club Fuji is no exception.
Although this frame came to me in fairly rough shape, I feel I have taken her about as far as possible without a full blown repaint (or major match and touch up project). When received, the frame was filthy, cables, brake pads and bar tape in non-usable condition, lights and fenders attached by zip ties (!!), random stickers applied, mismatched rubber that was long gone along with a general feeling of a bike that simply been rode hard and put away wet.
However, these 80’s Fuji’s are, in my opinion, under appreciated and although rough, I could see good bones.
Renovation included removing anything bolted on for a thorough, deep cleaning starting with the frame.
Unfortunately, this bike had innumerable paint chips, especially near the drivetrain chainstay (dimpled paint chipping occurred from a lose, slappy chain) and also on the seatstays. These seemed to be the largest areas. Anywhere I found the paint rubbed off I paid special attention to. Exposed areas were cleaned and rust removed and brought down to bare metal. Since I did not want to take this rebuilt to the level of matching paint, the areas were hand clear coated (2x) then waxed so that no rust accumulates in the future as long as proper maintenance is taken into consideration.
Thankfully, I was able to salvage most of the original parts although, sadly, during the cleaning, the rear derailleur lost some of its “Suntour Cyclone” script. During this time, I felt that the black anodized Suntour Cyclone brakes did not fit the overall color scheme so I made the executive decision to change the feel by attaching period appropriate Dia-Compe 500 GX’s.
The rest of the bike was overhauled with new grease, oil and bearings throughout (excluding the sealed Suntour hubs which already spun like butter). Other replacements include a new Shimano sealed bottom bracket, Nashbar Vintage Saddle, bar tape, brake hoods and cabling throughout. New rubber was also installed (Vittoria Zaffiro) and of course, the wheels trued. Since on the subject, I feel the need to plug the Nashbar saddle applied. Although inexpensive, I feel these saddles are an excellent value and actually don’t feel too bad on the road. Like pedals, saddles tend to be an extremely touchy (ha ha?) and personal item. I find that a buyer will change both pedals and saddles out after a little time on the road so why put the best of the best on, unless the build is of a higher end. I believe that as long as the aesthetics match and the item is not of low quality these two items have some wiggle room since they will most likely be replaced anyway.
Lastly, make sure to take note of the wonderful seat pillar. I love the fluting with matching paint. Quite a nice touch from the factory!
The following are the specs from the 1986 Fuji catalog. They don’t differ too much from this Club.
Color: Glacier White
Frame Size: 54cm (C-T) seatpost & 55cm (C-C) top tube
Frame/Drop-outs: Quad-butted chromoly “VALite” tubing
Fork: Quad-butted “VALite” Aero; Chrome plated
Handlebars: Phillipe Guidon Franco Italia; Nashbar bar wrap
Saddle: Nashbar Prospect Vintage Saddle
Seat Pillar: Sugino SP-KC
Crankset: Sugino AS-LP SA; 52/42 170mm
Freewheel: 6-Speed Suntour Winner
Hubs: Suntour Cyclone (Sealed; 36 hole)
Front Derailleur: Suntour Cyclone
Rear Derailleur: Suntour Cyclone
Shifting Levers: Suntour Cyclone
Brakes: Suntour Cyclone levers; Dia-Compe 500 GX calipers; Dia-Compe pads
Rims: Ukai 700C alloy gunmetal
Tires: Vittoria Zaffiro
Pedals: MKS Sylvan
Special Features: Double water bottle bosses
© Josh Capps and The Simplicity of Vintage Cycles. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Josh Capps and The Simplicity of Vintage Cycles with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Hey the fuji looks great, i really like the color scheme. You cleaned it up really well too!
Thanks for the comment, Andrew!
This one took quite a bit of time (just under a year!) because of other projects I had going on although I am pleased with the way it turned out.
The fade style of paint is my favorite as it is so screaming 80’s. It typically looks really fantastic unless the two colors clash hard, which also happened quite a bit in the 80’s. The only problem is when you have a minor blemish that falls within the fade. Good luck touching those up.
Also, as a side note, keep up the great work on Toronto Vintage! I’m a big fan.
Wow, thanks for posting your work here. I found this page while searching for 86 Club Fuji info. Like you I’ve taken up the hobby of bringing old bikes back to the road. Unlike you though, I’ve just started, so I still have a long way to go. I’ve decided, to make it simpler for myself, to stick with Mid 80s Fuji bikes.
The hardest part for me right now is the touch ups… How do you go about matching colors, and what sort of clearcoat do you use? I have an 86 Sagres which is nearly pristine, but the chainstay is really pockmarked. I got the rust down to clean metal, but not sure what to do with it now.
Thanks again for a great site!
Glad you found the site!
Matching touch up color is an ongoing challenge for me. I’ve found that it’s like the old saying goes, “a minute to learn, a lifetime to master.” The more involved I get, the more I realize how far down the rabbit hole I have gone and how much further I can go.
For quick and dirty, I highly suggest nail polish. Your local drugstore, such as Walgreens, has a slew of of colors and they have no problem with you bringing your frame, or even a full bicycle, in to compare the nail polish color to the frame. They are usually frantically watching for shoplifters anyway, so some fella with a bike is the least of their worries. What you will have to worry about with nail polish is the issue of dry back. Meaning, what the color looks like after it is dried on the frame because it will certainly be different than the color in the bottle. My suggestion is to buy a few and test them in areas not easily seen by the public. Under the bottom bracket is a good spot to start. Once you find a suitable color, the bare metal is essentially protected but if you’d like to add more strength to your alteration, cover the newly painted area with a very thin layer of clear nail polish. This will fully coat and protect it. The best news? If you don’t like your results, you can use nail polish remover to erase the job you did!
The other option is to find colors at your local hobby shop. Model paint now comes in a variety of different brands (not just Testers) and very specialized brushes to help make the job easier. You’ll spend more but the results will also likely be better.
That’s about as much info as I can give for your minute lesson in paint touch up. Although I do have more tips/hints but that should give you enough to get you started and be dangerous.
Have fun and thanks for swinging by the site!
Thanks for the tips! Really like your site and the work you’ve done!
I’m happy to hear you’ve gotten something out of the posts, Tom! Swing back by anytime.
I like your Club Fuji. I find and ride 80’s Fuji’s too. I’m into Leagues because they have the good frame and I convert them to fixies or flat bar city bikes so the components don’t matter as much. If I found a Club or Team of Opus i would restore it though. I’m getting a Sagres this week.
Have you had any luck finding cones for LaPree hubs? I’ve been babying two sets along near the end of their life and would love to replace them. I’ve tried Wheels Mfg but none were tapered enough to fit.
Here’s a way to find touch up paint. Go to an auto body supply store. Frequently, the have spectrophotometers and software to match paint colors. That and the experience of the mixer can get closer than most pre-mixed colors.
Keep up the good work.
Fuji has a slew of bicycles I’m constantly looking for. The Team is one, the America is another, the Touring Series III and IV. The list goes on and on. They really did make years of very fine bicycles.
I don’t see many LaPree hubs come across my path. However, a contact I know mentioned stumbling across a website that provides a method for refurbishing pitted cones. You chuck the axle and cone into a drill and polish the cone with 650 grit sandpaper wrapped around a dowel that matches the cone’s curve, using successively finer grades of sandpaper, until you get a nicely polished finish. Perhaps a little research on your end may yield injecting some new life back into those LaPree’s?
Great suggestion on the paint. I’ll give that a shot next time and see if the price point and level of service can works for the build.
that fork looks sick . had a few team fuji’s club’s and supreams love the feel of steel
I am really happy to see this post on here! I am in the process of restoring the same 86′ Glacier White Club Fuji. Do you happen to recall the specific hobby paint or nail polish that you used to to any of the touchups? Anyway this looks like a great restoration, its great to see that there are so many other folks out there that still care about the engineering and crasftmanship that went into these fujis
I agree with your comments about Fuji bicycles. They, along with Centurion and Univega were of incredibly high quality in terms of craftsmanship and materials used.
As for the paint, going back through my bottles, I skipped the nail polish and went with either Model Masters GL White or Model Masters Insignia White. I wish I had a more definitive answers for you but the years have faded the details from my memory.
Thanks I will defiantly, check those out. Anything to point my head in the right direction is much appreciated!
Thanks so much for the post. Kinda riffed on what you had done on my same Fuji Club. Rides like a dream. Used Michelin Lithion tires with blue trim. Any luck getting the brake hoods to not gum up? They get awful sticky. And hard to find to re-place.
Nice tire selection! As for the hoods, are you wearing riding gloves? If not, I highly suggest a pair. Even some inexpensive ones would work and they would likely help the stickiness of the hoods. But, make sure to first clean them with a scouring pad, some Isopropyl alcohol and a little diluted Simple Green afterwards. If they are really bad, the other options is finding more hoods on eBay. That’s where I typically get mine when I need NOS or a nice, used set.
I had a club fuji in 1985 and by the way the best years for all japanese is typically around 85 and 86. The Club was one of the best all around riding and even racing bicycles I ever rode. I was stronger than average and needed a strong steel for sprinting and it was no slouch for racing with the proper angles and a slightly aggressive set of angles for what it is. Its not a club racer only, you can do full touring with it, or you can race. The frame was the ideal in Steel production bicycles as far as what it offered for its price. It came with Cyclone and great 144bcd crankset. It had superior strength and was very pretty looking. It was nearly identical to Miyatas 710 of the same year and both were very special machines. Today most make a huge mistake in buying a $5k carbon racing bicycle to ride on weekends. They have hair, lycra, carbon and 23c tires, I see them all the time, a corvette when they need a minivan. Really Im serious the Club Fuji was the peak of what 90% of bicycle riders need. No carbon, no delicate treatment needed. The angles and the ability of this frame design was perfect for the average rider. A tad more relaxed angles than a full race bicycle but a lot more comfort and equally quick. Remember quick steering does not mean fast on a bicycle. The Club can take 28c tires and for about $400 a person can get a nice example, put some tires on it, and then put some aero brake levers like Tektro. This bicycle was a superb bicycle, and I would much rather have it and $4500 to keep in my pocket and in truth I would put it up against any carbon bicycle today if you heavy or strong, and these bicycles will last 25 more years if in good shape.
That’s a very fine review, Issac. There is a lot of truth in your comment. Although, the marketing departments around the world whose clients are bicycle manufacturers, parts and gear all want to tell us the exact opposite. Sadly, it has worked on many.
Great, well balanced bicycles can be had at reasonable prices and would likely suit the rider and their task so much better than what they ended up with. But, hey, it’s what the pros are riding! It must be good! 😉
Big Amen to that. I too feel that bikes are over-marketed and the old lugged steel Fuji’s are classy. I love both my1985 Fuji Leagues. Not as high end as the Club but still a sweet bike. One is converted to a fixie, one built up as a 21 speed. Both are still going strong on the original wheelsets.
Nice work Josh. One question on your specs listing. You state “Frame/Drop-outs: Quad-butted chromoly “VALite” tubing” which I think is an oxymoron. VALite per the 1985 Fuji catalog is “a Vanadium/Aluminum/Manganese alloy” and some of their other frames are Chrome Molybdenum. Or am I just not understanding something correctly – highly likely 😉
I’m just starting to appreciate the vintage Fuji’s. Last month I bought a nice 1980 Fuji Newest frame and I’m currently building it into a 1980 Professional in Newest clothing. By that I mean, I am going to use mostly 1980’s vintage Suntour Superbe and Superbe Pro components which the Professional model used, but it will be installed on the Newest frame. BTW, the Professional and Newest used the same frames with Suntour Superbe dropouts. The 1980 Newest used the original Cyclone series components, which I also like but hey why not go for the best!
I’ve also just purchased a 1985 Fuji Club that will need a bit of work as the frae appears pretty scratched up. That will be my first go at the VALite tubing vs the 331 Co-Mo tubing on the Newest.
I did learn one important thing about the 1980’s Fuji’s or at least this 1980 Newest, and that is they left very little clearance between the top of the tire and the frame. Originally the Newest had 27″ tubular tires. So I figured I’d use some 27″ clinchers in the rebuild. Well with the brakes installed the tire rubs to bottom of the brakes pivot bolt! So I will need to go with 700C rims now if I want to go with clincher tires. A new lesson learned.
I know I wouldn’t post something if it wasn’t true so I did some digging. Since the Fuji is long gone, I was able to unearth an image of the type of decal on my Club Fuji.
It’s not 100% identical but it’s close.
Lucky you to score such fine specimens of Fuji brilliance! Even with the tight clearance, they all sound like keepers to me. Nice work!
A couple of ideas on your brake clearance issue. I’m assuming that it’s the rear brake that rubs the tire. If so, here’s a couple of solutions to consider. If it’s the front brake, #5 is NA. Please don’t be insulted if these are painfully obvious to you. If any of these ideas induce nausea, the 700C wheels may be the ticket.
1. Sometimes after the brake is adjusted, the clearance increases to a usable amount. This is more true of dual pivots than singles.
2. All clincher tires are different heights. Vittorias seem to run shorter than Panaracers, for instance.
3. Different calipers, DiaCompe 500’s for instance, have less meat around the pivots and give more clearance.
4. I’ve filed out small amounts of the brake caliper with a half round file or re-drilled the front facing hole on the rear brake bridge with a slightly larger bit to give a tiny bit more wiggle room for the pivot bolt. Elongating the hole with a small round file will do the same. Using a concave washer under the nut will cover the hole and keep the caliper in position once it’s socked down. Some thread locker (on the washer) might help, also.
5. This last one is not for the squeamish. It’s good for <1/8" more clearance. From your local hardware store, get a heavy steel or iron pipe section that fits loosely in the gap between the seat stays under the brake bridge. Rest the bike with the top of the seat tube firmly on a solid surface, Put a bolt through the brake mounting hole. This prevents the hole from crushing closed. With the pipe in position, at a 90 degree angle to the seat stays, give it a good whack with a hammer. A 20 or 24 oz hammer is a good choice. The head is small enough to not hit the seat stays but heavy enough to make a difference. Don't whale on it like Thor, just let the hammer and pipe do their metal thing. Repeat as needed. You can judge progress by the curvature forming in the brake bridge, Don't overdo it. The main caution is to make sure the welds on the bridge or where the seat stays attach to the seat tube don't crack.
Thanks for chiming in, John. Great suggestions in order of level of skill and comfort.
Wow thank you so much for taking the time for such an extensive and informative reply. I’ve only been seriously tinkering with the road bikes for a little over a year now so I’m still learning new stuff all the time. Albeit I’ve been repairing my bikes over the years like any kid brought up in the 60’s would do 😉
Naturally since Fuji used Ukai 27″ rims with tubular tires I opted for what I had around the shop in like size. I had a nice set of 27″ Sun Mistral rims (M17 630) that I mounted some Bontrager T1’s (27 X 1 1/8) tires onto. Those appeared to be fairly low profile. I just measured the clearance without any brakes installed and got a little under 2mm in the front and 1mm in the back. Not much play and if the wheels ever hits a pot hole and goes slightly out of round I’d be walking the bike home 😉
I then tried a 27″ MAVIC rim wheel with a KENDA 27 X 1 1/8 ((28 630) tire on it. I only had a front wheel so could only measure that clearance. It was 4mm in the front now or about double of that with my planned wheel set above.
Next I grabbed a 27″ Ariya rim wheel off another bike which had the Panaracer Pasela 27 X 1 1/4 tires on it. You were correct, and I kind of expected it too, there is NO clearance with this setup! It even squeezes down on the tire a wee bit. I love those Panaracers, but they are beefy tires for sure.
Right now I could possibly do some 27″ wheel swapping between my other road bikes here and find a set up that provides a decent clearance like the MAVIC/KENDA combination. However, I only have that one front MAVIC and no matching back wheel.
As I mentioned I just bought another Fuji. A 1985 Club is on its way from Alabama to my home (Between Chicago and Milwaukee). That bike has a pair of Ukai 700C 25 wheels on it (minus tires). I think I’ll use those on this 1980 Newest build as they will match manufacturer wise to the originals. I’ll keep the Sun Mistral’s for another rebuild in the future. Those 700C’s should provide all the clearance I need no matter what tire I select. I already experimented with my Superbe brakes I’m using and they will work fine with 700C’s.
Addressing your brake comparisons. Again you hit the nail on the head. I tried some DIACOMPE 400’s I have here and they do not add any clearance spacing reduction to the setup. However, the Suntour Superbe 1st Generation brakes do reduce the clearance by 1mm or maybe even a little more. You can tell the Superbe’s are “built” compared to the 400’s. The 1980 Professional and Newest used GRAN-COMPE 400’s. I always thought the GRAN-COMPE was pretty much the same as the Suntour Superbe labeled brakes. Maybe they aren’t as beefy though. Funny Fuji used the Superbe brakes on their 1977 Professional and Newest, but from 1978 through 1980 they went to the GRAN-COMPE. Before 1977 they also used GRAN-COMPE, but I think that was due to the fact that the Superbe Line didn’t exist yet from Suntour.
I’m on a mission to make this 1980 Newest into as much a Suntour Superbe component bike as I can. Fuji seems to be one of the few companies that used Suntour to a large extent in the 70’s and early 80’s. Others always seem to keep a mixture of Suntour and Shimano.
Thanks again John (and Josh too) for your replies and suggestions. I usually try and put off drilling and bending unless absolutely necessary. I have straighten a frame already on my 1980 SR 10-speed and I will be drilling out the front fork on this Newest to accept a recessed mount for the front brake (I did the same to my aforementioned SR too). The rear brake will be conventional pivot bolt with nut.
One additional item I just thought of. I’ve notice looking through many of the vintage Japanese road bike catalogs (Mid 70’s thru mid 80’s) that usually the top end bikes used 27″ tubulars and then once you get a few models down they seem to start using 700C’s. I wonder if some of these issues that I’m encountering might have been the reason behind that. Or perhaps tubulars didn’t make the move to 700C size until after the clinchers. Inquiring minds want to know!
Regards – Don
I have a 1986 Fuji Allegro 12 speed. Valite triple butted. I recommend Kenda K36 27×1 1/8 skin walls for rubber. I thought about modern tires after running Forte GT2 Kevlar trainers from 2007-6/2016, the vintage skin walls are light and the really the best tire for this bike, even though they are pretty ugly. The Kenda’s are 310 grams. Originally the bike had SCCR 2000 tires.
Over 30 years ago, I had a brand new Fuji Gran Tourer. Loved that bike and road many miles on it but for some unrecalled reason, sold it. As with most things, as you get older, nostalgia kicks in and you want to replace those fond memories. I recently found the same bike in 99% original condition in the same green color but a larger 58cm frame. It will be primarily a wall hanger with a few good weather rides. I also have another Gran Tourer as well as a S12-S in good original condition. Fujis are good quality and good riding bikes, a bit on the heavy side but I still like them.
I have the same bike but it was originally red. I totally stripped the bike down to the bare metal and had it professionally repainted in Royal Blue. I kept the chrome forks original.
I took off all the old rusted hardware and refitted it with Shimano 105. The handlebar stem was refitted with a Profile Design threadless stem adapter but kept the original handlebars.
Sounds like a labor of love, Andrew. I’m sure that Royal Blue just sings! Great color choice.
As a side note, wet painting bikes has become an incredibly expensive venture. Unless you’ve got a friend in the business or are doing it yourself (a whole other ballgame full of costs), it is now usually saved for only my most cherished bicycles.
I was in my local Goodwil and I picked up a Fugi 12 speed. I am clueless as to the year. Seems late 1970’s. I was immediately taken by the attention to detail. I realized this was no Huffy bike very happy with my 20 dollar purchase.
Score! Check out the classic Fuji catalogue: https://classicfuji.posthaven.com/archive
Its all been digitized, see if you can the year of your bike that way!
Glad to have found this post/blog. I was recently given the exact same bike by a friend – it was on its way to Goodwill. Decided to do a full blown resto; down to the minute details. Luckily I am a trained auto body hobbyist and have painted several cars. I duplicated the paintjob, and then some. The base is a double pearl content white, with transparent candy blue sprayed over that, and the fade duplicated. Very difficult to achieve, much frustration. But show car results. Subsequently, I found and applied the NOS (reprint) factory decals.
The rest was done as you did; clean and salvage anything possible. I did replace the brake levers with NOS white hood style. Blue bar tape, and as well, a cheapo Chinese seat that is white with perfect matching blue trim. All aluminum parts were polished with automotive buffing techniques for an almost chrome appearance. Wheels, hubs, crankset, brakes, etc, are all originals. I agree the black brakes and rear deraileur do not match the build. However, I opted to keep as they are original and in great condition. Saved hundreds there.
Ready for assembly as I speak. Kind of derailed the project into a show bike. It is absolutely gorgeous. Would love to share pics – please send email to email@example.com if interested.
Aside note – This is my second full resto of a vintage Fuji. I purchased a “Schwinn Approved” Voyageur in 1980. Its a notch above this Club Fuji. It is black with red cables and detailing. Redid that one with no expense limit. (over 2200$ invested) Another bodyshop paintjob was applied – but improved upon by using a black with heavy metallic in it. The frame and crankset are about the only original parts on this bike, but it still looks nearly original. As well, this is the most beautiful bike running the biketrail
OK,,,,, after reviewing all these posts – it appears a major hurdle is the paint job.
I am very experienced in this area, and believe me, it is an art. I do musclecars for a hobby and luckily I can do my own paint. At car shows it is quite apparent that the paintjob is the most difficult (and expensive!) segment of the build. It can easily break an otherwise exceptional car. To date, I have restored two vintage Fujis, and one is this exact Club Fuji; white with the blue fade. I replicated the paintjob using autobody equipment and paints. This can be done with spray cans and patience.
I will provide here a down and dirty way to paint a bike and also duplicate that fade job. Products can be found at Autozone or any hardware store that has spray paint. It may seem involved, but not really. Patience is the key. This paint job will take a few days due to drying time. Labor will be several hours to a full day. Cost should be 25-50$.
– Prep: Bare frame, everything removed: clean it with steel wool and Wax and Grease Remover. Note: Before you paint anything, ever, clean it with wax and grease remover. Gotta get rid of fingerprints etc. This is available at Autozone and will be needed for this project. It is an excellent solvent for removing sticker adhesive and many other residues – as you will have some left over, and it is a bit expensive. (20$/gal – quarts available at some places). Tip: Put it in a discarded Windex type sprayer to apply easily.
– Chip treatment: Sand chips down with 220 grit sandpaper. There can be rust and other contaminants which have seeped beneath the edges of the chip. Attempt to fade in the ridges of the chips smooth through sanding. Best to sand back a bit from the edge of the chip to remove those ridges and the rust. Remove any and all rust. Feel these areas with you fingers to make sure they now feel smooth. Dont worry if you sand through to bare metal.
– Primer prep: Using 220 or 320 wet sandpaper, lightly sand the rest of the frame. The goal is to take the shine off and provide a surface which paint will stick to. Make sure you get everywhere. Wipe down with a clean cloth and wax and grease remover. Dont touch it anymore!
– Primer: Using Rustoleum self etching primer from Autozone, spray any bare metal while fading it into the original paint by a few inches, at least. Any problems like runs or whatever can be wet sanded smooth with the 220 paper. Wait a few hours so primer is fully dried. The original paintjob is going to serve as the basecoat/primer for this paintjob. Note: this step may be good practice on fading if you intend to do the paintjob shown on the Club Fuji.
– Paint: Any brand or type of spraypaint should be fine. Rustoleum is enamel based and dries into a very hard finish. It also dries very slowly. It does not like to be sanded if there is a mistake. Do not use a lacquer base paint as they are not durable. Autozone has various automotive grade touchup types. Hobby stores have a great selection. For white; this is the easiest color to paint and the most readily available. It will probably take two cans to paint the frame.
– Set up for paintjob: One big tip here is that tubes are the most difficult to paint due to the roundness. This causes lots of trouble, trying to make sure every angle and surface got painted evenly. Runs happen easily. So you need a plan to be able to reposition the frame throughout the paintjob. A good plan is to do one tube at a time, then reposition if necessary. This keeps you focused on the one tube and should help in assuring even coating. Using cords; hang the frame at working level and spin it around using a little hook thing made of hanger wire (so as not to touch wet paint) as you go. It may need to be rehung at various angles and heights to capture it all. Run the cord thru the head tube, maybe attach the seat post and use it as a handle and/or hanging point. There are many ways to hang and reposition. Another method I used was to clamp a short pipe (sticking straight up) into my vice real tight. Then the head tube slips over top of it and the frame can swing around and also be inverted. You may need to reposition the frame by inserting the pipe thru the seat tube and bottom bracket openings, as well. Make sure there is room all around the frame as you will be repositioning yourself quite a bit too. The pipe in the vice, or similar method, is good for holding the fork. Lighting is also very important.
– Paintjob: Tape off the head tube emblem or remove if its not riveted on. May be easier to tape off the entire head tube if the paint is good enough. Use an Xacto to gently trim your masking tape if needed. Hang the bike. Wipe it down thoroughly with a clean cloth and the wax and grease remover. Let the solvent evaporate for a few minutes. Shake the can a lot prior and during the paintjob,,, Now, just go for it with your spray can. Keep in mind not to get too close. Paint runs are very easy to achieve when painting tubes. You should apply maybe three coats. The first should be a good mist coat shot from a bit further away. It should still be somewhat transparent, with primer and original paint still visible. This is an easy no brainer coat. This coat provides a good base for the next coats to stick to and helps prevent runs. Second coat is a medium thick coat. Does not have to be even and some of the old paint may still be visible. But for the most part it is coated. The last coat is the final full wet coat. Lay it on evenly while making sure it appears shiny and wet everywhere. If desired, you can lay on a fourth full wet coat for added protection. Make sure to let the other coats dry fairly well before doing this. Let the coats dry between by at least 20 mins or whatever the can says. Don’t touch it for a day or you could make fingerprint impressions. Runs can be wet sanded away very easily with progression of 320/400-600-800-1200 wet sandpaper. Note: You will need to buff these areas to get the shine back. Use automotive polish (not wax) with a micro fiber cloth for this polishing.
– Fade job: This is easier than you may think. First, you do not need much of this paint. You can find smaller cans of all kinds of cool colors if you look around. Again, position the bike with the bottom bracket at eye level. Start at the underside of the bottom bracket and work your way up each tube – one at a time. Only go as far as needed and then let off the button. You will see it kind of fades automatically. Maybe measure and put a light pencil dot on each tube where you want to stop the fade. You will need to spray from all kinds of angles to hit everything evenly. Be ready to reposition the bike a lot. Do the three coat method from above, while moving out further on each tube with each coat regarding the fade line. Good thing is the rest of the paintjob is now dry and handling it is easy if repositioning. One tip would be to practice on a broom stick you have painted white. I did a bit of this to see how it would behave before going real time.
– Clear coat: I would suggest this is not necessary, but for extra protection, you may want to clear the whole paintjob. It will add an additional layer of “fun” to this project as clear is a bit tricky to work with. Good quality clearcoat can be found in a spray can. Rustoleum is a good one and is very sandable. Paint clear in the same manner as the white paint job. The mist coat is very important here. Notes: The clear makes it difficult to assure it is applied evenly – since it is clear. Bright light is needed and you need to be looking at all angles to assure wetness, a.k.a, the shine. Due to this, it is easy to overapply and run the clear. Wait several days to sand any runs to assure the clear is fully hardened. Big drips and runs can easily be wet sanded away with 400 to 600 sandpaper – not to worry! Bigger drips can be cut off with a razor before sanding. (Drips may occur at the fork tips, and tips of the rear stays when hanging). Now the surface will be dull and need to be buffed. Then sand and buff as explained above.
For all of the above steps – Dont be scared!! Anyone can pull this off.
HVLP. As an aside note: HVLP (high pressure/low volume) style automotive touch-up gun is how I painted my bike. Harbor Freight for 25$ – but you need a (very) small compressor. This gun is very easy to use and great for a beginner,, and sprays in a fan pattern, or a line – vs- a dot like a spraycan. It is also very adjustable to limit the amount of paint coming out and the width of the fan pattern. It can spray in a dot too. However, now you will need to visit your local Autobody Supply for the paint and solvent to mix it with. One visit to the Autobody store will explain why that fender bender cost 8000$ to fix. Stuff ain’t cheap here, but you will still not pay much more than a spraycan as they can up mix small quantities. The great part is now you have access to every color on every car for decades in the past. They have extensive libraries of color chips you are allowed to look through if you need to choose. They mix it on the spot. Get an 8oz qty if possible. Most paints will vary in price due to the pigments used to make the colors. White is cheapest, red is most expensive. You can have metallic particles added in if desired. Note: the most popular type of automotive paint is known as “basecoat/clearcoat”; implying it must be clearcoated in the end. Specify you want a type of paint that does not require clearcoating to avoid this step. Or go for it and use the Rustoleum clear. Autobody primer and clearcoat are expensive and you have to buy a quart, minimum. Use the Rustoleum primer and clearcoat to avoid having to buy at the autobody store. They are just as quality and way cheaper.
– Decals: In case you are not familair; Velocals website is the place! Very easy to apply, and they had the exact Club Fuji decals shown in pic.. They recommend clear coat over the decals. I disagree with that for several reasons.
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Chris, this information is… incredible! This site has been around for nearly a decade and I don’t think I’ve ever had a post quite like yours. Detailed, instructional and inspirational. You’ve got it all!
Thank you for posting your 101 Bike Painting advice. You never know when someone will read this, be inspired and use it as a step by step tutorial to empower them to paint their own bicycle. And to me, knowing I’ve helped someone with a situation they wouldn’t have tried without my advice is a pretty good feeling. Hat’s off to you, sir!