Repainting A Well Used Bike

07 Apr
New Powder Coating On My Surly Necromancer Pugsley

New Powder Coating On My Surly Necromancer Pugsley

If you think this past winter was hard on you, just think about what it did to your bike! I rode all winter long, mainly on my Surly Necromancer Pugsley Fat Bike, and all the road salt I rode through took its toll. Compared to my other bikes the Necromancer is barely used—it has less than 3,000 miles on it! However, out of 3,000 miles it probably only has 200 miles of use in good weather. I’ve ridden this bike on sandy beaches and in Lake Michigan (in water up past my hubs). It also has a lot of miles through the mud and the swampy water of the Des Plaines River, but the majority of miles were in freezing weather as I traveled through snow and ice (that was my main purpose for buying this bike in the first place).

While I dearly love the Surly Necromancer, I was never happy with the original paint job. Straight out of the box you could see it had an inferior paint job (as compared to most other bikes). The original paint scratched easily and even with a good coat of paste wax it never did shine! I enjoy getting my bikes filthy in the mud, sand and snow, but when they are sitting in my garage I want them to look like brand new (I know that psychological counseling could probably cure this affliction, but cleaning supplies are cheaper than therapy). Even though this bike is only three years old I decided to have it stripped down and repainted.

Two weeks ago I took the Necromancer down to the local bike shop, Zion Cyclery, and they took everything off the bike and handed me the frame and front fork—which I then took to J & J Powder Coating in Zion, Illinois. The guys at J & J Powder Coating ran my bike frame through a chemical bath to remove the old paint and surface grime (and some rust). They then closed up the openings on the bike (mainly the braze-ons) and applied a thick coat of black powder to the frame and baked it at over 300 degrees. Powder coating is much thicker, and far more durable, than liquid based paints. After the initial powder coating they applied a thick layer of clear coat which not only makes the paint sparkle, but also adds another durable layer of protection to the frame. The guys at J & J Powder Coating only charged $120 for their work, and I think that is a very fair price! Unfortunately, you can only powder coat steel or aluminum bike frames. If you have a carbon fiber bike you’ll have to take it to an auto body shop (or motorcycle shop) to have it painted. By the way, painting your bike could possibly void the warranty on your bike’s frame (but not always), so check with your local bike shop first.

The Shiny Front Fork Now Has Beautiful New Decals

The Shiny Front Fork Now Has Beautiful New Decals

Once I picked up my repainted frame and fork I took it back to Zion Cyclery where Kurt, mechanic extraordinaire, rebuilt the bike. Because of the rust on the original parts, he replaced nearly every bolt and piece of hardware on the bike (with stainless steel parts when possible). He also had to replace the bottom bracket (even a sealed bottom bracket can only take so much time under water). I debated whether to replace the decals on the bike. The decals on the top tube had rubbed off because I frequently use a top tube bag in the winter to carry some of my gear and the straps on the bag cut through the decals. I finally decided to just replace the decals on the front fork of the bike (and Kurt did an excellent job of aligning them perfectly). The total cost at the bike shop was a little over $300 (more than half of that was for new parts).

The bottom line is that for under $450 I once again have a beautiful Fat Bike with a lot of shiny new parts! The bike has now been in my garage for over 24 hours, so I guess it is time to look for some muddy trails so I can start the process all over again!


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35 responses to “Repainting A Well Used Bike

  1. billgncs

    April 7, 2014 at 7:47 PM

    nice – the road salt was really hard on my bike

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      April 10, 2014 at 11:14 AM

      Thank you much! The road salt damage this year was far worse than normal.

  2. sedge808

    April 7, 2014 at 9:28 PM

    Phat tyres.

  3. Lisa Shaw

    April 7, 2014 at 9:46 PM

    “Cleaning supplies are cheaper than therapy” … amen, brother! This is my mantra! :-) Your bike came out beautifully, and I think you got quite a bargain on it, too. I always like to see somebody rebuild something old before buying something new.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      April 10, 2014 at 11:16 AM

      Thanks! Repairs are a lot easier to explain to my wife than another new bike!

      • Lisa Shaw

        April 10, 2014 at 11:37 AM

        She should know by now that the number of bikes one needs is always n+1 where n=number of bikes currently owned. ;-)

  4. cyardin

    April 7, 2014 at 9:50 PM

    This overhaul looks very sweet nice! If the special forces rode fat bikes, they would ride this thing. Very nice – very jealous – giddy up!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      April 10, 2014 at 11:17 AM

      Some police departments do ride fat bikes (mainly for beach patrol).

  5. sueslaght

    April 7, 2014 at 10:04 PM

    The bike looks fantastic and I think a very reasonable price.

  6. Shonnie

    April 8, 2014 at 12:19 AM

    Looks amazing. Our bikes have seen better days after being in the salt air. Gonna check into that. Have you seen my paddle board caddy for my bike? 😃😃😃

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      April 10, 2014 at 11:37 AM

      I’ve not seen your paddle board caddy (yet). Does it slow you down much?

      • Shonnie

        April 10, 2014 at 1:09 PM

        Yes and no. You can’t peddle over 20 mph, but you wouldn’t want too. I love having it. I could never go paddle without Mike and now I can.

  7. Joboo

    April 8, 2014 at 12:35 AM

    It seems like we as bikers have been on to something!!??!!
    Anyone one of us could have written the article above!!
    Oh, yeah, nice spiffed up fatty!! ;)
    Why is it hanging in the garage again??
    There may be better bikes for dirt than a FatBike, but I have yet to find one that’s more damn FUN!!!
    Pedal On!!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      April 10, 2014 at 12:30 PM

      Joboo, I am convinced that there are people alive today only because I was able to ride a bike instead of confronting them! Yep, it clears the mind! I won’t be hanging the Pugs up in the garage — it will see a lot of action in the mud pits, I mean, bike trails this spring.

  8. Elaine @ foodbod

    April 8, 2014 at 1:47 AM

    It looks fab!!!!

  9. ATdF

    April 8, 2014 at 2:38 AM

    …no snow in this picture? did you use photoshop for this background? welcome spring (-;

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      April 10, 2014 at 11:40 AM

      You caught me! I actually did enhance the photo in Photoshop — but now to remove the snow (it melted about 10 days ago). I has to “paint” the grass green because after five months of being under the snow it was very brown!

  10. cyclerist

    April 8, 2014 at 3:08 AM

    Nice paint job and have many more miles on that bicycle!
    I must say that one detail that pokes my eye is the saddle position or it was still in the
    Isn’t that position too much tilted down with the saddle nose ?
    Zion Cyclery have some nice guidance :)

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      April 10, 2014 at 12:32 PM

      The photo is rather deceptive concerning the angle of the saddle. I would normally keep a saddle level, but the saddle I am currently using on all five of my bikes feels better with a 2.5 degree downward tilt at the nose (though it looks like about 20 degrees in the photo).

  11. Jeff Katzer

    April 8, 2014 at 7:43 AM

    Nice, that big bomber looks brand new.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      April 10, 2014 at 11:42 AM

      Yes, and after the paint job it once again has that “new bike smell”

  12. Art Brûlant

    April 8, 2014 at 11:05 AM

    Looks great.

  13. bgddyjim

    April 9, 2014 at 9:31 AM

    Paint job looks awesome brother. Gotta love having a new bike without having to pay for a whole new bike.

  14. thehomeschoolingdoctor

    April 12, 2014 at 8:00 PM

    Okay. Never thought about a new bike paint job! Looks good!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      April 13, 2014 at 12:29 AM

      Thanks! Considering the cost of the original bike it made sense to “repaint and repair” instead of “replace”.

  15. John Breecher

    April 13, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    Nice looing paint job looks like a brand new bike

  16. emanuelferretti

    July 9, 2014 at 7:19 AM

    paint is a great thing, I normally put a clear over the powder, it’s another layer, and it looks even better, think about it in ten years time!
    Some framesaver might be a good idea too. I use this,
    but there’s quite a few products on offer. Just remember to take your seatpost out once or twice a year…

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      July 11, 2014 at 4:44 PM

      I had planned on putting FrameSaver into my bike after painting, but could not get my hands on it in time, so I used Boeshield T-9 instead.

      • emanuelferretti

        July 11, 2014 at 5:10 PM

        yeah, most of all them things work well, the key is maintenance more than the product itself.

        been working a lot on paint myself lately. good paint is more than just good paint. it really compliments a bike.


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