Painting an old Vitus frame.

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Braulio, Dec 30, 2005.

  1. Braulio

    Braulio New Member

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    Last summer I scored an old Vitus 12 speed at a garage sale for 3 dollars - it had been outside for a while but I think the components are in good shape - mostly Shimano 105stuff.

    I think it's a 787 - although I have no idea how someone would use something like this for cyclocross - it seems pretty fragile. It has the groove under the top tube - and a funny looking triangle box type deal in the rear above the brakes. Unfortunaley there is nothing on the frame that says what specifically it is.

    However there was a catch - much of the frame had been painted in polka dots - I guess the guy used it for parades or something.

    Anyway I'd like to get it ready this winter as use it this spring for training - I'm uncertain as to how to approach repainting the frame.

    Question 1 - What's the best way to take off the existing paint? It's all aluminum - I'm afraid if I use sandpaper I'm going to score the metal. Is there a synthetic sandpaper specifically for soft metals? Any other ideas?

    Question 2 - If I paint it myself what kind of paint should I use for aluminum? Including what type of primer.

    Question 3 - I'm thinking of just taking all the paint off and leaving the metal - if so do I need to put on any coating (like a clear) at all?

    Thanks - I might have more questions as I continue the project.

    Some more info:

    Frame says: Modele Vitus Depose, Brevete Vitus-CLB, Made in France, A040139
     
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  2. Tech72

    Tech72 New Member

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    Are you sure you want to spend the time, cash and effort refurbishing an AL frame that's been abused, neglected and probably mis-used? The frame have suffered in the elements and the epoxy holding the aluminum lugs and tubes together are more than likely significantly weakened. 80's era Vitus bonded AL frames weren't that strong and reliable even when they were new. You're a brave man, I'm not sure how comfortable I would be in a full tuck going down a hill at 50mph on that Vitus frame knowing what I know about it, no matter how spanking good it looks with the cool new paint job.......

    Sounds like a fun project though.

    Cheers.
     
  3. Braulio

    Braulio New Member

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    Yeah Tech72 - I agree - I happen to be a chemical engineer and have worked with epoxies - plastics break down over time. However I have to tell you I think some of the stories I've read about Vitae spontanteously exploding are more urban bike legend than reality - if anyone has a first-hand story of a Vitus falling apart without warning I'd sure be interested.

    I don't know that the frame has been abused - other than cosmetically. But yeah - I'm looking at it as a fun project - and maybe I can learn something about painting a frame along the way. Worst case scenario is that I don't feel comfortable with the finished product and I donate the frame to a bar I know down in Mexico - where they hang it from the ceiling and give me a couple free brewskis for it.

    Thanks for the concern.
     
  4. John M

    John M New Member

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    I have an 18 year old Vitus that has seen thousands of miles, most of which were on brutal pot-holed Chicago roads and the frame has been perfectly sound. I don't ride it gently either having broken two Campy rear axles. I don't doubt that some Vitus frames fell apart prematurely, but mine still seems to be holding up pretty well.
     
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