Monday, July 14, 2008

A race to the end

My day started at 0600 Thursday morning and I finally left the shop Saturday morning 0230...a lot transpired in the interim :)

Chris was planning to arrive Friday around 4:00 to work on the build up and take the bike for a spin before winging it back to Texas early Saturday morning, so the push to finish was on.

After fabrication was completed, I masked off the couplers, taped up all the vent holes and took the whole kit and kaboodle to the blast cabinet where a nice even tooth was layed down over the entire frame.

Next up, I blow the frame off with purified air, and wipe it all down with a final degreaser/cleaner and tack cloth then it's off to the paint booth.

As this is going to be a travel bike for Chris and see business all over the Globe, I wanted to insure that it was extra protected. Coupler bikes, no matter how careful you are, can take a beating with all the packing, unpacking, and general abuse inherent in travel, so I layed down 4 sanded coats of bullet proof primer to give it an armour coating.

A shot of the frame in grey green primer...

The unicrown fork all sanded and ready for the next coat. As a quick aside, I really like the shape of these road unicrown blades; simple, light and sexy.

Once the primer layers were all happy, I began with the light pink that will become the underlayer color for the panels and polka dots.

After three coats to give nice even coverage for the color, it's time to begin masking; panels, pinstripes and polka dots.

Next came two light coats of vanilla shake, a creamy off white color. It's important to lay these down very consistently as it is quite easy to build too much paint and have a palpable transition line between the masking. A steady hand and even speed are the rules of the day here.

Once I've flashed off the second coat of paint, I bake the frame for a short duration to make sure all is set up before I begin to lift the masks. And a few hours later, here's what we've got.

I shot the first layer of clear and threw it all in the bake box. Each layer of clear takes about 2-3 hours with prep, shooting, baking and clean up. So since it was a bit of a lull and only 0330 in the morning, I got to work on Chris's wheels; a nice set of silver King hubs and Mavic CXP33 rims. Friday morning I was feeling a bit tired and drawn out and fortunately for me, the post man brought me some loving. Mark from "Flagpole" Az had sent me some of his favorite mixed tunes for a little shop music. It was a saving grace as with new tunes came new energy...thanks Mark!

I smothered the frame and fork with four coats of clear to help with durability and to give it a super deep gloss finish. Chris and his buddy Hoss rolled in around 1630 Friday and had to patiently wait for the final bake to finish up. Once it was out of the box, the final prep began. Here's a shot of me removing the SS coupler masking.

Chris (left) and Hoss fitting up the King Titanium cages for a little more bling ;)

Chris and I took our time on the build, making sure everything was dialed in just right. We finished the build around midnight Friday night and after riding around the parking lot a few times, Chris was lamenting not being able to really ride it before having to break it down for travel back to Texas. So, we threw caution to the wind and like a couple of teenage kids, went for a night ride through town. A few criterium laps around the block and some sprints gave us a good feel for how the bike fit and performed.

Here's a built shot post ride... the Brooks saddle and wrap were an after thought but really complimented the classic silver parts and subtle colors of the paint.

Some quick experimenting with packing and lots of bubble wrap later, the bike was packed up in it's hardcase and ready for travel back to the Lone Star State. It was 0230 Saturday morning; Chris had to be on the way to the Cleveland airport at 0400 and I had to begin a two day Swim meet our club was hosting for a thousand swimmers at 0600...I hope Chris made his flight because I know that I was a bit late getting going :)

It's Monday now and I'm going to spend the day cleaning up the aftermath of the last week and working on Bob's Yo resto.

See y'all tomorrow,



Garrett said...

Do you ever sleep? Nice build up, I really like the brown leather.

Rody said...

Garrett, Chris asked the same thing :)... my answer, not too often.

The leather touches were not planned, but once I pulled them off the shelf, the drool factor was too much not to give into ;)