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Posted by: ckokkinis@comcast.net TITLE: AGE / VALUE:   Will somebody please tell me why?
I am sorry but I do not understand why I have seen (and still do) see so much of this.

Why? Why pray tell have in the course of collecting old bicycles do I see so many brush painted/ home job- spray can victims- so many painted bicycles?
So often, I see a brush painted bike. Especially the 60 year old balloon tire bikes lately. One bike had the rims spared from paint they still wear the original factory paint and it~s on e- bay right now. Now tonight, another trash pick find and this one has the rims all slopped up with paint. Another Schwinn balloon tire bike, a nice ladies frame with another New Departure model D hub. Why did so many bicycle owners brush paint their bicycle?

I know that they( hardware stores) sold little tins of paint and the hardware stores marketed these small cans of paint and that it encouraged folks to home paint their bikes.

Still, didn~t anybody ever say something like " Don~t ruin the bikes paintwork!" Didn~t anybody think about decals? Didn~t anybody have the good sense to keep it away from the spokes and rims and hubs? A few have.

Has anybody ever gotten their butt whupped by an angry mom and dad for ruining the new bike that you got for Christmas in 1957? Come on, A Schwinn was not cheap back in the day!

What were they thinking? Why? Also I never see a good paint job and the decals are always gone, ruined. What re- sale value does it have now? What re- sale value did it have then? All across America were kids getting grounded from dad after he drove home and saw little juniors nice new Columbia all slathered in housepaint?
Subconsciously, has 4/ 10 ths of the country hated the original paintwork and decals and without even knowing it painted the bike at home with a brush.
I~ll tear it apart and throw the rest of it away before the sight of the poor Schwinn does damage to my mental health. I don~t care if it was the owner who painted the bike. It~s still wrong.
Posted by Ken
And, there~s a good chance a repainted bicycle has been stolen.
Posted by Kirt
Most of these bikes were repainted when they were 10 or 15 years old and at the time worth about $5. We did hippy paint jobs on Stingrays 35 years ago..ruining their value today, but all this repainting is what makes a nice original have it~s value. The only exception would be an artist applied job as my brother had done by Von Dutch in 1967 on his ~64 Stingray. The right person would pay big money for a Von Dutch custom paint job that cost $150 in ~67. Also, I still see a fair number of original paint bikes out there, four were at the local flea market last week....I bought one, a 1939 Roadmaster with decent maroon paint, $125.
Posted by Chris
Thanks for the thought provoking posts.
Posted by Justin
I had an old bike when I was 16 I paid less than 10 bucks for - So I got frorecent glow in the dark paint in 8 deffrent colors - Painted that bike ! - you should have seen that thing at night ! I did not care than and dont care now - even if the bike would be worth something to a guy that would just hang it on his wall - I had fun !!!
Posted by goob
Your are correct. They are just like baseball cards, if we had all saved them they wouldn~t be worth a dime today and no fun to collect. The fun is in the find.
Posted by sam
The Schwinn dealers also sold qt.s of paint for bikes.Me I had to get mine at Western Auto.---sam
Posted by rod
I couldn~t agree with you more! I paid $20 for a ~61 Schwinn over five years ago, and it suffered the same damaging paintover. It was the chrome fenders, saddle seat rail bar & scout handlebar that attracted me to it moreso than that sloppy paint job; it was a solid blue w/ an ugly gold fade on the headtube & rear dropouts. After close observation, I discovered the Schwinn American decal on the chainguard, the ~Schwinn~ decal on the top bar, & the rare seat post decal were all doomed because none of them could be salvaged. What~s even more pathetic is the original color that was buried in the pitiful basket case: SKY BLUE! Never mind the fact that all the OG elements were intact except for the slimline tank & rear carrier rack, I had the Isley Bros. mentality because I had ~work to do.~ I rode it for a while until I put an aftermarket springer fork & whitewall/Dayton combo to it, transforming it to my personal cruisin~ lowrider; the last ride was on Memorial Day ~01 when I decided ~enough is enough~ that evening, so I dismantled it wondering whether or not I~d attempt to restoring it or customizing it w/ either a fresher candy blue-&-gold or a multicolor paint job (?) after stripping down to bare metal, filling rust craters along the frame, & laying down two coats of black primer & one coat of red primer. When summer rolls back around, watch out!
Posted by David
Being old enough to have been around when bikes were hand painted, I can say for a fact that no decals or original paint were ruined by hand painting. Because bikes were not cheap, many were brought back from the dead by lubing and painting. Most of these I remember had no decals and not much paint, having been scratched, chipped or worn off. If the original paint was reasonably intact, then the bike would be cleaned and waxed. In all cases I am talking about boys models. There were many more boys bikes made than girls models, yet most of those available now are girls bikes. Boys used and abused their bikes until there was nothing left and then they painted them. They also went through many hands before they were considered junk. My first two wheeler was a used 20" 1930~s Schwinn, red and cream with a tank. I turned it over to my brother around 1946 and he ran it into the ground. It needed a lot more than paint when he traded it in. Also, in those days rattle can paint was not available. It became available around 1955.
Posted by Maura
I~m not a collector, so maybe that is why this post is making me laugh. I found this message board while Googling "how to paint bicycle"! You don~t seriously believe that kids were painting their "brand new", expensive, future collectors~ items bicycles, do you? Of course not! They were painting their hand-me-down, used-to-death, chipped, scratched, faded, left in the rain, ugly junk bikes! How many kids do you know today who clean and polish their bikes regularly? How many have the luxury of having their wheels professionally maintained? No way - they are all in the garage, spraying their BMXes with Rustoleum. If you want to collect something in pristine condition, maybe old bicycles are not the best choice!
Posted by Mike..Professional Custom Auto Painter
Man alive!!!...Some of you so called bicycle officianados just absolutely drive me insane. So what if someone wants to spraycan paint THEIR bike? You all remind me of all those old farts that claim to be hot wheels experts...you know, the ones who show up at wal-mart at 2 am to buy all the new hot wheels just to rush to the flea market to sell em to the same little kiddies they knocked over in the store for 10x the original price. And Chris, there is a reason auto painters (myself included) spend much more time on a car than a bike. Custom car = $50k+...coustom bicycle = $500+. And please...dont respond telling us how much a rare gem of a bicycle you have is worth...No one cares. Except you. I personally painted my 1972 Stingray with the ugliest color of battleship gray you ever seen when I was 14. When I look back now it seems awfully ignorant but you know what? Im glad I did it. It was mine. I loved it and all my friends thought it was cool. I would surgically remove my testicles right now to have it back. If I was lucky enough to get it back then I would personally thump anyone who tried to apply paint thinner to it so it could let its "inner beauty" shine through. Those bikes we had as kids were all painted by us and NONE of them were stolen. It was, and is their history. Those bikes were our hot rods, custom little units and if anyone should even suggest that it was somehow wrong....well keep on livin in your little utopic playland and leave all the little kids alone. MAN!
Posted by Chris
EXACTUMUNDO! BINGO! This is half of the reason why I hate seeing a painted bicycle. Its been victimized, evil has befallen it and now it wears a coat of shame. I don~t touch a bike if it has been rattle can/ brush painted. With very very few exceptions. They get left at the kerb all the time and buy a brush painted bike? NEVER.
I don~t need somebody running a serial number just for kicks and I am not taking the fall because somebody could possibly find my trash picked bike to be stolen a few months or years back. Tell them the truth. tell them that you did not steal it and all they are going to ask is: Then why do you have it? Possession! Wham! Forget it! Leave the painted bikes where you found it! It~s not worth it. I have no way of running a serial number search to see if a bike has been stolen or not anyways. If in doubt, go without. I am talking about classic bikes. I have been so careful over the years it~s not funny! The newer mountain bikes or kids bikes I stay away from anyways and every time you see a painted bike it has been stolen and brush painting/ rattle can painting a bike is stupidity. A bike thief has no problem brush/ spraycan painting a bike because they are already stupid. It~s like grafitti on a bridge. It bothers me at the sight of it.
The other half of my thinking on this is: That the original factory paint should last. It should be bonderized against rust for 100 years and fading is fine, but it should not need some home job person to be altering the original finish. Nobody is set up properly at home ever to do a bicycle paint task properly.
Another thing, I have seen bikes that have been rer-sprayed and professionally painted and the decals come out wrong, paints are often off and the bike looks artifically new.

Only the factory is properly fit to paint the bike. Bicycle re- painting/ restoration. It~s not on the level with vintage cars. The cars, they don~t mess those up but the bicycles? Oh yes!
Sorry, but give me original paint. Even if worn, even if missing decals, I want it original.
We won~t go into spray painting wheels silver. Spraying chrome is worse than spraying the paint. I have seen wheels brush painted, thickly over already rusting chrome leaving bits of brushes behind to stick on the rims.
In New York and other cities people will brush paint/ black out their bicycle frame so people do not realize that the bike is expensive and this is to deter a bike thief from stealng your expensive daily driver. Lets face it, those decals and original paint jobs can call out that you are waiting to be picked. I guess that~s the flip side of this, the only arguement FOR painting your bike. Well intentioned. Keep your reciept so you can prove it~s your bike because as I have said a painted bike calls out to everybody.... "I~ve been stolen!" The posts on this have been interersting, thought provoking. We have heard from a wide variety of thoughts and from different perspectives both old and young and from different parts of the world.
As a collector you want to see it original. As a rider you are more tolerant of altering a bike if it is yours to keep the thing from being stolen. As a younger brotyher who is being handed down a bike you paint it to keep it looking nice and shiny and to make it yours in a sense. In Europe and other parts it was ok to paint an old bike. In the states? I think not. Years back, it was acceptable I guess, but not today.
I still think one of the best ways to have your heart broken and waste money is to send out a classic bicycle for restoration because it~s not like vintage cars where you~ll be pleased. It~s come back all wrong, paint peeling, chipping and this powder coat stuff we have today is not up to it quality wise. The car restorers take time with the cars that they don~t afford to vintage bicycles. The car finish restoration painters take more time and it~s cured and more patient. Car paint finish restoration, I actually enjoy that. Find the parts, wheels and such and get it rolling again. Leave the paint on the bicycle alone.
Posted by Chris
A spray can / brush painted bike also tells everyody that you don~t know what you are doing and that you are an amateur. It say~s that you are covering up something that should not need covering up unless something is wrong.
Worse is the so called professional shop that takes time and resources and has professional equipment and industry contacts and they still mess it up, charge outrageous prices and deliver back of the hand service.
Posted by Chris
As for Von Dutch, they are making big money today selling shirts and hats bearing his signature. A legend for sure. We won~t see today~s (bicycle) cycle painters logo~s on the shirts and hats of the 19 year old babe- goddess~s of tomorrow. Not without turning out quality work for a change, not without a sucessful marketing overhaul, not without creating true artistic genius and wrapping it in magic. The class is all gone from it. Von Dutch rocked and had mojo.

Before you turn your vintage bicycle over to be restored, ask this question? Does the guy about to perform the restoration have anything in common with Von Dutch?~
Where is the magic mojo?
Posted by Fred A
I bought a womans 1937 Rollfast, complete with working horn tank and headlight. Chainguard and rear rack was there also. It had been spray-bombed red, but for $30 I bought it anyway...if nothing else for the parts. Well, after carefully using a paint stripper, I discovered that the original p;aint was underneath! Even some of the original decals were still intact.

Moral...don~t discount a spray bombed bike. You never know what could be beneath it!

Fred A
Posted by Timothy A. Nitz
I and most of my friends spent alot of hard work earning the money to fix up our bikes and turn our old bikes into something we could be proud of. None of us had the bucks to buy a new bike and fixing up old bikes was what we did. I~d love to have my old bike back with its fine yellow paint job. The bottom line is that we weren~t collectors - we were kids and used our bikes for daily transportation. In the museum world, these bikes would speak much more to our generation and the actual use of bikes than any "pristine" bike you can find.

And yes, more than a few of our bikes came from police auction and more than a few of them probably ended up back in a police auction. That~s part of their story too.

As for the decals, I can~t remember a single decal that survived on my bikes. Actually, most of the time I purposely scraped them off - they looked crappy after they started flaking and this was my bike, not Schwinn~s or Western Flyers or anyone elses.
Posted by angie
Just wanted to repond...my dad just gave me a beat-up Murray nens bike Meteor Flite, the bike is rusted/ dull from being left outside. I~m about to turn it into a Rat Rod :)Spary cans, here I come...Sad to say the logos won~t make it in my restoration.
Posted by Brian
When I was a kid in the fifties, a small can of paint was cheap and you could easily change the color of your bike, it may not have been a quality job but a beauty in our own eyes. My Dad had a bicycle repair shop in the 40~s and 50~s and he brush painted all his bikes, Blue, as he was color blind and that was the only color he could see.

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