Previously, in Part 1 of this series, I chronicled a bit of backstory and the subsequent disassembly of my 2010 Specialized Allez. 

My next step was a color change. I wanted a new look for the rebuilt bike, hoping for something unique that I loved. I considered going all black, but my Shiv Tri bike already has that look, so I ruled that out. I've been on a black and gold kick lately, how about trying that out? It would certainly be new and unique, but would I love it?

I ran the idea across a few friends and they almost universally rejected the idea as completely horrible. Controversy only adds to intrigue, so I made an executive decision:

Gold it is!

Not to mention, if I painted it and absolutely hated it, I could change it.

I commenced prep for the gilding. The first step was to thoroughly clean the frame of dirt, mud, oil, and anything else on the paint surface. I used the tried-and-true Non-chlorinated Brakleen found at any auto parts store and some lint-free surgical rags (found in any operating room).

Step 2 was to scuff the existing finish so the new paint would stick well. Nothing fancy used here, just a scotch brite pad, then another wipe-down with brakleen.

With the prep finished, it was time to move to the paint booth- i.e. the other side of the garage. The picture below explains the setup adequately. Sorry for the blurry photo, the frame didn't want to stay perfectly still due to the twisted-bungee-cord suspension method. Small wonder.

Selecting the gold paint was pretty fun. I went to Home Depot's spray paint section and looked for the GOLD-est paint I could find. I came up with the Rustoleum Specialty Metallic Gold (with actual metal!). I've always wanted to try this stuff, but never had anything to paint, so I was really excited to see how it looked.

To protect the color coat, I picked up some clear enamel in high gloss to spray over the gold.

Behold- A Gold Bike!

I was ecstatic with the look; couldn't have been happier. The last step was to add the clear coat on top, then it would be ready to reassemble with my new parts.

However, as I was reading the back of the gold paint can (to see how long to wait before adding clear coat), I read the following:


Wait, what? Why not? I'd never encountered this on any Rustoleum spray paint before, and I've used the clear coat successfully over many colors, many times. What would happen if I did use it? There was no explanation on the can, and when I researched it online, it was pretty definitive from Rustoleum's website, as well as user-posted experiences, NOT to add a clear coat on top of this particular gold paint. There weren't any explanations on what happened to the finish, other than it would be "ruined".

Unsatisfied, I emailed Rustoleum's customer support to ask why. Their timely response stated that as soon as you spray clear coat over the specialty metallics, the metal powder in the paint actually starts flowing around in the wet clear coat and dries in a non-uniform, color-blotchy mess.

I was sad. They recommended a couple other gold products, among them, the Bright Coat Metallic in Gold. I just wasn't convinced, and I was so happy with the color, I decided to test it for myself. I taped off the section where the rear derailleur hanger mounts (which would be hidden, so pretty low risk), and sprayed some clear coat as lightly as possible, to reduce the chance of the metallic finish flowing around.

I just couldn't get a good picture of the results, but suffice to say it looked terrible. The gold immediately became non-uniform as the "gold powder" flowed around inside the clear coat. Back to the drawing board then.

But first, one last picture of the super-gold hi-bling finish:

Here's how the super-gold finish looked up close. It laid down really nicely:

I went back to Home Depot and picked up a can of the more traditional Bright Coat - Gold that I linked before, and re-set up the paint booth. I briefly considered not having a clear coat and leaving this glorious gold as-is, but a simple finger-swipe along the frame left gold on my finger, so there was just no way it would hold up on something like a bike frame that would see multiple car loadings and inclement weather. Adios, glorious gold.

 After testing out the new gold on the cardboard boxes, I could tell that it wouldn't be nearly as gold. Bummer.

And it wasn't. Here's the new gold, with the clear coat added on top. My wife told me the new gold looked "classier". Not what I wanted, but I'll take it.

It's closer to champagne than gold, but I still liked it. If I hadn't seen the previous gold, I would have been even happier, so definitely not a total loss here. The clear coat on top added a really nice finish as well. The pictures below are after the frame was completely dry; the clear is nice and shiny.

Here's the frame completely stripped down, ready for weighing and rebuilding. I'm excited to see how it looks with the black/gray parts that I have to go on!

Check out the rebuild!