Powder Coat or Paint...Any Regrets? An old question from a different perspective...

EvenmoreXS

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I will be going back through my bike very soon and doing some things that I've always wanted to do and creating my own custom paint scheme has always been on the list. Grinding off some unused tabs, passenger pegs and some other general frame stuff will leave me with a frame that needs repainting or powder coating. I will also be considering the same, paint or powder, for some other parts as well... brake calipers, engine mounts, maybe clutch and alternator covers. I'm still working out my vision but in the process I've learned a lot about Powder Coat vs Paint. I've learned all the basic Pro's and Con's that would lead me one way or the other, BUT, the one thing I haven't seemed to find is FIRST HAND experience with REGRET. That's why this thread could be different from the rest. I don't need to know the pros vs. cons. I'd like to know about why you picked one vs. the other and what happened that made you regret it. Why you think you should have gone the other way.

My main concern in my situation is not really being able to touch up powder easily..., from what I've read anyway. My bike is low to the ground and I do scrub most speed bumps, and Florida's roads.... We have rocks. I have a quality powder coater in Tallahassee I can use and would save me TONS of work and the price is doable. I do not currently have the gear or space to perform my own semi-professional paint job at home, even with rattle cans, and would have to spend a substantial sum to get set up for that and the time associated with doing all of that prep and paint work myself can not be overlooked... But I can make it happen. I am a DIY guy, much like all of you, and if I did choose paint I would prefer to do it myself for the experience and ability to control quality as best I can which means I'd be getting in pretty deep. But every now and then I could do touch ups where needed which would potentially keep things looking nice longer and stave off any issues with potential corrosion under the powder coat. Regardless of the quality of the powder coat or paint I plan to ride as much as possible and the powder coat will still only take so many rock hits on our Florida roads before you've got something substantial to worry about that you can't touch up. That said, I really don't want to have to do too many regular paint touch ups either. Lots of riding and as little paint or pc repair as possible. Not a show bike. I hope she will look super nice, but she is for regular transportation. This will obviously be a long term decision and I hope to only make it once. Your opinions and experiences are valuable to me and I thank you in advance.

I know there are a lot of threads around on this topic but I hope to find some info related to why you wish you had gone the other route. Hate the regular touch ups? Hate that your PC is chipped and lost it's luster and you can't fix it easily?

Personal experience is preferred, but if you know someone who has regrets one way or the other and why please share that as well.

Powder Coat vs. Paint... Regrets!

Thank you all! Ride safe!

And wash your hands.
 

mrtwowheel

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If you paint or PC your frame..........you're gonna touch-up with enamel and a good quality, natural bristle, brush, right?

So, why not paint the whole frame with a brush? Painting tube with a spray can or spray gun doesn't really make sense.

Thin tube vs wide pattern

Many nooks that are hard to get the paint to

Drips at the many intersections
 

EvenmoreXS

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Yes and agreed, brushing the frame is definitely an option. Lot of wasted paint with over spray on a frame. I would spray the tank and fender though and maybe other parts as well... calipers, engine covers, etc.... But could also PC the calipers and covers and engine mounts, etc..

I take it you've painted your frame at some point.....with no regrets?
 

mrtwowheel

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I've painted frames with spray cans and I've touched up frames with brushes. I've never painted a whole frame with a brush. I have painted many shop machines with brush and enamel. I would always think while painting machines that the quality was about the same as a stock frame, 2 to 3 coats, with a good prep. Even Rustoleum lays down pretty flat if enough paint is used, and it is not overbrushed.
 

miketweedie

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Just my 2-cents, but I got quoted $125 to powdercoat my frame, which to me is a steal. No mess, they blast it for me, and a multitude of color options. If you go with a fairly stock color (i.e. black) you can grab a bottle of touch-up paint (looks like nail polish) and you're set.
 

EvenmoreXS

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$125 is a steal. Mine wont be quite that cheap but all the prep work would be done and yes to just black. No fancy colors. The PC guy was an aerospace propulsion engineer in a previous career, so the details matter to him. I have no reason to doubt the quality of the work I'd get from him. But a bad rock chip on my first ride would be heart breaking. I've not seen any good feedback online about touching up PC. Not that it isn't there, I just haven't found any. But also I have a hard time finding first hand accounts. Everything I find is "In General" or this could happen, or that could happen. I'm hoping to find some first hand experience from you guys whom I consider the experts on what you've experienced yourselves with paint and PC.

PC would be easier for me to get done, but harder to fix myself...

Am I over-worrying about the potential for PC damage? A valve cover inside a car is one thing, it's protected by a hood. Motorcycles are exposed head on to everything everytime you ride.
 

miketweedie

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You could also consider a 3M style clear wrap on the frame. The modern wrap materials are self-healing using a heat gun, so unless you cut all the way through it would protect better than raw paint/powder. They're expensive, and a total nightmare to apply yourself, but it's a thought.
 

Max Midnight

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I have had my frame PC'd and painted.
The issues I had with PC was that it didn't seem particularly durable, was difficult to retouch but the killer for me was that it looked thick. How much of that was down to the shop that did the job I can't say.
I then had the frame stripped and a professional two pack paint applied. It has proven to be so durable I haven't had the need to do any repairs on it. To my eyes nor does it have the 'thick' look of PC.

Whist I have sprayed small parts at home they never have had the durability of shop applied jobs but you pays your money etc.
I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder so if funds permit I would go for a pro paint job.
 

BluzPlayer

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My two cents that may be worth only .5 cents.
I do powdercoating. I do painting.
A properly prepped and cured powdercoat is VERY difficult to chip. As in extremely difficult when compared with painting. In many cases the powdercated piece is already touched up when you get it at the contact point used when it was sprayed. The purpose of powdercoating goes beyond the colors ( anything available in paint is available in powder including flops) and looks.
It is more about the DURABILITY. Nothing compares, not the POR products, nothing.
The touch up is commonly done with an enamel so simple colors such as black are very easy.
Usually the PC can give you the hex number for the paint which you can have mixed should you have that kind of over the top personality.
That is if you can even chip it.
Even if you do have to make repairs, you will be making far far fewer of them.
When I first started using powder my friends would throw rocks at the pieces; once putting a small part in a bucket of screws and shaking it around while doing the same with a painted piece for comparison. No comparison.
If you have the part cleared it will protect the color even more.
This .5 cents value cost you nothing so take it for what it is worth. I hope whatever decision you make works out well for you.
 

cra-z1

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Yes I have touched up powder coated frames easily. I just used gloss black enamel let it cure for a week or so and buff it out to blend into the other areas.
 

EvenmoreXS

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You could also consider a 3M style clear wrap on the frame. The modern wrap materials are self-healing using a heat gun, so unless you cut all the way through it would protect better than raw paint/powder. They're expensive, and a total nightmare to apply yourself, but it's a thought.
Haven't seen that yet... I'll do some learning on it. Thank you for the alternative option to consider.
 

EvenmoreXS

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I have had my frame PC'd and painted.
The issues I had with PC was that it didn't seem particularly durable, was difficult to retouch but the killer for me was that it looked thick. How much of that was down to the shop that did the job I can't say.
I then had the frame stripped and a professional two pack paint applied. It has proven to be so durable I haven't had the need to do any repairs on it. To my eyes nor does it have the 'thick' look of PC.

Whist I have sprayed small parts at home they never have had the durability of shop applied jobs but you pays your money etc.
I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder so if funds permit I would go for a pro paint job.
I have seen issues with thickness of PC in tight fitment areas. There are variables there I think with who does it and how well. It is most definitely thicker than paint would be which is supposed to lend it to being more durable,... but I see people like yourself who say the durability isn't what everyone says it is. My main concern is with contact points with rocks from traffic and catching the bottom of the frame on dipped portions of driveways and speed bumps. That sor of daily rider stuff. If I do go with paint I will definitely do a good blast and clean, solid primer workflow, multiple base coats and 2K clear coat. Not overkill, but I will try to do the best I can. I'd appreciate having the experience and having done it knowledge vs paying for pro paint. Maybe pro help / instruction would be the middle ground.

Thank you for your feedback Max
 

EvenmoreXS

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My two cents that may be worth only .5 cents.
I do powdercoating. I do painting.
A properly prepped and cured powdercoat is VERY difficult to chip. As in extremely difficult when compared with painting. In many cases the powdercated piece is already touched up when you get it at the contact point used when it was sprayed. The purpose of powdercoating goes beyond the colors ( anything available in paint is available in powder including flops) and looks.
It is more about the DURABILITY. Nothing compares, not the POR products, nothing.
The touch up is commonly done with an enamel so simple colors such as black are very easy.
Usually the PC can give you the hex number for the paint which you can have mixed should you have that kind of over the top personality.
That is if you can even chip it.
Even if you do have to make repairs, you will be making far far fewer of them.
When I first started using powder my friends would throw rocks at the pieces; once putting a small part in a bucket of screws and shaking it around while doing the same with a painted piece for comparison. No comparison.
If you have the part cleared it will protect the color even more.
This .5 cents value cost you nothing so take it for what it is worth. I hope whatever decision you make works out well for you.
If solid touch up can be done with good enamel paint, that could sway me towards PC. I could most likely get good PC done for less than getting setup and painting myself, but I wouldn't gain a new skill which is also of value to me. I would want to have it cleared, which of course would only add to the issue of thickness I hear about. This I believe could be overcome with good communication between owner and PC'er about specific tight fit areas. A competent PC professional shouldn't have to be lead down this road, but an owner / builder who wants the best work should be clear and adamant about what is expected.

Thank you for the feedback Buzz
 

EvenmoreXS

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Yes I have touched up powder coated frames easily. I just used gloss black enamel let it cure for a week or so and buff it out to blend into the other areas.
Excellent first hand info. I have read that you cant buff PC or it makes it cloudy, or dull....removes the sheen. That has lead me to believe that a touch up would be noticeable...? An over the weekend touch up would be preferable to a week, but good to know it has been done with success.

Thanks Cra-z
 

46th Georgia

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I will be going back through my bike very soon and doing some things that I've always wanted to do and creating my own custom paint scheme has always been on the list. Grinding off some unused tabs, passenger pegs and some other general frame stuff will leave me with a frame that needs repainting or powder coating. I will also be considering the same, paint or powder, for some other parts as well... brake calipers, engine mounts, maybe clutch and alternator covers. I'm still working out my vision but in the process I've learned a lot about Powder Coat vs Paint. I've learned all the basic Pro's and Con's that would lead me one way or the other, BUT, the one thing I haven't seemed to find is FIRST HAND experience with REGRET. That's why this thread could be different from the rest. I don't need to know the pros vs. cons. I'd like to know about why you picked one vs. the other and what happened that made you regret it. Why you think you should have gone the other way.

My main concern in my situation is not really being able to touch up powder easily..., from what I've read anyway. My bike is low to the ground and I do scrub most speed bumps, and Florida's roads.... We have rocks. I have a quality powder coater in Tallahassee I can use and would save me TONS of work and the price is doable. I do not currently have the gear or space to perform my own semi-professional paint job at home, even with rattle cans, and would have to spend a substantial sum to get set up for that and the time associated with doing all of that prep and paint work myself can not be overlooked... But I can make it happen. I am a DIY guy, much like all of you, and if I did choose paint I would prefer to do it myself for the experience and ability to control quality as best I can which means I'd be getting in pretty deep. But every now and then I could do touch ups where needed which would potentially keep things looking nice longer and stave off any issues with potential corrosion under the powder coat. Regardless of the quality of the powder coat or paint I plan to ride as much as possible and the powder coat will still only take so many rock hits on our Florida roads before you've got something substantial to worry about that you can't touch up. That said, I really don't want to have to do too many regular paint touch ups either. Lots of riding and as little paint or pc repair as possible. Not a show bike. I hope she will look super nice, but she is for regular transportation. This will obviously be a long term decision and I hope to only make it once. Your opinions and experiences are valuable to me and I thank you in advance.

I know there are a lot of threads around on this topic but I hope to find some info related to why you wish you had gone the other route. Hate the regular touch ups? Hate that your PC is chipped and lost it's luster and you can't fix it easily?

Personal experience is preferred, but if you know someone who has regrets one way or the other and why please share that as well.

Powder Coat vs. Paint... Regrets!

Thank you all! Ride safe!

And wash your hands.
That's a helluva deal to PC the frame. I'm a painter by trade and I can tell you that I wouldn't paint a frame for that price. The only downside to PC is that it's thicker and may cause fitment problems, so be prepared to clean some mounting points. It does look a little plastic like, but that's a matter of taste. Good luck.
 

EvenmoreXS

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That's a helluva deal to PC the frame. I'm a painter by trade and I can tell you that I wouldn't paint a frame for that price. The only downside to PC is that it's thicker and may cause fitment problems, so be prepared to clean some mounting points. It does look a little plastic like, but that's a matter of taste. Good luck.
Thanks for the feedback 46. Fitment issues after PC is definitely a concern that I'm not really interested in running into.
 

EvenmoreXS

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Yes be prepared for fitment problems with powder coat. Also PD can "tear" under bolt and screw heads. I prefer paint.
Thanks Signal, I'm starting to lean towards paint with several base coats and 2K clear coats. Potential for fitment issues and inconsistent touch up ability of PC are a deterrent. If I do paint it myself, touch ups would likely be less complicated. I have no doubt I can do it, but setting up a clean space to paint and dry will be the difficult part in my current location. The tools are readily available to aquire, but space... that comes at a premium.
 

EvenmoreXS

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If you're new at painting, trust me... a frame isn't what you want to learn on. They're a pain in the ass to paint.
Good point. A frame isn't exactly flat, is it... Luckily I do have some other things I could put the learning curve on to practice. I don't have zero experience painting, just having a hard time deciding on PC or paint for this project... for good reasons on both sides... but I also have limited space and could have lots of things PC'd and ready to go pretty quickly... with that said I'm not looking for the fastest option, just the one that will suit my situation the best for the next several years. Time isn't going anywhere but forward, so I have that to look forward to.

So far no one has said they had regrets for doing what they did.. paint vs. pc, just advantages and disadvantages... which tells me a lot. Not exactly a win / lose option either way, just different issues for different reasons with both.

How about parts other than the frame? Any parts you guys would PC specifically over paint? or vise versa?

And thanks for the straight forward feedback Jim. Once I get into the nuts and bolts of the rebuild I'll have more complicated questions on the mechanical side for you experts, but those will be in a different thread.

Thank you everyone. I know this isn't a "technical" question I'm asking but your feedback helps. You guys kick ass.
 
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