I love my 1980s Cannondale ST800. It’s got soul like other C-dales of that era.
But one challenge I’ve had w/ a few old Cannondales is the paint.
I like the single-color approach they took, but the paint often seems rather chip-able. This ST800 has managed to preserve most of its paint and the paints lustre, too. But I am nervous enough about scraps from poles or bike racks that I’ve lathered it up w/ protective tape. Which sucks. My 2018 Synapse AL SE 105 seemed to have an especially hard-wearing paint that I haven’t see much elsewhere.
Anyway, this gets to a long-standing question I’d had about paint on modern bikes – especially carbon bikes. Orbea and Ribble both have awesome custom-color options for customers. And a number of firms, like Speedvagen or All-City, take pride in their paints (or in the case of All-City, the durability they say their paints and steel frames have from a rust standpoint). But there seems to be a wide range of durability with the paints used by brands, or durability based on the quality of how the paint is applied or the frame material used. In bike reviews, I often see photos of carbon bikes that, if you look closely have a random chip from rocks or whatever, like by the bottom bracket or on a fork tip, even if it’s a new/nearly new bike.
Any thoughts or sage insights??
- Are certain paints more durable for carbon, steel, or aluminum, respectively?
- Are shiney (i.e., clear-coated) paints better against chips?
- Are matte paint finishes less durable? They seem to ware easily, which makes me wonder why they are so popular on expensive carbon frames.
- Are the custom-paint options you get from, say, Ribble, less durable than the factory-painted options (where they’d presumably get to bake the paint on, not just spray it)? (Assuming baked paints are more long-lasting than sprayed paints. Is it??).