Ask Pinkbike - Plasti Dipping a Frame, Finding the Right Headset

Jun 16, 2014
by Pinkbike Staff  
Ask Pinkbike Header

Here at Pinkbike we get inundated with all kinds of questions, ranging from the basic "Can I have stickers" to more in-depth, soul searching types of queries like if you should pop the question or what to name your first child. Ask Pinkbike is an occasional column where we'll be hand picking and answering questions that have been keeping readers up at night, although we'll likely steer clear of those last two and keep it more tech oriented.



Pointless Plasti Dip?

Question: Pinkbike user chargerljl asked this question in the Freeride & Slopestyle forum: I don't really like my bike's paint but also don't want to spend the money to have it redone, so I was thinking about maybe trying to paint it with Plasti Dip. I've Plasti Dip'd the hood of a car before and it came out pretty well, but I was wondering if I would just be wasting my time if I used it on my frame?


bigquotesTalk about good timing... I just spent three days painting my van with Plasti Dip, so I'm pretty familiar with the stuff. For those that don't know, Plasti Dip is a spray-on rubber-based paint that, after a number of coats, leaves you with a neat looking matte finish. The stuff is pretty clever in that the surface you're painting only requires minimal prep, and if you don't like how it looks you can literally peel it all off like a pudding skin. I've even seen people use Plasti Dip on their Audis and Porsches, which is way scarier to me than painting my $2,000 van, but there's minimal risk because it basically leaves no trace after you peel it off. Regardless, I don't think you'd catch me spraying my R8 with the stuff. What about a bike frame? Well, so long as you prep your frame properly - that means stripping it, masking off the important bits, and cleaning it thoroughly - you shouldn't have a problem. And like I said above, you can just peel it all off if you don't like the finished product. I do think that you'd be wasting your time, though, given that Plasti Dip isn't exactly the most scratch resistant stuff. Once you get an edge of the rubber coating exposed it can be peeled back quite easily, and it wouldn't take long until your frame is looking like it's been given a massage with a wire brush. - Mike Levy

Plasti-dip

Plasti Dip paint comes in loads of colours and is easy to apply and remove, but it's not nearly as durable as a proper paint job.



What headset do I need?

Question: PB user benokk asked this question in the Mechanic's Lounge forum: I'm buying a new headset for my 2010 Scott Voltage FR20, which has a "1.5 Reducer to 11/8 semi-integrated FSA headset" as stock, but what does the "reducer to 11/8" actually mean? Will a 1.5 fit? I'm currently looking at a NukeProof Warhead 1.5, is it a good choice?


bigquotesFiguring out the correct headset can be a confusing, and at times overwhelming process due to the number of different options currently on the market. Between the different cup styles and steerer tube diameters there's a nearly endless variety of combinations out there. Luckily, most headset manufactures have fit guides on their websites that can make finding the correct replacement a relatively pain-free procedure.

There are three key pieces of information necessary to determine which headset you'll need: head tube diameter, steerer tube dimensions, and headset type. It looks like your FR20 has a 1.5" straight head tube, which means it has an internal diameter of 49.57 - 49.61mm. Next, you need to know what type of steerer tube your fork has. There are three possibilities - a non-tapered 1.5", non-tapered 1 1/8", or tapered, with a 1.5" lower and 1 1/8" upper. If you still have the stock fork, then it's a non-tapered 1 1/8" steerer. That dimension is why the headset you're replacing is a "reducer" style headset - it's designed to allow the smaller 1 1/8" steerer to fit in the larger 1.5" head tube. The final thing to consider is the actual style of headset - is it a zero stack, where the cups press in and only extend a few millimeters above the frame; external, where the bearing are housed in cups outside the frame; or internal, where the bearings rest in cups built into the frame? I'd recommend going with a zero stack headset similar to what you already have. So, to distill all of that down, you're looking for a zero stack headset to fit a 1 1/8" steerer to a 1.5" head tube. Nukeproof does make a headset that will be a fine replacement, but you'll want to make sure to purchase the one for a 1 1/8" steerer (part #49IISS), and not the one for a fork with a 1.5" steerer.
- Mike Kazimer

That barstock leaves as a piece of bicycle jewelry.

Finding the correct headset can seem complicated at first, but with a little knowledge it should all start to make sense.




Have some unresolved tech questions? Jump in the Pinkbike Forum and we'll look to answer it for next time.


119 Comments

  • 57 3
 I thought we they were going to talk about dipping your frame in melted plastic or something...
  • 6 1
 If I had a dollar for every terrible spray job I've seen over the years. They always look decent when first sprayed but after a couple muddy rides they always start chipping and looking cheap. PlastiDip or spray might look good at first but it also will fall off eventually leaving your bike looking like a $100 crackhead setup. Spend the $125 and get a real powder coat. PlastiDip costs at least $25 for 2 cans which you would need.
  • 3 0
 One of my best buddies plasti-dipped his frame. He did it all white and then applied applied a gloss finish to the top (which plasti-dip makes), and I gotta say, it looks just as good as a proper powder coat until you get really, really up close. He did not strip the original paint, just cleaned the frame really well, and removed the decals. So far it's taken 2 park days and a fair bit or trail riding, and looks just as good as the day he put it on. Dude also made new decals out of carbon-look vinyl, which also look pretty sweet.

Do 2-3 coats of plasti-dip, then at a coat of gloss finisher, an you're golden!
  • 1 0
 It all depends on the number of layers you apply.

Dipyourcar.com advises using AT LEAST 3 coats, but they usually apply 6, sometimes 7. They say that using more layers will result in a thicker rubber finish; which is stronger and harder to remove. Your dip will never be as strong on a car as it would be on a bicycle, because you dip only one side of a panel on the car and the whole frame of the bike going around 360°. Ripping a coat of plastidip (6 layers and on) is hard... So just use enough of the stuff Smile

The first 3 coats should be just quick ones and the ones following that should be slower, more covering ones to get an awesome satin look. You shouldn't use Plasti Dip in its pure form, but use thinner (from the same brand).
  • 3 0
 I tried dipping a brand new frame. Pro Tip: Don't. At least don't use the cans, I've seen decent results with the dip you put in a paint gun, but that's on a vehicle, and even then it tears so easily that within a week of riding you've wasted your investment. For a little more you can get your frame powder coated and trust that it won't look like crap in a week. By the time you've dipped and re-dipped, you could have just gotten a paint job.
  • 2 0
 is this plasti dip stuff heavier than paint?
  • 1 0
 We tried plasti dip at work(I make performance springs for super cars/bikes and it lasted minutes) we found it terrible on something that's exposed to the elements.a ten minute drive when fitted to a car the springs were nearly back to raw steel lol.we just powder coat and heat treat which I find best.
  • 1 0
 I plastidipped a frame camo green. looked good but as stated it starts to chip rather quickly because of the use it gets. Shoe rub, rock chips and all it starts going and looking cheap.
  • 3 0
 Me too. I pictured Dairy Queen dipping their vanilla soft-serve into the chocolate or strawberry melting tank and coming out with this nice, matte finish. If you're going to strip the paint and do all that prep, why not just paint it?
  • 2 1
 i've never seen a good rattlecan job.
  • 1 0
 Plastidip can do a good job. A buddy of mine dipped his bike and has wear spots from shoes and rocks but not too bad. Ive done the fender flares on my pickup. Did 8-10 coats of the stuff. Had a flare some how rip off on the highway at 65MPH, didnt do anything more than scuff the outer layer or two.
  • 1 1
 @ggtrialer

Even a perfectly done spray can job can be spotted from a powder coat a mile away. Don't try and fool yourself into thinking you're going to get a legit finished product with plasti dip.. To all those who say otherwise and that they've done countless spray paint makeovers that look "tits:" You're wrong. It looks like shit.
  • 1 0
 i can say the same about plasti dip on a helmet- its too easy to scratch off. anything that gets regular rubbing with dirt, goggle straps, shoes, knees etc. will wear out plasti dip in no time. and its not cheap to find out how inferior of a paint it is…
  • 1 0
 I always wondered about using rocker guard or bedliner spray on the downtube and chainstays, instead of wrapping old inner tubes on the frame. You can find that stuff in spray cans at any hardware or automotive store.

Anyone try that? Got to be way more durable that Plasti Dip.
  • 2 0
 @vr6ix I agree. Adding a Line-X , rhino liner or some other bedliner spray would probably work really well and look much better than old inner tubes. I've not seen it before either though.
  • 2 0
 use windsurfing board foam grip tape for down tube and chainstay. best part is it's great at dissipating noise. really quiets down chain and chunk. they come in colors as well.
  • 1 0
 @dh257mx

Im the guy that will spot crank rub from 100 yards. Plastidip and rattle can jobs can look good if done properly with proper prep, otherwise they look like crap. Its easy to tell when some splattered some paint on something and when some time was put into it. On things like truck fender flares, thats exactly the legit finish you want, almost a duraliner look. On a bike, not usually so. You do realize that all automotive paint jobs are spray jobs, as are bike, and the fancier they are the more likely they were done by hand.
  • 1 0
 @ggtrailer

Yes, good prep will make for a BETTER finish. My only point is that a keen eye will know the difference. Plus, for me personally, I only want the best. Even if no one else would ever know, I would.

Side Note: I figured that most people would understand that by spray paint I meant from a can.
  • 7 0
 The only tool you need to find the right headset is the Cane Creek Headset Fit Finder. Even if you don't intend to run a CC headset, it will tell you what headset standard your frame has and give you the measurements/numbers you need to know to get the right one.
  • 4 1
 You wouldn't do bad running one though, I'm slowly converting all of my rides to Cane Creek as my older headsets wear- great product.
  • 2 1
 Which is a funny thing for us old school guys to hear, even if it's true, because their headsets were such crap in the early '00s.
  • 1 0
 Yeah I'm not too far behind you in years haha I can remember when there was really only one way to go, King, and for a traditional 1 1/8 they may still rule the roost. However I'm running a 40 series traditional in my jump bike and it's buttery smooth with no issues so far. I'm also had tremendous experience with 40 series in taper zero stack. Smooth, attractive and affordable.
  • 2 1
 It's true. Most modern Cane Creek headsets are quite nice in fact. I am running one on my Ticket S and I have run them on a few bikes in the past as well. I still prefer Chris King but sometimes you just need a basic headset and don't want to shell out the CK money.
  • 5 0
 You said it @seraph! www.canecreek.com/headset-fit-finder We have over 14k bike models in the Headset Fit Finder. If we don't have yours - I owe you a sticker. (Oh and @groghunter - sorry about your experience - we held the patent for the theadless headset until 2010 - many headsets bearing the Cane Creek name weren't produced by us).
  • 1 0
 @CC, Hey you don't have my Vassago ChupaCabra listed - I want my stickers! Smile And I'm running a traditional 1 1/8 (ec34) CC 40 in it, to boot.
The guides on the CC website have everything you would want to know about headsets. Highly recommended.
  • 1 1
 I had a CC headset on my Nomad carbon. A 110 if I remember correctly. It was shit. Came loose all the time. Got it replaced... Still not what it was supposed to be. I now have a 40 on my Canyon and so does my brother and they work fine. A friend of mine had nothing but creaking noises coming from his CC headset on his Canyon (same frame as my brother).
  • 2 0
 Headsets don't just come loose, ultimately it's the stem that holds the adjustment. So if your headset gets loose constantly it's because your stem is slipping. Once the headset is adjusted and the stem bolts are tightened the only way the headset can lose that adjustment is if the stem moves. Having worked in shops for a long time, 99 times out of 100 when someone walks in and says their headset is creaking, it's something else on bike. Hell, most of the time if you pop the cables out the stops the creaking they blame on the headset miraculously stops...
  • 1 0
 Hmm you could be right. I tightened the bolts to torque specs at first, which didn't offer a long ride without play. I then tightened them more than advised (still in the safe zone), and it didn't help either. I know there is some paste out there that should stop components from slipping against each other (for carbon seatposts mostly), but I didn't think of it at that time. Perhaps it could have helped.

The creaking noise was coming from the headset though, 100% sure. When adjusting the torque on the stem cap bolt, there was no creaking sound for a while, but a few kilometers later it popped up again. Retightened the stem cap, no more noise. A few crank revolutions further... Same story. Canyon was really just pushing the problem out of their hands and was not clear about what it could be. He bought a new headset, also CC, and the problem was still there. Perhaps a faulty headtube (PF cups)?
  • 6 1
 Actually you don't need to strip or rough up your frame for plasti dip. Simply clean the frame thoroughly and apply. The more coats you do the thicker it is. They also have a hardener and clear coat now that will help make the plasti last longer without peeling.
  • 8 0
 Ya I think he meant "strip" as in take off all the components and housing. Stripping the paint would be permanent.
  • 8 1
 Yeah I hope so! I would hate to hear about a bunch pinkbikers that stripped their frames raw just to plasti dip them!
  • 2 1
 I did my Harley, my wheels on my Jeep, and other odds and ends such as tools. The best way to prep for a plasti dip job is rubbing alcohol, or something similar. I wouldn't go as far as acetone though haha.
  • 1 0
 @Mike Levy !!!!

DO NOT strip your frame. As stated above... Just wash it well, dry it well and dip away.
  • 1 0
 I had tried this stuff last year and it worked for a while but eventually peeled off. This year I was thinking of getting the plasti dip primer. My only fear is that the primer WILL NEVER COME OFF, so if your not happy with the results, poo pooooooo!!

I only want to use is on the places where I get chain and rock strikes ( ventral tube and chain stays ) of my M9.

but the primer is supposed to help the plasti-dip stick like crazy....

still on the fence.
  • 2 0
 Call the guys at dipyourcar.com and explain to them what you will be using it for. They are really helpful and offer some of the best prices on the web for plastic dip products. And their YouTube videos offer some excellent plasti dip ideas!!!
  • 8 1
 Agreed, the most concise explanation of headset sizing/type I've ever read online.
  • 2 0
 Why does everything in biking have to be so complicated though. Just reading the sheer volume of numbers in his reply, is enough to make your head spin!

But yes a great answer to one of the many confusing questions about "will this part fit?" in mtn biking
  • 1 0
 Isn't there another "standard" out there as well? I think Giant uses it in the OverDrive 2 setups.
  • 2 0
 yeah, I wonder how long it will take Giant to finally give it up and accept OD2 is not a "standard".
Or will every other bike company "realize" that the normal tapered steerers they've been using are just not stiff enough?
  • 7 0
 Plasti dip on the helmet is where it's at.
  • 155 0
 I tried it. She still got pregnant.
  • 1 0
 Hahahahah yes!
  • 4 0
 Possibly the best comment on pinkbike∆∆∆
  • 1 0
 Bet it keeps off the VD though
  • 2 0
 I disagree with Levy about not dipping a bike (or bike parts) based on assumption that it won't last and will look like hell. The stuff is very, very durable once cured and if it was sprayed on a clean surface.

I've dipped a fork, bars and stem on a DJ bike that is thrown more often than landed and the dip is holding up really well, much better than I thought.

I also did my winter steel rims on my truck which sees a whole lot of spinning in deep snow, chunky ice, etc off road and around the farm and on woods roads getting firewood. 2 years, not a chip or tear in the dip, outer or inner rim. And I live on a gravel road, so it's about as harsh an environment you can out it through outside of straight up wheeling/crawling.

I figured it would require annual re-application, but not so far.

All that said, I wouldn't do it as a permanent colour change on a bike - it will get cut or torn eventually, it's susceptible to sharp edge nicks - but it's a great way to find out what colour you may want before going for a full strip/powder coat and it is effective at protecting the clear on your current paint job in areas like a down tube, back side of a seat tube, etc.
  • 2 0
 I have a question regarding powder coating a bike and it looks like many of you have some excellent insight on the subject. I have a sinister ridge freeride hardtail that I really enjoy, however the previous owner took the liberty of painting it and it is starting to flake and chip. It seems like he did a decent job of priming and getting an even coat but I have read that aluminum requires a specific primer because it is not as porous as steel, or something of that nature. My main question is I have read that powder coating requires a certain amount of baking to achieve the proper results. Does this in anyway impact the durability of the bike by heating it up again? I would hate to have something powder coated and later find it made the frame less durable or resistant to cracks and breaking. I do some downhill on the bike and other impact heavy riding so what do you guys think? Thanks a lot for any info on the subject I love the bike but it would be great to have the paint redone.
  • 2 0
 The baking temperature for power coat is very low and will in no way affect the heat treat or structural integrity of the frame... If it did, they wouldn't powder coat new frames. The only precaution I'd take with an aluminum frame is to possibly chemically strip the old paint off...sand/media blasting can be hard on the material if your not careful
  • 1 0
 Thank for the info b-mack I appreciate the heads up on taking the paint off as well.
  • 1 0
 Powder coating a frame isn't that expensive if you can find a place that does industrial powder coating (as opposed to cosmetic stuff). I got 2 coats on my road frame for $45 at a place that does heat exchanger coils, engine/exhaust parts, etc.Slightly fewer color choices but it still looked awesome.
  • 6 1
 Ah, the color choices. You can get any color you want, as long as it's black.
  • 2 0
 Haha they had about 50 colors, maybe more. Not as many as a custom offroad auto shop, but still plenty of choice.
  • 1 0
 You can paint the plasti dip any color you want w/reg spray paint if you want to.
  • 2 1
 Plasti-dip with spray paint and powdercoat aren't really comparable... a 2-layer powdercoat cost me $45 and lasted 4+ years (it was still looking great when I sold the frame) with almost no chips. And it was a commuter, so it go banged up against bike racks and sign posts and things all the time. Plasti-dip with spray paint (anything with spray paint) will start chipping right away, in my experience.
  • 1 0
 I PlastiDipped my Felt beach cruiser in semi gloss black. For prep, I Just cleaned it really well and dried it off. I took off the wheels and the chain. Thats It.... Remember - once it is dry, anything you don't want PlastiDipped just peels off. I did appx 6 coats, and it looks killer. I've since done the grille and emblems on my jeep too.
  • 2 0
 I have plasti-dipped rims for an offroad race car and have used those rims to race the baja 500 and baja 250. They still haven't scratched or peeled yet... Plasti-dipping isn't a bad way to go
  • 1 0
 A layered Plasti dip would for a chain stay slap guard no?
The fact you can peel it off is part of the attraction
Not a downside IMHO.
I can go for an enduro blue bike trip and then peel and repaint and deny it ever happened, perfect!
  • 1 0
 I plasti dipped my white boxxer orange last year...It looked really sick for about a month or so but like said, the normal scrapes cause it to start peeling plus it liked to attract brake dust. Nice thing was that I peeled it off no problem.
  • 1 1
 I'm in process of blacking out all the "logos"/emblems on an e55 AMG currently, I had thought about plasti-dipping my BMX but concluded it would peel and scratch too easily leading to a homemade-looking-one-coat-spray-paint-job kind of look.
  • 1 0
 I did 5 good coats on my Jeep wheels, and I go out and thrash on the rig.
I never think about my paint job, the stuff holds up great blasting through brush, bamboo, anything at 50+ mph.
With 5 coats on a bike you would be fine for a long time until you really roughed it up on some rocks.
  • 4 1
 Headsets are a pain in the ass
  • 2 0
 what a coincidence, i too was having a little difficulty finding a replacement voltage headset, thanks PB!
  • 1 0
 I remember Ibis ran some polyurethane coating on Mojos. I thought it was a great idea. Did anyone get one? How did it last? Why did they stop (or did they stop)?
  • 1 0
 I had one, it was awful. Rubbatone I think is what it was called, it was a matte grey color. Attracted dirt like nothing I've ever seen, it took a four step process to get it even sort of clean and red clay actually permanently stained it.
  • 1 0
 Ever hear of the $50 paint job a guy did to his car? Just use Rustoleum rust paint. You can wet sand it to a gloss finish, too. And it's pretty durable.
  • 1 1
 Hell with all this Plasti Dip and Powder coat nonsense.......just throw a couple coats of industrial strength spray paint making sure you equally covered it and call it a day!!! I'm here to RIDE!!!!
  • 1 0
 I runny Giant Reign SX with Matt black plasti dip. Works good for the most part.
  • 2 0
 Plasti dip on the downtube works pretty well, helps protect the frame.
  • 30 2
 I use it on my stanchions, protects the Kashima.
  • 1 1
 plasti dipped my fork and it looks nice but as soon as you go in dirt its shit and does start to rub off in some spots after awhile
  • 4 1
 *Porsche
  • 5 0
 You sure? Repainting your porch can be scary, especially if it's screened in.
  • 1 0
 Thanks for the headset explanation. Just looking for a replacement on my FR20 your timing is perfect!
  • 1 0
 Let me settle this. Just strip it down and leave it bare metal. You'll save weight.
  • 1 0
 that headset stuff help me alot. thanks mike
  • 1 0
 Buying a new headset for a bike build, this was very helpful. Thanks!
  • 1 0
 Mike Levy drives an Audi R8? Damn! Baller! Post up some photos Mike!
  • 1 0
 WHERE THE F DO ALL MY COMMENTS KEEP GOING ON HERE?!?
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.024985
Mobile Version of Website