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Questions about Colnago's paint and quality control ?(29 posts)

Questions about Colnago's paint and quality control ?HouseMoney
Jan 8, 2004 3:43 PM
By the process of elimination, I keep coming back to a Colnago as the frame I'll probably get based on the feedback I've received. I'm still undecided whether to go for the CT2 HP or the Dream HP, but I have the opportunity to test-ride an aluminum Colnago in my size (as soon as it warms up a little). For a steel option, I'll also be able to ride a Mondonico, so I have ti, aluminum, and steel covered (carbon, i.e. the C50, would be pushing the limits of my budget).

Reading the reviews, at least for the Dream, it seems a common thread in enough reviews to raise a red flag is shoddy paint application and some mis-aligned frames. I wouldn't expect this based on the stellar reputation Colnago has. Are these just a vocal minority who are complaining? I'm moving up from a Cannondale CAAD5, so although a CAAD7 (or the upcoming CAAD8) may also be nice, I'd like to go in a different direction.

P.S. Although I could've gotten a good deal on the LS Vortex I previously asked about, the test ride didn't float my boat.
re: Questions about Colnago's paint and quality control ?mapei boy
Jan 8, 2004 5:42 PM
My wife and I have his n' hers all-aluminum Colnago Dreams, circa 2000. Mine is Mapei colored, hers is Art Decor Yellow. Our paint is excellent. Mine is dinged up where the chain has repeatedly banged away at the chainstay. The paint has also worn down somewhat at a spot where a derailleur cable rubs against a lobe in the downtube. Otherwise there is only an isolated scratch or two...in three years, 5500 miles plus, and countless times stuffed into the car trunk. My wife's Dream paint is in better shape than mine, this despite the fact she's got about 6500 on hers. There are no stone or gravel marks. There's no dulling of the paint. The decals and other lettering remain perfect.

Alignment-wise, I can't vouch for my wife's, but mine is the straightest, truest frame I've ever ridden for any length of time. It never shimmies. It never swerves to one side or the other. It never feels out of balance. In short, my Colnago Dream screams quality.
Lemme guess... it rides like a DREAM... haha very punny NMgspot
Jan 9, 2004 5:58 PM
my friend owns a Lux Dream.....Shylock
Jan 8, 2004 5:52 PM
...It is definitely poorly aligned. I haven't seen enough of them to say whether it's a common occurance, but I've certainly heard enough stories. Seems Colnago has their frames built in a number of different plants that offer differing levels of quality control. The paint is pretty good -- especially for European paint. You can't expect the actual paint on a Euro frame to come close in durability to the paints offered in the states.

Want to see really bad paint? check out a Pinarello. I'd suggest you do so at a distance and keep your voice down -- it flakes pretty easily

feel the gin
Why not?divve
Jan 8, 2004 6:40 PM
Cannondale also paints frames in their Dutch subsidiary. The quality is just as good as in the US.
I believe it's got something to do with European environmental..Shylock
Jan 8, 2004 7:27 PM
regulations. This was, at least, what my frame builder told me when we were discussing frames, paint and painting options. ( Could this be just an Italian thing? maybe. ) Given the number of European frames I've seen with poor quality paint, and the durability I've experinced with the paint on my frame after 2 1/2 years, I've never seen fit to doubt him on this.

I've noticed this with Casatis, Pinarellos and Looks to name just a few. Put those alongside an Imron BASF or PPG paint job from one of the American custom framemakers like IF or Viscious and I believe there's no question as to which paint looks better and will be more durable over the long haul.

feel the gin
Yes.divve
Jan 8, 2004 11:41 PM
I think there are indeed more stringent restrictions in regard to the amount of solvents used (volatile organic compounds). Companies either will have to change their process or invest in more advanced solvent recovery equipment. From what I can tell it's just a matter of cost for a manufacturer to provided a top of the line finish.
Exactly. I was looking this up last night...Shylock
Jan 9, 2004 1:38 PM
...Providing a top quality finish in Europe simply requires more expertise in light of the restrictions on "solid' content in the paint. ( this law went into effect in 1989, I believe). i think you're right about the cost issue, as it obviously can be done well over there if there is the will to do so, as evidenced by the myriad sports cars with luscious paint jobs. I just don't think bike companies want to make the requisite investment on average.And I think, in the case of people like Casati and Pinarello, it shows.

feel the gin
I believe it's got something to do with European environmental..Shylock
Jan 8, 2004 7:30 PM
regulations. This was, at least, what my frame builder told me when we were discussing frames, paint and painting options. ( Could this be just an Italian thing? maybe. ) Given the number of European frames I've seen with poor quality paint, and the durability I've experinced with the paint on my frame after 2 1/2 years, I've never seen fit to doubt him on this.

I've noticed this with Casatis, Pinarellos and Looks to name just a few. Put those alongside an Imron BASF or PPG paint job from one of the American custom framemakers like IF or Viscious and I believe there's no question as to which paint looks better and will be more durable over the long haul.

feel the gin
how many badly painted pinarellos have you seen?colker1
Jan 8, 2004 7:29 PM
i never saw it happening and my lbs is a 'rello dealer so i see lots of them. don't even think they are the holly shrine of everything god but badly painted they are not.
Not many, really....Shylock
Jan 8, 2004 7:43 PM
...At least, not many that have seen mileage. (I probably should have taken care not to make such a generalization and simply said, "if you wanna see bad paint, check out my friend's Pinarello.) I just know how bad his bike looks already and how much he paid for it.Pinarello doesn't seem to concerned, either. It's really sad to see just how poorly it's held up after 5 months. We do most of our riding together so I know he's not riding bad roads.

I also thought the paint looked weak the day he got it . (didn't say anything, though:))

feel the gin
oh well..colker1
Jan 8, 2004 7:51 PM
it shouldn't happen. you are right. it would p*ss me off and i would badmouth it for sure but i own one(old, not the best paint but i love the bike. at least the chrome is wonderfull) and i see lots of them: the new frames are just gorgeous. maybe too gorgeous, almost lascivious paint jobs if you know what i mean. prefer a more understated and modern look like pegoretti (heard their painting is weak too. but there's nothing as cool as their designs)
Sad about the pegoretti paint...Shylock
Jan 8, 2004 8:17 PM
...I've thought for a while that their's would be the Italian bike I'd buy if I were to go the Euro route. Love their designs for some reason.

When you asked how many poorly painted Pinarellos I'd seen, i was only considering the newer bikes like the Prince. I actually have seen some beautiful older Pinarellos that have seen thousands of miles and still look great. in fact, I used to think I was going to own one some day.

BTW, I did a search and learned that Europe put restrictions on the use of paints with high "solid" content. Probably the reason why the Casatis and Pinarellos ( at least the Yellow, in the case of Pinarello) are so thin and washed out looking.

feel the gin
Sad about the pegoretti paint...irregardless
Jan 8, 2004 8:46 PM
Pegoretti paint jobs aren't bad, the paint just chips easily, at least in my experience.
Well, isn't that, uh...Shylock
Jan 8, 2004 9:07 PM
...pretty bad? :)

feel the gin
Well, isn't that, uh...irregardless
Jan 9, 2004 12:06 AM
It is bad, only you don't know the paint will chip till after you ride. With the aluminum colnagos, the paint looks bad before you ride.
Paint on my Paris is flawless!russw19
Jan 8, 2004 8:57 PM
It's got about 12,000 miles on it now and has a few random, but expected chips and some cable rub marks, but overall it's perfect. Of course my particualr frame has a history and was meant to be a Banesto rider's bike, so maybe it was painted better, but I doubt it.

By the way, the paint on my Cannondale not only chips easier (it seems, but there is no way I can really verify that) but it has also faded pretty badly over the past 4 years. I have recently had it powdercoated because it was getting too orange colored. It started off Saeco Red.

Russ
Heh- reminds of one that came into the shopCoolhand
Jan 9, 2004 8:30 AM
Guy bought it new mail order style and couldn't install his intregrated headset, amoung other things. He gave up and brought it in. Turns out the headtube was hosed- you couldn't install one. Oops. Nice quality control guys. . .

BTW- Independent Fabrications has the nice paint jobs I have seen. If I got a new road frame- one of their TI Crown Jewels would be it. Hubba Hubba!

Coolhand
Excellent.djg
Jan 8, 2004 7:30 PM
I've heard stories about a sort of second line built for eastern europe and rumors that these are not built to quite the same standards--at least not the same cosmetic standards. But I have no real knowledge of any such practices, just rumors.

My own CT1--which I bought in England--had no build or alignment problems whatsoever and the paint--if not to everyone's taste--is definitely top notch. It's extremely well done and in absolutely great shape after two years. The Nag owners I've actually talked to first-hand have been uniformly happy with their bikes. In fact, the last significan quality control problems I'm aware of coming out of Colnago were back in the early 80s.

I see quite a few of these. There's a big nag dealer in DC that's pretty close to my house and I've seen quite a few frames come through that shop. They've all looked very good to me. Well, that's my contact with the brand. And FWIW, I love the damn bike. YMMV.
not only that but per competitive cyclist:colker1
Jan 8, 2004 7:41 PM
colnago has iso9000 quality control. ok, maybe it's just marketing but doesn't click with misaligned frames and bad painting. maybe...
saw a c40, some master lights, lots of pinarellos and they all had much better paint than my ibis mojo (but then, i had a discount due to the bad paint)
not only that but per competitive cyclist:brian n
Jan 9, 2004 8:03 AM
i have a 97 mojo which had the imron paint standard- it lasted 7 years and the paint looked as good as new. sure i chipped it from crashes etc, but the non-dinged areas still looked like wet paint today.
re: Questions about Colnago's paint and quality control ?rogue_CT1
Jan 8, 2004 10:54 PM
I have a CT-1 and my buddy has an Ovalmaster. Both are beautiful bikes with absolutely no alignment problems or paint problems.

I just checked out a new C-50 frame at my LBS and the finish on that frame is simply the most beautiful and perfect paint job I have ever seen on a bike. Now, I hope my C-50 is done just as well.
pretty common with all Euro framesColnagoFE
Jan 9, 2004 8:22 AM
They can't use the same type of clearcoat the US does because of restrictions. Some frames come misaligned but a good shop should prep the bike before building it anyway so it really isn't as big of a deal as it sounds. My MXLs paint has held up great and no alignment problems initially.
What the?Coolhand
Jan 9, 2004 8:38 AM
How is re-alligning the rear triangle common prep work? Those puppies should be dead on out of the factory, especially on a high end bike. Also, a $2000 frame should come with clean BB and headset threads. Anything else would be a massive warning signal to me of shoddy quality.

Hell, my $200 clearance Redline cross frame had perfect allignment, good paint and clean threads.

Coolhand
not so much alignmentColnagoFE
Jan 9, 2004 9:04 AM
Though it does seem to happen more in Euro frames than US...and who really cares how clean the BB and HS threads are? You should really chase and face them anyway before build-up. Very common to have paint and such in the BB threads and such with Euro frames.
quality control and attention to detailCoolhand
Jan 9, 2004 9:28 AM
Euro frames (especially in the past) did have frame alignment issues. Not sure if its all poor quality control or that mixed with poor packing and shipping habits, but the frame should be perfect out of the box for what they are charging.

Also, if a "master framebuilder" can't even be bothered to clean and check the BB and headset areas prior to shipping I would be pretty dubious about their "quality control".

If you buy a high end road frame, by definition the thing should be perfectly aligned and the headset and BB should slide right in like butter on a hot plate. I have Euro bike lust like anyone else (ummm Orbea Orca. . . ) but there is no excuse for shoddy QC.

Coolhand
re: Questions about Colnago's paint and quality control ?Dream plus
Jan 9, 2004 9:05 AM
I have a Dream Plus Altec2+ in AD10
color. I have 15000+ miles on the frame in 3 years. The paint has held up pretty well. There are only a few chips, and a place where the tire rubbed(my fault). I've ridden in the rain and on some bad roads.
The paint pattern always gets noticed. The ride quality of the all Aluminum frame suits me fine. It is a confident descender and corners well. It is also light and climbs well.
I have three cracks appearing in the headtube paint after 3 years. I'm hoping for now that it is just the paint. I don't feel any cracks on the inside of the headtube when I pulled the fork. I'm kind of in denial about it, since my waranty was 1 yr.
Triltr was offering a free extended warranty up to 4 yrs for Frames imported into the US through them.(official US distributer) I think that's worth considering.
Others will disagree, but I'm starting to consider frames as consumables. One disadvantage of having a nice paint job is that you spend energy worrying about messing it up in a race. I've gotten over that feeling but it would have happened sooner if the frame didn't look so good, and I didn't pay so much for that paint.
re: Questions about Colnago's paint and quality control ?CT1 Guy
Jan 9, 2004 2:37 PM
Regarding finishes on a lot of European frames - many, including Colnago are finished in Belgium. And the paint regs are very strict, making acylics and the like extremely prohibitive for all but the smallest users and so the predominance of water-based paints, which just aren't as durable. Regarding alignment on Colnagos - certainly hasn't been a problem with my CT1 - and the paint finish - well mines an original CT1 with no paint, just clear coat - so no real problems. However, when I get round to my next frame, possibly a C50, I'll most probably ship mine back to get refinished. If you're worried about paint chips, buy a bare carbon or titanium frame and enjoy the craftsmanship.
Mine's perfect.Bonked
Jan 9, 2004 4:40 PM
I have a C40 and the paint is awesome. There are a few "mistakes" where the guy painting it screwed up a little but, to me, that is the best part...kind of like the flaws in crystal. It just means that someone was actually painting my bike and not just slapping stickers on. The paint has held up well for the first year (~2000 miles), although I do baby my bike...it has only seen rain once. If you're interested, check out the site http://home.att.net/~c40/. Some of the pics are pretty big, but you should be able to get a good idea of the paint job. (I know this is pretty geeky, but my bike arrived last winter after months of waiting and I had nothing else to do until summer!) Also, Competitive Cyclist has pretty good detailed pics of the frames.

And on the bike, get the C50 from the Maestro. Unbelievable service and his prices will probably put the C50 into reach for you. Just get the best and never look back!

PS - the alignment on my frame is dead-on as well.