Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Brompton Accessories #16 - Copper Plating The Brompton

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                                                   AhPek Biker - Riding Adventures                                                  
Goofy, my ever-loyal Raw Lacquer Brompton P6R, have taken me to many far-away places for good riding and memorable experiences. Many of this were on-road, but some required a fair bit of off-road cycling. Places like the Otago Central Rail Trail in New Zealand (with the huge rail sleeper stones),  pushing up the rough slopes leading to the Marlboro Hills in the Batanes, Philippines, and exploring the Mekong islands in Phnom Penh were rough, taxing experiences on my bike.

These, plus the frequent poor handing by handlers when we travelled by air had taken a toll on Goofy. It had suffered dents, and lots of scratches on it's original raw lacquer paintwork. Worse, those scratches were beginning to rust. So it's time to give Goofy a new paint, job; time for a new dressing to redress the problem of those nasty rusty spots before they get worse. For this, I turned to, Brian, a fellow Bromptoneer who is familiar with getting this done.

I was of two minds; one was to have a powder coating of metallic purple, or to go for copper plating. Both were striking colours but I decided to go for copper plating as it was somewhat close to the original raw lacquer look.
Whichever the case is, Goofy had to be stripped down to it's base frame. It was not an easy job - the wheels, rack, chain ring, dérailleurs and handle post bearings had to be removed, and so were the gear and brake cables.

It was then to the electro-plating shop, where Goofy was given a chemical bath to strip away  the original paint work from the base metal.

Fortunately the electro-plating process was not extremely hot and the rear-hinge was not required to be dismantled. A small note here, because the hinge was not removed, the area around it does not receive a optimal plating of copper; this is however not that noticeable. The bike would be plated in three different sections - the main frame (together with the rear fork attached), the front fork and the handle tube.

The plating process done, the bike is starting to look good...

... so were the front fork and handle post. To prevent oxidizing, a final layer of clear hard lacquer was added.

It was back to Brian for re-assembly and Goofy is starting to look like a bike again - a beautiful bike.

AND.... here's Goofy!
Looking all new and shiny. One side of the sponge covering for the handle bar had to be cut off for the handle removal, and it was replaced with a brown bar tape (not the best but it will do for the moment). 
I took the new Goofy out for a test-ride on a bike-packing journey to Malacca; he was very well received by my cycling buddies. One thing though, the unpadded bar tape was tough on my palms, and it's brown colour was not matching with the overall colour scheme.

Now to get the overall colour scheme right. It was back to Brian again. The rear rack, mud-guards and seat post were dismantled.

The rack was given a semi-gloss powder coat finish, while the mud-guards were spray painted with matt black.

The seat post was powder-coated with a gloss black paint.

Now better colour coordinated, my Brompton IS looking good!

The brown bar tape for the handle was replaced by a padded black one from Fizik.
Hmm..... too much black here..... the bell?

The old brass bell which I got from Thailand came too good use. With some polishing it was almost as good as new.

A high-tech looking hard carbon tape stuck onto the top tube to prevent scratching.

Personalize name stickers done by another cycling buddy, Jason, were added on - this one for the AhPek Biker, my FB page.

And this on (Jotaro Zen), my FB profile.

Many of us have come to put stickers of animals (either following our Occidental or Chinese astrological animals or some other that we fancy) onto our top tube. I opted for on on the Thundercats, it's simple and distinct.

I am most thankful to Brian, he has done a very good job. The above shows a stable of Bromptons, in various stages of having their looks changed. If you are in the Klang Valley and keen on giving your bike a new look, do drop me a line at the AhPek Biker Facebook Page. A friend will be having her Brompton powder-coated, watch out for an update of that process.

Here's Goofy in standing tall and proud in his new coat while we were at the CFAL7 event up in Penang Island.


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  1. Replies
    1. Hellos Noor,
      Message saya di AhPek Biker Facebook page. Lagi senang chat sana.

  2. Hello, I wonder if you can provide instructions on how to apply handlebar tape to replace the foam padding on the Brompton Handlebar?

    1. Hello Brian,
      It's actually not too difficult. Best is to start from near the gear levers end and work your way towards the bottom. Always pull tight and take extra care round the bends, there will always be a tendency for the tap to be thicker at the bends, but this is good as that's where one grips the top bends and the thicker wrapping there helps in protecting the palms. Use the slightly padded bar tapes.
      All said, I still think the original handle bar padding is the best as it gives better protection for the palms and also absorbs some vibrations during riding. I am actually trying to find a shop that can help me put back a new original Brompton handle bar padding.

      Cheerio, and enjoy your rides.

      the AhPek Biker.

  3. Hi,
    just to check with you, can you pls verify if the internals of your frame was plated as well

    1. Hi thamster9991,
      My apologies for the late reply, had been on a short cycling tour to North Thailand and Laos.
      The whole frame was partly dismantled and went through an electroplating process, those parts of the internal that have openings did get plated too, although it may not be as well plated as the external. The external was also given a hard clear lacquer finishing to prevent oxidising.

  4. Hello, what was the cost of the copper plating start to finish and how long did it take?

  5. Hello, how much did the copper plating process cost from stripping through plating and how long did it take?

    1. Hi Sadiki,
      I had this done by a friend who owns a Brompton too. He has a business that does plating for his work equipment. It was a friendly gesture and he just charged me his cost of MYR650 with no charges for dismantling and re-assembly.