22 January 2013

Radaelli re-work

Typical of 60s Italian bikes, ther Macchi came stock with Radaelli chrome steel rims, with the thinnest possible chrome plating. Between Italian chrome and paint, I think they wanted their bikes to decompose at an accelerated rate, probably good for keeping up sales.

The Macchi appeared to have been stored properly for the 46 years of its existence, there was minimal rust and the original Pirellis didn't even have dry rot cracks, but the rims were rusty and chrome was peeled off all over the place. This is the front rim, the pic is bad, but everything that doesn't shine is rust. Actually the pic makes the room look much better than it actually was...

What you also can't really see are broken spokes and seized nipples, they are all being replaced by stainless, expensive, but worth the money in my opinion... I figured I had three options for cleaning things up 1) wire wheel it and respray black, probably the cheapest option but the least desirable 2) media blasting and powder coating, sounded good but I never had anything powdercoated and was concerned about the price, and 3) Replacing the rims entirely with alloys

Option one was out of the picture pretty quickly, I'm building this for my daughter, I don't want the paint to chip and flake after only a few thousand miles of use.

Option three was looking like the way I was going to go, but was the most expensive route. I could source new Borranis for about $150 a piece, but they'd be blank stock that would need nipple holes punched through the dimples right off the bat. That cost would work out to about $50 per rim, so going with alloys before I could even factor for lacing and truing, I'd have about $400 spent on the rims (with the punching) and $200 for the stainless spoke kit. I like the look of black rims, so maybe even tack on the cost of black anodizing... The one way to justify the expense would be the weight savings and trying to eke out every last bit of HP from the 250 engine, and the fact that I'd be rolling Borranis, and that racing pedigree would really fit the bike.

The cost got me thinking more and more about option 2. I'd already spent the $200 on the stainless spoke kit, but by using the existing rim I wouldn't have to worry about getting new rims punched out or the $300 for new rims, and I assumed powdercoating black would be cheaper than anodizing aluminum. The deciding factor would be the cost of powdercoating, if it was close enough to $300 I'd just go with alloys, but having never gotten powdercoating done I didn't know what to expect. As it turns out, it wound up being only $35 a wheel which included all the prep (blasting, sanding, and cleaning). Option two won out, big time, and I'm really pleased with the results.

Nice semi-gloss black finish, smooth as glass. I told them not to worry about the inside of the rim since the tube and tire would be covering it, so you do see evidence of pitting there, but the stuff visible when the bike's in use is beautiful. Powdercoating is definitely the way to go.

When I dropped them off I wanted to make sure the Radaelli stamp would still be visible and they said they couldn't guarantee it, but it made it... Now the world can easily tell just how cheap, errr shrewd, I am. Hey look how greasy my fingers are too!

Since I'm not shedding any weight by keeping the stock steelies, I figured I'd drill out the hubs. I probably only shed about a gram of weight, but it looks good.

I saw a guy with a Sprint H that made an Ala d'Oro replica and he added a brass mesh behind the holes, it looked sharp, gonna have to try some things out...

Now the question is, do I polish the aluminum to match the stainless spokes, or make the hub black to match the rim? I'm leaning toward the latter

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