Technical information

Raw Lacquer, Flame Lacquer & Our Paint Finishes

 

PAINT FINISH

The steel frame parts on every Brompton bike are powder-coated (rather than using a wet paint) in order to give an even and durable finish. The powder is sprayed at the frame part and attached with an electrostatic charge, it is then baked in an oven to melt and adhere it to the frame.

As well as our standard options we offer a wide palette of special colours, two of these can be combined to make a bike that more personal to you.

We also offer premium lacquer finishes. These are finishes which are painstakingly achieved, showing the quality and craftsmanship of the hand-built frame. Each bike made with this transparent lacquer finish has a unique appearance due to variations in the surface colouration of the metalwork and brazing; it doesn’t have a ‘perfect’ look and should be considered an industrial finish.

It is normal for the look and colouration of the all lacquer finishes to vary from bike to bike and also on each frame part – there will be a difference in the finish of the fork, mainframe and rear frame. There may be noticeable variation compared to other bikes in stores or those featured in our brochure or website.

The lacquer finish uses the same powder coating process as our other frame colour options (with the powder having either no or a coloured pigment); as such it gives identical durability and protection from corrosion. The steel frame parts on all Brompton bicycles will age and a patina will form over time. The purpose of the lacquer finish is to allow the natural ageing of the bike to be visible, and this will happen differently on every bike.

DURABILITY

Before painting, each frame is pre-treated with a chemical anti-corrosion treatment. This protects the bare metal and prevents any surface corrosion that may develop, penetrating through the metal. Often visible in the open tube ends, this rusting is on the inside of the frame tubes and is purely cosmetic than a structural problem. The electrostatic spraying of powder paint means the powder cannot enter into the inside of tubes easily and means that there is no paint on the inside of tubes beyond the first 3-10mm. Consequently, the inside surface of the frame on a Brompton is unpainted and can appear ‘rusty’ but this will only be a surface discolouration due to the chemical anti-corrosion treatment.

As the steelwork is protected from corrosion there is no need to apply any rustproofing or similar to seal the tubes. Blocking the ends of the tube can do more harm than good and can actually trap moisture inside the frame and not allow it to breathe. Wiping with an oiled rag will lessen the appearance of this yellow-red colouration.

The powder-coat will often become chipped, scratched or marked through normal use - this is part and parcel of bicycles getting used as they should. We recommend sealing areas where the powder-coat is breached with a clear or matching acrylic touch up paint from a paint supplier.

If using a coloured paint, test on an inconspicuous area for colour matching.

Over time, the powder-coat will come off the clamping surfaces of the hinge, where the two halves meet and where the clamp plate sits. This is due to the pressure on the paint exerted by the clamp.

This can also happen with the mainframe hinges and handlebar hinges, which sees a much higher dynamic load during riding. Both hinges can show signs of chipping within the first few rides, depending on the frame colour and thickness. All Brompton bikes will experience this over time, it can be accelerated by the hinges being closed aggressively and the clamping surfaces bashed together. Should the paint comes off, the steel has been corrosion treated prior to painting meaning the steel will only exhibit light surface discolouration. There will not be significant rusting to the point of structural failure.

This is normal wear and tear and not a functional problem.

 

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Comments

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  • My Brompton raw lacquer finish model has surface 'rust' on the chainstays and bottom bracket. Can I use fine steel wool to remove it, then re-lacquer it?

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