Rivendell Bicycle Works: Touch Up Colors & Such:
Rivendell Bicycle WorksTouch Up Colors & Other Considerations for Rivendell Bicycles

"..You mean, spell bolor with a 'k'?..."

Questions about color matching seem to pop up reasonably frequently. Seeing that first scratch in your beautiful bicycle can be a reasonably traumatic experience, and everyone has to find their own balance between detachment and obsession.

Somewhere in a Reader or Catalog past, Grant said something like "a bicycle with no scratches has no stories to tell", which still ranks in my mind as one of the more insightful things he's written.

Still, when faced with a gouge or deep scratch (particularly when the "story" is one of a bike rack bruise) most folks elect to touch up the finish. Naked steel will corrode (Hey, Hey, My, My...) and if your local conditions include salt air or nasty winter conditions, it's not a bad idea to help protect the finish. Bear in mind that one of the things your eye likes is smoothness, and any change in that smoothness catches your attention. So, the little buildup you might get at the edges of your touch-up may attract your eye just as thoroughly as the scratch. Also, bear in mind that most model-type paints are enamel and most fingernail polishes are laquer. My preference is actually toward the laquer, all things being equal.

I've ranked the colors as to whether they are RBW-Confirmed, Recommended by other owners or a total Wild Guess or Speculation. If you have a suggestion, please pass it along. If you are the type of person who gets frantic about such things, I'd recommend trying it somewhere like the outside clamping area of a dropout, where it's chromatic variance can mock you from inside the darkened confines of the QR Clamp area. Which leads us to...

The Dreaded Disclaimer Paragraph: I've also gotta say that you're on your own on this- if you slap it on and it looks wrong, please don't harangue me. You might also take a second or three to think about whether you are the kind of person who sees the 99% that looks good or the 1% that looks bad. Both are good traits, and depending upon the task at hand, extremely helpful. It won't match exactly - either due to color variance or becuase of the surface transitions. As Hyper-Performance Ray once told me, "Originally, it was perfect. Now, it's just unrestored."

I don't want to dissuade you, but do want to keep you realistic...

Note - if you are looking for information on bottom bracket spindle lengths for Rivendell models, there is a nascent page in the RBW Owners Bunch on Google Groups.



Atlantis Touch Up Paint - Confirmed

Testor's 2135 Interior Blue Green

This burbles up from time to time, and seems suprisingly hard to find elsewhere - the Atlantis touch up paint color is Testors #2135, interior blue green.

Image link originally thanks to a post from this thread.

Bleriot Touch Up Paint - Recommended

Maybelline Colorama 107From a Bleriot Owners Group post:
(and this totally cracked me up...)

"A couple members have asked me to give the brand and color of the nail polish that I think will make pretty good touch up paint. DISCLAIMER...I have not tried it on my Bleriot...only on my toes. When my toes are held up to the frame it looks pretty darn good, but you might want to try it on an inconspicuous place first.

Maybelline COLORAMA #107 'turquoise seas'

Best of luck, Brooke
Austin, TX"

Note - as of 4/07, it appears that this may have been discontinued.


Found by Joan on the Bleriot Owners Group - New York Color makes a Turquoise Seas, which can be purchased at Target and other fine locations...

UPDATE 5/7/07-

Sally Hansen Marine SceneThis time from Len on the Bleriot Owners Group -

Sally Hansen "Marine Scene", available at Walgreen's and other fine fashion retailers.

The cool thing is that you get to be part of the "Xtreme Wear" scene...


A Homer Hilsen Blue - Couple O' Hints

A Homer Hilsen - first run blueOn my Toyo-built Hilsen, it's maybe just slightly darker than the Rambouillet blue. Finally got a couple nicks so I'll be looking for something (well, maybe - as GP says, "A bicycle with no scratches has no stories to tell...").

From Andy C. -
" I have a first batch Waterford AHH, with the slightly sparkly paint. I've been using Testors Blue #1110, straight out of the bottle. To my eye, it works fine, if not perfect. I've never noticed the touch-ups after painting.

Be sure to stir it up well before each application, or you can get a different color, which happened to me. BTW, at first I used fingernail polish on my scrapes, but I decided that that was too macho for me. --AC"


Quckbeam Touch Up Paint - Confirmed

Testor's 1171 - Beret GreenTestors Beret Green - 1171 - is the formal match color. But, in the archives, at least one person found it a bit too dark, and mixed in some regular green to match better. (GP has mentioned that Testors #317 is the correct color, but that does not seem to come up on the current color charts or listings from them.)

Courtesy of the Philp W. over on the Rivendell Flickr Group: PlastiKote Shamrock Green T-12


Quckbeam Touch Up Paint - Wild Speculation

Testor's 1628 - Competition Orange I have not tried this, but noticed this color while looking for online color swatches - it looks OK, and that should make you very afraid. The color is Testors Competition Orange - #1628. Please note the use of the phrase "Wild Speculation" regarding this color.

Again in the "not-yet-tried-or-directly-compared" file: I've suddenly seen two or three Volkswagen Beetles with a muskier orange color. Of course, I was riding a different bike at the time, so I couldn't lay the Quickbeam up against these orange bubble cars. But, I plan to track one down when I am astride the QB and will report back. UPDATE - the Beetle orange seems a bit dark.


Rambouillet Orange Touch Up Paint - A Toughie

Rivendell Rambouillet in orangeThe original orange of the Rambouillet seems to be one of the most difficult to match of all the "stock" Rivendell paint colors. Most reports of the process indicate that the orange was a two-step color - with a base orange and some sort of gold or pearl overspray.

It would be "difficult" - in the Japanese usage of the phrase - to match that with a single color. Ideally, you would use a nail polish to cover nicks and small areas, then have an actual painter come as close as possible. Bear in mind that some colors of paint are not easily obtainable due to environmental regs. Some have also said there was variance in the paint runs.

Ok - depressed yet? Well, according to the iBob archives, there is a stock color which provides "a reasonable match" - Boyd's "Roadstar Florida Orange Pearl" #52920.

It also seems that the contrasting head tube paint is a brighter white than the more creamy colors used on the Atlantis.

It has been stated in a couple of places (thanks Larry!) that the original color may have been this combination:

Base Coat = HOK Nova Orange Shimrin #BC08
Kandy Clear Coat=HOK Spanish Gold #UK14


Rambouillet Blue Touch Up Paint - Recommended

Touch up paint recommendation to mimic the blue Rambouillet is not quite as straightforward - according to Jock D., start with 1111 Gloss Dark Blue and slowly add, drop by drop, 1145 Gloss White.

Color process from this thread. It is stated to be a polyurethane on the RBW site


Rambouillet Green Touch Up Paint - So-So and "Dead Ringer"

Testors 1530From an RBW Owners' Bunch post by C. Canter:

"I have some Testor's green metallic #1530 that I bought for touch up for my green Rambouillet that is a so-so match. Metallic paint jobs are a a lot more difficult to touch up with a brush/ toothpick than are solid colors. They seem to stand out more and sometimes to look like a different shade when applied with a brush even if they are the exact same paint. I have not sprayed any of this color so I can't say for certain how close it would match the Rambouillet color.I do have a model car I built some time back which I shot with Testor's British racing green metallic #2716 which is quite a bit darker (would be a nice color for Riv bike though). If it were me I would get some of this and spray it on something non pourous to get a good idea of it's true color. I would be surprised if this wasn't a very close match."

Follow-up from C., via RBW Owners' Bunch in 2010

Apologies if this has been discovered already. After misplacing my Testors, model car paint (so so match) a trip to the nearby Walgreens turned up this.

It's a dead ringer for the green paint on my Ram.

Clyde Canter.....



Testor's Color Swatch Image

Note - due to variations in computer monitors, this should be used as a rough guide only.


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Last updated: May 22, 2010


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