Basso Gap…to paint or not to paint?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Question Basso Gap…to paint or not to paint?

    Retro fans!

    I am need of some help identifying this Basso frame and deciding how to restore it.


    The original owner I purchased it from said it was a 85 Basso Gap. Sounds correct, but I would like to know for sure. I searched the net, available catalogs and forums for info, however I cant find the exact frame with the chrome stays, white fork and decals.

    I am thinking this is a Columbus SL frame? The sticker throws me a bit. The frame weighs 2100 grams give or take.

    The biggest issue is that the braze on front derailleur hanger broke off 12 years ago. The frame was heated, I am guessing to add some strength to the potentially weakened area. Unfortunately it destroyed the paint in the area.
    Should/can I get someone to braze a new hanger on there? or just use a clamp derailleur like it had for the past 12 years.

    I love the frame, not crazy about the fork, especially the color. The chips in the paint throughout the frame seem to have a shiny chrome finish underneath them. Is possible the frame is completely covered in chrome?

    The chrome that does show cleaned up very nicely yet imperfections still exist.

    Now for the big question….

    To paint or not to paint?

    Option 1.
    Paint or powder coat the frame and fork completely, leave the front lugs chrome.

    Option 2.
    Leave the chrome on the stays, and hope there is chrome under the white paint on the fork as well.

    Option 3.
    Leave frame as is and touch up and repaint lower half of the seat tube, throw some new decals on there and ride!

    I like the blue but a nice deep metallic or pearl red would be very nice! Also from what I hear a good pant job can run around $300-400. This is way too high in my opinion, so the idea of a $100 -$150 powder coat is appealing. However the thick cover and detail killing nature of powder coating is off putting.

    Any one have any good frame painters/powder coaters to recommend in the New England area?









  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Nice frame/find. And yes, it's SL tubing. People who have Gaps, love them. Very nice riding bikes from what I understand, but certainly not worth a fortune even in the best of condition.

    You say you dislike the paint color, and the forks (I don't like blue bikes myself). My guess is then, even if you leave it as is and slap some parts on it, you won't ride it much.

    The paint and chrome condition sucks. There are Gaps you can find for <$500 with much better paint/chrome condition.

    I'd powder coat the whole thing (incorporating panels to keep it somewhat true to the model) and keep the chromed lugs.

    Done right you could personalize it to your tastes without too much cost, and still keep it a "Basso."

  3. #3
    Big is relative
    Reputation: bigbill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    If it's chrome under the paint, it may be difficult to powdercoat. You can get a single color paint job with new decals for a decent price. It was not uncommon for frames to be completely chromeplated since it was easier to just put the whole thing in a tank. The areas that were to remain shiny were masked off and the remainder of the frame had the chrome "scuffed" so the paint would stick. The thing about italian frames from that era is that the paint jobs were usually poor. Great riding bikes, but cosmetically they deteriorated pretty quickly compared to what you see today.

    There are some good places like Southwest Frameworks that can cold set the rear for 130mm, bondo any dents, and prep the frame for a build.
    Retired sailor

  4. #4
    Reputation: FatTireFred's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    gaps were pretty common... looks like the entire rear triangle is chrome, could very well be the entire frame. for the fork, check the underside of the crown or inside of a leg. can't tell much from the sticker, but sl or slx would be my guess

    blue is great... for a gios. not a fan of partial touch-ups; you usually end up w/ a beat looking frame that's been touched up. either leave it as is or go full on. and powdercoating isn't always thick and detail covering

    Quote Originally Posted by mikagsd
    Fat tire are the bike god of the universe and unless someone agrees with your reasoning they are just plain stupid

  5. #5
    Vintage cyclist
    Reputation: frpax's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    You got a 1987 Basso Gap

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Thanks for the feedback.

    I am going to strip it some time this week. Hopefully it comes of with few issues, I have had issues with chemically striping metallic paint before. I am curious to find out about the chrome before I have it sand blasted.

    I am thinking a candy red powder coat (or crimson metallic flake), or paint job if I can find one for under $200. I am not sure about keeping the white panels, ill do a photoshop mock up to see.

    This will probably be my winter bike when all is said and done. Currently my winter bike is a Miele with 10 speed 105 and custom built Dura Ace wheels. I am probably going to just transfer those parts and add some Honjo fenders w/ 25mm Rubinos. Solid parts and they are free, Last time I did a modern retro rebuild on my Bianchi I dropped way too much coin.

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