There is a new definition in quality when it comes to repainting racing bikes. Walter Thorburn seems to have kept his skills pretty much to himself apart from those lucky enough to find him and experience the true art of paint refinishing to match, or more often exceed, any cycle paint job we have been fortunate enough to set our glazed cycling eyes over.
He is one of us who would rather be riding his bike than working. Fortunately enough, he is just as passionate about perfecting and staying ahead of new paint innovations and techniques that we see coming out on new bikes. His background was forged working on cars such as Aston Martin, BMW and Mercedes.
Walter says that painting a high quality bicycle is an art form with regard to different materials that you have to work with. It not only has to look great it also has to stand up to the regular abuse it receives. He says there is a lot of work in the background in order to reproduce jobs, e.g. sizing logos, getting the jobs to the same proportions or getting colours exactly right. He also mentions that his customers are always amazed that all they need to bring is a picture of what they want and it can be reproduced exactly the way they requested. After talking to him you realize it is more about what he expects and the high standard he demands from himself that counts.
Morgan McArthur, a customer of Walter's, sums up what seems to be apparent here. He has had three bikes custom painted by Walter: "The first was a project bike, a Corima track bike that Walter painted in black. The design of this is breath taking and it shines like a grand piano. I don't ride this bike I just look at it, and after a year it still takes my breath away." Walter also revived an old favourite of Morgan's, a steel Greg Lemond bike, in apple red. "I get smiles out of my new bike. That candy colour is magic in the sunshine. Most recently, I had a custom bike built by Jonny Foster. Walter went all out on this one. He painted two-tone ghost flames on a black background. Frankly, people should pay to see this bike. Words cannot describe how grouse it looks. Amazingly enough, all I had given Walter was some pictures I had taken from a website and turned him loose with the paint gun. His work exceeded my expectations. No bike needs to be ordinary when you could have a Thorburn paint job."
Asking Walter what is involved in getting a paint job to him he said it needed to be completely stripped of componentry, put in a cycle box and couriered to him with full contact details and what is required. This would be on top of consultation beforehand. With most jobs he repaints customers have generally used their preferred cycle shop and had them disassemble the bike and send it from there. It is all about making it as hassle-free as possible.
Because there can be so much variance between jobs, so can the price. Standard colour paint jobs start at $375. A full-on custom can exceed the $700 mark. Walter says that jobs can take anything from 7 hrs up to 20 hrs, depending on the extent of the work that is required on the bike. Turn around time can be in the range of 10-20 days, although with pre-booking for those of us with only one bike to ride.
You can contact Walter at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.