Crystal’s Scissortail Cycles SSCX with DK Pain Patina

Second up in the Distict Bicycles crews’ personal rides is Crystal‘s Scissortail single speed ‘cross bike. This build came together at the absolute last minute before she raced the Dirty Kanza. Crystal didn’t have any time left to paint the frame before building it up for the race. What are ya gonna do? Even if you paint a bike, racing the DK will leave it chipped, with paint damage from all the dirt and gravel pinging off the frame, so Crystal built it raw, raced it and liked the way the patina looked, so her and Bobby got it clear coated with a nice, thick coat, to ensure this “pain patina” would remain.

I love bikes with a story, and this one, in particular, made me excited to document the bike!


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  • nothingfuture

    I’ve written here before about my love of showing a bike’s wear and tear- and be less precious about bikes in general, so it should come as no surprise I’m a fan of this bike (both it’s build and it’s finish). Evidence of life is a good trait.

    I do have a question for anybody that might know: what happens to the rust trapped under the clear coat? Do you use some sort of inhibitor to prevent further oxidization? Or…?

    • George T Rosselle

      For metal to rust you need oxygen and water. Without both there can be no more rust. Clearcoat cuts off access to both, so unless it rusts through from the inside it should be good.

      • Brian Richard Walbergh

        In theory that is how it works, in practice it will continue to rust. There are “clear” finishes that work better than a standard clear coat, but most of them require media blasting or some treatment (phosphate) or both to keep it from rusting underneath so they don’t look like “raw” steel. There is much controversy about these finishes if you look around.

        • Bobby Wintle

          This clear coat was done at our local auto body shop G&M auto body and we paid for it with a case of Coors Lite. It’s automotive grade clear coat and it doesn’t appear to have rusted any more since we covered it.

          • Brian Richard Walbergh

            From what I have read and experienced it is one of those things that tends to creep slowly. Not saying it will ever get bad enough to compromise the integrity of the tubes… but it certainly is a possibility.

          • Flavio San

            Depends how many years you want to keep running this frame, sooner or later paint will detach over rust bubbles, moreover rust will go in the oppiste way digging deep in the structure, that’s why some frame manufacturer in my area don’t even like chrome.
            best regards

          • Jaron Moore

            I use to want to clear over a raw steel frame but also read that even then, the frame is still susceptible to rust. An alternative I’ve discovered is to get the frame electroless nickel plated. It’ll give you the raw look, and still protect the steel frame underneath. You can either get it polished, which will look like chrome, or brushed, which will look very similar to the no frills Zippo lighters brushed finish.

          • Nickel plating is probably the best way to protect a steel frame, and was extremely common 100 years ago. Go figure. Nickel is very hard wearing too, so like you’ve stated it makes a great base for polishing or brushing. Nickel certainly has a different look from steel, but if you want a ‘raw’ unpainted frame, get it nickel plated.

        • George T Rosselle

          A bit more research shows me that you are right, unless maybe an epoxy clear is used. And even then it may still eventually rust underneath. I think I will stick with paint. But this one sure looks interesting.

    • Superpilot

      There was a raw track bike frameset sold as a production bike that was in this manner (might have been a Mash one?), looked really cool, did read online about some problems with the corrosion progressing. Might not have had a clear coat though..

      • mania4conquest

        It was more than likely the Mash Cinelli Work which they just rereleased without Cinelli. Fairly certain all of their frames has clear coating.

  • Anthony Turner

    Phil Wood external eccentric bb?

    • boomforeal


  • boomforeal

    this bike makes me want to roll over and expose my belly

  • Peter Hedman

    Love it.

  • Nicholas Petersen

    Talk about commitment to a thing. Wow.

  • Ryan

    I was excited when she got it, excited about the blank canvas and how she was going paint it—then she didn’t, at all. Ridden raw at DK and then more rides while undecided, this cool patina developed and her decision to clear coat over that is awesome. I typically prefer color, but Crystal’s laissez-faire approach to this canvas and then locking it in time?—perfect.

  • KT

    this bike has so many awesome details. All the part brands are pretty obvious except for the saddle back – anyone know what kind that is?

  • Radavist’s thoughts on clear over raw from a few years back:
    (Probably gonna do raw on my True Fab steel commuter tho…)

  • DaymanDaryl

    “her and Bobby” should be”Bobby and she”