Restoring a 1994 Giant Terrago

Terrago '94

Retro Newbie
Dear gents and ladies,

Thanks for adding me to the forum. My name is John. I have a 1994(ish) Giant Terrago which I used a lot back in my youth and which I am keen on restoring.

The bike is currently 'running' but has had no heavy maintenance in it's life (I've kept the drive train oiled at least) and the paint is faded and chipped and there are rust patches on the handlebars, seat post, chain stay and elsewhere.

I'd be interested to hear your comments on my plan, below, on how to carry out the restoration :D ;

- Remove all components from frame. Bottom bracket and steering post too (?)
- Strip paint from frame using paint stripper. Key the surface metal with fine sandpaper
- After soap/water wash spray frame ('spray bike?)first prep a practice tube eg from old bike in order to test technique. Warm
cans in warm water first.
- primer coat (2?)then topcoat(1 or 2?). Lacquer coat(s)? Consider "" cans
- Soak working metal parts in bath of rust remover. Eg handlebar, brakes arms, front chain-set, Cranks/pedals(consider
replacing), front and rear derailleurs, cassette
- consider replacing Bottom Bracket (Shimano offering has tool adapter with it)
- consider replacing Headset
- consider replacing gear/brake cables if not in good condition
- check chain for play, consider new one
- Hoping to be able to reuse existing group set if not too bad condition to keep costs down(?)
- Attempt(!) to balance the wheels (which have wobbles) using spoke key (never tried this :) )

- V Brakes; ... -prod70102

- seatpost ... prod156176

- saddle ... t=pricelow

- Bashguard (big ring protector)


-seat clamps Quick Release

- Headset

-Pedals ... prod183394

- Gear cable replacement set ... -prod71582 ... prod145356

-Others? Saddle is in ok condition- I have a big one with soft gel (I found regular saddle too painful as I haven't cycled in 15 years) but it looks pretty naff! Any other options which are soft but maybe a bit sleeker?

Rust remover
Paint stripper
Bike stand
Spray primer, paint and lacquer
Chain stretch tool
Chain removal tool
Bottom bracket removal adapter (offered with Shimano BB)
Headset removal tool- make one with long bolt, washers and nut.
Allen key set
spoke key
Tyre levers
Bike greases
Decals ("GIANT)

If there are any good guides out there that I've missed please let me know :D Sorry for the long post! Looking forward to your kind suggestions. I have never attempted a bike restoration before so I'm all ears, gents! :D :D :D

Kind regards,

Terrago '94

Limerick, Ireland/ Luton, Beds.


Old School Grand Master

Unless the paint on the frame is really rough, you may be able to make it look a lot better with a thorough clean and polish.

However, if it is too far gone, consider having the frame powder coated: You can get a frame and forks powder coated from about £40.00 and the finish will probably be far better than you can achieve with aerosol cans. Powder coat is also much tougher than "wet" paint, so the end rsult will be more durable. Look around to see if there is a powder coater local to you, otherwise posting the frame to and from them will likely cost nearly as much as the job. Also check they know what they are doing when it comes to bicycle frames, som powder coaters are fine for radiators and garden furniture, not so good when it comes to the higher quality stuff. Take a look here: ... p;t=232111

Also, when you add up the cost of all the stuff you need to to do it yourself, undercoat, top coat, possibly a clear lacquer, paint stripper, wet & dry, etc. you may find that having it powder coated isn't much more expensive, and it's obviously a lot less time and effort. I have done it myself with spray cans and the end result was pretty good, if I say so myself, but it was many hours work, spread over several days, while waiting for paint coats to harden, etc..

With regards to all the other stuff. New cables are a good idea if a bike has been sitting around unused for a good while. For the other parts, it really depends on condition and wear. Some of your existing components may be fine with a thourough de-grease and clean.

Terrago '94

Retro Newbie
Hi Xerxes,

Many thanks. I'll check out the powder coating. Although I fear it may be difficult as my bike is at my house in the west of ireland :)

May I ask you what kind of spray cans you used? Any photos? :)




Old School Grand Master

It was a long time ago, about 25 years or more, so no pictures, but I would have used standard cellulose car spray paint, probably from Halfords, or somewhere like that. I do remember I used an undercoat, a metallic top coat and then a clear lacquer over that. The clear top coat was essential; without it the metallic paint was pretty dull, almost a matt finish.

As I said, it turned out well, but it was a lot of time and effort. I quite enjoyed doing it and I don't think powder coating existed at the time, and professional "wet paint" options were a lot more expensive than the price of 3 cans of spray paint. However, now, given that powder coating doesn't cost that much more than the DIY option, I don't think I would bother again.

I should also say, that although it looked pretty good, the finish was quite delicate, not as tough as a professional "stove enamelled" wet paint and nowhere near as tough as powder coat.

Here's a frame I had powdercoated a while back at LSN Coatings:, cost £40.00 for the frame and forks, plus about £30.00 to post it there and back.


And here's one I brush painted: