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Chrome for my frame and fork? Why or Why not?

973 Views 8 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  grawbass
Hey Everybody!
I've got a new rigid steel fork on its way and am thinking about getting it chromed. I also need to get my frame refinished and will probably get it chromed to match. What are the advantages and disadvantages of chrome over powder coat?

What I know about chrome:
+ It's really shiny.
- It's heavy.
+ It's really hard to scratch.
- It'll rust.
+ All my BMX bikes were chrome and it'll make me feel warm and fuzzy riding a chrome bike again
- Wal-Mart bikes are often polished silver or chrome these days
- Nasty chemicals are used in chroming that kill bunnies and other critters
- This thing called 'hydrogen embrittlement'....
+ It's really shiny and hard to scratch...

Any thoughts?
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Here's an alternative, how about getting it polished instead of chromed. My buddy has a polished Nomad and had a bashguard polished to match and is also having his fork done. Looks very sweet. He got my bashguard polished for me as well. You get the look of chrome without all of the nasty side effects.
It's 4130/Verus/OX Platnum steel.
The Nomad is aluminum. The closest I could get to polished aluminum is brushed steel with clear coat PC. The problem with that is PC sticks best to an etched surface, not a polished or brushed surface.
Sorry, reread and noticed where you mentioned steel. My bad.
From what I've been reading the US Govt is going to step in (if they haven't already) and apply stricter OSHA rules for workers who chrome or otherwise apply chemically applied finishes onto metal products. They can only be exposed to the chemical for 3 hours at a time, etc. So if they've already done this I'm assuming the cost has gone up considerably, but if you have the $ and you want it, might as well go for it. Sounds like weight isn't too much of an issue for you but I'm sure chrom is heavier than paint. Why not leave it "raw" with some cool decals and then clear coat it? That might be kind of cool and definately orginal.
nothing wrong with chrome. that you haven't already mentioned. It's decent protection for the steel, it's very shiny, it's heavy, it's hard to scratch, it eventually cracks and rusts. Lots of lower end bikes were done in chrome. Ross made many a chrome frameset.

You want something off the wall. How bout hot dipped galvanized. A dull industrial look. good protection from rust. Easy to scratch but will heal itself. Heavy like chrome. Never seen a bike part hot dipped. Theres probably a reason.
i personally think the brushed look is the best for steel
I wouldn't worry about the weight of crome. Its very thin.

There are a few other finishes you might want to consider.

You could have it copper or brass plated.

There is also blueing like on guns.

I have a bare steel frame that I'm trying to decide on the finish of. I'd really like to go brushed with a clear coat, if I can find the proper clear coat. I've heard of some people leaving it bare and just keeping a constant coating of oil on it, but I'm hesistant to do that.
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