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Chroming the bike

Discussion in 'Bling and Appearance' started by boro_baba, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. howdy,

    im looking for a place that does chromeing for rims and frame and stuff like that...

    iv also heard you can get it "nickel coated"... whats the difference!?!?

    which is cheaper?

    does any1 know a good place?

    how much would i be expecting to pay for both rims?

    thanx people
  2. Chrome plating - electrochemical process that produces an extremely hard, but uneven, coating and if done badly can seriously weaken the metal underneath (Hydrogen embrittlement)

    Electroplated nickel - similar problems to above (and misleading is also often referred to as chrome plating), but won't give as bright a shine as chrome

    Electroless or Autocatalytic Nickel plating - not quite as hard as chrome (or as shiny) but it produces an even thickness on all surfaces without the risk of damaging the metal (even suitable for plating plastic). This is certainly the better option, but I think it may also be the most expensive.

    Edit: Oh and not used them myself but certainly heard good things about this place:
    Their "Nicoshine" process sounds like it's just autocatalytic plating with a more commercial name ;). They also do conventional electrochemical chrome.

    Should also mention there is another alternative which is to polish the metal to a mirror finish and apply a clear coating. Can be cheap if you're prepared to do all the (long and tedious) work of polishing yourself.
  3. WoW... thanx J.D

    does any1 know (from experience) which 1 is better when it comes down to chromeing or nickel plateing?

    thnx guyz
  4. Both have pros and cons which I've mentioned. For a purely show bike chrome is the best option. For a road bike electroless nickel is much better, wheel rims are not something you want to risk weakening just to make look pretty (and there's been plenty of cases of chromed car rims failing).
    In fact it is for this very reason chrome plating of key suspension and steering components is actually classed as an illegal modification in this country, though wheels are still legal.
  5. How's 'gold chroming' done? I don't know if it's actual 'chrome', but the finish looks the same - only a bright gold. Years ago I knew an old bloke that had a Yamaha cruiser of some sort, black, and he did this gold chrome on all the silver bits and it looked really nice.
  6. gold chrome?!?!?


    2 QUESTIONS...



  7. Not sure about the gold chroming used in the past. I know current bikes use a Titanium Nitride coating to get that gold look which is extremely hard, but also very pricey. These coatings were discovered in the late '70s but not sure if they're what was used on earlier Japanese bikes. I'll have to get back to you on that (since now I'm curious to know the answer). I suspect it may have been vacuum deposition of an extremely thin layer of gold.
  8. Ah ha, found the answer - sort of. The older model bikes were a mix of gold paint and something called "synthetic gold" plating.

    Hmm, you don't see much black chrome any more.

    Edit: A little more searching and the "synthetic gold" plating seems to be most likely a coating of Tin Chloride (stannic chloride pentahydrate for the chemists). Not 100% sure on this though so happy to be corrected if wrong.
  9. Better for what?

    The ultimate used to be chrome over nickel over copper.

    Here's a sample sequence from a USA chromer:

    1- If necessary and agreed upon by the customer, parts are welded, repaired and straightened and filled by hand.
    2- Parts are then machined and/or hand polished depending on the type and condition of the part.
    3- Parts are cleaned, activated and electroplated with a special proprietary nickel.
    4- Parts are electroplated with copper.
    5- Parts are copper buffed and if necessary, copper plated again to level out imperfections in the material or casting.
    6- Parts are once again cleaned, activated and bright nickel plated.
    7- Parts are electroplated in chromium (chrome).

    Every chrome plater has their own idea as to what is best; a good plater will ask you for the effect you want, and then show samples of what they can produce.

    It is most important that you view samples before you start work.


    Trevor G
  10. thanx guys.... is there anywhere i can take my bike over the weekend to get quotes?

    i tried that website that u suggested JD but they aint open on weekends :(

    Trevor: How long would it take for that whole process... seems VERY long... from the time id drop it off to the time i get it back how long would that take?
  11. Chrome plating is a complex process with just the plating process itself measured in terms of hours.
    Done right you'd be looking at probably 1-2 weeks all up depending on the surface finish you're chasing and the condition of the current parts.

    Electroless nickel is a much faster process but would still be something like 3-5 days since there's still a lot of preparation work.
  12. Depends on how busy they are. I've never had any plating in under 2 weeks (not that I can remember, anyway).

    Have to ask when you get your quotes.


  13. kewl...

    so it looks like im gonna stick with nickel and i gotta make a couple weeks time for it. any ideas as to were i can take it?
  14. Check the yellow pages, its probably the best bet.
  15. Electromould dont do bikes any longer. They are going to to only do the aviation stuff like they used to as far as i am aware.. :?
  16. Not surprising. Most metal coating places prefer not to deal with private customers since they're just too much hassle for too little return.
    Big corporate customers that actually know what they want and supply regular business are so much better if you can get them.
  17. Fair enuf... looks like where back to square one :(

    any ideas folks?
  18. I advise you to be very careful when considering chroming parts - you'd be well advised to discuss it with a professional plater.

    For a start anything you want to chrome needs to be very well smoothed and polished - particularly alloys and tubing. Tubing is very difficult to polish, because you need to polish across the tube and not along the tube as most people are inclined to attempt.
    Alloys don't take kindly to plating at the best of times, but be absolutely sure of what you want to chrome; if you don't like the finish and want to strip it off, the plating can actually tear the soft metal away as it lifts

    As for Chrome v. Nickel i was told not so long ago that they are much the same. Nickel when first applied and polished looks what you would call 'chrome', and will continue to do so when properly treated - i.e. coated in Inox or similar. Allow it to be exposed to the atmosphere and it will dull off to a yellowish tinge (much less garish and in my opinion more acceptable than chrome for frame tubes). In the case of chrome, however, the same nickel is applied, but it is then treated somehow differently - im not sure whether it is plated over again or bathed differently - and the 'chromed' finish will remain permanently and not 'fade' as with nickel

    Another trap to be careful of - and it might be different in the Eastern States - here in WA chrome plating is very much only decorative; the grade of chrome they use is not very hardy and deteriorates easily, especially on wheel rims. This is exaggerated by the fact few people (if any) use the proper process which i think someone has already mentioned, that is copper, nickel, chrome. You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who uses copper (and it would be very expensive if you were to insist on it).

    As for the gold colour you mentioned, that might've been anodising, a completely different kettle of fish. I dont know if you get a 'golden chrome' effect in anodising, but it wouldnt be too surprising really.

    Anyway, good luck, i hope this mightve helped at all
  19. It's plated again - in chrome. It's this layer of chrome that makes it shinier, harder and more durable - but the extra plating increases the chances of problems (often a layer of copper underneath the first layer of nickel too if I remember right).

    Gold anodising is definitely possible, as is a whole range of colours. But that only works for aluminium alloys and not steel. It is possible to get a coloured oxide film on steel (just look at stainless exhaust pipes) but that's very difficult to control and easily damaged.

    Talk about an ESSAY! LoL

    Thanks flash! :)

    of course that helped! thanks again! :)