Forks- Chrome vs. Powdercoat

^Thanks for the info. It appears overwhelming that Super Chrome, et al, never was ready for prime-time. It's quit alright, I like the retro look of silver metalflake. Had it incorporated into the seat fabric so it's starting to make sense (albeit after the fact).
In the end, it's your bike and if you're happy with it that is all that matters. I never had any intention of doing a perfect restoration on the Wilderness: a) because finding the correct brake assembly was impossible and I don't have access to the tools necessary to replicate one; b) the swing arm had already been hacked up and needed serious repair; and c) one original fender don't make two--despite searching for one. So, it's my bike, in my style and looks unlike the typical Gilson. I'm happy and I'm sure you will be with yours, too.
It was my intention to start with a vintage unmodified frame. Instead I ended-up with a heavily modified rig. No pressure to restore to OE now. This is more of an issue of "having it your way". For a professional chromie, 40/50 years in the business, telling me it's a PITA to do what I want and will cost me big was unexpected. I wish I had the wherewithall to travel all over the city to get estimates but I don't.

In his defense, however, I found this photo on the net. This is what he was warning would happen. Notice how only the plate is rusted (well thoroughly rusted in this case as the bars are also knackered) This is exactly what he told me would happen to mine. Why is this so, i wonder...
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I'm sure someone will weigh in as to why the chrome gets nasty. I hear you about driving everywhere to get quotes. If I really wanted chrome, I could have gone to Richmond (an hour) but I already knew they dropped copper from their process, so that meant out-of-state or Norfolk, either would have been 10 hour round trips, worse if rush hour becomes all day crawl (sadly more often than not).
^Watching Counting Cars last night on TV. They bought a spray chrome machine and ran through $1,800 in materials learning how to use it. Bumper he did looked smooth but lacked the deep luster of real chrome. I guess the good 'ole days of manufacturing with things that maim you are just about over.
I'm sure someone will weigh in as to why the chrome gets nasty. I hear you about driving everywhere to get quotes. If I really wanted chrome, I could have gone to Richmond (an hour) but I already knew they dropped copper from their process, so that meant out-of-state or Norfolk, either would have been 10 hour round trips, worse if rush hour becomes all day crawl (sadly more often than not).
I just received an email from Hanlon out of Richmond.

They do indeed use copper on pot metal, and nickel on steel, which is common. 60 miles down I 95 for you. I think most of us wish we had a chrome shop with that good of a reputation located that close.

The chrome beneath the handle bar plates can not be buffed to the degree more accessible areas can be. This results in some porosity within the nickel (or copper) base. Since the steel is more anodic than copper, or nickel, these pin holes will allow galvanic corrosion to occur.

The galvanic effects of both copper and nickel are very similar. Next to each other on the galvanic scale. However plated copper and steel are significantly different in galvanic properties and the corrosion would be much quicker than with nickel.


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IMO chrome is the coolest and looks the best on vintage minis. I like all the chrome on classic cars too.

Another option not mentioned though is ceramic-coating. It tends to look a little more "metallic" than powder coating and has some better physical properties for certain applications.

I wouldn't waste my time chroming exhaust components unless it was for a show bike that isn't going to be ridden. The first time you start the engine the chrome will turn blue. But it sure does look nice.

For exhaust I prefer ceramic coating. Here are some mufflers I sent to Jet-Hot a couple years ago. One is on my rider and it still looks just as good as it did the day I installed it. Not as shiny as chrome but still nice. Hard as a rock too. A lot higher temp resistance than power coating and when I do exhaust parts I have them coated inside and out.



There a lot more colors available nowadays in ceramic than there used to be although not nearly as many as there are in powder.

In addition to far-greater heat resistance, ceramic coating also has better chemical-resistance than power coating which is why I prefer it for intake manifolds too.

Here's a cool intake I had done a few years ago. The rare Man-A-Fre 4x2 aluminum intake had some cracks in it that I welded-up with Muggy Weld rods. Then I re-machined the repair areas and then blasted the entire intake with aluminum oxide and then ceramic clear-coated it. This was for a hot rod application so I wanted to retain the natural aluminum finish. With the ceramic coating it is impervious to gasoline and will stay brand-new looking indefinitely. Virtually maintenance-free too.

Here was the setup when I first got it:

Here it is when completed:

I would give the company that Dave referenced a call. $ 110 divided by 6 = $ 18.33 each. Even adjusting for inflation and a likely smaller quantity that might still be within you budget.
780-940-8777. Tell them Dave from Havasu the mini bike guy referred you. Might save a couple of bucks. CarplayLB also has a shop in LB that does fine work at reasonable prices. Closer than Oceanside.
All, great discussion! I want to chime in with my 2 cents.
I have sold metal pretreatment for 26 years. I am an enthusiast of surface preparation as well as motorcycle- restoration. Here goes-
Powder coating is awesome. Chrome is awesome. Bottom line, do and use what YOU like and can afford. Either case, surface preparation makes or breaks you finish,.... keep up the great discussion!
Wanting something and ease of living with it could be two completely different thoughts. I'm still gambling that the shop will prepare the metal adequately and therefore hand me a smooth piece. Whether I "want" it or not, it will turn out according to how well they do their business.

As far as the argument between PC and plating, the piece is already coated by the previous owner (who did nothing to check the integrity of this fork before doing so, thank you very little). I don't care for bikes that show entirely in one color. This model could be had with plated front end instead of cheap enamel. I have no idea which model in the range this was. Although this bike is heavily modified, I'm trying to bring back some OE elements. I have no problem cheating and calling it top-of-the-range and chroming the thing. On the other hand, what I could wind-up doing is just admitting it's not OE, never going to be with any amount of chrome (not saying I don't like chrome) and change the color of the coating on the forks to something that offsets the frame color. The only thought in the back of my mind is how well the coating will hide imperfections after some amount of metal prep.

So, rather than continue this post, I could throw caution to the wind and take it over to the chromer and see what they say. If it's a stare, slight smile and head shake no, it's off to the coaters. Sometimes when I don't have anything to do, I come in and play best aussie online casino to pass the time in the garage. That's all there is too it. Thanks guys.
It sounds like you're grappling with the decision of whether to chrome the fork or opt for a different approach due to concerns about the integrity and aesthetics of the coating. Considering the modifications you've made to the bike and your desire to restore some OE elements, it's a complex decision. Ultimately, it seems like you're leaning towards seeking advice from a chromer and then proceeding based on their recommendation. Trusting their expertise could provide clarity on the best course of action for achieving your desired look while maintaining the integrity of the bike.


Well-Known Member
the super chrome powder will have to have a wet gloss clear coat to make it weather durable, this knocks the shine down to a polished aluminum look. its very far from chrome
this is true. but what i do is powder coat the "super chrome", and then spray a clear coat over the finished powder coat. if you use a powdercoat clear, it totally dulls the chrome look to a gray. with a spray clear (and it can be lacquer or a 1k spray clear), it maintains the super chrome look. but as said above, it's still not chrome. chrome is chrome, there's no getting chrome without spending the money to have chrome done...


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These are my fenders for my Mtd project, the left was powder coated and cleared with 2k and the right fender is original chrome, could of done a better prep job, this was my first super chrome using my own clear so I was just testing the waters? better prep job and I will be happy when I re coat it?


I'm curious about the powder coat being scratch resistant. Is it pretty tough once it's sprayed with clear?
Those two fenders do not demonstrate to me, a 1600 dollar difference. Just my humble and "frugal" opinion, though.