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Black Nickel Versus Chrome on Motorcycle Aluminum


I rent custom Harley Davidson Motorcycles in California. I am noticing a growing trend in switching from mostly bright work like Chrome, to powder coating and painting of parts, usually Black. I have been looking at refinishing one of my newest rentals that has a wrinkle black type finish. The finish I have found that most replicates a sort of morphing of both these worlds is Black Nickel plating. While there are many shops that will Chrome plate the many Aluminum parts of the motorcycle, I haven't had good luck with metal finishers who will apply the Black Nickel process. While Nickel Plating the Aluminum parts is part of the Chroming process, it seems many do not want to get involved with polished Black Nickel on these materials. Does anyone have any feedback on the durability of Nickel versus Chrome, and if this is a futile effort on my behalf? Any help would be appreciated. Ben

Ben Hellmoldt
motorcycle rentals - San Jose, California, USA


Black Nickel does not have enough corrosion resistance to withstand the normal exposure of a motorcycle. It is best left in the antiquing industry where it can be lacquered.

Find a source for "Black Chromium". It is full black and very corrosion resistant. Black Chromium is applied over Natural color Bright Nickel. NOt much of it is done and you may not be able to find a job shop. Contact Atotech and ask them where they are selling the compound to a job shop.

robert probert
Robert H Probert
Robert H Probert Technical Services
supporting advertiser
Garner, North Carolina


OK, so I found someone who will finish my aluminum parts with Black Nickel. Does anyone have any feedback on the durability of Black Nickel finishes? Bikes will be subject to weathering and bugs, small rock etc. (on motorcycles). Also, an alternative to Black nickel would be considered if anyone had any suggestions. THANKS!

Benjamin Hellmoldt
- San Jose, California

September 13, 2008

I manufacture derby, inspection and points covers for Harley-Davidson Motorcycles and have been using Black nickel Plating on some of my pieces for the last 2 years. I currently have 1 of these pieces on my bike now. I live in the Pacific Northwest and ride year round. The cover has held up as well as my chrome covers. Before having the plating done, I would check with the platers previous customers to be sure they are happy with the work done. There are a lot of plating shops out there but only a few that do real quality work.

Tom Poirier
- Tacoma,Wa, USA

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