Clean, bright chrome adds appeal to any motorcycle. Whether it’s chrome accents on a metric bike or the decked-out chrome on a Harley, bikes look their best when their chrome is popping. Cleaning and polishing chrome also extends its life and the life of the part it protects.
On the flip side, dirty chrome is and eyesore, and the bike it’s attached to always looks like it’s on a one-way track to the salvage yard. The best motorcycle chrome polish and chrome cleaner can help you keep your ride looking its best. Helping stave off the junk heap is just a bonus.
Best Motorcycle Chrome Cleaner & Polish Quick Review
Top Choice: Chemical Guys – Moto Metal Polish
With an advanced metal sealant which provides durable protection it’s perfect for chrome, Stainless Steel, aluminum, Titanium, and more!!!First Checkpoint
|Chemical Guys – Moto Metal Polish||Best Motorcycle Chrome Polish for Long-Lasting Protection||★★★★★|
|IBIZ® Metal Polish||Best Motorcycle Chrome Polish for Removing Oxidation||★★★★★|
|Honda Spray Cleaner & Polish||Best Chrome Polish for Motorcycle Exhausts||★★★★★|
|Happich – Simichrome Polishing Paste||Best Chrome Polish for Removing Rust||★★★★|
|Cycle Care Formula M Chrome / Aluminum Polish||Best Rated Motorcycle Chrome Polish||★★★★|
Best Motorcycle Chrome Polish & Cleaner
Polishing your motorcycle takes time. These best chrome polishes and cleaners can save you hours.
I find it essential to use products that not only enhance my bike's aesthetic appeal but also contribute to its longevity. From that standpoint, I'd like to discuss my experience with the Honda Spray Cleaner & Polish.
In terms of performance, Honda Spray Cleaner & Polish has been a dependable companion. It's particularly effective on painted and clear-coated surfaces, bringing about an impressive shine that's hard to miss.
Honda Spray Cleaner & Polish differs from its competitors due to its multi-purpose functionality. It's not just a polish but also a cleaner and protectant, which is highly convenient for anyone looking to minimize their cleaning kit.
Honda Spray Cleaner & Polish has improved since its earlier iterations. Originally, it was mainly a polish, but the manufacturer has added cleaning and protection capabilities to the mix. This has made it a far more versatile product.
- Multi-purpose use: It's a cleaner, polish, and protectant in one.
- Effective on various surfaces: Works on painted, clear coated, and chrome surfaces.
- Convenient: The spray application is easy and quick to use.
- Not the best for heavy dirt: It might struggle with heavier dirt and grime.
- Potential for streaks: If not properly wiped, it can leave streaks on the surface.
In as little as 30 seconds, you can watch a small, faded item go from dull, oxidized metal to a having a perfect mirror finish
German company Happich has been making Simichrome Polishing Paste for the better part of a century. In that time, the product has gained a cult-like following in the realms of both household and automotive metal polishing.
Simichrome contains an ultrafine micro-abrasive, one which Happich claims is the smallest of any polishing paste on the market. Generations have used it on both hexavalent and trivalent chrome parts. It has been used successfully on motorcycles for nearly as long as they’ve been produced.
This product is also useful in cleaning and polishing household metals such as brass, copper, stainless steel, gold, pewter, and more. It leaves a clean surface with a lingering film that will not wash off. It is so mild, it can even be used to polish plexiglass without scratching.
Being a paste, Simichrome requires a bit more elbow grease than most of the other products we recommend here. However, none of its competition has the track record of success nor the ability to multitask around the house. How valuable that ability is will depend on the user.
- A century-long track record in the home and garage
- Leaves behind a long-lasting film that imparts shine
- Removes oxidation and rust as well as any competitor
- Polishes any metal to an unbeatable luster
- Contains abrasives (though microscopically small)
- Requires more buffing than some competitors
As a passionate rider who cherishes his gleaming motorcycle, I hold high standards for chrome and aluminum polishes.
For this review, I will delve into my experience with Cycle Care Formula M Chrome/Aluminum Polish, focusing on its performance, usability, and comparative value.
Cycle Care Formula M demonstrates high performance in polishing chrome and aluminum parts of motorcycles. Notably, it effectively removes surface rust, oxidation, and tarnishing, bringing back the metals' original shine. The product is potent, meaning a small amount goes a long way, making it economical in the long run. Post-application, it leaves a protective layer, enhancing resistance against weather elements and delaying oxidation.
This polish is conveniently easy to use, with a consistency that's neither too thick nor too runny, ensuring smooth application. It dries reasonably fast, and the subsequent removal process is hassle-free, typically involving a simple wipe-off with a clean cloth.
Compared to other popular polishes such as Simichrome 390050 and IBIZ® Metal Polish that I have reviewed above, Cycle Care Formula M holds its own. While all three products give a high shine, Cycle Care Formula M seems to have an edge when it comes to removing stubborn rust and oxidation spots, making it particularly suited for restoration projects or older motorcycles.
While Cycle Care Formula M works well on all chrome and aluminum surfaces, it particularly shines in scenarios involving deep-seated rust or tarnishes. Therefore, if you have an older motorcycle that needs restoration or if you're dealing with stubborn oxidation spots, this product could be the perfect fit.
It's an ideal and sound choice for anyone serious about maintaining or restoring their motorcycle's metal finishes.
- Highly effective in dealing with severe rust and oxidation
- Leaves a protective layer against weathering elements
- Easy to apply and remove
- Economical due to its high potency
- The protective layer, while effective, requires reapplication after a few weeks or after heavy rain
- A bit pricier when compared with some other polishes
What is Motorcycle Chrome?
There are two uses and therefore two types of chrome on motorcycles. The first type – hard chrome – is used on almost every motorcycle. It protects moving parts from scratches and scuffs, and is found on some engine parts and the tubes in front forks, for example.
The second type is called decorative or show chrome. This is the chrome you’ll find on mirrors, fenders, handle bars, etc. It is applied in a thinner layer than hard chrome, and so is more susceptible to damage such as pitting.
That being said, you should understand the difference between all purpose cleaner and chrome cleaner. Products that are fit to clean your motorcycle plastic or engine or chain will not give the same effect on chrome.
Why Polish Motorcycle Chrome?
The chrome on motorcycle parts is a thin line of defense against the elements. Yes, it’s beautiful, but chrome also keeps moisture away from the metal parts below. It is this moisture that causes the rust spots that can show up unannounced on chromed or unpainted parts.
The chrome itself does not rust. If it did, it wouldn’t make a very good protective coating. Rather, the chrome develops small pits that allow moisture through to the metal part. The rust spots are coming from the metal beneath the chrome, and we must arrest this process. It’s important to look after your baby her whole life so that when that day comes to sell your bike there’s no emergency cover ups needed to get the best price – by then it’s too late. If you are in the market for selling, its a good idea to make sure you’ve cleaned your carb as well as done the proper chain maintenance. Here is a post that will help you to clean your carb.
The Two Types of Decorative Chrome for Motorcycles
Chrome isn’t what it used to be. Motorcycle builders prior to the 1990s were likely to have used hexavalent chrome, which is harder and applied in a thicker layer than the modern replacement: trivalent chrome.
Because hexavalent chrome is toxic, the EPA strictly regulates its use. Trivalent chrome on the other hand is non-toxic, though not as tough or long-lived as hexavalent chrome. The older chrome is not as toxic in its hardened state when applied to parts. The problems come in production.
How to Polish Motorcycle Chrome
There are innumerable suggestions for cleaning and polishing chrome. Many ideas involve going to the grocery store or your pantry for household items. Aluminum foil (like in the video below), brass scouring pads, diet coke, etc. are just a few of the suggestions you may find.
Some of these items will indeed do remove accumulated rust from ignored, aging chrome. It’s just hard to suggest using them on newer chrome pieces. The possibility of removing some of the thin layer of chrome and exposing the metal surface underneath should scare anyone.
First: Do No Harm.
The best way to get rust off of chrome parts is to not let it develop in the first place. Once it does, it will always return, and pitting or peeling are sure to follow. It becomes a vicious cycle and a losing, frustrating battle.
So clean and polish those chromed parts often, and use the least abrasive method that gets the job done. Minus any rust or caked-on debris, all you’ll need to do is a light cleaning followed by the application of a protective layer of polish.
Step 1 – Cleaning the Chrome Motorcycle Part
Polishing is always best done on a clean piece. Depending on the product you select, there may be quite a bit of elbow grease and rubbing involved. And loose particles on the surface of the part increase the chances of leaving scratches behind. You may get away with it for a while, but sooner or later, your luck will run out. Cleaning chrome shouldn’t be quite as tough as cleaning your motorcycle chain.
If you’re dedicating a Saturday to cleaning your bike, save the chrome polishing for immediately after a washing. It is fine to let the bike air dry, but drying the chrome with a soft cloth can help prevent water spots that will need to be buffed out during polishing.
Alternatively, chrome parts can be polished without washing the entire machine. We highlight a spray-on motorcycle cleaner below, but glass cleaner will work in a pinch. Make a habit of spraying the cloth, though, not the bike. Overspray with any chemical can have unintended (and permanent) consequences.
Step 2 – Polishing the Chrome Motorcycle Part
This step requires following the directions on the container of whichever polish material you select. Use a fine cloth for any polishing, avoiding any rough materials. Nothing you choose is likely to leave scratches on quality chrome, but it’s better safe than sorry.
Also, you’ll notice the products we suggest are either intended for motorcycles or have a long history of use in motorcycling circles. The reason to not use polishes meant for cars or silverware is the risk of leaving a residue that may wash off and leave a slippery film on the tires.
All Clean and Shiny
There is an element of nostalgia that it difficult to overcome in a comparison such as this. Products like Original Bike Spirits and Simichrome have a long history in the industry. Their smells alone evoke the good old days, the way a certain dish can transport you to grandma’s kitchen.
Those products work great in tandem, but the best motorcycle chrome polish and cleaner on today’s market has to be Chemical Guys Moto Metal Polish. Its micro-abrasives are not abrasive enough to scratch chrome, and they get it sparkly clean. Leaving a UV-protective coating that lasts is another plus.
The fact that the shine doesn’t last forever should also appeal to riders. Only a wax should last longer than a couple weeks – otherwise, a film that can lead to problems may be involved. The other products on this list may work better in specific situations, but the Chemical Guys offering will work on anyone’s chrome.