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!!!
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.
Best Motorcycle Chrome Polish & Cleaner Review
Polishing your motorcycle takes time. These best chrome polish and cleaners can save you hours.
Best Motorcycle Chrome Polish for Long-Lasting Protection
With an advanced metal sealant which provides durable protection it’s perfect for chrome, Stainless Steel, aluminum, Titanium, and more!!!
Chemical Guys is a California-based company that makes just about any cleaning product one might need. “From exclusive small-batch waxes to cutting edge hybrid coatings, nano-polishes, and ceramic sealants.”
The Moto Metal line is the company’s entry into the motorcycle care market. The Chemical Guys automotive line is much broader, though. Motorcyclists should stick to the brand’s motorcycle-specific offerings.
Moto Metal Polish is a cleaner and polish in one. It does a commendable job of softening and removing both rust and caked-on grime. This product is also one of the few on the market that can remove the bluing some chrome exhaust pipes exhibit.
Nothing is perfect, of course, and Moto Metal Polish does have its drawbacks. It is perfect for polished metal surfaces, but its shine can be a bit much on unpolished surfaces. It also contains micro-abrasives, so it may scratch soft surfaces. It also isn’t the strongest cleaner.
On already cleaned surfaces, especially polished ones, Moto Metal Polish is hard to beat. The shine it adds to polished metal is undeniable, and it’s indicative of a protective film. It protects against UV light
- Removes contaminants and rust
- Also removes exhaust pipe bluing
- Leaves a long-lasting protective coating
- Has a non-offensive odor
- Contains micro-abrasive substance
- Only good for polished metal surfaces
Best Motorcycle Chrome Polish for Removing Oxidation
Features easy application and amazing results without the use of hazardous chemicals or odors.
Yes, it’s true that you can find Meguiar’s products in any automotive parts store (though not likely this product). But don’t let that fool you. Meguiar’s makes a full line of motorcycle-specific cleaning and polishing products. They tend to be milder than the competition, but not necessarily less effective.
For the purposes of chrome care, Meguiar’s makes Motorcycle All Metal Polish. This product quickly cuts through grime and oxidation alike. Its cleaning oils make quick work of rust, while the imbedded polymers leave behind a noticeable shine. There are no abrasives in this formula.
Because of its formulation, Meguiar’s is safe and effective on any metal parts on your motorcycle. Users accustomed to harsh chemical cleaners may be discouraged to find that this polish doesn’t clean quite as effectively as some harsher chemicals, but it is not meant to.
Meguiar’s Motorcycle All Metal Polish is a milder product, well-suited for motorcycle use. If used regularly, it can keep most of a bike looking clean and new. It may not be as useful at motorcycle restoration as some products, but it shines as a weekly treatment.
- Does not rely on abrasives
- Cleans like a harsh chemical without the smell
- Leaves a mirror-like clarity without buffing
- Safe on polished and non-polished metals
- Not as effective (or harsh) as some of the competition
- No UV protection
Best Chrome Polish for Motorcycle Exhaust
This is the “stuff ” – one whiff of its familiar smell and you’ll know you are cleaning your bike with the best
Original Bike Spirits has a long history in motorcycling and bike dealerships. The company’s Spray Cleaner and Polish is used regularly to keep new bikes looking that way, and it does a respectable job of bringing some of that new-bike shine back to older models.
The most useful point about this product is that it can be used to clean practically any part of a motorcycle. It is a great engine detailer, cutting right through the grime that can get cooked onto hot engine surfaces.
Because it leaves a shine without a residue, Original Bike Spirits also works well as a wheel cleaner. It will soften and liquefy grime on any motorcycle part, metal or plastic, and leave that part shining.
Original Bike Spirits is not, however, the longest-lived chrome polish available. In practice, a part cleaned with this product will require polishing within a week or so. A polishing used in combination with this super cleaner is a winning combination.
- Cleans and shines any surface on a motorcycle
- Can be used as a between-washings bike cleaner
- Works in one simple step – without water
- Leaves behind no slippery film to wash off
- The shine doesn’t last all that long
- Requires the purchase of another polish
Best Chrome Polish for Removing Rust
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
Best Rated Motorcycle Chrome Polish
The most advanced metal polish money can buy, it creates a mirror finish on chrome, aluminum, stainless and even brass.
Surf City Garage is a relative newcomer to this industry, but it has already established itself as a driving force (ahem). Beginning in 2007, this small American company has been producing well-thought-out and well-executed car-care products ever since, all made in the USA.
Killer Chrome Polish, like the rest of the Surf City Garage lineup, is intended for cars. It is not motorcycle-specific, but it leaves no slippery residue behind to cause any traction problems. It works well as a one-step cleaner and polisher, removing rust and other forms of oxidations.
Best of all, Killer Chrome Polish contains no abrasives, so there is little chance of leaving any scratches behind. It will clean and polish other metals too, all with a simple wipe-on/wipe-off application. It may not be made for bikes, but it will definitely do the job.
- Cleans and polishes in one simple step
- Contains no abrasives to scuff up valuable parts
- Smaller operation that produces quality products with pride
- Requires very little effort for big results
- Not motorcycle specific
- Heavily rusted parts will require another product first
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.