Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Appleton WI
Bikes: Several, mostly not name brands.
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Chrome makes an attractive, durable finish, but it does have drawbacks. First, it involves many very hazardous chemicals, and the cost of dealing with these (safety and environment-wise) is reflected in the cost of plating. It is often considerably more expensive than paint. Second, good surface prep is essential to a good plating job. Unless you do the work yourself, you can expect this to cost at least as much as the plating itself. Finally, unless your plater is familiar with thin-wall tubing and complex joints, you may find the results inconsistent. The chemicals used in plating can corrode the tubing from the inside out, so good flushing is essential to protect the frame. And what flushes out needs to be treated as hazardous waste and disposed of appropriately.
Short version: there's a reason why chrome plating isn't common any more.