King of the Hipsters
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Bend, Oregon
Bikes: Realm Cycles Custom
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This question involves an aluminum frame?
Don't do anything.
Aluminum, like titanium, forms an instant oxide coat that protects it from further corrosion.
However, if the original post had referred to a steel frame, another option exists.
Gunsmiths who refinish very expensive firearms sometimes use a process called "browning."
This process involves a daily wipedown with a lightly oiled cloth soaked in water and then wrung out as completely as possible.
One would need to keep the bike disassembled during this process for about three weeks, and rub it down thoroughly and conscientiously at least once per day.
Depending on the steel composition, it will, over time turn either a uniform soft grey, or it will turn a wheat-gold-brown; again, depending on the steel composition.
Once the color has stabilized, the steel will resist further corrosion with an ocassional wipe down of a damp oily cloth.
The above said, I visited the United Bicycle Institute in Ashland, Oregon a few years back, and one of the instructors had built an old school track bike for the street, and had finished the frame with nickel plating.
Nickel plating does not have the hardness of chrome, and nor does it have the brite shininess of chrome.
Rather, nickel turns a soft, lustrous, glowing steel grey that looks very much like freshly stripped and scrubbed steel.
I think nickel plating costs about the same as powdercoating; and less than real chrome plating, which involves three coats, 1) copper, 2) nickel, and 3) chrome.
I think nickel has about the same resistance to scratching and damage as does powdercoating.