I have a fixed gear bike and I'd like to give him a fresh start. It's all painted in blue and I'd like to know if it's possible to obtain the chromish color on the links between the tubes (it's an old pist iron frame from the 70's) ?

  • You mean you want to remove the paint? That is not difficult, there are many tutorials on youtube. Or how else "chromish"? Jan 31, 2020 at 9:15
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    There are chrome paints, but they're not robust like electroplated chrome. Which do you mean ?
    – Criggie
    Jan 31, 2020 at 10:22
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    To get lasting chrome color, you need actual chrome plating.
    – ojs
    Jan 31, 2020 at 12:57
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    Classic steel frames may sometimes have had chrome plating (i.e. a layer of chrome, rather than silver paint) on some parts of the frame (e.g. chainstay, fork), or sometimes on the whole frame. This is pretty toxic to do, and I don't recommend it. I don't believe it's a common practice among current steel frames. However, there may be places that will actually do this. Also, when you say "links between the tubes", do you mean the lugs? Last, in English, we would say "steel" frame rather than "iron".
    – Weiwen Ng
    Jan 31, 2020 at 16:47
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    Fully chromed steel frames were still around up to the 70s. Peugeot had those, sometimes overpainted with transparent paint for a special shine.
    – Carel
    Jan 31, 2020 at 17:37

2 Answers 2


Yes. If you have a aluminum or steel frame it's possible to strip the paint off and sand and polish the metal so that it is shiny.

To get to the shininess level of chrome plating is a lot of work though. You need to work your way up through sandpaper grits from ~300 to ~2000 depending on the starting condition of the metal and the level of polish you want. The critical thing is to remove absolutely all the marks from the previous grit sandpaper at each stage.

A difficulty is the welds joining the tubes. These areas are rough and it can be difficult to strip the paint out of the crevices. These areas don't polish up as well as the main tubes.

Obviously with a steel frame a clear coat will need to be applied to prevent rusting.

  • Stripping the paint chemically is possible though probably only doable in workshop with strict environmental control.
    – Carel
    Jan 31, 2020 at 17:40

Raw steel nor aluminum frames will shine like chrome. Period. One can remove the paint from a steel frame, or have a paint shop do it with sand/media blasting. But paint is used to protect against rust. A raw steel frame will rust. Regular applications of WD40 would slow rust. A clear coat of lacquer would be more effective at preventing rust.

I've seen raw lugged and fillet brazed frames which have been clear coated. It's a unique look as the lugs and fillets were made with brass. If your frame is tig welded then it will not have the brass and it may be difficult to get the last of the paint out of the welds. Also note that many inexpensive frames are powder coated instead of painted and powder coat can be extremely difficult to remove.

Raw aluminum will get stains from sweat as the salt reacts with the aluminum.

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