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Mirror finish--what say you?

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Mirror finish--what say you?

Old 01-28-23, 11:28 PM
  #1  
sfazio 
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Mirror finish--what say you?

I am finishing building up my 1970 PX-10 and spent most of the afternoon at the bench grinder/buffer. As usual I walked away looking like a coal miner and my workbench is a mess but I am so happy with the results. I have another Stronglight 93 and I really enjoyed the "before and after" pic below. I am all about original paint but I can't resist shining up the metal parts to finish off a build. I would love to hear from any other mirror finish enthusiasts or perhaps from anyone who thinks this is bad form.


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Old 01-29-23, 12:21 AM
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Wow, let's see the whole bike. Looking awesome.
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Old 01-29-23, 12:26 AM
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Originally Posted by sfazio
I would love to hear from ... perhaps from anyone who thinks this is bad form.
The only time I can think it's bad form is if there is a beautiful anodization already on the component, and it just suffers from a couple scrapes, like toe strap rub.

There are some components, like the Campy Victory rear derailleur, that can look really good if it's polished, but left matte, not buffed all the way.
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Old 01-29-23, 01:27 AM
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Iím probably in the minority but I like my aluminum a little roughed up. The 93 on the left was just about right.

I hand-polished the very first Stronglight 49D crank I ever owned, with Simichrome on a rag. I regretted it pretty soon after. It was obnoxiously shiny and touching it left horrible finger prints everywhere.

I donít polish anything except paint these days.
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Old 01-29-23, 02:01 AM
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Not normally in on the mirror finish and anodising of course changes all this if you don't remove it so very few things are candidates.

However I do clean, scrub and derust anything I can to the fullest extent possible.

Some things do get an aggressive scotchbrite and polish workover, a few things do get sanded and then polished close to mirror.

No real examples and most things only really shine in before and after pics.

Chrome is my big thing and now with evaporust it can be brought back better than ever and if not can still be made presentable bare metal and sometimes polished up a bit.

The polished crank looks great.

And so long as the the mirror doesn't outshine the rest of the bike to much its all good, can't really have bad form on your own bike.
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Old 01-29-23, 06:55 AM
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Depends on the paint. I want the parts to match the paint.
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Old 01-29-23, 07:23 AM
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I like the finish that is on the right in the OP. If I had an amazing bike that I thought would be a bit more amazing by polished aluminum, I'd be getting a bench grinder and buffing wheel. I figure my bike boom projects look good enough when I'm done with a Simple Green wash and a Bar Keeper's Friend polish. My next project is going to be my '54 Hercules/Western Flyer with chrome fenders, chain guards and Dunlop wheels. I'm going to go to town on that chrome though.
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Old 01-29-23, 07:42 AM
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Two (tired and achy) thumbs up on the polish here. Seeing an old, crusty, oxidized and neglected piece of vintage cycle componentry restored to a mirror shine is like magic. A lotta work (I find it kind of meditative, though increasing arthritis in my thumbs has me looking at some mechanical/motorized 'assistance'..), and even more to maintain it if the bike is a regular rider, but I love the look of polished components. I have wondered, with the likes of Simichrome and Mother's, etc, how toxic it all is, and what is actually going on- what is the black residue? And what, if any, is the downside to regular polishing...?
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Old 01-29-23, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by ehcoplex
Two (tired and achy) thumbs up on the polish here. Seeing an old, crusty, oxidized and neglected piece of vintage cycle componentry restored to a mirror shine is like magic. A lotta work (I find it kind of meditative, though increasing arthritis in my thumbs has me looking at some mechanical/motorized 'assistance'..), and even more to maintain it if the bike is a regular rider, but I love the look of polished components. I have wondered, with the likes of Simichrome and Mother's, etc, how toxic it all is, and what is actually going on- what is the black residue? And what, if any, is the downside to regular polishing...?
Im going to assume itís the grit in the polisher substance plus fine little aluminum bits.

Some things look better polished (Stronglight cranks, Nervar, centerpull brakes, rims, hub shells, Campy NR components), and some do not...some alloy stems...
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Old 01-29-23, 09:05 AM
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I have a set of Rene Herse cranks on one of my bikes. They came polished. After a few years of riding, however, they were mottled looking, so I pulled them off, tore them down to individual parts, and put my buffing wheel to work. It was a couple of hours of work all told, and in a few years, they needed it again. Polishing requires maintenance.
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Old 01-29-23, 09:44 AM
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I had to do the same on my 1971 PX-10. They polish so easily.

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Old 01-29-23, 09:50 AM
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I like polished aluminum and chrome.
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Old 01-29-23, 09:57 AM
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Polished stuff looks great but if other components arenít polished to the same finish it looks odd (to me). My aesthetic view has been questioned often (see well patinated thread) so there is thatÖ
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Old 01-29-23, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by RustyJames
Polished stuff looks great but if other components arenít polished to the same finish it looks odd (to me).
I think the OP's results look great, but you make a good point.
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Old 01-29-23, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by AdventureManCO
Wow, let's see the whole bike. Looking awesome.
Thanks, I will post pics when it's finished. The most challenging part of the build was getting the paint cleaned up. When I got the bike it was covered in a yellow film that I had to wet sand to get through (I really did try everything else). It took a few weeks of very patient sanding to get it where I wanted it--compared to my other PX-10 frame it's pretty easy to see how bad it was.

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Old 01-29-23, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by RustyJames
Polished stuff looks great but if other components arenít polished to the same finish it looks odd (to me). My aesthetic view has been questioned often (see well patinated thread) so there is thatÖ
100% agree, for me it's all or nothing.
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Old 01-29-23, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by sfazio
Thanks, I will post pics when it's finished. The most challenging part of the build was getting the paint cleaned up. When I got the bike it was covered in a yellow film that I had to wet sand to get through (I really did try everything else). It took a few weeks of very patient sanding to get it where I wanted it--compared to my other PX-10 frame it's pretty easy to see how bad it was.
Nice! I've often wondered at how 'dingy' vintage white PX-10s can look- whether its just the color masking it/white showing every little speck, etc, or some difference in the paints, I don't know, but the blue ones seem to fare better. But that thing glows!
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Old 01-29-23, 11:24 AM
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Items that are bare aluminum might as well be polished.
Items like the Stronglight 93 that are sold with a high polish deserve to be kept polished, imho. I had a Raleigh Gran Sport that came with the Stronglight 93, and I loved seeing it properly polished!



I'm not sure why my experiences seem different from some folks, but I don't find that polished aluminum tarnishes/oxidizes very fast. I might touch up stuff every few years.

Steve in Peoria
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Old 01-29-23, 12:10 PM
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I love beautiful shiny parts.
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Old 01-29-23, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by sfazio
Thanks, I will post pics when it's finished. The most challenging part of the build was getting the paint cleaned up. When I got the bike it was covered in a yellow film that I had to wet sand to get through (I really did try everything else). It took a few weeks of very patient sanding to get it where I wanted it--compared to my other PX-10 frame it's pretty easy to see how bad it was.

Well it looks fantastic, you did try Meguiars medium or heavy cut cleaner?

It can normally make a big difference on paint when its like that, often times similar to yours.

https://www.amazon.com/Meguiars-M011...000EY5OSK?th=1
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Old 01-29-23, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie
Polishing requires maintenance.
You often ride in the rain though, right? I don't. Mine are easy to maintain. I guess ymmv.
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Old 01-29-23, 01:42 PM
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The look of bare aluminum polished nicely is my favorite.Simichrome rules!
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Old 01-29-23, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa
You often ride in the rain though, right? I don't. Mine are easy to maintain. I guess ymmv.
Yep! Stay dry, your polish will last quite awhile.
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Old 01-29-23, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie
Stay dry, your polish will last quite awhile.
I try!

And it's not just the polish; that's easy enough to fix with a simple wipe down. It's the brake track of my rims! (And the overall health of the bike.)
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Old 01-29-23, 03:21 PM
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I polish if it's a total restoration (or the parts in question were originally hi-polish), otherwise leave it alone. I'm going through this restoring a mid 70s concertina right now, actually. There are parts (like the case/body) that were obviously hi-polish, and parts (like the metal work) that was clearly "get it reasonably good" when new.

What I find polish particularly good for is cleaning dingy metal parts, as the abrasives clean off crap way better than soap/water.

If I'm using a part "just because", I'll usually bias towards polishing it, or at the very least, brushing it.

Originally Posted by C9H13N
Iím probably in the minority but I like my aluminum a little roughed up. The 93 on the left was just about right.

I hand-polished the very first Stronglight 49D crank I ever owned, with Simichrome on a rag. I regretted it pretty soon after. It was obnoxiously shiny and touching it left horrible finger prints everywhere.

I donít polish anything except paint these days.
Part of the issue is Simichrome/Meguires/Blue Magic, et.al. leave a semi-waxy/oily finish on purpose. If you wipe the part down afterwards with mineral spirits/other appropriate solvent, you can then apply hard wax. Parts that have pebbly finishes like the groove on the Stronglights are super hard to wax, though. Stick polishing compound leaves less crap behind (it's usually just carnauba wax itself, anyway), but usually needs a bit of cleanup, too.
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