By Joe Parchman
[This PermaStar Chrome Motorcycle Accessories Review was originally published in the October 2008 issue of Rider magazine]
While the end result of the traditional chroming process can be a thing of beauty, perfection is not easy to achieve. Applying a coat of chrome requires time, a witch’s brew of electrically charged and highly toxic chemicals (chromic acid, sulfuric acid, etc.), lead anodes and the expertise of a skilled craftsman.
Much like leather tanneries, the use and disposal costs of numerous hazardous chemicals and the prodigious amount of handwork involved are leading to the demise of smaller chrome plating shops.
Our Yamaha V-Max began life in Hawaii where the corrosive salt air soon victimized its exterior metal trim. Even 20 years after introduction, no production motorcycle has quite the bad-boy stance of Mr. Max, and we were determined to restore ours into fighting form. No mere polish job for those trademark twin aluminum scoops, either–we wanted them chrome!
Goodrich Technology Corp. is the developer and licensor of the PermaStar chrome process. Unlike conventional chrome plating, GTC’s patent incorporates the application of chrome via powdercoating technology. It’s more complicated than this, but powdercoating is accomplished by applying an electrostatically charged dry paint to a part. Heat is then introduced until the powdered particles form a continuous film. With PermaStar, a part initially receives a primer base coat followed by an application of metal alloys containing chrome. Finally, a powdered acrylic top coat is applied, designed to protect the chrome finish.
The PermaStar process has advanced the automating of chrome plating, which reduces costs. Uniquely, it also uses no hazardous chemicals and creates no hazardous byproducts. Because traditional chrome is metal based, it’s relatively heavy. PermaStar claims a 90 percent savings in weight.
PermaStar sounded like a good option for Max’s badly corroded scoops. Within a week of shipping our parts to GTC’s Pittsburg, California, facility, a return package arrived. Wow! Never would we have believed that these mirror chrome air grabbers were the originals. The fit and finish was perfect. GTC says PermaStar chrome will not oxidize or fade, and recommends a good coat of wax to keep it shiny.
Goodrich Technology licenses PermaStar to a variety of providers but also provides custom chroming services to individuals. Pricing varies by the size of the part. Contact GTC for specifics, but beware–it’s addictive. One chromed part is most likely to lead to many others!
For more information contact Goodrich Technology Corp., 670-A Garcia Avenue, Pittsburg, California 94565; (925) 432-7782; www.goodrichtechnology.com