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#897023 12/02/22 1:51 am
Joined: Nov 2022
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Hi all,
Iam after a bit of feedback from the different members out there. What to do with my original '55 Thunderbird rims etc. They are a bit rusted but seem true & have no damage. I would like to keep the originality of the bike. To get them re-chromed do I need to completely clean off all of the rust or does the process of chroming do a better job. Obviously I would have to remove all the spokes, should I reuse & chrome them or just buy a new set.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.


1955 6T Thunderbird with sidecar (been in family since 1959)
1952 6T frame
Numerous engines & boxes
Triumphs on eBay
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As for the rims, the platers will electrically strip and prep them to their satisfaction in order to plate them, I wouldn't do anything more than degrease and disassemble. For my bike I'd get Buchanan stainless steel spokes and their recommended nipples.


'68 Bonnie, '70 TR6r
'74 CL360
trail 70's and minitrails
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You need to make sure that the platers go easy with polishing around the stamped letters; despite being told not to, one plater I used proudly gave me back my rims with Dunlop polished out, I could have bought a really good pattern rim for 1/4 of the cost of the chroming!
Spokes were never chromed, they were originally cadmium plated, but stainless is a very good option. If you are very fussy, stainless spokes can be a bit too shiny, blasting them tone this down, but it's a pain to do!

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Ask for recommendations for platers from other restorers. Some platers are excellent, some are butchers.

I once sent two really good Triumph rims to a plater for re-chroming. There was no rust, just worn-down chrome that had dulled.
When I got the rims back, some goon at the platers had belt-sanded them to a point where the spoke holes were mad oval, and spoke nipples would have pulled through them. The rims had been destroyed, turned into useless - but now EXPENSIVE - junk.

As to spokes: Tinker is not correct when he says "spokes were NEVER chromed."

1956 and '57 Triumph T100, T110 and some TR6 models, as did the first year of the "Twenty-one) 350cc unit construction bikes, DID have chromed spokes.
You will never find reference to this in "the books" or service bulletins, but I have several original, unrestored front and rear wheels as evidence, such as '56 wheels with original 9-gauge spokes, and '57 wheels with 8/10 gauge spokes.
Plus, a friend had, in 1970, his brother's original '57 T110, bought new, never restored, which came new with chrome spokes.

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I stand corrected!

Joined: May 2013
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Been down this road myself earlier this year, chroming in Australia particularly Melbourne is expensive these days, I ended up buying some new rims & stainless spokes ended up cheaper.

Have a word to Phil Pilgrim at Union Jack Motorcycles in Melbourne he will steer you in the right direction.


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Jack Russell
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Thanks for your input. Jack, I will give them a ring. I have about 3 sets of wheels so I don't want to buy any more. I will let you know what eventuates.

IMG_20221120_105109.jpg

1955 6T Thunderbird with sidecar (been in family since 1959)
1952 6T frame
Numerous engines & boxes
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 25
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That’s the ongoing “problem” when you’re dealing with these old Trumpies, you seem to end up with 3 sets of everything & still buy new of the same, seems to be my story at least.


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Jack Russell
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You're not alone, Jack.

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If the rims are sound I'd just paint them black, or whatever. it's an old motorbike. Will you ride it more if they're re-chromed?

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+1 on the spoke holes getting overly worked and weakened in the Prep stage. I have had the rims come back with the spoke holes Razor thin, and the dimples flattened. This on a rim that was really nice, just dull! If you think you can talk to the plater, get a feel for his willingness to listen! You can’t direct who will get your parts in the shop, but he may want to avoid later issues if you are tactful! If this is all done mail order, tough problem!


Down to ‘69 T120R now a Tr6R tribute bike
‘70 TR6C “happy in the hills”
‘67 A65LA (now single carb)
‘93 K1100RS heavy metal (should be gone, still here…)

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