You ask, we answer: is it time to do a bike rebuild?

Posted: 01 Mar 2014

time to do a rebuild?After 25 years away from riding, Brian got in touch with us via Facebook to ask our advice on rebuilding his bike.  We put the question to one of our resident riders… here’s what they had to say!


“I’ve not had a bike for 25 years after the death of my brother. I thought it was time to do a rebuild – can you advise where to get nuts and bolts re anodised? This is the start of the rebuild...”


Anodising is the traditional name given to the art of coating (mostly) aluminium alloy components with an additional layer of oxide that is already present on these metals. Different techniques and dyes are used to form different colours of, say, replacement aluminium bolts; bolts and threaded screws used on low stress areas such as fairing screens and bodywork panels. There won’t be many ally bolts as standard on your bike and if there are any corroded ones, it is easier and cheaper to buy replacements.

Cadmium plating used to be the norm for bike fasteners and components because it has decent anti-corrosion properties. The problem with this treatment is the extreme toxicity and the subsequent impact on the environment if its use is not rigidly controlled. Zinc and occasionally nickel plating is more the norm today for most fasteners.

What you have to remember is plating can take on many forms and processes and is itself an art led by experts and scientific problems, often interspersed with words like hydrogen embrittlement where baking in ovens is required to bring electroplated parts back to a state where they can be used (read tightened and used in areas where it is ok to be used). Plated steel also throws up worries if used in conjunction with other metallic components like titanium.

Your problem of where to get parts re-plated is two-fold: 1) where to get it done, and 2) how to get old knackered fasteners dressed ready for re-plating – if the material to be coated is damaged then plating exacerbates the ‘distressed’ look. Not forgetting that any old plating really needs to be removed professionally if only to ensure a quality finish.

For specialist companies prepared to get involved with small quantities of fasteners then it’s best to talk to bike restoration specialists who will know the best people offering such a service. Most major cities/towns have local firms that can offer a plating service. One company that has been used for many restorations is Niphos Metal Finishing (01270 214081) based in Crewe. Alternatively, there are many online fastener retailers who specialise with motorcycle replacement kits. And there are many bike breakers who are worth contacting to see if they sell-on decent used nuts and bolts.

Do you agree with our resident rider?  or !

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