Crystal-Glo Acrylic Motorcycle Polish
We've discovered that it's really hard
to review motorcycle polishes. All of our reviews are done under
real-world conditions that any webBikeWorld visitor might experience.
like to take on-the-job photos (amateur though they may be!) to illustrate
our product reviews.
But taking photographs that capture the
before/after differences of polishing a motorcycle is a seemingly
impossible task! It's very hard to get the lighting correct, and
the very limited resolution available on computer monitors means that
subtle differences will be just about impossible to spot.
most of the motorcycles around these parts are kept in spotless
condition, so it's hard to find a bike that needs a shine! Nevertheless, we
persevere in the interests of webBikeWorld visitors!
If you cruise around the Internet looking for motorcycle
polish, in no time you'll come across various references to Crystal-Glo
Acrylic Motorcycle Polish. This product has won its share of
kudos; everyone from Motorcyclist Magazine in the U.S. to the
U.K.'s Motorcycle News have raved about it. Crystal-Glo
has been available since 1987 and has been a best seller in Europe for
about the last 10 years and is now available in the U.S.A.
Besides the difficulty in photographing polished surfaces, it's also
hard to compare different motorcycle polishes against each other, as
each manufacturer claims their product is better than its competitors
at protection, brilliance of the shine and ease of use.
you read statements like "To say we were impressed...would be
a severe understatement. This stuff is absolutely amazing"
by Motorcyclist Magazine (who also gave it their highest rating), it
kind of makes you sit up and take notice.
So what makes Crystal-Glo Acrylic Motorcycle Polish different from the
The word "acrylic" is the key -- there are no silicone or
petroleum-based chemicals in this product. To tell the truth,
this didn't mean much to me until I realized the implications:
Crystal-Glo leaves no streaks and does not leave any white chalky
residue on any of your bike's parts, including all the black plastic
I consider this to be an important feature of the product
-- even though motorcycles have less surface area to polish than, say,
a car, all the little nooks and crannies on the typical bike make the
job a chore. I hate having to spend more time trying to clean up
all the dried white polish from all of those little bits than I did
applying and removing the initial coat of polish.
And you never
seem to get all the white residue off anyway. If you've always
wondered why they couldn't make a polish that didn't leave a
residue...well, stop wondering, because this is it!
Crystal-Glo also has no abrasives. This allows the manufacturer
to claim that it can be safely used on all paints, clear coat,
fiberglass, polished aluminum, chrome, metal, and smooth
plastic. Motrax even recommends it as the only polish to use for
carbon fiber parts.
What we discovered is that this also means that you need to make sure
the bike is thoroughly cleaned before you apply Crystal-Glo. This isn't a problem, as I'm sure that you always wash your motorcycle
prior to polishing anyway. You do, don't you?
The typical "cleaner/polisher" mass-market products are
typically formulated with some very mild abrasives or various types of
aromatic solutions that help them to remove light grime and insect
Even though I washed the motorcycle just before I tried
Crystal-Glo, I noticed that some little tiny bug residue spots that
would come off very easily with other types of polishes are unaffected
by this formula. So I believe the manufacturer's claims that
Crystal-Glo is more of an acrylic protective coating than a
The company does say that the formula
"deep cleans", but I'm not sure precisely what they mean by
this. Perhaps this refers more to the acrylic coating that
they claim can be built up on older surfaces to eventually bring out a
shine, rather than the cleaning that can take place when using an
abrasive cleaner/polisher designed to remove light scratching and
Crystal-Glo is also very easy to apply and remove. I used a
brand-new microfiber application pad; you simply wipe Crystal-Glo on
and you can either wipe if off immediately or let it dry to a slight
haze. The product comes with a nice, soft buffing cloth that
works well to bring out the shine.
Speaking of shine, does Crystal-Glo truly "bring out a deeper,
richer, more vibrant shine"? My experience so far is that
it's hard to tell. Many polishes will make the paint look great
immediately after application; it's the long term shine and protection
that's important. So we'll be reporting back over time with any
updates that can help resolve this question.
To try and get a good understanding of how the product works, we used
Crystal-Glo on three different motorcycles, representing three
different generations of paint technology.
First, we tried it on a 1977 BMW R100RS. This was the first year
for that classic bike and it has the original silver-blue paint.
They didn't use clearcoat in those days and the paint sometimes
started out pretty thin and didn't get any better over time.
was no exception, but there were painted sections on the bike that
were still in fairly good shape. Maybe we took the company's
claims too literally, but to be honest, we couldn't tell if there was
any difference after applying several coats of Crystal-Glo to various
painted parts, so we've left out the photos, as there really isn't
anything that they could illustrate.
Next, we tried it on a red metallic 2000 Suzuki Bandit. The bike
is in great condition to begin with and has a nice shine from a recent
polishing. But there's an area on the fuel tank where the tank
bag dulled the finish slightly and left some very light
After applying two coats, we did notice that the
sample area had a deeper luster to it than the control areas. The acrylic coating seemed to do its job on the light scratching also
-- it made them less noticeable and did not leave any white
Here are the un-retouched before/after photos of the tank -- as I
mentioned, it's very hard to photograph and resolve the differences
that occur as a result of using a polish, but if you look closely at
the area just above and to the left of the yellow arrow in the
"before" photo, you can see the very light scratch marks and
The photo on the right was taken after two coats of
Crystal-Glo applied according to instructions on that area. Hopefully you can notice the difference, although the deeper luster to
the finish that was a result of using the Crystal-Glo is unfortunately
not apparent, due to the slight shifting of the clouds, which changed
Suzuki Bandit Before
I tried the product next on the old standby test mule, a 1994 BMW
K75. This bike has a thick clearcoat that reacts strangely to some
polishes; many of them leave noticeable streaks that look almost like
swirls of areas where the polish "took" and didn't take. This
effect is especially noticeable when using cleaner/polish type
The Crystal-Glo was again easy to apply and I'm pleased to
report that it did not leave any streaking. The bike had a
pretty good shine to begin with, so there really is no difference apparent
in the photos. But you can notice that there is no white residue on
the black plastic fuel filler cap!
BMW K75 Before
The manufacturer's claim that Crystal-Glow works on plexiglass seems to
hold true. It's as easy to apply on windscreens as it is on painted
surfaces. I was pretty impressed with the results -- I don't know if
you can tell from these photos (I deliberately took them with the fence in
the background to try and illustrate the differences in clarity through
the windscreen), but I think I can say that the product made this 'screen
seem more transparent than any other plexiglass cleaner I've used, either
dedicated or not.
I still had to remove bits of insect residue manually (I am surprised that
Crystal-Glo doesn't seem to remove even the lightest bug remains), but the
product really did make the glass crystal-clear. You can just see in
the "before" photo on the left that there is a slight haze to
the windscreen that is missing from the "after" photo on the
right, and the windscreen was very clear to begin with, so the product
does exceed my expectations for this use.
The manufacturer also claims that Crystal-Glo is "resistant to
fuel spills, road grime, salt corrosion and acid rain". This deserves a long-term test, so I will continue to use the product
on this bike and I'll be reporting back with updates on our
The bottom line is that I think this is a good product that meets or
exceeds most of the claims made for it. I'm very pleased that
there is finally a polish available that doesn't leave streaks or
white residue. I also like the way it works on plexiglass.
I can't tell if it really does "produce a deeper, richer, more
color intensive gloss"; it seemed to do that on the Suzuki
Bandit, but I didn't really notice a difference on the black tank of
the BMW K75.
By the way, Crystal-Glo also makes some other products that you may be
interested in: the "Motorcycle
Wash & Shine Gel" for washing your bike; the "Helmet
& Visor Polish"; "Leather
& Vinyl Treatment" and a Gift
Pack that includes all of the above in addition to a polishing
cloth (which is available separately).
I think the product deserves a longer-term test for further
evaluation, so check back for more updates in the future. I can
say now though that I think Crystal-Glo is better than many other
polishes, and just the fact that it doesn't leave streaks or residue
and its ease of application is good enough for me to continue using
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Acrylic Motorcycle Polish
From: U.S.: Crystal-Glo online
store; U.K.: Motrax;
Canada: From your local motorcycle dealer.
Retail Price: $10.99
base, no petroleum or silicone; leaves no streaks; does not leave
white chalky streaks on black plastic; easy to apply. Not
sure if it protects longer than other products.
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