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Europe is Banning Chrome for 2024

Studies Reveal Chrome to Release Pollutants 500 Times more Toxic than Diesel Fumes

A side view of a chromed motorcycle.
Norton's V4SS Chrome. Media provided by the Bike Specialists.

In a recent move that we totally forgot was coming, the EU is banning the chroming of cars and motorcycles. 

This action, according to Euro Weekly News, will cut out a process that “can emit pollutants over 500 times more toxic than those from diesel engines.”

Apparently, the ban announcement was made in 2017 during the REACH directive (think MADD but for regulation and safe use of chemicals). Europe was given seven years – until this year – to “seek alternatives.” 

A motorcycle tank being chromed.
A view of the chrome present in Triumph’s Chrome Collection. Media provided by Triumph Motorcycles.

What kind of chrome is being phased out? 

Hexavalent chromium – chromium-6 or Cr(VI) – is used in the process of welding, spray painting, and acid dipping. Known to cause lung and nose cancer, the stuff is particularly bad for you if airborne and inhaled, being archived as a lung and nose cancer, as well as a cause for liver damage and reproductive issues. 

Wikipedia tells us the stuff was produced in quantities upwards of 136,000 tonnes (150,000 tons) in 1985, thanks in part to the era’s prolific love for the stuff as a protective and decorative coating. 

Today, chroming is still a popular process for custom builds, with vintage and classic machines continuing to desire authentic componentry.

A side view of a chromed motorcycle.
Norton’s V4SS Chrome. Media provided by the Bike Specialists.

Are older machines affected by this chrome ban?

There are too many beautiful vintage automobiles and motorcycles in Europe to ban the stuff completely; instead, we’re told that the phase-out will only be for MY2024 machines onward.

Existing machines are safe for the time being, though any change of color to a vehicle must still be reported to the Direccion General de Trafico (DGT) and insurance providers “to comply with regulations and insurance policies.”

the ban, by the way, also floats over newer machines like Triumph’s Chrome Collection, Norton’s V4SS, and a slew of Harleys( including the 2023 Harley-Davidson Road Glide® Special).

What do you think of Europe’s ban on new chrome?

*Media provided by the Bike Specialists, as well as Triumph and CycleWorld*