These Motogadget motorcycle mirrors are made without any glass

So if you’ve been reading Roadshow for a while, you know I’m a bit crazy about motorcycles. I love them. In fact, I love them so much that I’m building a custom bike myself (that’s a whole other ball game). Right now I’m in the exciting and also vaguely freakish part of the project where you buy and store parts, and one of the parts I got in the mail today is so cool I thought the to share with you . Spoiler alert: it’s a rear view mirror.

But wait, it’s not just any rear view mirror. It is a completely glassless, German-made mirror. That’s right, it’s a glassless and therefore (probably most of the time) unbreakable and frameless mirror from a company called Motorcycle Gadget, and if you’re anything like me, you’re probably super curious about how something like this is done. Fortunately, MotoGadget has produced a video of nearly 20 minutes detailing the processand although there is no voiceover, it is still quite interesting.

So how do they make a mirror without glass? First, Motorcycle Gadget starts with aluminum bars, which are then cut into pieces and milled to their final shape on a CNC lathe. This takes care of the bracket on the back that the mirror pivots on and makes it super thin and light, but it still looks like plain old aluminum on the front.

The next step is called fly cut, and it’s a machining process that’s used on all sorts of things, but in the automotive industry we see it most often used in engine machining to flatten cylinder heads, engine blocks and manual transmission flywheels. The fly trimmer used by Motogadget is slightly different from those used on an engine. It uses ultra-fast rotation speed and an ultra-sharp burr to peel away microscopic layers of aluminum, leaving an almost glass-like surface finish. Seriously, the mirror looks like it’s been polished, but it’s straight out of a CNC machine.

Next, MotoGadget uses some kind of wizardry to further shape the surface and then harden it to help resist scratches. The results are reasonably insane how light and thin they are. I will confess to being mostly unaware of all this when I ordered (and paid full price, mind you) my mirrors, having initially selected them because they looked cool, but now I enjoy them with a whole new way and I hope you will, too.

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