I had a look at the frame tonight to see if I could bring the finish up a bit better. I don't want it polished as I think that looks a bit tacky and doesn't suit the nature of the bike anyway. I think the standard finish was natural aluminium, so not polished but not heavily brushed or anything.
It came to me a little tarnished, with brown bits around the welds and a generally dulled look to it. There are some small nicks and scrapes as you would expect from a 20 year old frame but nothing too bad. Certainly hasn't been abused.
I had a go with a light Scotchbrite pad and it seemed to come up quite well.
I was going to leave the original decals on but I'm not so sure now. As they are one big decal rather than individual letters there is a large amount of clear vinyl. Underneath this the metal is quite dull and it really stands out compared to the newly scotchbrited metal. Hopefully this pic shows that.
It looks a bit naff.
So I'm not sure what to do now. It'll defiantly look better with new decals but it's a shame to get rid of the originals.
At least the tubing info decal looks good, all the others are badly faded (in the case of the lettering) or partly missing (headtube decal for example).