Good clear finish for bare metal?

I sanded down some rusty parts off my 1973 Honda bike project, and I was going to repaint but I kind of like the bare metal look here and there for things like handlebars or the headlight brackets. Anyone know a good DIY way to protect these bits? There seem to be a number of choice like Sharkskin, marine poly (wouldn’t this need a primer, though?) up to re-applying renaissance wax once a month (dubious, this ain’t a museum piece). It’s definitely enough to give me, a woodshop guy, analysis paralysis.

Thanks for any advice!

We were always told in the steel shop that if you’re not powder coating it’s going to rust eventually. We often settled for generous coats of permalac. YMMV on this as the guys I worked for were not the most research-oriented.

A few years back I did a clear coat on a steel sculpture I made. I also liked the look of the bare metal. No rust evident for a few years, but it’s also an indoor piece.

I would imagine folks in the hot rod community might have ideas or guidance on this type of finish.

A good quality 2 part clear coat would be your best bet. Some people will intentionally allow it to surface rust a little before applying it.

2k clear it is, and if it starts rusting too quickly I’ll just strip it again and paint it. Thanks everyone.