Carbon Fiber Quality
For a race bike, the best carbon fiber component is the one that has the least weight so the manufacturer should use the minimum amount of resin and no clear-coat to save weight. Unfortunately, this also results in pinholes in the surface and a somewhat dull finish. You may even be able to see light through it in some areas.
However, for a street bike, a nice appearance is a more important concern than weight savings, so fit and finish is essential.
In terms of overall appearance, carbon fiber made by Carbon Dream is generally regarded as the best product. They use prepreg carbon fiber and a autoclave instead of a cheaper wet lay-up process used by other manufactures. Their products are quite expensive. http://www.carbondream.it/menue.html
The other major manufacturers are Casoli, QB Carbon, Ducati Performance, and Carbotech.
If you just want the carbon fiber look, Feather Carbon will laminate carbon fiber to any original part that is not subjected to repeated flexing.*They take the original part, prep it, paint it, and then apply the same carbon and resin they make parts from.*Then it is clear-coated and buffed to a shine. http://www.feathercarbon.com Carbon Fiber Care
Carbon fiber composites embrittle and fade from oxidation caused by the sun's UV rays. The UV discoloration is a combination of both the carbon and resin color changes so in order for carbon fiber to retain its appearance, it has to be clear-coated by either the manufacturer or you prior to installation. If it's shiny direct from the manufacturer, it's probably been clear coated. But check first before buying.
Since exhaust cans operate at elevated temperatures, this will accelerate this oxidation and also quickly drive off any wax, oil or silicone coatings you apply to try to keep them shiny. Automotive paint clear coats are very resistant to UV discoloration and oxidation, so the best solution, even for carbon exhaust cans, is to spray them before installation.
To restore carbon fiber that has started to fade, wash it with soap and water, rinse it with paint thinner, and let dry. Apply three or four coats of clear acrylic enamel or lacquer, the first coat just misted on. Lightly sand with 600 wet between coats. The black won't be as deep in any faded areas, but pretty close.
Clear-coating carbon fiber can be time consuming because of the pinholes in the material. To keep it lightweight, it shouldn't contain any more resin than necessary. Nevertheless, some manufacturers focus more on the cosmetic aspect so are dense with resin and very shiny.
Unless your carbon fiber has been clear-coated, keep Windex or harsh oxygenated cleaners like 409 or S-100 or Oxyclean away from it. They turn carbon fiber mottled white and milky-looking. In some instances this milky stain can be removed with denatured alcohol before clearcoating.