Washing your motorcycle for beginners
The new year means you’ll want your bike to be spankin’ new and squeaky clean. Keep these tips in mind before you start washing.
1. Be prepared
Remove accessories you don’t want to get wet such as a GPS and get all your washing tools ready. If you're new to this, here's a quick checklist: a bucket, soap or liquid detergent, bug and tar remover, degreaser and/or engine cleaner, toothbrush, WD40, a brush for wheel cleaning, tyre cleaner, paint polish, metal polish, at least two micro fibre rags, 100% cotton sponges, soft cotton or microfibre towels, abrasive rags and a chamois.
2. Time and place are important
Avoid washing under direct sunlight, the street or the driveway. If you've just finished a long ride, give it some time before you start cleaning. You'll want you bike to cool down first.
3. Know when to stop
Frequent washing will alert you early to any developing problems such as oil or fluid leaks, loose or damaged parts etc. But washing too often can cause damage to cables and exposed grease points on old engines.
4. You won't need a lot of water but you will need a good cleaning agent
Two things you'll want to look out for: how much water you use and what kind of cleaning product you pick. There are plenty of products available for different uses so be sure to use the right one.
5. Consider high-pressure cleaning
It'll help in getting rid of caked-on mud and tough grime. If you're using a high-pressure cleaner, keep it away from the instruments, electronics, chain, brakes and vinyl seats which can be ripped by pressurised water. Concentrate on wheels and bodywork.
6. Have the right tools
Use separate cleaning rags and sponges for different areas. There is a wide variety of cleaning tools available now.
7. Give it a good wipe down
Once you’ve finished washing and polishing, give your bike a good and thorough wipe down with a micro fibre cloth. Wipe the cables, clean the engine casings, rub the wheel hubs and lie down on the ground to see if you’ve missed any areas.
8. Waxing can make or break a bike
Don’t use cutting compounds as they leave permanent swirls in the paintwork. Use a soft wax that adds a layer, rather than takes a layer off.
9. When in doubt, lube it out
WD40 is great for getting rid of excess water as well as gently removing built-up grease. Don't spray it where there is essential grease such as around the wheel axles as it will dilute the grease.
10. Dry, dry and dry some more
Use a well-rinsed and squeezed micro-fibre cloth or chamois to thoroughly dry off your bike one more time then ride it slowly around the block, squeezing the brakes to pump out excess water.