If you’re like me, at this point in the season, your bike is looking rather grubby. Touch-up cleaning is great to keep the bugs off, but washing your motorcycle regularly should be a priority to keep it looking great on the road.
Tips for Washing Your Motorcycle
- Prepare, prepare, prepare! A thorough cleaning is an event. Remove all accessories and anything that shouldn’t get wet, like tank bags. Gather all the supplies you need for cleaning, including:
- Bug and tar remover
- A bucket
- Water hose
- Micro fiber cloths
- A toothbrush
- Tire cleaner
- Cotton cloths and sponges
- Plenty of detergent
- A chamois
- Where and when you wash is important. Do not wash immediately after a long ride. Instead, clean the bike when it’s cool. Also, avoid the midday heat. The direct sunlight can cause detergents and cleansers to dry against the surface of your bike before you can rinse them off, potentially harming the finish. Keep your bike clean regularly, as dead bugs, tar, and road debris can cause paint blemishes if left alone. Too frequently washing, however, can strip your bike of essential lubricants. It’s best to have two levels of washing- a once-over to clear off large debris and insects that you perform regularly, and a more thorough wash you do from time to time.
- Use appropriate cleaning agents. Cleaners that are too harsh or abrasive can scratch the finish on your bike. Vinyl and leather cleaners may make your seat look amazing, but might feel too slick when you ride again. There are a number of products made just for bikers- and they are worth the extra money! Make sure you do not reuse greasy cloths and sponges as they will only spread the gunk. Instead, keep an ample supply of fresh cloths and sponges.
- Get down deep! After a thorough cleaning, I recruit my kids for this step. I have them get down low and eye the bike from all angles, looking for any areas I might have missed. Their eyes are better than mine and they can usually pick up a number of spots I have neglected.
- Wax with care. Newer bikes have a variety of different finishes, so there is no one wax that works best for all bikes. Find a discreet surface of the bike and try out a soft wax (not a cutting wax). Rub It into the surface gently, buff, and then look for swirls or marks. A good wax will leave a coat against your finish without leaving swirls. This wax acts to protect your paint from sun damage and adds a surface layer to keep your paint looking perfect for years to come!
- Remember the lube. Washing your bike can strip cables, hinges, and chains of essential lubricants. Don’t grab the WD40. Instead, use specialized silicon, oil, and chain lube to keep everything lubricated properly without diluting the grease.
- Dry thoroughly. Use a micro fiber cloth or a chamois and thoroughly dry the surfaces of your bike. Be sure the cloth is free of any specks of debris. Then go for a ride and squeeze your brakes to remove water. Failure to do so can allow corrosion to occur.
Now your bike looks shiny and new! Enjoy the feeling, and remember to treat your bike to a good, thorough wash on a regular basis.
At Kass & Moses, we take pride in our bikes just like you do in yours. Our motorcycle injury lawyers are ready for a free consultation should you ever be involved in an accident. Remember the experienced team of lawyers at Kass & Moses.