As a motorbike owner and enthusiast, most certainly you would like to see your favorite vehicle clean and looking great at all times. But, do you really know all the tips required to do this job right? Even if you did wash your motorcycle before, you may learn a few new things if you read the following lines.
We did our best to come up with a complete and comprehensive list of tips that will help you wash, clean, and maintain your motorcycle right just like we tried in our previous article on how to ride a motorcycle.
Don’t start the washing process without proper preparation
You may be tempted to think that washing a motorcycle is not such a complicated task. While this is true, it is still worth paying attention to some aspects and details. For instance, you should remove all the items and accessories you may have on the bike that you don’t want to see wet.
The GPS or luggage, for example, would get damaged if exposed to water. At the same time, prepare everything you need for the cleaning process. Sponges, a bucket, special detergents, a soft brush, water, degreasers, and pieces of clean cloth or towels.
The time and place also matter
If you don’t think that the time and place of the cleaning doesn’t matter, think twice. Would you like to take your bike to a commercial cleaning facility? Don’t do it. It is much better if you do this on your own, as you’ll take better care of your bike. Avoid cleaning your bike on the driveway or street, as these two locations are dangerous for this type of processes.
Also, do not start the washing process while the engine of the bike is still hot. Allow it to cool down, as it is not a good idea to use cold water on a hot engine. Another useful tip would be avoiding to wash the bike in the sun, as the detergents you use will dry onto the bike rather fast, leaving streaks that are hard to clean.
And if you were to pick the perfect washing spot in your yard, do it on the lawn, as you will water your grass and prevent detergents from getting into the rain draining pipes.
Even if you like your bike clean, don’t exaggerate
While it is recommended to keep your bike clean by washing it rather often, overdoing it is something you need to bear in mind. Washing the bike on an often basis will help you notice issues while they’re still in their incipient phases, such as oil leaks or damages to any of the bike’s parts. Also, cleaning your bike often will help you remove debris that can cause overheating in time.
But, if you do it too often, you risk washing away the bike’s lubricants, remove cables accidentally, and expose the body too much to water and detergents. Of course, if your bike is covered in mud after an outdoor adventure, you should wash it right away. But if you have just a thin layer of dust on it, wiping it would help, instead of fully washing it.
Use proper products and water only
The detergents you use for washing your bike should be products adequate for this kind of operation. Do not use any kind of detergents, thinking that they will also do, or that all detergents are the same. So, stay away from cleaners with abrasive particles. Also, look for detergents that have a pH between 6 and 8. Also, when it comes to using water, try not to use too much of it and diminish its quantity.
What about cleaning with high-pressure devices?
This is definitely the kind of question you will ask when looking to wash a bike effectively. Well, this matter has two sides you need to consider. High-pressure devices can indeed be useful when you have to remove a thick layer of mud. But, at the same time, water applied with high pressure on your motorcycle can be forced into areas with cables and other sensitive parts of the bike.
If you want to use such a cleaning device, you should use it with a lot of care. Avoid using water on electronics, chain, instruments, breaks, and seats of the bike. Stick to cleaning the wheels and body of the bike only. If you have a lot of mud on the bike’s chain, you can use a pressure cleaner on it, but you should remember greasing the chain once you’re done.
Pay attention to the tools you use
Not everybody has a high-pressure cleaner and, as you found out, it is not recommended using one on every part of the bike. So, this means you will have to remove dirt manually off the bike. In fact, this is the safest way to do this. Ideally, thick mud should be washed as soon as you end your trip, after the engine cooled off, as it is easier to do this while the mud is still not fully dried.
Use soft cleaning tools, like sponges and pieces of cloths. You will also need something to wipe your bike dry in the end, clean cloths doing the trick here as well.
Waxing can actually damage your bike
Would you like to make sure your bike is nice and shiny once you’re done washing it? If you think a waxing treatment is suitable, you should know that this part is not that recommended in the case of bikes. Still, it is possible to give your bike shine with car wax, as long as you use a soft one and you don’t exaggerate when applying the product.
Use with care and do research before choosing a wax because, in the case of modern bikes, most of them are already covered in a protective layer of lacquer or plastic. Using wax on these surfaces can lead to damages. Once you found a wax you think will work for your bike, apply the product on a small area, somewhere where it is not that visible and see how it behaves.
But lubing is something you should not forget about
If you can skip the waxing part, the part in which you use a lube should not be disregarded. A good product will help you get rid of excess water and remove grease that is too thick on your bike. Still, do bear in mind that there are other types of lubricants to be used in the case of cables, levers, and hinges. So, read the label of the product before using it on your bike.
End your washing ritual with a dry-off
You should not let your bike wet after the washing process is complete. Microfiber cloths are ideal for removing excess water of the bike’s surface, as they are highly absorbent and extremely soft, reducing the risks of scratches. After you’ve wiped your bike dry, it is recommended to take it out for a gentle ride around the block.
The idea is to squeeze the brakes in order to force any water that got in there out. Once the breaks react well, you should take your bike for a longer and faster ride, removing water out of its crannies and nooks, completing the drying process.