Every motorbike rider on earth would rather be riding their bike than cleaning it. However, what better way to wind down after a weekend of riding than by spending some time bringing your grubby bike back to showroom sparkle? Plus, you get to spend some extra quality time together before the weekend’s over. Here are some motorcycle valeting tips on the best way to clean your machine:
Remember to remove anything you don’t want to get soaking wet, such as tank bags and GPS, for example. Get all your bits together – you’ll need a bucket, liquid detergent, degreaser, bug remover, some lubricant, a toothbrush (preferably an old one and not your partner’s) a brush, tyre cleaner, paint and metal polish, microfibre cloths and a chamois. Don’t be tempted to jump straight off and start cleaning. Let your bike cool down first, especially after a long ride.
Wash often but not too much
This is a tricky one to get right. You want to do it frequently enough, so you notice problems early on and keep your machine in the best possible condition, but too much and you can wash away useful lubricants. Consider what kind of a ride you’ve just had and whether a full-on wash is required or perhaps just a gentle wipe down. If you notice a problem during your washing routine, you’ll be thinking – where do I find a motorbike repair shop near me?
A little water and the right cleaning fluid
You don’t want to use too much water and make sure you have the correct cleaning fluid for the job. Ideally, you want a cleaning agent specific for the purpose and don’t use all-purpose general household cleaners or anything abrasive. The perfect cleaner will have a neutral pH balance so as not to damage paint work. Beware that vinyl cleaners will buff up your seat nicely but make it slippery!
To high-pressure clean or not?
If your pride and joy is covered in hard caked on mud, a high-pressure wash can be highly effective. However, water at a high force can intrude into electrics and places you really don’t it to pool as it could cause corrosion. If you want to pressure wash your bike, be sure to keep it away from electronics, the brakes and the chain. Don’t use a pressure washer over 2000 psi and beware, you can rip vinyl seats with a high-pressure wash.
Separate rags and sponges
Try to have a different pile of rags, cloths, sponges and brushes for different areas of your bike to avoid smearing grease on places you don’t want to. Microfibre cloths are great for being gentle on a variety of surfaces. An old toothbrush is handy for removing grime from small, hard to reach crevices. For burnt-on grease and dirt on chrome exhaust pipes, some fine-grade steel wool should do the trick.
Wax on, wax off
Be sure you’re using the right wax for your bike. Some modern bikes have a layer of lacquer or plastic which is susceptible to damage. Always use a soft wax, if you’re using car wax on your machine. If you’re not sure, test a small patch on an unseen area first, then look at it in direct sunlight to see if it leaves swirls behind. Place the wax on a cloth, not directly onto your bodywork. Once it’s dry, buff it off with a cloth that doesn’t leave lint behind!