You ride. The more you ride the dirtier your bike gets.
Some people just wash their bikes when they get dirty. Others go that extra step and detail every nook and cranny to be sure their bikes shine like a show bike, even the parts under the fairing that nobody ever sees.
Here are five steps to take to make your bike look great, whether you are preparing it for sale or just want the satisfaction of knowing you have cleaned every inch of your bike.
1. The right tools are key. Use 100 percent cotton rags, wash mitts and towels. Use motorcycle-specific cleaners that can be sprayed on and rinsed off for light cleaning. Liquid soap specifically made for cars and motorcycles should be used for a deeper cleaning. Some people use dish soap but this can remove wax.
Cleaning brushes are helpful. Get a bunch in different sizes for nooks and crannies. You can also use a soft paint brush for hard-to-reach places.
2. Clean from the bottom up. By cleaing from the bottom up the ground will be dry when you start so you can reach places you may not reach easily later. Plus, you can check for any problems under your machine, like fluid leaks. If you find stubborn grime on the underside of your bike, you may need to use a spray-on grease-cutting cleaner. Try a household degreaser first. If that doesn’t work, try a harsher engine-cleaning degreaser.
3.Have a plan. Clean one part of the bike at a time to stay organized. For example, at the front, brake rotors may need special attention if they are drilled. A cotton swab cleans those holes. Fork sliders may need special attention as well because they may have hardened grit. That could eventually make the fork seals leak.
In the rear, the wheel area gets especially dirt on chain-drive models because of the chain lube. Scrub the sprocket and wipe off the chain. Be sure to clean the lube off any adjacent areas and off the rear fender.
If you have rear chrome shock springs, clean them with a metal polish and then coat them with a protective coating of wax. Scrub the rear tire with a brush.
4. Watch for trouble. A paint brush and toothbrush may be particularly helpful when cleaning the engine and radiator. Baked on grit on a chrome exhaust system may come off by using a fine steel wool pad. If the exhaust system is black, test the pad on an inconspicuous spot first.
Dirt may also collect around hose clamps, wires tied to the frame and elsewhere. Watch for those spots.
5. Finish with wax. Use two towels to dry your bike. The first towel gets most of the water and the last towel gets any remaining streaks. Once the bike is dry, if the paint is faded then use a low-abrasive polish to bring back the luster. If there are nicks, cover them up with touch-up paint. Now wax the machine.
Now enjoy your clean machine.