How to clean your motorcycle properly
Your motorcycle is probably one of your most precious possessions - both emotionally and financially - so it’s worth investing a little time and effort to keep it in peak condition.
Follow these five simple steps for professional results without excessive elbow grease;
- Before you start, put your bike on its centre stand or, if it doesn’t have one, use a paddock stand, so that it’s upright. Otherwise, if the bike is leaning to one side, water won’t be able to drain away properly and will collect in nooks and crannies, potentially causing corrosion or electrical problems. There’s no need to rinse off dirt first, because that will prevent the cleaning fluid from sticking to the grimey surface and it will drip off before it can get to work.
- Spray on a specialist bike cleaner. These are formulated for use on all the different materials used to make a motorcycle - steel, alloy, chrome, rubber, plastic, vinyl, etc - so they won’t damage of discolour your pride and joy. Muc-Off Tech Bike Wash, Silkolene Pro Wash and WD-40 Specialist Total Wash are all reliable products from trusted manufacturers For really stubborn grime, like chain lube flung onto the rear wheel, you might need to use a sponge or even a brush. These need to be soft, like the Muc-Off Wheel Brake Brush, so they won’t scratch paintwork, metalwork or plastics.
- Leave the cleaner to do its stuff for as long as recommended on the instructions, then rinse off with a hose or a bucket of fresh clean water and a clean sponge. If you are going to use a jet-wash, stand well back, to avoid blasting off stickers and lubricants. Then use a chamois leather to dry off bodywork, which will prevent ‘spotting’ as the water dries.
- Clean your chain. Chains really benefit from regular cleaning, which will extend their life, and help sprockets last longer too. Spraying lube onto dirty chain is counter-productive, because it actually sticks dirt particles to the links, causing increased wear. Using a dedicated spray, like WD-40 Specialist Chain Cleaner, will remove the dirt quickly and completely, ready for lube to be applied. As a rule, it’s best to use regular chain lube, such as Silkolene Pro Chain if rain is expected, and a ‘dry’ lube, (e.g. Silkolene Titanium Dri Gel), in summer (on the days it isn’t raining).
- For a finishing touch, add a protective shield. Wax provides a protective coating that leaves a showroom shine and repels water, preventing dirt from sticking to your bike so easily. Try WD-40 Wax & Polish or Muc-Off Speed Polish.
One last thing. Never put your bike away in a garage, shed or under a cover, until it is completely dry, otherwise it can cause condensation, which will result in corrosion.
You’ll find a huge choice of specialist bike cleaning products