After a motorcycle tour in the rain, the bike will most likely be dirty and in need of some cleaning. Maybe you are getting ready to store your motorbike for the winter. Just two good reasons to give your motorbike a wash. This also improves your safety, because during the process, you may notice damage early on.
How to wash your bike by hand
Soak dried, coarse dirt with water first, then spray on the cleaner – also don’t forget the hard-to-see spots and leave it on for the time indicated. In very dirty spots, you can be more generous. Note that gel cleaners stick better than the liquid ones.
After the soaking time, scrub the motorbike thoroughly by hand with a sponge and water. Do not apply too much pressure and keep rinsing the sponge in the bucket so as not to scratch the paint, or other delicate areas, with small particles of dirt.
Next, rinse the bike with plenty of clean water until no more foam is visible – again, look out for hard to see spots. A water hose is useful here, but it is better not to use a high-pressure cleaner. The high pressure can damage seals or plastic parts, water and cleaner can penetrate into the smallest cracks – and cause corrosion there. You are much better off using a water hose and a little patience when washing your motorcycle.
Polishing and maintaining the motorbike
Once it is well rinsed, you can wipe it dry with a leather cloth. Then treat the painted parts with a paint care product that gives it a shine and protects it from environmental damage and aggressive dirt, such as bird droppings. Apply the polish with a soft cloth and polish the motorcycle until it shines again. Clean, lint-free microfibre cloths or polishing cloths are suitable for this.
If you have chrome parts on your bike, use a special chrome polish. Parts made of leather and plastic also appreciate care with suitable products. You can lubricate the moving parts with penetrating oil and so protect them from dirt and rust.
Use of cleaning products
If you clean your bike’s engine with a special cleaner and brush, you should keep three things in mind – just like when using any other cleansing agent for your bike: Never use this in the blazing sun or on heated surfaces. The effect can be impaired and unsightly stains can burn in. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use and, in particular, the exposure times of the products. Rinse all cleaning products thoroughly until no more foam is visible and make sure to rinse adjoining parts.
Regular chain maintenance
Dirt quickly accumulates on the chain. Therefore, regular maintenance of the chain is a must – it should be freed from road dirt, tar residues, and grime about every 600 miles. If you clean it at the same time as you wash your motorbike, you should clean it before you wash the bike – otherwise the dirt residue from the chain could soil the freshly polished motorcycle again.
If the chain is very dirty, a wire brush can help to remove the coarse and stubborn dirt. Next, apply the cleaner and wipe it off after the recommended time. After that, it can be greased to protect it against moisture and corrosion, and keep it well-lubricated. Also allow the chain grease to soak in and be sure to remove any excess with a rag after the drying time – otherwise, new dirt will stick to it again very quickly.
Best products and protection sprays
There is a huge variety of sprays, gels, and cleaning products on the market. Some of the ones considered “best” are Muc-Off’s motorcycle cleaner and finishing shine, and Wurth’s brake and chain cleaner.