Tips on Cleaning Motorbikes
We have all spent time washing and detailing our motorbikes, whether it is to sell them or make them look their best. The following guide will show you how the professionals do it.
Wash and clean your motorbike
This stage is the easy part of the process. To start, we need to plug the exhaust with a rag. This will stop your bike from sounding like the “African Queen” when you have completed the job. Firstly, wash the motorbike off with the hose so that it is wet all over. This will loosen up any dirt and grit that might be still left on the surface.
Next, you will need to pressure wash your motorbike. It is best to use a domestic pressure washer for this purpose, as some commercial pressure washers can literally take your transfers off or could damage some of the electronics of the bike.
Now it’s time to use the shampoo
We need to use a chemical that is non-abrasive. We need to remove any wax that had previously been applied, any fly’s, dirt and grit. Whatever you use, ensure that it removes wax. You can use washing up liquid at this stage if you desire.
Use your pressure washer and foam sprayer. Cover every bit of the bike, creating a lovely winter scene at the same time. Leave the foam soap to do its job. Now get a sponge or a soft cleaning mitt and rub in the soap, rinsing the sponge or mitt frequently in a clean bucket of water. Once this is complete, it’s time for the wheels, using a wheel brush, work the foam into all the spokes and rims of the wheels.
The motorcycle paintwork can be polished up with a Clay Bar and lubricant. The paintwork on your bike may feel a bit gritty, so it’s time to get the clay bar out. The clay bar works like a pencil eraser. Simple to use, spray the lubricant over the paintwork and then rub it with the clay bar. The paintwork will now feel silky smooth to touch.
Rinse, then wash and wax
We now need to remove the foam and clay residue. We need to use a wash and wax formula. A great benefit from the wax, it gives protection to some of the awkward places that your fingers cannot get too. The best method is to use a bucket and sponge. Suppose you have a centre stand. You can put the bike on the centre stand if you haven’t done so already so that you can work on the wheels and rims. The rear wheel should spin so you can clean any dirt from around the whole rim. The front is a bit more awkward as you may have to take the weight off the front end so that you can turn the wheel.
Time to apply some polish to the paintwork. Using a microfiber cloth, rub in a random pattern until completed. This will hide most of the smaller marks and scratches.
Another wash with non-wax shampoo will remove any previous cleaning products and any remaining dirt. Now rinse with water using your hose pipe. Dry the motorbike best you can with chamois leather, or use a synthetic chamois that will do the job.
Now it’s time to polish any metal or chrome finish by using a good brand metal cleaner. This metal cream is great to bring up a shine and also good prevention for future rust if done on a regular basis.
Apply a sealant
You can apply a sealant at this stage. A sealant is basically a synthetic version of wax, but it will last longer than wax, protecting the surfaces from dirt and UV’s rays for a more extended period of time.
Apply some wax
Now wax the paintwork with Carnauba wax, a natural substance that is taken from a palm tree. Carnauba is scratch and heat resistant and will give a deep, long-lasting shine. Apply with a microfiber cloth. Leave for a short while until the wax has turned to haze and dry to touch. Then buff the surface until a deep shine is accomplished.
Black plastics restoration
Modern machines are made with plenty of black plastic components. Restoring black plastic back to look like new and couldn’t be simpler with the products that are available and easy applied. Silicon sprays are one suitable method to restore black plastic. Carefully spray the areas desired, making sure not to get any on the paintwork. Then with a microfiber cloth, wipe the silicone spray to make it look even. A nice new look that will protect the surface it is on.
Clean the glass and other plastics
Purchase a good glass cleaner that is suitable for glass and plastics, clean your mirrors, lights, dashboard and front shield. Again, the product will protect the surfaces that it has been applied too.
Oil the chain
It is always good practice to oil the chain after you have washed the motorbike. It is advisable to use a chain degreaser first and remove any old lube that will be contaminated with dirt and grit. Some people do this at the start of the clean. Spray the cleaner onto a rag and then apply it to the chain; turn the rear wheel slowly and be careful not to catch your fingers. Add more chain cleaner as required until you are satisfied that the chain is sparkling. With a clean rag, we can now apply the chain lube in the same manner. Some people just spray the lube at the chain. Most of it will go over the clean bike. You also may apply too much lube that will splatter everywhere once you are riding it.
The final stage is to give the motorbike the last wipe off. Buffing all the parts that have been polished and ensuring any watermarks are not left. Don’t forget to take out the exhaust plug. It is now time to stand back and admire your hard work.