There are few things more freeing and fulfilling than going on a weekend road trip with your motorcycle. You get to experience the open road and leave your troubles behind. At least, for as far as the road takes you! Once you get back, your bike is probably going to be covered in road dust with a few insects stuck to the headlights. This means it’s time to clean your bike! There are many different methods and strategies out there, but we’ll share our preferred methods.
Keeping your bike clean is more important to the health of the bike than just seeing how nice it looks. Mud, dust, and bugs can be very dangerous to the long term condition of your bike, especially if they’re left on for too long. These factors can cause paint to fade and metal to pit, lowering the value of your bike and causing a headache that could’ve been easily prevented.
The Right Cleaners
Motorcycles are finely tuned machines in every way. Even the paint has been exhaustively designed to make sure the motorcycle looks good and stays in great condition. While your motorcycle’s paint is made to handle the open road, a coarse cleaner may eat through the protective paint job. Using the right cleaners for the job is extremely important.
There are a lot of great brands and cleaners out there. So do some research. Make sure you find the brand that suits your motorcycle. To get started, you’ll need cleaners for your leather pieces, the main body, wheels, bug repellent, and a good bike wax to protect your motorcycle. You will also want a glass cleaner if you have a windshield.
Before you get into the actual cleaning of your motorcycle, remove all of the detachable leather from your bike. There is a risk of causing water damage or drying out the leather if you’re not careful. The safest option is to set your leather pieces off to the side and care for them using a leather treatment solution. This will make sure that your leather gear is in top condition.
Washing your Motorcycle Body
Now that you’ve stripped off the leather and set it to the side for treatment, it’s time to focus on the bike itself. If you’ve removed the seat and exposed any electronics then it’s highly recommend covering all of those important components. A great and cheap method is to use a trash bag and cover the open compartment, use strong tape to seal down the trash bag over the compartment and rinse down the entire bike with a hose and cone spray nozzle. Alternatively, another great option is a pressure washer set to low. This will provide an even coating of water and loosen clumps of dirt.
Now you’re ready to soap up your motorcycle. We recommend a foaming spray solution. This provides a fast and sure way to get every spot needing a clean. Let the soap sit for the recommended time and then rinse the bike again. It’s also highly recommend to treat your bike with motorcycle bug repellent. This is one easily forgettable step that could cost you your paint finish. Once you’ve treated the motorcycle with bug repellent, rinse once more.
While you’re letting the cleaning spray take care of the body of your motorcycle, you can move onto the wheels. There are few things more important on a motorcycle than the wheels. These round pieces of metal and rubber are what keep you alive on the road. Allowing them to rust or decay is probably a bad move in the long run. Carefully follow the instructions listed on your chosen cleaner and don’t let your wheels be ignored.
The Leaf Blower
If you have access to a leaf blower then your life just got way easier. If you don’t, jump down to the bottom of this section for an alternative. Once you’ve cleaned your motorcycle from the chassis to the wheels, it’s time for the drying process. Grab that handy leaf blower and get to drying! Make sure to find all the hard to reach areas where water may sit after your rinse. The water will cause streaks once you begin to drive if they’re not noticed in time.
If you don’t have a leaf blower, another option is to go for a quick drive around your area and get as much water off as possible. Another great alternative is to use an industrial vacuum. These vacuums usually have a blow setting that will do the trick!
Once you have the majority of water removed from the bike using the leaf blower or a quick drive, it’s time to get out your trusty microfiber rag and clean up those water streaks that may have appeared. It’s very important to be certain your rag has been properly cleaned. Small bits of dirt in the rag can scratch your newly cleaned bike and ruin all of your hard work.
Wax Your Bike
Once your motorcycle has been cleaned and dried, we highly recommend applying a wax finish to your bike. This is a very important step that’s often ignored. Waxing your bike will help protect it from the sun and possible minor scratches gained while driving.
Are you cleaning your Harley-Davidson® motorcycle because it’s time for an upgrade or change of pace? You can use our 7 Useful Tips to Sell Your Harley-Davidson® Motorcycle guide to get started! When you’re ready to sell visit ChopperExchange to sell your Harley®.