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Tips and advice on Cleaning Your Bike

Top tips for Cleaning Your Bike

Maintenance and care are all important to the average biker, and washing your bike regularly is an important part of the routine, especially here in the UK where our diverse weather systems can create terrible road splash, dirt and salt which ends up getting baked on in the odd freak heat wave.

So what’s the best way to keep your pride and joy sparkling clean?

Firstly, don’t put the bike away wet.  A warm, wet bike shut straight into your garage will be a steamy mess, which leads to the perfect conditions for rust and corrosion, or electrical failure in spots where water wouldn’t usually collect.  Dry it down thoroughly, and don’t forget to add lubrication to any points which may need the extra help, such as gear links.

When washing, start when the bike is cool to avoid any damage.  Choose a shady area to stop the sun drying the water too quickly and leaving spots on the paintwork.

Degreasing solutions, tar removers and so on can be used on tougher spots, and a tar remover may also be helpful on particularly greasy and dirty areas like the wheels and engine area.  Apply where necessary, and wipe gently to help loosen the grease.

When the degreaser is applied, use a good quality cleaning product, and never use ordinary washing up liquid which can contain salts which might increase corrosion.  Some are applied directly, while other brands are dissolved in a bucket of warm water – check the label for directions.  To avoid damaging paintwork, don’t use a sponge, as dirt is easily trapped between the bikes surface and the sponge.  Instead use a microfiber cloth or mitt, and rinse very regularly to get rid of any grit or dirt.

Work gently from top to bottom.  A toothbrush or bottle brush with soft bristles can be used to gently loosen any really encrusted crud from the bike.  Wash off the degreasing products, and then rinse with clean water, avoiding any electricals.

Let the bike drain, then polish dry using a good quality chamois, ensuring no pools of water are left in any hard to reach spots.  Use a chain lube to re lubricate the chain, and WD40 on the swing arm.

Use a clean and dry cloth to rub in a good quality polish, and a second cloth to buff it off to a shine.  Follow this with a wax treatment which will help to protect your paintwork and preserve the lacquer.

Finally, treat the seat and any leather accessories with a leather cleanser / treatment to keep them supple and in tip top condition.
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