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You can the entire collection of Safety Tip articles in a 33 Megabyte PDF Portfolio

 All Forums
 Motorcycle Safety
 Technical/Maintenance
 How do you keep your bike clean?
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angieorr
Female New Member
13 Posts


Gladstone, MO
USA

Kawasaki

Vulcan 1700 Class LT

Posted - 04/17/2014 :  12:11 PM                       Like
My husband elects to have us wash our bikes at the local carwash, using a pressure sprayer. While he's careful to "quickly" spray over all the electronic switches and controls on the top side, I still wonder if the high pressure water could cause damage to some of the electrical componets. He tells me to stop being a worrywart. I'm curious how others keep their bikes clean? Do you just use a hose and a bucket of soapy water in your driveway? Cleaner spray? I'm eager to hear other opinions and suggestions!

P.S. We're very careful to park the bikes other than over the drain grate in the bay so that the kickstand doesn't slip thru and cause us to drop it!

scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6886 Posts
[Mentor]


Pleasanton, CA
USA

KTM

990 Adv, XR650L

Posted - 04/17/2014 :  2:37 PM
I rarely clean my bikes. I'll clean the chain and sprockets when they need it, but the rest of the bike less often. But I'm proud of the dirt and mud that I've put on them.

I used to clean the Ducatis a bit more...


I would definitely avoid a pressure washer. I don't want any more pressure hitting the bike than can come out of a garden hose. A high pressure washer is bad for electrical connections, bearings, switches, and chains.
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greywolf
Male Moderator
1492 Posts
[Mentor]


Evanston, IL
USA

Suzuki

DL650AL2

Posted - 04/17/2014 :  2:49 PM
It takes a lot of crud on the engine for me to take out a low pressure hose and S100 cleaner. Rags and brushes carrying Simple Green are my normal tools for engine and frame parts. Plastic and pretty painted parts get microfiber cloths and Pledge furniture polish. I have no chrome.

Too many bad things happen with pressure washers. I can't tell you how many times I've replied to problem posts at another site I moderate that began with, "I just washed my bike and...."
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SkootchNC
Male Advanced Member
1063 Posts
[Mentor]


raleigh, north carolina
USA

Harley-Davidson

road glide

Posted - 04/18/2014 :  6:30 AM
I have found that "Honda Pro Cleaner" will do just nicely for 90% of the time...a quick spray & wipe, and I'm ready for riding.

Because I have been caught in the rain several times, I go over the bike with this Suzuki wash & clean stuff I found at a local dealership. $8.95 for a quart.... spray over the bike (when cool) let it sit for a minute, and rinse off. Keep rinsing until there isn't any more suds.

But then again, I know people who will take all day detailing their bike.... which is THEIR "thing"

I was told to NEVER spray a bike with a pressure cleaner. A garden hose should be enough.
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SteveS
Male Advanced Member
1207 Posts
[Mentor]


Toronto, Ontario
Canada

Harley-Davidson

FLHTK 2012

Posted - 04/18/2014 :  12:58 PM
I use two hands, a stool on wheels for starters.

I wait until the bike is cool. If it is only messy from bugs and some spray from the road I use a spray cleaner, there are several brands. I like Lucas.

If I have a lot of road grime and dirt/mud I wash it with soapy water and rinds with a garden hose, then use a air blaster which is not too strong for trying.

If I am doing a detail, I do all of the above Plus 3 Xtra strength tylenol for my back!

I tend to keep my bike quite clean when I'm not touring.

Really would like a hydraulic life, either for the bike or myself

p.s. Keep in mind how we use our brakes, gentle at first and then add a bit more pressure. Use that for any pressure wash/dry, NO sudden sharp/heavy grabbing or blowing.

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rkfire
Advanced Member
1689 Posts


Stratford, CT
USA

Suzuki

Bandit

Posted - 04/18/2014 :  2:29 PM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
I'm not spending more than 15 minutes cleaning, no matter what...lol.

I probably put actual water from a hose on my bike maybe 6 times a year, and that includes me usual year round routine. Simple green gets sprayed on, then rinsed off, and I call that washed.

I do try to keep a protective layer of wax on the bike though. Using Protect All, but all that sort of stuff is similar, and those blue "shop" paper towels. Spay on the folded up blue paper towel and wipe the bike down. No residual, no white wax in the crevices. To me, those blue towels are the best invention ever....no scratching. lol.

I have though gone on moto-camping trips. My bike has been covered top to bottom in dried red clay type of "dirt" an inch thick. I've used the self serve car wash spray nozzle places to get that stuff off several times. Can't say one way or another as proof, but I have had to clean a few electrical connectors under my side cover from green corrosion. I used liberal amounts of dielectric grease when cleaned and reconnecting them.

But like the others have said, better off with low pressure from a garden hose for routine use.
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Leaky
Male Junior Member
91 Posts
[Mentor]


San Diego, Ca
USA

Harley-Davidson

XL1200C, FLHTCUI

Posted - 04/19/2014 :  2:49 AM
I use my wife's battery powered electric toothbrushes to get wax and polishes both into and out of the tight spots. They can even be bent at odd angles with just enough heat applied to make the shafts pliable enough to be worked.

Now if I can just figure out how to get the chemical taste out....
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rayg50
Male Moderator
2082 Posts
[Mentor]


NYC, NY
USA

Honda

Shadow Spirit 750DC

Posted - 04/19/2014 :  9:34 AM
quote:
Now if I can just figure out how to get the chemical taste out....
Now if I can figure out how to get coffee and spit off the monitor...

Most of the time after a ride I wipe the bike down with a damp face towel and wipe it dry with a small bath towel. Since it is a small bike it only takes a couple of minutes. Every few months I'll use a small brush to get at spots that the towels won't reach. It leaves the bike presentable though not showroom ready. Annually I'll do a quick detail so that water will run off during a ride (rain happens).

I have made note of some of the other products used and will pick them up if the opportunity arises. My cleaning philosophy tends to be to do a little bit all the time rather than a ton one time.


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angieorr
Female New Member
13 Posts


Gladstone, MO
USA

Kawasaki

Vulcan 1700 Class LT

Posted - 04/30/2014 :  2:25 PM
Friends - thank you for the feedback. Your advice and guidance enable me to now stand my ground with my better half and tell him I'll clean my bike in the driveway even if he insists on continuing to take his to the car wash!
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