Does the sheen of your motorcycle seem to pale in comparison to the glossy finish of your riding buddy’s bike? Are you frustrated with damaging your bike’s electrical system after washing your motorcycle with high-pressure cleaning tools? Are you asking yourself, “What should I clean my motorcycle with?” Read on to get answers to all your questions and learn the best ways to keep your bike looking great.
What Should I Clean My Motorcycle With?
If you’re wondering, “What should I clean my motorcycle with,” you should know that there are motorcycle wash and wax products designed specifically to enhance the look of your motorcycle. For the best results, wash your motorcycle in your driveway or in your backyard and use one or more of the products listed below.
Aero Cosmetics boasts a 30-year-old aircraft formula that can be used as a waterless wash wax as well as a wax after a wet wash. On top of offering one of the best products on the market, Aero Cosmetics prides itself on offering a biodegradable product that is water-based and free of alcohol and ammonia. The formula creates an anti-static UV protective coating that will leave your ride glowing immediately after use.
Meguiar’s Motorcycle Care Kit includes a total of seven different essential cleaning products, including liquid wax, leather cleaner and a detailer. The products are eco-friendly and biodegradable, containing a proper pH balance as well as vital conditioning oils and polymers.
S100’s 12000C Motorcycle Detailing Kit is a favorite for many bikers and is the first spray-on, rinse-off cleaner available for motorcycles. This cleaning kit comes in a compact box, making it a great item to bring along on lengthy road trips. The kit features a Total Cycle Cleaner, Corrosion Protectant, Finish Restorer, Detail and Wax, a Super Absorbing Drying Towel and a sponge.
For a three-combination pack for optimum bike chain cleaning, try Maxima’s Ultimate Chain Care Aerosol Combo Kit. The kit contains a chain cleaner to thoroughly clean the chain without damaging the bike, a multipurpose lube to keep the chain functioning properly, and a chain wax to prevent rust and corrosion and to protect from water and humidity.
Is It OK to Wash a Motorcycle at a Carwash?
“Is it OK to wash a motorcycle at a carwash?” is a common question we hear. It may be obvious that riding your motorcycle through an automatic carwash is not a viable option for cleaning your bike, but you might be wondering if a self-serve carwash is a good option when in a pinch. While bikers have been known to try it in the past, there are a variety of reasons why a self-serve carwash is not a beneficial choice for your bike.
One of the fundamental rules of motorcycle maintenance is to never wash your bike while it is still hot. It can be difficult to resist washing your bike immediately after getting caught in the rain – water spots on your pipes and engine can be difficult to remove once dried – but the negative effects of washing your bike while hot can be even worse.
Carwashes can be problematic for motorcycles for a number of reasons. If your bike is at a carwash, it is likely still hot from the ride. Metal expands when it is hot and returns to its normal shape when it cools. Because of this, spraying your bike with cold water while it is still hot or pouring hot water over it while your bike is cool can cause heads and gaskets to crack.
Another primary threat a carwash poses to bikes is its high-pressure sprayers. In combination with brushes and soaps that can scratch your bike, high-pressure sprayers can damage the inner workings of your bike and chip its paint job. If your bike has leather components, these should not be exposed to water, either. High-pressure hoses can harm wheel bearings by removing necessary grease and introducing water into places it shouldn’t be, such as in the suspension bearings, shock seals, fork seals, and hubs.
Although your bike is designed to resist a certain amount of rain, water can cause unnecessary damage to your bike’s electronic components. These include the starter, any switches, and plug wires.
While it is important to keep your bike chain clean, using high pressure on it will damage its rubber grommet components that are designed to repel grease and water. It will also cause accelerated rusting.
In addition, cold water can strip the paint off an engine fairly quickly when washing a hot bike. In other instances, your bike’s engine might turn a milky-white color that is extremely hard to remove. Washing a hot bike can cause a handful of problems, though the most common and most extreme cases result from cold water being doused on a hot engine.
For best results, never wash your bike when hot. Wait a minimum of 10 minutes for the engine to cool. Wash your bike one section at a time, wetting only the necessary parts of the bike. Since some detergent-based soaps react with aluminum, make sure to use a soap that is non-detergent-based, and use a degreaser rather than soap to clean a dirty engine.
How Often Should You Wash Your Motorcycle?
Washing your bike too often can wash away necessary lubricants on your bike’s mechanical parts. If you don’t wash your bike often enough, you can overlook damaged bike parts and leaky valves. Dried dirt and squashed bugs can also be difficult to wash off if they stay on your bike for too long. So, how often should you wash your motorcycle?
If your bike is dirty after you come home from a ride, wash it as soon as the engine cools off. If your bike is still clean after a ride or you don’t ride very often, it is safe to wash your bike once every month or so.
When you clean your bike on a regular basis, you keep it looking great and also get the chance to inspect your ride for any damage or potential leaks. You may even notice potential issues that you wouldn’t have seen during normal riding. By being proactive, you can prevent more extreme problems from occurring down the line.
The time of day you choose to wash your bike is another important factor. Never wash your motorcycle in direct sunlight; mid-morning or early evening is generally best. If detergent and other chemicals in the soap dry before you are able to rinse them off your bike, it can result in mineral deposits and streaks on your bike’s body.
During the times you are not riding your bike, it is important to protect it and clean it before it is parked or stored. Waterproof motorcycle covers are beneficial for protecting your bike from the elements, such as wind, rain, snow and sleet as well as dirt and bugs. When possible, store your bike in a garage or storage shed if you know you aren’t going to be riding for a few weeks or months.
Ensuring that your bike is cleaned safely will keep it running and looking awesome.