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How to clean a motorcycle

Posted by Ashley Lloyd on Monday, September 3, 2018 Under: Motorcycle Maintenance
Why clean your motorcycle?

If you have paid good money for your motorcycle it is always important to make sure it looks its best. Why would you want to spend loads of money on a motorcycle just to let it go tatty and look dirty? If you are wanting to sell your motorcycle then making it look "spick and span" is a great way to catch a potential buyers eye and could even increase the value or what the buyer is willing to pay. Another great benefit of cleaning your motorcycle is can spot any faults while cleaning it which can be vital for a riders safety. 

What you will need?

A must own tool in my opinion is a paddock stand. A paddock stand is perfect for any and all maintenance jobs and every motorcycle enthusiasts should own one. For the best results I recommend using a pressure washer or a high pressure spray nozzle, a paint brush cut down to around 2 inch's and degreaser to get chain lube and grease off your motorcycle. You will also need a high standard cleaning agent and WD40 as well as some motorcycle shampoo (not washing up liquid as anything that contains salt should be avoided) and a good quality absorbent cloth to soak up access water. To finish off the motorcycle to a high standard you will need a good quality wax.

For tools you will need any and all Allen keys to remove the body work. This is essential as the amount of dirt and grim that gets under the bodywork can be harmful to your motorcycle and removing this will give it the professionally cleaned look. 
Anyone can clean a motorcycle!

The only reason a person shouldn't do this is if they have a phobia of a bit of work. There really is no other excuse or reason why someone shouldn't be able to do this so try not to worry or get scared of breaking something. This is the basic of maintenance that will also give you the opportunity to learn about your motorcycle and the basic parts. 
Step 1

Place your motorcycle on your paddock stand so you can get to all of your motorcycle and turn your rear wheel with ease. Make sure you have connected your hose to a pressure washer or high pressure pray nozzle. Try not to do this after a long ride and it would be ideal if your motorcycle was cold so the soapy water doesn't dry to quick.

Step 2

This is very important, make sure you apply lube to the chain to prevent the links getting water in them. Use the cut down paintbrush to apply degreaser to any areas with collected grease or oil (most commonly the rear rims front sprockets etc) and gently dab it off. Do not soak the baring's or the chain as these will dry and seize up.

Step 3

Now its time to spray your motorcycle with the cleaning agent or soapy water. Make sure you go crazy on any areas where dirt has built up and only use a light mist on the areas like the tank, screen and switchgear. Spray as much as you can on the front of the engine as this is where grime collects and if needs be loosen the grime up with a cloth or sponge.

Step 4

Time to fire up the pressure washer and blast away the loose dirt, this will prevent scratching when washing the soapy water with a sponge. Always start at the top of your motorcycle and gradually work your way down but don't aim directly at the switchgear or any areas with bearings. Also it is advised that you use a softer spray when cleaning the radiator.

Step 5

Take your motorcycle off of your paddock stand and grab your handlebars firmly. now you have removed it from your paddock stand and have a hold of your motorcycle, lean it to the side and onto your knee. This will help your motorcycle dry off and once you have done one side make sure you do the other. Now you have dripped off the access water put your motorcycle back onto your paddock stand and remove the fairing. Soak up all excess water with a cloth and make sure you concentrate on your engine as this is more important than the bodywork.

Step 6

Apply your cleaning agent to areas which couldn't be reached with the fairing on. These areas should be things like the radiator and cylinder head. Use the washer to to blow all the cleaning agent off but take car not to hit delicate part's such as the battery, it would be a good idea to protect these areas with plastic bags.

Step 7

Mix the motorcycle shampoo with warm water in a bucket and use a clean sponge or cloth for cleaning. Wash the panels you have removed and then rinse it off with clean water. Leave them to dry and wash the rest of your motorcycle and again rinse with clean cold water.

Step 8

Remove access water and when your motorcycle is dry apply the WD40 to any working parts such as the switchgear and throttle.

Step 9

Now the body work is dry from earlier you can put it back on your motorcycle again and grease up the fastener threads. Make sure you also grease up areas like pivots.

Step 10

Motorcycle's will get scratch's over time because of loose gravel on the roads but if you see one you could always give them a touch up with paint from your local dealer. for the small scratches you can always try to buff them out while washing your motorcycle and use T-cut renovation cream if you have any.

Step 11

Now it's time to get busy with your polish or wax to make sure it shimmers and shines in the light. Make sure you take your time when applying your wax or polish as you want it to look its best. 

Now you have finished cleaning your motorcycle its times to put your feet up and enjoy a nice cold beer or go for a ride and show off your freshly cleaned motorcycle (i advice you don't do both). I would recommend you do this at least once per month or if you are going to sell you motorcycle the day before someone comes round to see it. The more often you do clean your motorcycle the more you will lean about it and also grow attached to it.

In : Motorcycle Maintenance 

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