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How to Clean Your Motorcycle

With a new year, comes a fresh start. And while we may already be a month into 2016, some resolutions may not have been put into practice just yet. Sprucing up the household is always top of the list, giving you a clean slate upon which to build a better you. Cleaning your motorcycle should also be included in your household cleanse, as the previous year’s dirt may be stopping your ride from outshining other models on the road. Carmudi has come up with some sound motorcycle cleaning advice, so you can restore your wheels to their former glory.

Start with the Outer Framework of the Bike

The outer frame is the most visible part of a motorcycle and can often get dirty and scratched. Start with jet washing it from the top-down, and use a degreaser to remove grime. You can then use an automotive shampoo to bring back your motorcycle’s original look.

Clean the Motorcycle Fork

The fork is prone to having brake dust and other dirt on its surface, since it directly faces the forward wind. First, hose it down and then use a toothbrush to clean the more difficult-to-reach areas. Use a degreaser and then rinse it off using a cleaning agent.

Head Light/Taillight

Similar to the fork, the headlight faces the forward wind and is prone to light discoloration. Jet wash the headlight and taillight and then gently apply a cleaning agent. Rinse off and wipe using a dry cloth to bring out the shine.

Take Things Gently With the Chain

The chain is one of the most important mechanical components of a motorcycle and is one of the most difficult to clean. Use a degreaser and a toothbrush to clean it and remove the grime. But remember to never jet wash the chain; use a lubricant after you are done.

Clean the Wheels/Tires

Put the center stand down so you can easily clean the wheels. Jet wash them first and use a brush to remove dirt. Apply a cleaning agent and rinse it off. You can use a wax to bring up the shine on the wheels.

Spokes or Wheel Rods

The rods are a bit easier to clean but you must be gentle. Jet wash to remove the visible dirt first and if needed use a brush. Clean it using a detergent and hose it down afterwards. Wipe off with a clean, dry cloth.

Consider the Exhaust Pipe

The exhaust pipe is a sensitive area. Road muck and other dirt from the wheels can build up over time and the heat generated from the engine can make it difficult to remove. Use a watered-down cleaning solution to remove the dirt and use a brush for hard-to-reach areas. Rinse it off and use a clean cloth to wipe without scratching.

Clean the Rear Suspension Swingarm

If the swingarm is polished aluminum, then you need to be careful not to scratch it while cleaning. Jet wash it to remove dirt and apply a degreaser to clean the remaining grime. You can use a high gloss wax to give you that brand new look.

Motorcycle Screen (if the bike has one)

Not scratching the screen is what you need to focus on while cleaning the front screen of your motorcycle. Use a clean cloth that is soaked in a normal cleaning agent to wipe off the dust. You can use a soft cotton towel dipped in clean water to finish the task.

Do Not Forget Your Helmet

Remember that your bike is not the only thing that goes with you for a ride. Having a clean helmet, particularly the visor, will improve your visibility on the road. Follow the same steps you took to clean the motorcycle screen. Finally, wipe it off with a chamois cloth to finish the job.

Important Points

  • Make sure your bike is not facing direct sunlight when cleaning. Keep it in the shade for the entire process
  • Always dip the dirty cloth/sponge in a fresh water bucket before dipping it in the main bucket with the cleaning agent
  • Keep the engine switched off during the whole procedure

The Tools and Equipment You Will Need To Make the Clean a Success

  • A bucket with soapy water
  • Another bucket with fresh water
  • Automotive cleaners
  • Gloves (must be comfortable)
  • A bug and tar remover
  • A degreaser or an engine cleaner
  • A toothbrush for fine tasks
  • A high quality spray oil
  • Another brush for wheel cleaning
  • Two microfiber or pure cotton sponges
  • Soft cotton towels and some abrasive rags
  • A clean chamois cloth for drying purposes

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