Cleaning your bike isn’t all about a sparkling frame, just like brushing your teeth in the morning isn’t all about white teeth. Making sure something is free of dirt also keeps it healthy and functional. The folks at Bikesure explore some of the dos and don’ts surrounding the art of bike cleaning.
You have to prepare the bike first. You don’t want water getting into the air-filter, clutch, brake levers, switch housing, silencer and ignition switch. Specialized Cycling.net recommends covering these parts up with plastic bags.
Motorcycle News.com is one of many sites that warns against using household washing up liquids, even if they are cheap. These contain salt, which is highly corrosive to the paint work and frame. Imagine rubbing coffee beans dipped in sugar and acid over your teeth. The solution for your bike? Proper automotive washing gear.
It is neither simple nor easy to clean a bike, but that’s the price you pay for having something mean and fast. Rest assured, it isn’t all pain and labour, you just need some restorative cleaning agents. Apply a layer of this magic substance onto the frame of the bike and leave it for five minutes to set, then wipe it off.
So it’s ‘no’ to domestic washing up liquid, ‘yes’ to restorative cleaning agents and the odd plastic bag… but there is still a little more to it. The essential ingredients for a tasty bike include Body Wax, Chain Lube, WD40 and Microfibre towels, and that’s just getting started. Motorcycle Info.co.uk stress also that the water you use is not hot and when cleaning off salt it should even be cold. Warm water speeds up salt’s corrosive power. Otherwise warm water is a good shout. Just remember: you’re bathing the bike, not cooking it.
What about the absolute basics? Visordown.com advises against using a sponge. Sponges damage paintwork, (hence the microfibre towels). Some professionals use the “two bucket rule”. One bucket contains washing solution, the other clean water which you use to wash out the towel as you go along. It is methods like these that make the whole process manageable and worth your while. Get scrubbing.
Here are a few videos we recommend to help get you started: