ABR’s resident expert of all things two-wheeled, Dave Reynolds, is back to tackle another question sent in by one of our devoted readers. To help answer this, we’ve teamed up with motorcycle cleaning aficionados Muc-Off, to highlight some useful products that will keep any motorbike in showroom condition. Now onto the reader question:
Hi Dave, I have a shiny new bike this year, it’s the first new bike I’ve ever had. I want to try and keep the factory-fresh shine and finish, not just to preserve its value but for my own pleasure. There seems to be a lot of products on the market that are intended for bikes rather than cars, any recommendations and suggestions on the task? Thanks, Michael
Well-timed question, Michael. I’ve just received a load of Muc-Off gear as a gift and we have a long-term test V-Strom XT 1000 that is due to go back to Suzuki soon. It’s looking very grubby after some spirited use and needs a good spruce up!
First off, you’ll want to get the hosepipe out and give your bike a good soaking to remove the loose stuff and soften up the baked-on crud. I don’t use a jet wash on a road bike, while they are brilliant at getting the worst off, if directed in the wrong places, high pressure water can be forced into past seals and bearings that could cause problems later on, plus modern bikes have far more electrics than the older ones. Water and electricity aren’t the best mix.
I used the Muc-Off Motorcycle Cleaner on all of the worst places that are hard to get to, including under the engine, rear shock, and swinging arm, as these areas really attract the muck. It works better for me to agitate the dirt with a brush and then use the hose to rinse off. The instructions state not to leave it on too long.
After a good wash off, I leave the bike to dry, then inspect it and find all the bits I’ve missed and start the whole process again. Motorcycles are a real pain to clean, unlike the family barge, which gets an occasional clean at the local hand wash. After I’m satisfied all the crud has been removed, it’s time to apply the Muc-Off after spray. This contains PTFE and not only puts a nice shine on parts, but helps keep fresh crud from sticking, I always coat the underside of mudguards with this product. Obviously, do not get it anywhere near the brakes.
I like to use car polish on the bodywork, both painted and plastic, and it puts a great shine and protects the finish, I have plenty as I never use it on the car! A quick service is now needed, check the levels and tyre pressures and give the chain some needed oil, as it will now be a little dry.
Washing a bike is, to me, part of the service. Getting up close, it’s possible to find a loose or missing bolt, maybe a tyre that’s close to its wear limit, worn brake pads and chain and sprockets. These are easier to spot on a clean bike and much easier to replace when not covered in grime.
Now it’s time to stand back with a mug of tea and a fag to admire my efforts. In fact, maybe take it out for a run now it looks so good, weather permitting.
If you have a bike related question for Dave, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and if we publish yours, you will automatically get a free subscription to the ABR magazine.