Your motorcycle is going to go through some tough times. Water, mud, dirt, dust, exhaust, rocks, sand, and lots of other debris are going to scratch, scuff, and dirty up your ride. While your bike will be able to handle the abuse, it’ll probably start to look a little dingy after a while. Because you can’t take your motorcycle through the car wash, you’ll need to wash it by hand. But you’ll also want to be careful, as some of the parts are fairly exposed. Not to mention, you’ll want to make sure you get every inch of your ride.
That’s why Hellbender Harley-Davidson® has provided you a complete guide to cleaning your motorcycle. But if you don’t have the time or want a professional to do it, then schedule a service appointment with our location in Marietta, Georgia. We proudly serve the communities of Atlanta, Woodstock, and Kennesaw, Georgia.
Prepping your Bike
The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure you and your bike are ready to clean. This may seem silly, but not being prepared can leave you with a lot of running around. Wear clothes and accessories that won’t scratch your ride (make sure you remove watches, rings, and jackets with metal on them) and gather all the supplies you’ll need.
You’ll want a sponge or rag for big spots and a soft bristle brush or paintbrush for the detailing. The soaps and other products you use should be made specifically for a motorcycle, as these products won’t include chemicals that could damage the paint or finish. You’ll also want a way to dry your motorcycle (we’ll get into that later). Finally, don’t start until your bike is completely cooled off, especially if you just took it for a ride.
Washing it Down
Start by rinsing down your bike, especially if there’s caked on mud or dirt. Make sure your bike doesn’t dry out in the middle of cleaning it. When it’s time to start washing, start from the top and work your way down. Keep in mind how some dirt can get transferred to other parts of the bike. For example, don’t wash your seat after washing greasy wheels, as it could leave you with a gross, greasy seat. If necessary, you might want different sponges to tackle different parts of the ride to minimize this kind of transfer. Use those finer brushes to clean the more detailed nooks and crannies.
As you’re rinsing off your bike, keep in mind the kind of hose you’re using. Preferably, you should be using a hose that uses gentle water pressure. If you only have a high-pressure hose available to you, just be careful about aiming it at parts that could be damaged, like the seat, chains, brakes, and electronics. Finally don’t forget to wash your wheels. This is going to be tricky, because the dirt and metals that gather around your wheels can be much more corrosive than normal dirt and metals. That’s why there are specific products used to clean this part of your motorcycle. Take it from us, you’ll want to use these products.
The Final Touches
When it’s time to dry your motorcycle, you might have a few options. Air drying is fine, but less effective the colder it is out. If you prefer to dry it by hand, you actually have a few options. Using a cloth like a terry cloth towel, a microfiber cloth, or chamois that’s been slightly dampened will help wipe down your bike and get the excess water off. You can also use an air compressor, or even a leaf blower, as long as these machines are clean and free of dirt of their own.
Finally, it might be time to apply a layer of wax and polish to ensure your ride is going to stay nice and shiny for a long time. Actually, that protective coat helps your bike hold up to all the abuse it takes on the road, so regular waxing and polishing is a must. We always recommend using a wax specifically made for motorcycles, but if you use car wax, make sure it’s soft enough to not damage the finish.
Now leave your bike in the shade for the wax to set, for a few hours if possible, and you’ll be ready to ride a squeaky clean and better looking ride. Still need a motorcycle to clean? Stop by Hellbender Harley-Davidson® and check out some of the models we have available right now. We’re located in Marietta, Georgia, near Atlanta, Woodstock, and Kennesaw.