Whether you’re somewhere on a desert highway riding a Harley-Davidson or blasting down the back roads in a Honda CBR model, a little bit of zen and a bit of motorcycle maintenance can often mean the difference between getting to sidewalk or not. You only have to land on your back in the middle of a grassy field once to appreciate how significant this difference can really be.
Obviously, your cleaning requirements will vary based on the number of miles you log and the road conditions when you’re racking them up. Regardless, it’s not a good idea to wash and clean your motorcycle at a commercial car wash. So unless you’re independently wealthy and can afford to have a bunch of bikini-clad supermodels wash your bike by hand, you’ll end up doing it yourself (probably better… supermodels aren’t really known for their attention to detail). Here are some recommendations to keep your bike in top condition.
Before you start, always check your owner’s manual. If you don’t have one or you bought the bike used, try looking for one online (most manufacturers will offer them as a free PDF download through their respective websites). A motorcycle owner’s manual will contain specific washing instructions, including cleaning tips and products recommended by the manufacturer.
Always make sure the engine has cooled down before flushing it. Wash your bike in a shaded area as the sun can dry out the soap solution before you can rinse it off, leaving soap marks on the surface (which pretty much defeats the point of washing it in the first place). When you’re cleaning up road grime, check all the parts thoroughly. Keep an eye out for leaks and loose hardware, making sure everything is tight and secure.
After rinsing thoroughly, dry your bike with a soft white cotton cloth or towel that is free of loose fibers. Cheap towels leave loose fibers that look like cat hair on a business suit. Also, avoid using a paper towel as it could scratch painted surfaces. Taking a cue from commercial car washes, compressed air is a great option for drying and works especially well in hard-to-reach places like around motorcycle license plate frames. If you don’t have an air compressor, you can similarly use a vacuum cleaner by connecting the hose to the exhaust port, although a modest investment in a motorcycle dryer will pay off with just a few uses. Follow the cleaning process with a good coat of car wax to protect the finish and prevent dirt from sticking so easily.
For those who have a collectible model or simply don’t have time to hit the road as often as they’d like, there are a number of useful accessories, such as a motorcycle cover or motorcycle loading ramp, to protect your bike and prevent that you have to wash it so often.
Motorcycle covers provide a high-quality way to protect your motorcycle from the elements and other airborne corrosives such as dust. Don’t use a plastic tarp. They trap moisture and don’t breathe, allowing mold and corrosion to take hold. The motorcycle covers also protect against UV rays, rain, dirt and pollutants, while the integrated air vents allow moisture to evaporate.
Another useful accessory, motorcycle ramps feature high weight capacity, wheel guide sides, and sure-grip ramp surfaces that provide traction, stability, and safety when transporting your bike from one location to another or to an elevated platform. or down.
Storing your bike requires a little extra care. First, increase the front and rear tire pressures to the recommended PSI. Next, find a secluded place to store it and place the bike on its center stand. Then, lock it enough to lift the front wheel off the ground and remove the battery or connect it to a trickle charger, maintaining the battery’s charge and condition while not in active use.