Motorcycle Club » Star 1100 Classic & Custom

How to wash a bike

19 posts from 14 voices
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  1. Tacgtriwer

    So....My bike is filthy.
    This is going to sound silly, but although Ive washed pickups, Ive never tried a bike, and worry what would happen to the leather and electronic products exposed.
    So any tips will be appreciated.

  2. quicgmicg

    Bikes are made to get wet. If you have any leather, just try to either keep it dry or make sure you;ve got it coated with a weather proofer. Then wash it just like your pick up. There are a lot of nooks and crannies to deal with but you can get to most of them with no troubles.

    Drying presents another problem. A good chamois works great. I use a leaf blower to get most of the water drops off, then wipe up the remainder.

    Hope that helps....

  3. MigejCojode

    If you are using a pressure washer/car wash be very careful. While the bike is made to get wet it's not designed to have high pressure water forced into seals and electrical connections. I occasionally use a pressure washer on mine but I keep my distance and avoid spraying directly into seals, in the aircleaner and on electrical components.

    Like quicgmicg says a leaf blower and a chamois is the answer for drying.

    Oh and don't forget the lemon pledge after. I still say thats the best detailer on the market.

  4. piel11

    OK, I'm up to speed on the other stuff. I never use the pressure washer on my bikes and always use the leaf blower to dry it. I always make sure my leather is taken care of first....but for the life of me I can't figure out what the lemon pledge is for?

  5. CjBeRDiVeR

    +1 on the leaf blower for drying off the bike. Saves tons of time! I use the microfibre cloth instead of a chamois. I find they work better and are a little more gentle on the paint.

    I also use the lemon pledge between washes. Works great for getting the bugs off the shield without harming it. You can also buy the pre-soaked wipes and carry them in your saddle bags for stops along the way. Make sure you use the lemon flavored, the regular doesn't do the trick.

    As for the leather, I use this:

    They have a great product for your jackets, and a leather dressing for bags and boots.

  6. fromohiouza

    I clean mine completely from a spray can. I use a paint safe spray cleaner from yamaha and I use plexis for the windshield and all plastic surfaces. Simply spray on and wipe off. It will clean bugs, poop, grease, etc. I guess it is an expensive alternative to water but gets the job done.

  7. eponjzdar

    bikes if they get really dirty but never even thought of the leaf blower bit. Good tip! Be careful what you put on the seat since you can make it too slick. Don't put that stuff on to make the tires black either because it can make them VERY slippery. Somebody gave me a spray bottle of Griots speed shine and I really liked that. You can just spray it on and wipe it off and it looks freshly waxed. I use windex too to keep the chrome and clear plastic looking nice. I never use a pressure washer, ever.

  8. zvambrad

    ....but for the life of me I can't figure out what the lemon pledge is for?
    Lemon Pledge is for the shine. Used to use it on my barracks room floor in the Corps. Guaranteed to make the 1st SGT bust his butt when he walked into the room.

  9. piel11

    Do you wash and wax the bike AND THEN use the pledge to get the shine? I want to try this pledge.

  10. MigejCojode

    Pledge has to be the oldest biker spray wax trick in the book. Works great as a dry wash or detailer. It's no substitute for a good buffing and waxing but those are a once a year thing if you want to keep the paint on your bike for a while. It works on windshields too but use it very sparingly or you will be there for a long time buffing the cloudiness out.

    Spray it on a clean soft rag or towel ( I prefer kimwipes, old flannel sheets or microfibre) rub it in until a little cloudy then buff it up with a separate rag. Bugs and accumlated dirt you can spray directly and let soak, then do as above.

    NEVER use windex on clear plastic. I don't use it on the bike at all. Ammonia causes little scratch and swirl marks in windshields and the like. But you can fix it with pledge.

  11. quicgmicg

    I clean mine completely from a spray can. I use a paint safe spray cleaner from yamaha and I use plexis for the windshield and all plastic surfaces. Simply spray on and wipe off. It will clean bugs, poop, grease, etc. I guess it is an expensive alternative to water but gets the job done.
    I do mine the same way, 99% of the time.

  12. cowenandranch

    since I was in high school/first car (in the '60's). Works great with microfibre cloths. I never use anything but plain water on my windshield. I always carry a couple of microfibre cloths in ziploc baggies in my bags for emergencies.
    I also use the leafblower trick, nothing like 175mph wind to blow off the excess water.

  13. ModoHero

    Plexis is great but my wife leaves the Lemon Pledge araound. I carry a can in my side bag with a small California Duster brush and a soft towel. Great for quick wipe downs after the ride or during. I also ride company owned bikes that have to be clean for display and whatever; the pledge is good for quick gear fix-up also.

  14. eponjzdar

    Never had a problem with the windex but maybe I'll switch to something else. Do you wax your plexi? I always have and it stays clear and new looking.

  15. teldatugman

    Get a product called S100. It was made specifically for bikes. Just spray on, let it sit for just a few minutes, lightly wet it, then use a sponge or mitt to lather it up, and then just rinse off. I can wash my bike in 15-20 minutes and it looks great.

  16. khunder102

    +1 on the S100! Just need to be careful to rinse very, VERY thoroughly, or spend a lot of time getting rid of water spots. I only use it when the bike is really dirty (2-3X/year).


  17. BAT738

    I just washed my bike for the first time over the weekend (after owning it 1 month). I too used the leaf blower for the initial drying (before reading this thread, as I've done this trick before on other vehicles). Any little drops left behind were addressed with a chamois. Lucky for me the bike wasn't that bad so I didn't need any additional chemicals other than the soap. I did auto detailing last year and have lots of left over products. One I use often is an all purpose cleaner of which I did use some of that. There was raod grime build up near the starter (the entire area onthe lower motor behind the front tire) as well as both rims looking a bit dull (the wire spokes). I sprayed the areas, let it sit a few minutes and rinsed it off. Now, the bike looks as if I just took it off the showroom floor (silly me didn't take any pics this time).

  18. quicgmicg


    +1 on the all purpose cleaner. I use a product called Purple Power and get it usually in a 5 gallon drum (I've been called a car detailing Nazi) because I use so much of it. A little dab usually goes a long I use a LOT (what the heck). On the motorcycle I use it mostly on the tires, it really deep cleans them and gets them looking nice and black again.

    As I said earlier, I'm a big fan of the spray detail products as well. I think I've actually used water to clean my bike twice in two years (other than the tires) and one of those was just a spoke cleaning. Wipe 'em on and wipe 'em off and the bike sparkles. I live in Arizona, so it's pretty easy to stay out of the rain usually......

  19. trakon

    I go to the car wash. Use the pre-spray, let it sit for about 5 min. so it will dissolve the dirt and grime, rinse with reg. water, then the spot free. The pre-spray solvent has never ruined the chrome or aluminium on ANY of my bikes. With this method, I have stopped using a toothbrush to clean between the cooling fins. NO MORE SCRUBBING!!! Comes out like just-out-o-the dealer clean.

    MAKE SURE THE ENGINE IS COOL< TO SLIGHTLY WARM!!!! NEVER wash when engine is hot!!!!!!!!


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