Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Silver Needs a Bath

Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. OK - it's not really all that bad; but amongst die-hard chrome worshippers, it could be considered a cardinal sin to leave a healthy coat of road grime and dust on a motorcycle. Guess it's a good thing that I'm not big on chrome, eh?

I'll usually give Silver a decent bath twice or maybe three times a year (i.e. when taken out of hibernation, mid-season, and before returning to hibernation). Other than that, cleaning is usually limited to removing the bugs from the shield and headlight lenses. This year marks the first time that I've taken it out of hibernation without so much as a quick wipe. I figure it was clean enough and besides, I had a serious need for some saddle time and nothing short of being physically incapacitated was going to delay my appointment with two-wheels and the open road.

Thanks to all the rain we've gotten lately, Silver now looks like a chocolate bar. Lotsa mud, baby! I don't really mind the "rugged" look, but I'm worried that the crud might make it's way into places where it shouldn't be hanging around. So I've decided to clean it. For those of you who actually care, here's my cleaning regiment:

  1. Rinse. Get as much of the crud as possible to rinse away with a steady stream of water.
  2. Lather. Foam-up the panels and fairing, along with seat and cases.
  3. Rinse (again). Make sure no soap residue stays on the bike - it can eat away at the paint.
  4. De-grease. This is for really cruddy areas like the rear swingarm. My bike's got a chain-oiler, so lots of the stuff tends to fling onto the swingarm, inside the rear fender, and on the rear wheel rim. I use the "Green" cleaner, spray plenty on, wait a few minutes, then use a wheel brush to get to the hard-to-reach areas.
  5. Rinse (one last time).
  6. Final buffing. This is more for upkeep than for looks. I usually buff the seat with some beeswax (it's leather, and the wax helps keep it waterproof). I'll also spray some BoeShield on most of the exposed metal parts (ex. aluminium swingarm) to prevent crud from sticking and prevent rust or tarnish.

That's it. It may sound like a lot of work, but I usually get it done in 30 to 45 minutes. Oh, and one last step: get out there and ride it!



Biker Betty said...

Wow!! You can do all that is 30-45 minutes? I take a few hours getting my bike clean. That might be why I haven't done it since Oct 06, lol. I've put a lot of miles on it since, but I just wipe it down occasionally in the bad spot.

Glad to hear you are able to get out and ride.

Lucky said...

Actually, its quite easy for me to get it done in less than an hour... My bike's got a rather large and angular half-fairing - which is easy to wash with a shampoo brush. As for the rest, I spray plenty of Simple Green cleaner on it and let it soak for about a minute, then scrub the really cruddy bits with a wheel brush, rinse it off and voilĂ !

To be honest with you, if it took any longer I probably wouldn't ever wash it ;-)


Giest said...

I'm guilty. It will take me an hour or more to clean up Selene. But that doesn't bother me at all. One hour+ to make her look pretty compared to all the hours of enjoyment she gives me. It's the least I can do. Plus, I've got chrome...lot's of it!


Lucky said...

You're not guilty, giest. If anything, I'm probably guilty of being a little too lazy when it comes to keeping Silver clean.

There's something to be said about taking a few hours to clean your bike attentively. For one, it gets you more familiar with how your bike is made. And secondly, its usually during these extended cleaning sessions that you'll spot something that may need looking after.