How do you wash a bike properly??
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Thread: How do you wash a bike properly??

  1. #1
    DPT Downtown Poser Team Array Bluepill's Avatar
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    How do you wash a bike properly??

    Last time I washed my bike, it was a nightmare....@_@
    my seat was so wet and the speedo meter was and every part under the visor was wet as well.....it took me a long time just to dry them.....

    Do you guys use a bucket of soap water and wipe it? or.....use the water spray?......??

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  3. #2
    ridenrain
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    hose it down (sprinkle, not jet)
    Get a bucket of soapy, warm water and about 300 different brushes. I use a big taped off paint brush for most things.
    Start with the delicate stuff like windscreens, instruments, seat and bodywork, then move to mecanical parts. If you start with clean stuff first, the water stays clean and by the time you get to dirty things like wheels, it dosent really matter any more.
    Here is where you would use special cleaners for tires, chains, or what ever.
    Give it a good sprinkle with the hose and then start waxing with little swirly circles.
    To dry, take it for a ride. This will blow everything out and ensure you didn't waterlog you're electrics.
    Just don't use high pressure on important seals or electrics or use comet to clean you're paint, otherwise it's all pretty personal.

  4. #3
    itching to ride Array OldSkewl's Avatar
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    I juss wash it like a car...but I DONT concentrate the water on the speedo cluster or any area around it...

    Wash and rinse it with a mit or sponge juss like a car...Fire it up and chamois it while it's running...then go for a quick rip after...careful cuz ur tire's still gonna be wet...Good luck...

  5. #4
    Mmm bubble gum Array SRAD's Avatar
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    I use a pressure washer, and professional soap/wheel acid. I used to work at an auto detailing shop, so i take my bike in whenever i want and i detail it myself. Spray wheel acid on to rims...pressure wash it off, pressure wash the entire bike, so that any road debris/salt is washed off..then i grab the red hot brand soap...spray it on the bike, use a hand mitt, scrub the whole sucka down (rims included) then i rinse off (repeat if necessary) and then i chamoix it off, wipe the rims with a rag, and i polish for a showroom shine. estimated time to complete..30 mins..

    If you want your bike professionaly detailed, PM me..

    and NO the pressure washer will NOT harm the bike in ANY way. And yes you should lube the chain after too...
    25,000 feet is my own little piece of heaven

  6. #5
    Registered User Array
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    Be carefull with the rads. Resist the instinct to rub them with a cloth. Parts of them are almost like aluminum foil. You won't break them, but one pass with a cloth and you can bend all the little cooling veins. I did this to the oil cooler on my VFR. I ended up spending 20min with tweezers bending them back.

    -Sandworm
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  7. #6
    Moderator Array TeeTee's Avatar
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    What Sandworm said, very important to watch for that. The rads on our bikes ARE soft aluminium and you can ruin it in a hurry. Ditto on the hose end with the light garden spray. High pressure, contrary to SRAD's advice, should be avoided at all costs. Too easy to blast water in past seals and joints where it should not be. I'm sure SRAD know's what he's doing if he used this stuff in his work but it's too easy to blast water in past a fork or bearing seal to risk it. If it's hard enough to damage a gentle plant then it's too hard for your bike IMHO.


    Spray rinse first to remove the loose and bigger particles then wash. I start with the tank and upper fairings while the soapy water is clean. Dirty water and rags WILL scratch and leave swirl marks so do the most critical areas while the water is clean. Flush lots on so the water and soap tends to float the grit away. Use light pressure and fold and rinse the rag often. Work your way to the dirtier and less visible areas second and then switch to ridenrain's 300 varied and assorted brushes to get into the nooks and crannies. For really greasy chain lube or road tar deposits a rag with a bit of WD40 or house paint thinner (low odour oil based paint thinner) does a good job of removing it and then follow up with soap and water.

    Finally dry with soft towels.

    This wheel acid sounds interesting. SRAD, what's in that stuff? I gather it's corrosive?

    A hint for all of you. Clothes washing powder soap contains grit as part of it's makeup. This grit can remain in your wash up rags or mitts and cause a lot of the swirl marks in the finish. Changing to liquid clothing detergent will eliminate that possible problem.
    A backyard mechanic without a service manual is just like a hooker without a lamp pole.... they are both in the dark.

  8. #7
    Mmm bubble gum Array SRAD's Avatar
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    Tee Tee, the pressure washer can be used, but not carelessly...and will cause no damages. Thing about the pressure washer is that its only dangerous to use up close...i mean REALLY up close. When i rince the cockpit etc i dont hold jam the hose in their for risk it may very well burn or penetrate any seals and can damage the speedo...but on places like the rim, rotors, frame, gas tank etc...it will be of no damage whatsoever. Like Tee Tee said tho, becareful around fork seals, mostly on 600's, because if you get the pressure hose too close in the cockpit, it could penetrate the seals (if your put the hose right up to the seal) and the water mixed witht he fork oil can cause problems and shitty suspension. With inverted its not much of an issue since your have to point the pressure washer upwards to risk getting any water inside.

    Like i said tho, as long as your not pinning the nozzle right against the bike (anywhere) you wont have a problem. and yes..do NOT use a pressure washer right up against the radiator...be careful even when scrubbing the bike down...very fragile and soft alum.

    Another suggestion, if theres a dried on bug or grease..dont get lazy and put the pressure washer RIGHT into the thing to loosen it up..you could chip the paint or other depending on where ur washing.

    Wheel acid is specially formulated for auto wheels, both unfinished, finished and painted, including chrome. What it does is dissolve all that brake dust and some grease and road dust/dirt off the rims. Its not corrosive, as long as its washed off right after applying.

    None of the chemicals we use at autodetailing will harm the bike at all...except one type of wheel acid that we only use on plastic hub cups. Otherwise everything else is safe. Pressure washer included..ive washed mine, and others bikes PLENTY of times. Been doin it for 2 years...no probs...
    25,000 feet is my own little piece of heaven

  9. #8
    Moderator Array TeeTee's Avatar
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    SRAD, the way you describe using the pressure washer sure sounds like the right way to me and you obviously know how to weild one of these weapons. But for some of the folks here that have not used one of these things the chances of not following your points and creating problems is just too high IMHO. Look again at all your specific warnings and then add 'em all up. Too much to think about for your typical backyard wash day. That's the reason why I went against your suggestion to use one. I just think it's too much to risk for guys that don't know how damaging a truly high pressure blast of water can be.

    For example, one close pass of the nozzle a foot from the drive chain could easily force water past the O or X ring seals and into the greased pins. Now THAT would really cut your chain life short.

    For a commercial detailling company where you're paying the guys to KNOW this stuff it's fine.

    Any of you with pressure washers out there that want to try this PLEASE re-read SRAD's points and always THINK about where that spray is on your bike. Like any tool it can make your life very easy or very complex depending on how you use or AB-use it.
    A backyard mechanic without a service manual is just like a hooker without a lamp pole.... they are both in the dark.

  10. #9
    The good days... Array Deputy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeeTee
    SRAD, the way you describe using the pressure washer sure sounds like the right way to me and you obviously know how to weild one of these weapons. But for some of the folks here that have not used one of these things the chances of not following your points and creating problems is just too high IMHO. Look again at all your specific warnings and then add 'em all up. Too much to think about for your typical backyard wash day. That's the reason why I went against your suggestion to use one. I just think it's too much to risk for guys that don't know how damaging a truly high pressure blast of water can be.

    For example, one close pass of the nozzle a foot from the drive chain could easily force water past the O or X ring seals and into the greased pins. Now THAT would really cut your chain life short.

    For a commercial detailling company where you're paying the guys to KNOW this stuff it's fine.

    Any of you with pressure washers out there that want to try this PLEASE re-read SRAD's points and always THINK about where that spray is on your bike. Like any tool it can make your life very easy or very complex depending on how you use or AB-use it.
    Very diplomatic way to call bullshit - I love it!

    I agree with TeeTee wholeheartedly - I learned this when learning how to clean my mountain bike - if I didn't want to ruin the various seals that make up a modern bike, I had to use low pressure and just rub it down.

  11. #10
    Moderator Array TeeTee's Avatar
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    Not at all. Done with care and attention a pressure washer could easily be used as SRAD described and do it safely and effectively. No bullshit about it. But I question the ability of most folks that have only used it to clean their sidewalks to do it with the proper care, and more importantly, judgement that it requires.

    I've washed more than my share of bicycles and like you just find that it's more prudent to avoid the high pressure stuff. It was just natural to carry that same concern over to the motorcycle.

    Besides, I'd rather lovingly fondle my bike with a fuzzy wash mitt and lots of kinky sex soap suds than detachedley laser it off with a pressure washer....
    A backyard mechanic without a service manual is just like a hooker without a lamp pole.... they are both in the dark.

  12. #11
    lowside
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    You guys complicate things too much! Throw on the old rain suit and hit your local touch free car wash.

  13. #12
    Mmm bubble gum Array SRAD's Avatar
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    Tee Tee your absolutley right. Its not somethin id recommend to anyone usin a pressure washer. Altho...depends on what kind of pressure washer. Those Simoniz ones u can buy at CDN tire wont do anything to the bike even if you use it up close. The one we use at work is heavy duty for commercial use, so ya i wouldnt use somethin high powered unless you know what your doin. But yes your right.

    I'll use the mit on top of that too...i wouldnt use a brush or anything else...but the pressure washer actually helps give the bike a luster and makes the water bead right off the bike..(using the right soap also glosses the surfaces so water beads rather than sheets) which gives a much better shine

    i also recommend using POLISH and WAX on white rims...after washing ur bike, dry rims off with a rag, apply a cot of wax and cut polish...not only do your rims shine clean, but when it gets dirty and coated with brake dust and dirt...a simple wipe with a dry cloth takes it right off..kinda like a non-stick frying pan Works WONDERS on white rims
    25,000 feet is my own little piece of heaven

  14. #13
    Mmm bubble gum Array SRAD's Avatar
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    haha we make it sound like you need to be certified to do this..

    rinse, soap, scrub, rinse, chamoix ride that better?
    25,000 feet is my own little piece of heaven

  15. #14
    DPT Downtown Poser Team Array Bluepill's Avatar
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    ahhahah thanks for the help!!~~

    but one thing i noticed was that when i was washing my bike last time, there was some water going inside the rear seat cowl, so i don't dare to just spray pressure water right on the fairing or anything anymore because i don't want some parts of the bike to get wet such as under the rear seat or the speedo.....~~

  16. #15
    Ride Solo Array GSP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluepill
    ahhahah thanks for the help!!~~

    but one thing i noticed was that when i was washing my bike last time, there was some water going inside the rear seat cowl, so i don't dare to just spray pressure water right on the fairing or anything anymore because i don't want some parts of the bike to get wet such as under the rear seat or the speedo.....~~

    Don't worry too much about where the water goes. Remember your bike gets soaked all over in a downpour, and you're riding into the rain at speed. OK, some Italian bikes don't like the water, but I don't think you need to worry.

    Helpful hint: if you have dried bugs on the fairing/screen/helmet--place a moist towel over top and leave to sit. This will soften the bugs and make them easy to wash off.

    cheers
    "When in doubt accelerate.
    It may not help you avoid the problem,
    but it'll end the suspense."


    WMRC #96 (retired)

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