Just use something gentle (not dish soap either) with a soft cloth for the painted areas. I like to use Simple Green on my wheels to remove brake dust. If you go to buy wheel cleaner, make sure it's ok for motorcycle use, because some of them will leave a film on your tires, like armor-all.
A few pointers:
- Try washing your bike in the shade or garage instead of in direct sunlight. The sun will dry the water and/or soap on the bike and form spots. Drying with a soft chamois also helps this.
- Try washing front-to-back, top-to-bottom. This way, you can start with the cleaner areas and work your way to the dirtier areas, to avoid accidentally getting gunk on your tank or whatever. I do tank, fairing (mine's just a quarter-fairing), seat/tail, frame, fenders, motor, swingarm, wheels. (in that order)
- Something i found out for myself just shortly after buying my bike: Take the front sprocket cover off and see what it looks like under there. You may be surprised!
- If you have any chrome parts, you can use some furniture polish to make them look nice. I learned this from a Harley-riding neighbor.
I use only warm water and a chamois. Soak the bugs with warm water and let them absorb and get soft. I never use a hose on my bike. You can use Lemon Pledge to polish or Crystal Glo ( This stuff is Great!) Just keep that hose away from your ride and it will be like new for years
To get rid of baked on bugs from a hot summer day, you can also use Bounce dryer sheets. Just wet them a little bit, and you will get this white filmy stuff come out of them. Rub it on the bug blood area and let sit for a couple of minutes. There is a totally paint safe enzyme in the Bounce that softens the bugs and eats organic material. They come right off. I use this on both truck and bike. I got the info from auto detailer. This guy showed me all their tricks.
If you use Simple Green, just be sure to rinse it thoroughly. It has been found to corrode unprotected alluminum slightly, and therefore does not meet some military specs. Shouldn't be a big deal for motorcycles though. Here'a link from the Simple Green website in response to the "not meeting military spec" concerns. http://www.simplegreen.com/pdf/aircraft.pdf
I wash my bike starting w/ the cleanest parts first( tank, front, tail). Then the sides and work my way down to the bottom of the sides. After, I go back to the underside of the tail (like the hugger and the inside suspension stuff.) I do this w/ a sponge. Make sure the sponge is clean w/ no dirt at all or u'll be scratching ur baby.
For each part that I listed, I isolate those areas one by one. So I would use detergent first on the tank, then I would lightly hose away the detergent. If u wanna be super careful w/ the paint, rinse off the detergent w/ a sponge and clean water. Then, move onto the front fairing etc.
Oh, make sure u don't touch the radiator. The gridding fucks up easily as it is really fragile. Will prolly take u an hour to make em straight again.
After drying, I just wax.
Detergent: Something from Meguiars
Wax: I got some really nice stuff from my cousin who works for Dodge. It's called Paint sealent. It's what they use on cars when u buy this nice detailed package from them.
I heard Zymol is also good.
For quick polishing, I use s100 and Meguiars quick detaier. s100 works better but is quite pricey.
U can find these products at Lordco. Hope this helps.
I use Turtle Wax car wash with a clean cloth, dry with a chamois. I prefer the fake ones, personally.
Then if I'm so inclined, I use Meguiar's three-step wax system. Amazing results. Definitely worth the investment in all three bottles.
I clean my wheels with WD-40.
If it needs a quick wash just to get a bit of dust and light dirt off, use the S100. It's expensive and only works well for the light cleanings.
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