Every single one of us here at Blackbridge Harley gets a sense of pride when we care for our bikes, I’m sure you do too. With the right tools and cleaners, it doesn’t take more than an hour to get your bike back to its original look. Not only do you feel good while doing it, but this simple, regular maintenance makes riding safer, and means you won’t have to face any heavy restoration later on.
Let’s take a look at how to make your motorcycle look like new; whether you’re looking to sell, or just show it off, these tips will help.
Before your start, make sure your engine is cool and you’re working in a shaded spot. This protects your bike and you.
START WITH A PREWASH
Use a garden hose to spray the lower sections your bike. This will get rid of the bigger chunks of dirt and prevent scratching. Next use a microfiber wash mitt, (sheepskin works great as well) with some motorcycle wash detergent to gently wash the hard surfaces of your bike. Then give it another rinse.
If your bike isn’t overly dirty, then you can get away with a waterless wash. Just use a waterless solution and a microfiber towel.
Tires, rims and spokes should be washed separately, since they’re made from different material. Use a mild tire cleaner on the tires, this will remove road film and oils from tire dressings. Once the tires are clean, you can start polishing the rims. Use a fine chrome polish, followed by wax to help keep the shine. Coated aluminum can be treated the same as the paint on your bike; lightly polish and wax it. Uncoated aluminum should be polished with aluminum polish.
The chrome should be polished in two steps with a break in between. We find this produces better results than just one pass. Shortly after your second polish, you should follow up with a quick coat of wax. This extra step doesn’t take long and you’ll see it keeps your bike looking polished, longer.
THE DASH AND CONTROLS
This can be a tricky area with different surfaces and electrical parts that you don’t want to get wet. We recommend using a cleaner that offers UV protection for your plastics (both clear and colored).
BE CAREFUL WITH THE ENGINE
First, ensure your engine is cool and you’re following the instructions for engine specific cleaning compounds.
If your engine isn’t too dirty, you might be able to get away with a quick once over with a soft bristle brush during your pre-wash. Remember that corrosive compounds can damage the paint, leather, chrome and other parts of your bike, which is why you want to double check the booklet first.
TREAT LEATHER WITH CARE
Leather seats vary greatly from bike to bike. You’re most likely to have a natural aniline leather, a coated leather, or a high-quality vinyl that feels just like leather. Each option requires different care, your owner’s manual will have specific instructions on what type of cleaner to use. After, no matter the kind of seat, all will benefit from a non-slick protectant to help keep your seat feeling and looking like new.
There are a lot of nooks and crannies on your bike, which is why we recommend using a compact sidekick that provides high pressure filtered air. This is a safe and easy way to dry every inch of your motorcycle. If you’re drying it manually, use a soft microfiber towel (or two) and be sure to get it into every crevice, you’ll be glad you did.