Keeping your bike clean and tidy not only protects it from corrosion but also helps to make it more valuable when you come to sell it.
Cleaning it by hand also gives you a chance to have a good look around it and hopefully notice any loose bolts and fasteners, snapped wheel studs, exhausts hanging off, or damage and wear to your tyres.
For hands that do dishes
Good old Fairy Liquid used to be the chosen product for most riders but it actually contains a lot of salt, so will help to corrode your bike and gently scratch your paintwork as well. Thankfully there are loads of bike specific cleaning products on the market so you’re spoilt for choice.
The Muc-Off range: www.muc-off.com
I tend to use the S-Doc 100, or the Muc-Off range more often than not. They have a wide and varied range of motorcycle cleaners, shampoos, degreasers, disc brake cleaner, bug remover, chain cleaner, lube, various brushes to get into all those nooks and crannies, cloths, silicone shine, polishes, protectors and pretty much anything else you can think of. Most decent bike shops stock Muc-Off so it’s not hard to get yourself sorted and they also do bundles with a few different popular products to start you off.
Cleaning matt black: www.Redantbikecleaners.com
Matt black is all the rage at the minute, it looks stealthy and mean but cleaning it with ordinary shampoo leaves it streaky and polishing it doesn’t really work. There are products specifically designed for it though and Red Ant is one that I’ve used personally. You simply wash the bike then use the Red Ant Matt Finish Protector and wipe over with a clean cloth. Much easier than trying to rid your machine of streaks.
Using a pressure washer is ok on dirt bikes but try not to use one on your precious road bike or scooter. The high pressure jet forces its way into nooks and crannies and will blast out the dirt but will also get rid of any grease, it’ll also get into your electrics, possibly into your carburettor and cause you hassle one way or another.
Bucket and sponge
The best way to clean a bike is to pre rinse it to get any loose dirt off and soften any harder muck. Then spray it all over using a motorcycle cleaner, leave that for a few minutes to get to work then use warm water with bike or car shampoo to wash it. Rinse it off afterwards and dry with a chamois or soft cloth. When the bike is dry use a moisture displacer (Muc-Off MO 94 is good) to protect and lubricate areas that may become corroded, or are susceptible to dampness and water. If your bike has a chain always check and lubricate your chain after washing the bike.