Owning a bike can be a fantastic experience. Cleaning one, not so much. Here are our tips for keeping your motorcycle as good as new.
Being a motorcyclist is not just a great choice for getting from A to B – it is also an enjoyable hobby that you can get yourself involved in. Cleaning your motorcycle on the other hand can be a long-winded source of frustration. Infinity is here to make this a bit more of a pleasurable experience.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, here are a few tips for storing your bike and maintaining your work area.
Click the links below to jump to...
|Storing Your Bike||Using the correct products||Prepping your work area||Drying your bike||How to clean your motorcycle|
Storing your bike
Motorcycles are exposed to some of the worst weather possible - especially if you are riding through the cold winter months – so a regular cleaning can keep your pride and joy looking as good as it did the first day you claimed it. Keeping your motorcycle parked undercover or in a garage is the most ideal solution for storage, but this is not always possible.
A motorcycle cover is an invaluable investment no matter if your bike will be kept outside or indoors.
The Oxford Stormex Bike Cover provides superior interior and exterior protection for your bike from weather and knocks.
Constructed from a tough, durable material with externally bonded seams for maximum waterproofing, this cover can be used outdoors to protect against the rain, or for storing your motorcycle in a garage, shed or inside your house and protect your bike from dust, moisture and sunlight.
Available in a variety of sizes for fitting your specific motorcycle.
Price: From £79.99 RRP
The Oxford Oximiser 3X is a fast and efficient motorcycle battery management system designed to kickstart your bike's old battery.
Completely redesigned and tested with new long-life components, the 3X Oximiser is Oxford's most versatile, multi-purpose battery maintenance product yet, with 8 stages of battery optimisation.
Price: £99.99 RRP
Only use the necessary motorbike cleaning products
There are right and wrong ways of cleaning your motorbike – using the wrong cleaner could potentially damage the paintwork or damage components leaving your bike worse for wear than when you started.
You’ll need to understand what products you need based on the materials of your bike. Each material on the bike may need a different type of cleaner, so it is best to use the recommended cleaner for every specific part and prevent the chance of causing any damage.
Take a look at the range of motorcycle cleaners that we stock right here. Give the instructions of every cleaner you are planning on using a good read to make sure there are no warnings for non-recommended use.
Prepare your work area
Find a well-covered area that provides ample shade and enough room to reach every side, crevice and bit in between of your motorcycle. The shade will help to keep every bit of the bike cool and prevent the sun from drying the bike leaving streaks.
Prepare your work area by organising all the cleaning products and all the tools you’ll need while you clean.
The Two Bucket Method is one of the most tried and trusted methods to get your bike sparkling clean.
Have two buckets, one filled with a sudsy cleaning solution/water mix and one containing only clean water. The idea here is to rinse your cloth or sponge in the clean water after applying your soapy solution to the bike to prevent dirt from going back into the soap. Rinse the bike gently to remove any excess dirt, before applying soap or going at it with a sponge. Motorcycles are built to be water-resistant but not waterproof so the use of high-pressure washers is not recommended, but they can be used with a lot of care; powered cleaners are becoming more popular and there are some motorcycle-specific options now available, such as the Muc-Off Pressure Washer.
Use various sizes brushes to wash the wheels and under-carriage of the motorcycle to avoid transferring highly abrasive brake dust to your paintwork. If your bike does not have a centre stand, a paddock stand is a great piece of kit to keep your bike stable and keeps the bike in an upright position to let all the dirt runoff. Having the wheels off the ground makes it easy to clean the entire way around the wheel without having to move the bike back and forth.
Once the washing has been done you can gently hose the bike down or use a bucket of clean water.
Oxford Zero-G Lite Paddock Stand
A high-grade aluminium front paddock stand with square tubing to prevent rotation and heavy-duty fasteners.
Capable of lifting a maximum of 300kg and weighing just 4kg, the Zero-G lite paddock stand is designed to minimise the required effort to lift your motorcycle.
Available as a Front or Rear Paddock Stand.
Price: £119.99 RRP
This hard-wearing polyester bike mat is an essential tool for any garage, designed to absorb minor oil and fluid spillages and keep a tidy and safe workshop,
Available in a variety of different designs and colours, this track-compliant mat features a 5mm deep pile carpet, a TPR rubber backing and sewn-bound edges.
Available in a variety of colours and designs.
Price: £59.99 RRP
Ensure that you dry your motorcycle correctly
Keep a separate cloth handy for when you need to dry the bike, a chamois or microfibre cloth is best. You can use compressed air or something like a power dryer from the Bruhl range if you are a bit more serious about your drying. Using forced air to get to those hard-to-reach areas makes life easier and quickens drying time.
Do you need to polish your bike? A polish does provide some extra protection, especially on your paintwork. Polish or wax acts as a kind of sunscreen for the paintwork and it can give your bike a brighter, more vibrant look. Always check your products with the materials on your motorcycle to make sure they will not cause any damage and avoid using silicone sprays as this can get into your tyres and become a safety hazard. A detailing spray is a quick way to get a great, clean finish on your paintwork, and waxes are a better option but require a bit more time and some extra work on your part.
Getting your bike back on the road
Now that we've got a clean work area and your bike is prepped: we can start getting your bike looking spick 'n' span!
Here's everything you need to clean your motorcycle:
- Pressure washer/hosepipe
- Bucket of cool water
- Cleaning brushes (1 x chain brush, 1 x detailing brush, 1 x soft washing brush)
- Motorcycle-specific soap cleaner
- Chain cleaner/degreaser
- Brake cleaner
- Motorcycle dryer (not necessary but helps reduce water spotting)
- Bike polish (for bike frame)
- Silicone spray (for rubber/plastics)
- Metal polish (for chrome/alloy)
- Protection spray
- Chain lube
Follow the following guide step-by-step and you're machine will look good as new!
1. Degrease your bike chain
Start by removing the dirt and grease off your motorcycle chain.
Your bike chain accumulates dirt and grime the fastest due to the tacked-on grease, and cleaning this area first will prevent accidentally splashing dirt all over the rest of your machine when cleaning the body.
Apply a good motorcycle-specific chain cleaner that is safe for use on all types of chains including O/X/Z chains and scrub off with a chain brush to get into all the links of your chain.
The powerful degreasing agent in this cleaner will effectively liquefy and remove oil deposits from your bike chain, and because it will evaporate quickly, it will leave no residue on the swing arm and drive train areas, preventing flash rusting. (Flash rusting is caused by exposed metal reacting to corrosive environments that often occurs when wet surfaces are left to dry naturally.)
We will need to reapply lubricant to the bike chain to ensure it runs smoothly, but don’t worry about this now – we will do this later in the process.
A powerful degreasing agent perfect for all types of motorcycle chains (road and off-road) and vehicles.
The C1 chain cleaner effectively removes all encrusted deposits including sand, soil, oil and grease thanks to its chlorine-free extreme grease removal formula, perfectly suited for O-ring, X-ring and Z-ring chains, and evaporates very quickly.
Price: £10.49 RRP
The Oxford Chain Brush is a multi-faced brush which will clean three sides of your chain at once making this messy job much quicker.
Price: £11.99 RRP
Liqui Moly Chain & Brake Cleaner 500ml
A fast-acting motorcycle solution for deep cleaning and degreasing all kinds of bike chains and brake components.
Compatible with O/X ring chains on motorcycles and quads, Liqui Moly features specially selected solvent combinations for cutting through stubborn grease and grime.
Price: £9.99 RRP
This easy-to-use, emulsifying formula ensures dirt and grime are removed quickly.
Awarded RiDE Magazine's Best Buy award, this cleaner is perfect for motorcycles and bicycles alike and safe for all types of chains, this powerful formulation is extremely effective for dissolving and washing away contaminated chain lube and leaving your bike smelling like mint!
Price: £8.99 RRP
2. Pre-rinse and spray bike cleaner over your bike
Give your machine a rinse with cool water from a hose, bucket or pressure washer before cleaning your bike. This will help to break down dirt and grime on the body of your bike before applying the suds.
Spray your bike with a decent motorcycle cleaner designed to be safe on all surfaces and leave it on for a few minutes to soak and loosen any debris.
If your bike has a matt paint finish, make sure you use the appropriate cleaner or car wash soap and apply a microfibre cloth to work it in. Even the slightest bit of dirt can scuff the paint, so be gentle with this.
Oxford Bucket with Grit Guard 20 Ltr
This tough 20ltr capacity bucket with a heavy-duty folding handle.
Features an innovative grit guard which sits at the bottom of the bucket, trapping dirt and preventing your sponge/brush from picking it back up when cleaning.
Price: £14.99 RRP
Muc-Off Nano Tech Bike Cleaner 1 Litre
A biodegradable motorcycle cleaner, safe on all motorcycle parts and surfaces and free from CFCs, solvents and acids.
Using state-of-the-art Nano Tech formula, Muc-Off cuts through dirt and grime, while also caring for your bike's delicate finish.
Also available in 5-litres.
Price: £11.99 RRP
The ultimate starter kit for keeping your motorcycle in top condition.
Containing a selection of brushes, cleaners, protectants and polish; this kit includes everything you need for washing your bike, shy of a running tap!
Price: £99.99 RRP
Silverback Xtreme Jungle Gel 1-Litre
This gel-based bike cleaner features a powerful biodegradable formula for washing away muck and grime.
Safe for use on most materials, including metals, plastics, rubber and carbon fibre surfaces.
Also available in 5-litres and 25-litres.
Price: From £9.99 RRP
3. Scrub and wash!
Once you’ve left your bike to soak in its suds, now it's time to apply a bit of elbow grease!
Grab your sponge and bucket and give your bike a good ol’ cleanse; you may use an auto-approved detergent to help agitate particularly dirty areas of your machine. Refreshing your sponge and changing your bucket water every now and again will help to clear away muck and prevent you from reapplying dirt!
Make sure to get right into every crevice of your bike with a specially designed-brush. Surface dirt and rust can build up in concealed areas of your machine including your brake discs and pads.
A good but gentle scrub will be enough to clear this and don’t forget the metal parts of your machine. Avoid abrasive cleaners and tools that could potentially damage the finish or paint of your bike. For your tyres, a bit of chrome cleaner wouldn’t go amiss!
Once you’ve cleared your bike of dirt, rinse your bike again to wash off any excess dirt and soap.
This expanding microcell sponge from Muc-Off packs a punch!
Easy to use and bike and wheel-friendly, this sponge comes vacuum-packed and doubles in size when soaked in water for around 1-2 hours.
Price: £4.99 RRP
This must-have package covers all bases, with a brush to suit every job.
Including a soft washing brush, detailing brush, claw brush, wheel & component brush and two-prong brush; these brushes feature tough nylon bristles and ergonomic handles.
Price: £36.99 RRP
4. Dry and detail
Don’t leave your bike to air dry – give your machine a wipe down to prevent water spotting.
A micro-fibre cloth and a gentle rub down should be enough to make your bike shine, thanks to the residue in your cleaning formula.
Now on the surface, your motorcycle may appear dry, but there may be leftover water in the nooks and crannies of your bike such as the switchgear. If left unchecked, this could cause corrosion over time.
To prevent this, we would recommend using a motorcycle dryer or an auto approved compressed air canister. A dryer will help to force water out of those hard-to-reach places of your bike, prevent rusting and prevent the appearance of water spotting.
Bruhl Dryer MD1400 Single Turbine Dryer
This industrial single-turbine motorcycle dryer is perfect for eliminating water spotting and corrosion on our vehicle, increasing the life cycle of your motorcycle/car.
Powered by a single 1600W turbine with a filtered air intake, the Bruhl blasts debris-free clean powerful air over your vehicle body panels, fairings, and hard areas of your engine, electricals and control switches. With an extendable 3.5 metre hose, and AC 220-240V voltage.
Available in MD1900+ Single Turbine and MD2800 Pro Twin Turbine.
Price: From £99.99 RRP
A double-action cleaning glove with soft microfibre noodles for gentle cleaning and drying.
Used wet, the glove lifts away dirt, dust and grime from paint, chrome and other delicate surfaces. When dry, the glove works well for soaking up water as well as a duster.
Price: £5.99 RRP
Oxford 6 Ultra Soft Microfibre Towels
This multi-pack of soft multifibre towels is ideal for general cleaning, polishing, detailing and delicate tasks. Machine washable, non-abrasive and reusable.
Price: £5.99 RRP
MO94 is a multi-purpose wonder spray that performs a medley of tasks, acting as an all-in-one lubricant, protectant, and moisture displacer to protect your motorcycle.
Price: £6.99 RRP
5. Protect your machine
Once it's all clean and dry, it's time to apply some wax and protection to make your bike shine and prevent corrosion.
Use a specially designed motorcycle protectant spray to provide a non-sticky protective film over your machine and its bearings, so everything runs smoothly, looks shiny and prevents future dirt adhesion and corrosion.
Ensure that the protectant you use is safe for use on all areas of your bike including the frame, metal parts, plastics, rubber and of course, the paintwork itself. Most motorcycle-specific protectants will be fine, but a silicone-based formula will do wonders for your bodywork and plastics. Its natural water-repellency will make plastics appear jet black again.
For your motorcycle seat, apply an approved vinyl protectant or leather care cream, depending on what type of seat you have. This will prevent fading and cracking over time, plus it will look a lot nicer!
GT-85 Penetrating/Lube Oil Spray 400ml
This professional strength, water-displacing lubricant contains PTFE to form a long-lasting, lubricating film and a protective coating.
Designed for metal and composite parts including chains, cables, levers, and gears, this spray also drives out moisture from the intricate, hard-to-reach areas of your bike.
Price: £4.49 RRP
An all-in-one motorcycle polish and wax, the Speed Polish by Muc-Off contains Carnauba and Beeswax for a glossy finish on paint, chrome and plastic, leaves a hydrophobic water-resistant barrier, and a bubblegum fragrance!
Price: £10.99 RRP
6. Reapply the chain lube
Lastly, don’t forget to reapply the lube that you removed from your bike chain.
Make sure to apply a non-fling, deep-penetrating lubricant; this will ensure that the grease doesn’t ‘fling’ off your chain when you start the ignition and won’t evaporate quickly when applied.
Most chain lubes will work for both O-rings or X-rings, make sure to check the product instructions, but depending on how you’re planning to use your motorcycle, you may need a specific type of lubricant. For example, Motul offers two variants of chain lube: C2 Road and C4 Factory Line.
C2 is a colourless, sticky formula designed to lubricate motorcycle chains designed for everyday road use and karts. C4, on the other hand, is a white-coloured, highly sticky lubricant specially designed for high-performance racing motorcycles – its extreme clinging properties prevent the grease from flying off at extremely high speeds.
Whichever you decide, apply this lube all over the chain links so everything flexes smoothly and reduces internal wear. This will increase the lifetime of your chain and ensure that it performs well in even the most extreme weather conditions.
Especially recommended for motorcycles, the C5 Chain Paste is a highly adhesive white lubricating paste with a brush applicator tip for lubricating all types of bike chains.
One tube contains approximately 10 applications and is designed to reduce friction and increase chain longevity.
Price: £10.99 RRP
Muc-Off Wet Weather Chain Lube 400ml
This ultra-durable, high-performance lubricating spray is designed to penetrate deep into chain links, reducing wear and friction in even the harshest weather conditions. Non-drying, hydrophobic and contains UV coverage check dye.
Price: £12.99 RRP
AND THAT'S IT!
There you have it, some advice to keep your motorcycle looking as good as it deserves to look. Make sure that every cleaning product you use, be it sprays, oils or even the cloths you plan on using, is non-abrasive and not harmful to your paintwork.
Check out the full range of cleaning and maintenance products from every brand as you can find pre-packaged sets which include everything you need from cleaner, to wax and detailers and even sets that include the tools you will need. And if you have any other questions or need any more advice when getting your bike clean, drop us an email to [email protected].
This article was written by Jonah Son.