Motorcycle surfaces endure a constant assault from the elements, road conditions, and pollutants. Punishing winds pelt the motorcycle with tiny, even microscopic, road and dirt fragments while riding. Harsh weather, high humidity, extreme heat or cold, rain, and sun exposure can overwhelm the most beautiful finish. While you may not see the damage right away, these small assailants rob motorcycle surfaces of their original luster. Swirl marks, small blemishes, tiny scratches and oxidation, if left unchecked, will take their toll on the bike's appearance. In severe cases these conditions can permanently damage the finish. That is why we strongly recommend a balanced detailing regimen that includes regular applications of a quality pre-wax cleaner and/or polish.
The Difference Between Prewax Cleaners and Polishes
First, its important to know the difference between a prewax cleaner and a polish. Prewax cleaners have cleaning agents that lift oxidation, old wax, and dirt from the motorcycle's paint. Polishes are defined by abrasives. Polishes use abrasive action to burnish the paint to a shine.
If your motorcycle has swirls and light scratches, you should choose a polish. S100 Total Cycle Finish Restorer gently polishes paint to a brilliant shine and minimizes the appearance of fine swirls. This product is an excellent value because it works on literally every motorcycle surface (except the seat and tires!). Flitz Metal Polish, Fiberglass & Paint Restorer is another multi-purpose polish that works wonders on motorcycle surfaces.
Also, remember that the paint on your motorcycle is just like the paint on your vehicle – a gentle automotive polish can be used on motorcycle paint with great results.
If your motorcycle has no scratches but looks a little dull, you need a prewax cleaner. The dullness is caused by oxidation and/or wax build-up. A prewax cleaner, like Pinnacle Paintwork Cleansing Lotion, will remove oxidation and old wax to reveal the clean, shiny paint underneath. Pinnacle Paintwork Cleansing Lotion is nonabrasive.
When to Polish
If your not sure whether or not you need to administer a pre-wax cleaning and/or polishing treatment, try this simple test. Wash your motorcycle and dry thoroughly. Then run your hand across the painted surface. Does it feel perfectly smooth? Or a little gritty? If you feel anything other than slippery smooth paint you're ready for a pre-wax cleaner/ polish. These products work to buff off old wax and oxidized paint, remove microscopic grit, buff away minor blemishes and surface scratches and leave the surface perfectly clean and smooth as glass. A quality product, such as those named above, is safe to use often and will never harm your finish.
Application of Polishes or Prewax Cleaners
Pre-wax cleaners and/or polishes are relatively easy to apply. First, be sure to use a quality applicator, such as a Cobra Microfiber Pad. Now that you've chosen an applicator, it's time to get polishing and cleaning. Put a dab of cleaner/polish on your applicator and rub directly onto the painted surface in a straight back and forth line. Some products allow you to buff immediately. Some require a drying time. Gently buff away the residue with a Cobra Microfiber Detailing Towel. Feel the surface – is it perfectly smooth this time? If it is stop polishing – you're ready for wax. If you can still recognize a patchy film or light swirls, one more application of polish or prewax cleaner should have you ready to go!
***Always follow a cleaner/polish treatment with an application or two of a high quality protective wax.