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Facts on Washing & Drying

Facts on Washing & DryingThere’s nothing sadder than pulling into a parking lot and seeing an otherwise gorgeous bike – filthy. Oh, the inhumanity! It makes you wonder; doesn’t the owner care? Worse, it makes you want to reach for the nearest hose. Okay, so we can’t save them all. We can however, cover all the nuts and bolts of motorcycle surface care to help prevent another bike suffering the same fate.

It’s always best to start at the beginning; washing.

Most motorcycle enthusiasts understand the importance of proper surface maintenance. The reasons we wash our bikes are to improve appearance and protect surfaces from the hazards of road grime, bug residues, polluting contaminants, as well as, tar and tree sap deposits. That said, washing a motorcycle is somewhat different than washing a car.

Always remove all detatchables (bags, boxes, etc.) prior to washing the motorcycle. Always work on a cool bike.

1.) First step; the wheels. Get them clean first. We’d recommend any of the great wheel cleaner’s on our site. Detailer’s Pride Cleanse-All Wheel Cleaner or S100 Wheel Cleaner are among the best. Tough to clean spots may benefit from a gentle wheel brush like Eagle One Wheel Scrubber or the bike specific New England Wheel Brushes. Rinse thoroughly to remove any residues.

2.) Clean the rest of the bike. Do not use dish soap! Household cleaners are far too alkaline and abrasive to use on automotive or motorcycle finishes. Do use a high quality automotive shampoo such as Detailer’s Pride Wash – by far one of the best values to use on your bike or your car. It’ll work great at loosening and removing hardened road grime, and rinses clean away – leaving no hazy films – just a clean shine. Do use a plush-cleaning tool such as our Natural Sea Sponge or Sheepskin Wash Mitt to luxuriously remove contaminants. These are important cleaning aides – they work to pull any abrasives away from the surface, which prevents scratches. A conventional sponge holds such debris at its surface and drags it across the paint. If you doubt this, just use the sponge in your kitchen sink to wipe crumbs off your counter – then turn it over and observe. The dirt is at the surface – making household sponges the enemy of painted and plastic surfaces everywhere!

3.) Rinse the sections you’ve cleaned as you go. Then finish with a thorough final rinse to remove residual shampoo and contaminants.

Once clean, dry the motorcycle immediately.

Drying the bike quickly is necessary. It helps prevent water spots from settling on the finish and chrome. It also whisks away minor surface contaminants missed during the rinsing process. You have several options to facilitate fast drying.

1.) Vacuum blowers are a great alternative to hand drying. Two of our favorite are Metro Vac N’Blo®: this portable vacuum has the added feature of a powerful blower. Packed with attachments, the 4.0 peak horsepower unit comes complete with shoulder harness. You’ll look terminator tough using this handy blower/vac. Great for detailing all your vehicles! For added power, the Metro Motorcycle Air Force Blaster is designed specifically to serve the needs of motorcycle enthusiasts – this versatile machine really packs a punch! The peak horsepower is still 4.0, but the Air Force Blaster jettisons air at an impressive 29,000 ft./min. Either choice will dry your bike substantially faster and more accurately than typical hand drying.

2.) If you’re going to hand dry; use the best possible tools. The world has gone hi-tech, and so have our towels. Synthetic microfiber outperforms cotton clothes and chamois, while pulling residual contaminants away from the surface and buffing out water spots. Two of the best microfiber towels we have used are by Cobra. The Cobra Waffle Weave Towel measures 16x24. The exclusive waffle-weave of the fibers was developed specifically to improve liquid absorption. The thirsty 80/20-polyester/polyamide blend is lint free and makes drying a snap. The Cobra Supreme Waffle Weave Towel measures a whopping 20x40 – giving you over 5 feet of drying power. More than enough to dry an entire car or motorcycle! Both towels are irritant free and 100% hypoallergenic. If you’re not going to use a drying machine – these are the next best thing. You won’t believe how absorbent they are!

Run the motorcycle for a few minutes after your first drying pass to dry engine components and shake off any left over water. It’s a good idea to do a final drying pass after you turn off the ignition – just to make sure she’s all dry.

***Always follow a washing/drying regimen with either a protective wax on your painted surfaces or a quick detailer to renew the shine and protection of existing wax. Don’t forget this important step in protecting and enhancing your vicious cycle!