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How to clean your bike

Discussion in 'Bling and Appearance' started by nice2Bnaked, Mar 10, 2007.

  1. I detail/clean bikes, and prepare them for sale in my spare time for some extra spondoulies... Here is a list of what parts to clean what with. I’ve been doing this for a while, and though I don’t claim that these are the best, I know they won’t damage your ride. Please let me know of any other products that I might not know of - you learn something different every day.

    STEP 1. Do Australia a favor and save water, give your bike a spray (from a bottle) with grey-water that you saved in a bucket from your shower or bath (or alternatively, take a shower with your bike.)

    Step 2. Using CHEMTECH CT-18 (from your auto shop, its a foaming gel - cleaner that costs $30 odd, and can be diluted up to 200 litres, its zero alkaline and not acidic, and has rust inhibiting properties) in a bucket applying with a sponge/spray bottle or brush. You can use this stuff on brake rotors/calipers and chain as well, unlike degreaser that will damage both of these. Work it hard into the grime, making sure it penetrates. Rinse/spray.

    STEP 3. Apply CT-18 again with spray bottle, even if the bike appears to be clean, go and have a coffee and watch some telly for about an hour, and let the stuff dry. Rinse, especially good if you can use a high pressure hose, keeping the jet away from electrics, bearings, and radiator face. Polish off plastics and tank with a polishing cloth (ENYO (ENJO?) cloths are great)

    STEP 4. Chain/Sprocket: I start with a wire brush and concentrated CT-18, and then move onto a toothbrush. Degreaser is not a great idea, especially on O-Ring chains as it will dissolve the internal lubrication. I usually put the bike up on centrestand/trackstand to make it easier, and slap it into first gear (Unless you want to lose a finger, I would advise EXTREME CAUTION and turning down the idle is an idea!) I then use a little bit of kerosene on a rag and clean each individual link until it’s pretty and shiny, but it’s a bit obsessive. The same applies for the sprocket, however if you want a really good finish, see STEP 8. (A lot of people think their sprocket is black, however most of the time it came out of the showroom nice and shiny!) Remember to re-lube, wipe excess, and do it before you clean your rims.

    Step 5. Brakes: Using metholated spirits on a rag, clean your brake rotors. Change the rag regularly, until no more brake dust appears. You can also buy brake cleaner (I like NULON brake cleaner) that is in a can that you can spray your discs and calipers, but this stuff can do damage to your paint, so use a rag for overspray. If you want to get serious braking power back, remove you wheel/caliper and run a soaked metho rag between your brake pads.

    Step 5. Rims: Degreaser (RP-7, WD-40 ect.) and kerosene both work well for getting muck off your wheels, but both can discolor (yellow) your paint if used regularly. They can also be dangerously slippery if you get some on your tread. Dirt and dust will stick to these as well, so make sure it’s all wiped up thoroughly. I use the CT-18 stuff again here, polishing it until it’s all gone. For chrome/shiny rims, read STEP 8.

    Step 6. Tyres: Be very careful with this one, 'cos there’s not point your bike being showroom clean sitting broken in the wreckers...
    Use a tyre cleaning chemical (different to tyre shine) to clean the walls of the tyres (!!!not the tread!!!). The rag will keep coming up black, '‘cos you’re actually stripping rubber away. Then you can use Tyre Black (like paint) with a paintbrush, or Amour-All tyre shine. You can get combinations of these, i.e. 2 in 1, but I think it works better individually. Make sure you clean up any and all over spays and drips on tyre tread, as well as the gap between the tyre and rim where the fluid likes to hide, or your going arse up.

    STEP 7. Seat/unpainted plastics: Use a velour/leather/upholstery cleaner (Amour-all is a good one) on your seat, keeping in mind it will be slippery afterwards. Follow the directions on the bottle. You can use the same stuff on your unpainted black plastics (under tail, indicators, switch blocks, instruments ect.}, but auto Bumper Rejuvenator works great too. It’s like a "milky" liquid, follow the directions on the pack, letting it soak into plastics. It also helps prevent sun-damage.

    STEP 8. Chrome/shiny bits: My favorite is AUTOSOL, but I hear another product, MOTHER is also a good one. Use it on anything that is bare metal, or has a metal coating like chrome. AUTOSOL is an abrasive cleaner, so if you use it too much it can damage the surface or take off clear coatings over these surfaces. For badly corroded surfaces, or to remove brake dust on bare metals, use a light sandpaper (1200 grit wet and dry). The best way to use AUTOSOL is:
    Apply it with your hands, keep on rubbing/massaging surface until the stuff becomes purplish black. Wipe off with a rag. Polish with a clean rag, changing rags regularly. The cleaner the rags, and the faster you polish, the better your finish will be. Keep changing the rags and polishing until there’s no more residue on the rag. If needed, re-do the steps from the start. MR SHEEN works well, so does CHROME CLEEN (or similar) MMmmmnnn, shiny.

    STEP 9. Screens, Lights & Indicators. You can usually clean the insides of indicator lenses and head/tail lights by removing them, but don’t touch the halogen globes or they will burn out. You can get rid of "clouding" on the insides of indicators and lights by using WINDEX or CT-18, and giving them a good rinse. You will be surprised how much better they light up, and this should be done at least ounce a year. For your screen and instrument (dash) glass, use a helmet visor cleaner. It not only makes it nice, but also repels water.

    Hope you found this helpful. It should take about 2 to 6 hours to do, but ounce you do it then just do one step a week and its a lot less work. Man my fingers are sore.... If you cant be stuffed doing it yourself, I work on detailing bikes in the melbourne area, so let me know. Oh, and get some SOLVOL hand cleaner, you'll need it.
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  2. Mod: can we get this stickied?
  3. I agree stickied. Great post :biker:

    I'm just wondering if you've been warned of this or actually seen it? I've never seen WD-40 damage anything but tend to wipe it down to a _very_ thin film if anything on painted surfaces.

    Do you do this for shops or just individuals. One of the things I've never understood is why shops generally don't detail their used inventory. It makes a huge difference.

    As you've suggested I actually completely strip my bikes once a year, if possible, just to clean and inspect them. Apart from anything else it definitely seems to pay off when trading in or selling privately. It's also a great way to get to know a machine....then again I've never considered them toasters. :wink:
  6. nah, I detail peoples bikes for myself... Im looking for work in shops though. If anyone wants a bike prepped for sale, PM or Email me. The only time it would have been cleaner was when it left the showroom. Oh, yes, my Spada had white wheels, and using RP-7 made the wheels creamy yellowish... (I did do them like every night for about three months before I noticed) I just use degreaser to clean up my hands now, that CT-18 stuff is the dingoes danglies
  7. G'day everyone,.......

    I've always used a cream clenser (generic brand) to clean wheels and crome parts and it come up clean and polished.

    I've also used Mr sheen on the paintwork and windscreen/visor and skid lid.
    Got some white liquid from work that is used to make tyres look like new and it works great.
    (would'nt have a clue what it is but have used it on the 4x4 for years.)

    Useing the same cleaning method with the new bike and it still looks Great!
    (untill I sit on it that is!! :LOL: :LOL: :LOL: :LOL: )

    Dr Who?
  8. Great post, nice2Bnaked.

    My scoot needs some pampering, and apart from cleaning the chain it's all applicable. Serious question though; what would you recommend for cleaning the plastic (slightly textured finish, grey) casing on the rider's side of the front wheel / steering area?
  9. Nice cleaning guide. :grin:
  10. If its unpainted use armourall bumper/plastic rejuvinator
  11. Cheers
  12. Great cleaning guide, thanx :wink: Just what I'm looking for!

    I have another question though. I have a GPX and the exaust cans are on both sides. The exaust on the left gets (has gotten) very mucky from the chain lube flying off. How do I clean the muck off before I use AUTOSOL to make the exaust look shiny :grin: :?:
  13. Any water dispersant spray (CRC,WD40 or RP7) or kero will get it off.
  14. Great guide thanks, I've never used CT-18 but I'll find some and try it out. For years now I've used Mr Sheen to remove chain grease from my rear wheel and swingarm, just spray it on, let it foam for 30 seconds and wipe clean. Good stuff.
  15. Thanks 4 the cleaning tips
  16. For those of you lucky enough to have White wheels. :evil:

    Used these three on the weekend

    Kero for initial clean...removes 80-90% of the oily gunk left by chain lube ( fairly cheap)

    Auto Paint Cleaner (NOT STRIPPER!!!!) cleans all but the most stubborn marks. (a bit pricey)

    Carby Cleaner - not sure of the brand but this stuff was magic, remove the stain mark left after cleaning off the grime etc. (Darn expensive for large scale application...best reserved for selected areas) USE CAUTION ON THIS ONE - can damage some paints

    NOw i just have to remember to do this regularly :grin:
  17. Got any tips for cleaning spoked wheels that look like no-one has ever cleaned them in 8yrs and 55000km?

    I need to do mine and quite frankly have no idea where to start. This thread has some great suggestions which i'll be looking into, but I have to get some serious crap off them. I also have full valancing on the bike and solid discs, so access to the wheel, particularly the rear one, is limited.
  18. Dad has spokes wheels on his BMW........ and is constatly complaining about how they just go all crappy no matter what he tries.

    Is it grime or corrosion/oxide of some sort? if grime... srat with kero and work up to stronger stuff as needed....


    angle grinder with steel brush attachment??
  19. metal spokes, but the rims themselves are (probably) chromed - would NOT like to run a wire brush over them. I also don't have the patience to sit there with a dremel and try to do it that way, although it will probably have to come to that.

    Initially though, I just need to get the accumulated road grime off the spokes and rims. Might try the front with a carwash pressure washer on the way home tonight and see how it goes. Not much up there that it could damage I hope. The rear, on the other hand - don't want soapy water going up my pipe!

    [Edited] Had a go at the wheels this morning. The basic black brake dust and road crap came off under a sponge and soapy water. The majority of the rest of it is still there - its like a black scale. The rims/spokes are chrome-coated or polished metal, so wire brush is out. I'll have to try kero. The rear is impossible to work on due to limited access to it past brake discs, drive belt, valances, pipes and bags. I'd probably have to pull the wheels off to get it totally done.

    On a side note, I tried a polishing attachment to a dremel on the rims/spokes to see what would happen. It did nothing. Either I need something sterner, or its the wrong approach.