Cleaning a two-wheeler may sound like a two-step affair of washing and drying, but the way you go about doing it is critical. Oh yes, critical! Incorrectly cleaning your two-wheeler can destroy your paint and lead to any two-wheeler owners’ worst nightmare – rust.
If you have washed a four-wheeler yourself, you would know that all that’s got to be done to get it shiny is wash the body and the glass. However, when it comes to two-wheelers, cleaning is a more intricate process. Two-wheelers have corners, creases, cables and switchgear unhidden. To add to that, some bikes also have the engine, gearbox and chain on display, all of which require correct cleaning.
One of the most basic but commonly forgotten steps is finding the correct spot to wash your two-wheeler. Look for a tiled or cemented surface to begin with, avoid soil or else you will end up giving your two-wheeler and yourself a mud bath. Another important tip is to have good drainage or else you will end up splashing the dirty water from the ground back on to your two-wheeler.
Get a pack of microfiber towels or regular clean soft cloths. Have at least four to be on the safe side, two for the engine, wheels and other mechanicals parts when wet/dry, and two for the tank and other bodywork when wet/dry. This is done to avoid swirl marks and scratches on the bodywork. Having additional rags on hand would also come in handy to clean greasy parts like the forks, underside of the engine and the chain cover.
3. Don’t make it rain
The feeling of having the power of the gods doesn’t mean you have to bring down a rainstorm on your two-wheeler. If you do have a pressurised washer, adjust it to a lower setting before you start spraying. Start wetting the bike from top to bottom and avoid direct contact with electrical and mechanical spots at first. Adjust to the lowest setting for these areas and completely avoid pressure washing on an older motorcycle – a damp cloth should work just fine in this situation.
4. Keep the fuel in the tank
Avoid using detergents meant for utensils on your two-wheeler. These products have chemicals that can harm the paint. Fuel like diesel is used on a large scale to clean two-wheelers in India, even though it does a quick job at cleaning up your bike, it damages the paint permanently. Stick to automotive shampoos at all costs.
5. The complete job
If you are looking for a proper clean, the key is in the details and there are no two ways about it. Every single corner on your two-wheeler has to be cleaned thoroughly. Areas between the engine and the fuel system may be difficult to reach but a simple toothbrush could work wonders. Cleaning each spoke on an older motorcycle may seem tedious but will prove to be extremely rewarding.
6. Bone dry
When drying your motorcycle, make sure to use a clean cloth and start with the bodywork and then move on to the remaining bits. As we said before, best to have a separate cloth for the bodywork and the mechanicals. Since most of us don’t have access to pressured-air, it is best to take a quick spin on a clean road so that air can dry out the aforementioned corners and creases. A neat final touch would be applying a thin layer of Vaseline on chrome parts to protect them, especially if you live near the sea or ride in the monsoon.