Every motorcycle owner first dreamed of owning their own hog when they saw a family member, role model, or even a perfect stranger out on the open road in theirs — and odds are, that first, inspirational motorcycle wasn’t covered in dirt and grime! Why would anyone want their motorcycle to look dingy and dirty after they’ve achieved the dream of owning one?
Keep reading for our top five tips for keeping your motorcycle looking — and running! — its best.
#5: Keep the Chain Clean
If you’re a new motorcycle owner, you might not even think of cleaning the chain when you periodically wash your motorcycle! Doing so is important both for keeping your bike looking great and running its best. Most modern chains are now O-rings, which need to be cleaned less often on average than the older, unsealed chains, but if you drive a vintage model it’s important to know what kind of chain you have. If you have a modern bike, you only really need to clean the chain when it becomes visibly dirty, or at the recommended mileage in the owner’s manual.
When you clean the chain, first elevate the rear wheel of the bike and put the transmission in neutral, allowing the chain to move easily. Then use a gentle bristle brush to remove any grit and grime from the chain. FInally, lubricate the chain by rotating the back wheel as you apply lubrication made specifically for chains. Let it set for around five minutes before wiping off excess with a paper towel.
#4 Clean and Polish the Wheels
Wheels and tires are prone to neglect simply because they’re such a standard part of the motorcycle, but they always benefit from some extra attention since they’re likely to collect most of the dirt and grime from the road. Rinse the wheels off thoroughly and clean the spokes, then care for the metal by polishing and waxing it. Ensure you know whether your wheel rims are made of chrome, aluminum, or an aluminum alloy so you know how to care for them properly — each material should be cleaned and polished slightly differently.
#3 Condition the Upholstery
Keeping your seats clean and in good shape can give you a safer and more comfortable ride, in addition to keeping your motorcycle looking good. You can use different types of cleaner and conditioner depending on whether the seat is leather, natural leather, or faux-leather or vinyl, so refer to the owner’s manual to be sure what to use and how to care for it. Regular cleaning and conditioning will help keep the upholstery from cracking and dry rotting.
#2 Wax and Polish
Waxing and polishing a motorcycle is a bit different than doing the same for a car. If the paint is well maintained already, it can be clayed and polished before it’s sealed or waxed, while if the paint is need of a bit more care, you may need to use machine compound before polishing, waxing, and sealing.
#1 Regular All-Over Detailing
The top thing you can do to keep your motorcycle looking and performing its best is to have it detailed regularly. You can either do the detailing work yourself, following useful checklists and tips like this one, or you can have it done by a professional who already knows the nuances of everything your motorcycle needs. Comprehensive detailing keeps everything on the motorcycle clean, conditioned against corrosion, and helps identify any budding mechanical or electrical issues before they get too serious. Best of all, with mobile detailing, getting all of your vehicles detailed at the same time is quick and convenient.
What are some of your favorite tips and tricks for keeping your motorcycle in top condition? Let us know in the comments!