How Often Should You Clean Your Motorcycle?
June 23, 2021
Motorcycle enthusiasts often readily admit to being obsessed with their ride. If you clean your motorcycle as often as you brush your teeth, then you’ll know what we’re talking about! This is no bad thing if you want to keep your beloved bike in mint condition. It can also help to secure a higher resale price (if you can ever bring yourself to part with your pride and joy!).
However, we know that it is not necessary to completely clean your motorcycle twice a day. Also, perhaps you simply prefer to focus on the fun and freedom of riding, rather than reaching for the shine spray every time you take your two wheels for a spin. So, how often should you clean your motorcycle? It depends on different factors such as the weather, the road conditions and the amount of time you spend on your bike. The following suggestions will hopefully give you a better idea of how much cleaning your motorcycle really needs.
Quick Clean Your Motorcycle After Each Short Ride
It might sound over the top to reach for a cleaning cloth each time you’ve taken your motorcycle for a quick spin. However, a 5-minute clean after each ride is no bad thing, particularly if you notice obvious dirt marks on your bike. For example, dedicating a few minutes to washing bug splats off the windshield and lights or wiping off a muddy seat reduces cleaning time at a later date.
Note, we’re not talking about a complete wash-down, more spot-cleaning after each ride. It can be time well spent because it is much harder to remove stubborn bug grime, tar deposits, caked-on mud and other contaminants if they are left to build up over a period of weeks.
Clean Your Motorcycle After a Long-Distance Ride
The more time you spend on the road, the more your bike is going to collect dirt and grime. So, after you’ve spent all day riding, clean your motorcycle once the engine and pipes have cooled. Aim to do it sooner rather than later because cleaning your bike later in the day becomes trickier as the light starts to fade. You are more likely to miss dirt marks and streaks.
If your route includes unpaved roads your wheels and the underside of your bike will quickly pick up mud splatter and dust. At the very least, use a hose to target the wheels to remove heavy dirt and grime, especially after off-road riding.
If you are traveling over a number of days, a motorcycle detailing kit for the road is a good idea. Bug/insect removal spray and lubricant products for the bike chain come in handy. Spending half an hour giving your ride a post-ride clean will keep it looking good for when you are ready to hit the road the following day.
Wash Your Whole Motorcycle Every Two Weeks
If you choose not to give your motorcycle a quick spot-clean after each ride, it will need a thorough going-over every two weeks or every 5-6 rides to remove any dirt build-up. This includes using hot, soapy water to wash down the body of the bike, wheels and windshield. Knowing how to maintain a motorcycle like a pro will ensure that you maintain your vehicle, keeping it looking like new and in good working order.
Clean Your Motorcycle After Riding in the Rain
The weather also determines how often you should clean your motorcycle. Your bike will pick up more road grime and salt spray when you are riding in the rain or if you hit puddles. Pay attention to tires and headlights that can quickly become muddied with dirty rainwater. Wheel rims and spokes will need attention too. Acids and oils in the rainwater, sandy grit and roadside grime are not great for the appearance or performance of your bike. Clean off water spots from chromework with a microfiber cloth and use recommended motorcycle detailing products for chrome and other metal surfaces.
Detailing Your Motorcycle
Taking the time to clean your motorcycle will help to keep it looking good on a day-to-day basis. However, professional motorcycle detailing gives it that extra level of care and attention that regular washing simply can’t provide. Detailing is a labor-intensive job, which means it is usually only done every couple of months or maybe even less. How often you should detail your bike pretty much depends on the following factors as these tend to influence the frequency of motorcycle detailing:
Occasional Motorcycle Detailing
Are you mainly a weekend cruiser or perhaps you only take the bike out every month or so? If your bike is not used very often, then it won’t require regular detailing providing you clean your motorcycle as and when it gets dirty. When and where you go will also make a difference, too. Riding in dry conditions and on well-maintained roads usually means your bike can go longer between detailing sessions. Therefore, detailing two or three times a year should suffice, especially after the summer season. Detailing to make your motorcycle ready for winter also means less work for you when it is time to go riding again in the spring.
Detailing Once a Month
Do you ride your bike daily? If your bike gets regular, heavy use and you take it out regardless of the weather, then be sure to look after it with regular detailing once a month. The services of a mobile motorcycle detailing provider are worth looking into if you don’t have the time to clean your motorcycle or give it the in-depth detailing experience it deserves during the riding season.
Detailing Older Motorcycles Twice a Month
The age and condition of your vehicle is another big factor in determining how often it needs detailing. Older motorcycles will benefit from detailing more often than a brand new, shiny bike. This includes looking after chrome and paintwork and also careful engine cleaning to maintain the smooth running of your ride. Motorcycle air filter cleaning is important to bear in mind, too.
Detailing Dirtier Motorcycles Once a Week
Where you ride your bike is going to influence the frequency of your detailing. If you are into off-road riding, then think about detailing your bike once a week, especially motorcycles driven by a chain. It is important to keep your bike chain clean and lubricated otherwise thick mud and dirt may affect its performance. If your bike needs weekly detailing, knowing how to detail a motorcycle will ensure you do it right and also save you money on hiring someone else to do it.
Detailing More Often in Certain Areas or Situations
Your location can also influence your detailing schedule. For example, salt corrosion can be a problem if you live near the sea or in a part of the country where the winter season is long and hard. Road salt and sea spray can speed up the rusting process on your bike. You will need to protect it with regular detailing. The question how many times should you wax your car can also be asked about your motorcycle. Every one or two months is recommended if you want to keep it well-protected.
Do you park your motorcycle outside on the street, or is it garaged when not in use? If your bike is kept outside, then it is going to need detailing more often. For example, if it is parked under a tree, sap and bird droppings can be a problem. Clean your motorcycle regularly as well as detailing it. A good-quality wax applied to all the painted areas will help to protect your bike from these contaminants.
Having a good idea of how often you should clean your motorcycle helps to keep your ride looking great and helps to protect your investment, too. Frequent, quick cleans help to save time in the long-run and also make it easier when a more thorough future clean is performed. Developing good habits, such as cleaning the windshield and lights after each ride or removing tree sap, tar and road grime as soon as possible all helps to maintain the appearance of your vehicle between detailing appointments.
As a general rule of thumb, the appearance of your motorbike will give you a good indication of when it will benefit from detailing services. If you want to keep your pride and joy looking beautiful and performing at its best, schedule an appointment with DetailXPerts to experience what a professional motorcycle detailing service is all about.
Also, make sure you check DetailXPerts’ Pinterest board on motorcycles if you love to keep in the know with the latest bike trends.