A guide for motorcycle detailing

By: Leslie Francis


Your 90lb. or so lean-mean machine is your pride and joy and if you've customized it, understandably, you might want to flaunt the beauty. Hence, shine is the key!

Begin with a plan

It's a process. Do not skip assessing the quality and texture of various materials you would be working on before choosing supplies. Dressings on 'controls' is a complete no-no from safety angle. There is no room for a slip here or a skid there. Generally, spray & wipe work well. Run-down nooks and crannies and crevices yell for a wet wash, though!

Using the right tools will result in deep and thorough, inside and out, cleaning and polishing.

Elevate, if practical. This allows wheels to spin easily. Remove parts, like, windshield, saddlebags, and side-panels etc., coming in the way of grungy rarely cleaned areas. To be methodical start with wheels, work your way around rinsing after each. Spray a tire cleaner. Scrub sidewalls while it's soaking. Clean off. Repeat for each tire.

Use a good polishing soap on neglected aluminium or chrome to avoid black crud. Scrub wheels and clean brakes. Chrome wheels and spokes are tedious but rewarding. Brake dust gets etched. Bug sponge works well for fork-legs, headlight surrounds, backs of mirrors and chrome/aluminium areas. Aluminium spokes are not economically viable. Non-chrome spokes are cadmium. Re-shine is a goner on these.

Degrease the engine, battery, pipes and frame; soak; clean with a detail brush. Get into every nook and cranny! Rinse. Repeat on rear. Also, the cleaning of hand control and various buttons is painstaking but inescapable.

To clean the body, wet the machine down, leave it foamed for a while, especially the forward-facing bug encrusted areas. To soften these draping wet towel on these. Caution: plastic-webbed bug sponge may leave ugly scratches. Rinse or spray down the removed parts as well.

Finally, vacuum or blow dry the bike. Use a good MF on the painted tin and a lesser favourite for the low stuff. Chances are, you will be soiled and have grunge, tar or grease on you that got missed during washing.

Final touches like wax, lacquer on tire walls, tire shine, chrome polishers etc are optional. Settle for a clean look. Best is to avoid a polish that would leaving trails; do not use on a warm engine. Detail brush is user-friendly for cleaning the cooling fins on engines. Be careful while choosing your polish and the size of the pad that comes with it. Of course, using hands is always an option for the die-hards if you time and patience and your baby does not reveal any tough challenges. An all-purpose cleaner or wax works scores brownie points on chrome; is good on frame, wires, control cables and places needing shine and protection and is quite fair to discoloured exhausts. Lastly, mopping off the excess will lend a sexy finish to your motorcycle. It's crucial not to leave anything wet to dry on its own if that killer shine is your goal.

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Ciarlo`s Car Emporium is a Car Wash and Lube Center business that allows for a safe, consistent exterior cleaning and the ability for their staff to focus on the interior.

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