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Wash your motorcycle!

How to wash your motorcycle and prepare for the spring riding season...

Preparing to wash your motorcycle after Winter storage always has an air of anticipation and expectancy for me.. Yes, after the many months of waiting, getting the chance to do anything to your motorcycle is a much anticipated task. Sure it is not on the "hunny do list." But it is the number one to do item on your list. Whether you ride a BMW tourer, ZZR1200 Sport Tourer, or Victory Kingpin, you should approach the task like a Zen master. Learning about your bike again, fine tuning it up and preparing it for its first spring ride. So, get out the cache of cleaning supplies, soap, polish and waxes, lubricants, etc... and wash your motorcycle!

Wash you motorcycle number one: get the gear together...

New sponges, cloths, chamois, soap, wax... there are too many products to list everything you could use to wash your motorcycle. I generally use a mild soap, and a soft synthetic glove style sponge, with plenty of water available for a good rinse. Then I wipe excess water from the bike using a synthetic absorbent cloth, and leave the bike to air dry. I follow with a quick wax.

Wash your motorcycle number two: general maintenance...

The following punch list has been comprised by reading through the various motorcycle owners manuals (MOMs) and service manuals. As well as, from my own experiences as to what works. After a few months in storage for both you and your bike, I encourage you to read your general maintenance sections of your M.O.M just to make sure you did not forget something basic like inflating the tires to the proper inflation specifications.

  • Check battery terminals (clean, if necessary, with baking soda and water).
  • Dry or apply an after wash product (there are several available), then dry.
  • Check oil and other lubricants.
  • Check cables and lub with specified lubricants.
  • Check tire pressure and wear.
  • Check, charge, or install the battery (positive lead first).
  • Check all lights, and operation of each.
  • Check brake fluid level, and pads/shoes for wear.
  • Wash or apply a pre-wash, and then thoroughly "bathe" your ride.
  • Apply leather treatment to leather components.
  • Check drive belt, chain, or shaft.
  • Polish and wax all chrome and painted parts.
  • Add "octane" booster (if desired) according to directions.
  • Clean inside of helmet with mild soap (let dry).

    Write down beginning mileage.

    Review any notes written before putting your motorcycle in Winter storage.

    Finally, you made it through your first wash your motorcycle maintenance task and now are one with your motorcycle. Well, not quite yet. Now you need to fine-tune yourself. By that I mean, practice your basic riding skills. Head out to an empty parking lot and practice your braking, slow-speed riding techniques, and clutch control. You will find that you are a bit rusty. This will also give you a chance to see if there is anything you missed while going through your spring tune-up punch list.

    The bottom line is to have fun. Motorcycling is all about the passion. I firmly believe in one doing their own motorcycle maintenance. If you are doubtful of your mechanical skill all you need to do is go to one of the many online motorcycle forum sites and post questions or browse their How-To articles. Ideally you want to go to a site that refers to your own model of motorcycle.

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