After a lot of muddy riding it can be a real challenge to get your bike looking brand new again. Knowing a few simple tips and tricks can save a lot of time. There are also a couple of products which are a great addition to everyone’s tool kit. Let’s break things down into different parts of the bike.
Frame and Swingarm
Most modern bikes will have aluminum swingarms and frames. Although they are fairly easily scratched or marked up while riding they are also very easy to polish.
The easiest way to do this is by using a red Scotch Brite cleaning pad. Red Scotch Brite is kind of like a soft foam sandpaper which is very inexpensive and available at almost any hardware store. After washing your bike to remove any debris, you can run the Scotch Brite back and forth along the swingarm to create a nice brushed aluminum look.
Maintaining Plastics and Decals
The condition of a bikes plastics and decals can really make or break the look of a bike. It can pay off to keep them looking clean especially for when you eventually sell it.
For most of the general light dirt and scuffs simply scrubbing with soap and water after riding is often enough. However scuffs from boots and pants are often very difficult to get off. To help with removing these, one tool to try is using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. These scrubbing pads are great for removing any discolored streaks and scuff marks. Although they are not very abrasive, always test them on a small section of your decals before using them on larger areas. Some decal brands are much more resilient than others.
Another nice finishing touch for plastics and decals is Maxima SC1 high gloss spray. Often called ‘new bike in a can’. You can spray this on after washing the bike to give the plastics a high gloss finish. Creates a very noticeable difference on older plastics and decals.
Getting The Underside
An often overlooked part of cleaning dirt bikes is washing the underside of the bike. Things like the skid plate, lower swingarm, lower forks and bottom of the exhaust often don’t get washed very well. This is usually because these are very hard to reach areas while your bike is on a stand.
An easy way to make these areas accessible is by taking the bike off of the stand and leaning the handlebar or triple on the stand instead. Here is a link to a bike washing video which can help to show how to get your bike leaned over. Another benefit of having the bike in this position is that you almost always find other dirt that was very hard to see in the shadows when the bike was vertical.
Since a lot of modern bikes have textured seat cover material, it can be difficult to get all of the dirt out of them. While washing the bike you can use a light bristle brush with soap to really clean the little textured grooves of the seat. After the seat is rinsed and dry try finishing it with some Armor All protectant wipes to give it some extra shine.