Imagine, if you will, a scene that’s probably all too familiar to you. Summer’s finally come around again, and you rush into the garage as the first beam of sunshine breaks through the clouds. A huge, childish grin spreads across your face- you pull back the sheet covering your bike, and….oh. The sad little bit of machinery in front of you is, for reasons beyond you, nothing like the shiny, roaring monster you rode in days of yore. What happened? Surely it hasn’t been that long…
The thing is, if you go out for a wild adventure, and then come home and dump your bike until next year (or maybe the one after that), that muck you’ve picked up isn’t going to go away. Went out in the rain? Rust and window smudges. Went out on a dirt road? That mud will get everywhere it shouldn’t (believe me). If you’re not going to clean it every time (which the majority don’t have the time or inclination for), at least give it a proper pampering after the last trip of the year.
Here’s some products on the market that will help you do just that - and remember - if you ever sell your bike (maybe to we buy any bike?) all the effort you've put into cleaning it will go on to make sure you get the best price possible.
Not only is this a great glass cleaner, it will also stop water beading on your windscreen! Put a little on some scrunched up newspaper and scrub the glass. You might want to try doing the same to your gps screen, if you have one on your bike, as well as the visor on your helmet (obviously not while you’re wearing it, though).
This usually comes in a spray bottle for easy application. In my opinion, it’s best to use this before washing your bike properly, as it leaves a residue. There are many brands, and some are good for specific types of dirt- for example, Muc-Off also breaks down tree sap. This stuff is perfect for the type of grime that just smudge that just spreads around when you try to scrub it off.
This piece of equipment will run you about £80, but is incredibly useful or washing off large amount of mud, is super compact, and can also be used on your car and patio! Just make sure your engine has cooled down before washing with cold water.
These are brilliant for getting off smudges and dirt, whether they’re wet or dry. They’re much more effective than cheap rags that get (and stay) greasy. These wash easily, dry quickly, and can be used over and over again. However, usually the ones you find in cheap pound shops don’t work quite as well- go for a more expensive brand, or buy online.
Ok, this one’s not exactly a purpose made product- but it will work wonders on those tough dirt marks and burned on grime stains. If you have one of those steel-bristled things hanging around, don’t be tempted to use it- you just might scratch the paintwork. Go for a used or value toothbrush instead (or you could even use the rough side of a new dish sponge).
A small bottle should last you a while. This is pretty much an essential product if you want everything to run smoothly- which, of course, you do. Just ensure when you apply it that the chain is clean and dry (and don’t go over board).
This is really useful for keeping your seat and back rest in good condition, and should prevent (or at least delay) cracking in the leather. This kit contains multiple products for cleaning and protection, as well as specialised products for cleaning your boots, gloves, etc. Nikwax also sells the cleaner and restorer separately, if you don’t want to go all out.
This is a great company selling all sorts of motorbike cleaning products, some of which are available in packs that would make great gifts! They also seem to try to use natural ingredients like aloe vera extract, which should mean less chemical build-up.
I’ve left this until the end as it’s kind of a given- even biker newbs have heard of it. It’s the number 1 top brand bought on Amazon for bike care for a reason, and I guarantee you’ll see a can on the shelf of any mechanics/garage.
If you’ve got any personal recommendations for a bike care product, leave a comment below and I’ll add it to the list.
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