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Thread: Best Dirty Bike Wash?

  1. #1
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    Best Dirty Bike Wash?

    My bike has 5k of Mexico all over it and now that the weather is turning around-what is a really good bike wash and where do I get it?I'll add that I'm rural and have zero bike dealers anywhere near.

  2. #2
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    I favor Dawn dishwashing liquid in a bucket of hot water, with a scrub brush, washing rag, and sponge handy. Wet down liberally with the hose, scrub with soapy water using the brush, rag, or sponge as easiest for the part being scrubbed. Rinse. Repeat as needed.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
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    I am reluctant to criticize anything Paul says. He knows a lot more about maintaining bikes than I will ever know. But I have to question his choice of Dawn. As a youngster I always cleaned my cars and bikes with dish washing cleaners. But I have since read many articles stating that dish washing detergents have degreasing cleaners that are not recommended for automotive finishes. A time or two probably wouldn't do much harm but long term it supposedly has a detrimental effect on the finish. It will also strip most protective wax finishes. Maybe Paul knows something about Dawn that I don't. I would drop by the auto parts store and buy any good name brand auto cleaner. They aren't very expensive and you will be assured of a product designed for the paints used on cars and bikes.

    Sorry Paul. Now set me straight.
    I get knocked down, But I get up again, You're never going to keep me down - Chumbawamba

    Denver, CO - '05 R1200RT, '06 F650 GS Dakar, 2006 Yamaha WR450F

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    Once there was a Tavern PAULBACH's Avatar
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    I recall this discussion back a few clicks.

    Some dealer on the East Coast has a very detailed article on line about how to get the job done from headlight to taillight.

    Have to hustle off to a birthday party a few hundred miles from her. Will try to dig it out on return - if somebody has not found the article by then.

  5. #5
    Registered User dancogan's Avatar
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    I've heard some of the same things about not using dish detergent. But the reason given was mostly the part already mentioned that the degreasers are strong enough to remove the wax you might have worked so hard to apply.

    Maybe if you don't wax your bike you don't have to worry about it!
    Dan

  6. #6
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    On the r1150r forum I have a post that says the Aerostich green stuff is great. Who cares about wax when your bike is really grungy? Clean is the issue and waxing a bike is not hard at all. If you are talking a normally dirty 4 wheel vehicle that you spent hours waxing, that is another matter. I have always used the dish wash/dawn approach on bikes only-OR- vehicles that I am going to perform body work on and need to not have wax in the mix. I also use it on new body parts before I scuff them as a prewash. There are commercial washes to use for this purpose too. Now that my brain is churning(HA) I am thinking of my wifes Dawn that's for 10x the grease??? might do wonders on my lower bikes grunge...

  7. #7
    A wandering Bird Vagabird's Avatar
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    I used to use Dawn, too. My brother-in-law, who takes much better care of his vehicles than I do, uses carwash stuff you get at the auto parts store. I started using that too and have found it works a lot better than Dawn. Just my humble opinion.
    '12 K1600 GT

    What is it you intend to do with your one wild and precious life? - Mary Oliver

  8. #8
    Brett
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    I use mag wheel cleaner, the kind you spray on. I only use it on the engine and metal parts and I spray it on and rinse it off. Every time I go to the dealer they remark how good of shape my 04 r1150gs is in and how easy it is to service, bolts easy to remove etc. It has 63,000 miles of all kinds of riding on it also. I also spray all the metal and controls with WD-40 before I put it away in the fall to keep everything lubed. Seems to work for me but I'm sure some would argue it hurts protective finishes or something but has not seemed to be an issue for my bike.
    Also I clean with the WD-40, it removes tar from the muffler and other debris that seems to stick like glue to a motorcycle.

    Brett Endress
    Altoona pa

  9. #9
    Not available in stores.. PAGoldsby's Avatar
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    I use Simple Green, ridiculously diluted. I hose down the motorcycle, then spray Simple Green over the particularly grungy areas to let it soak. Then, in ~4 gallons of HOT water, I put about a cup of concentrated Simple Green. I use a sponge, rag, brush or whatever to scrub the motorcycle stem-to-stern, and then rinse thoroughly. I hit the instrument cluster and mirrors and a few other nooks and crannies with compressed air to blow out the water. Then I towel-dry whatever's still wet. I gave up on waxing motorcycles years and years ago.
    I can't believe how incredulous I am.

  10. #10
    Registered User dancogan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kantuckid View Post
    ...Clean is the issue and waxing a bike is not hard at all. ...
    Ah, perhaps said by a person who doesn't have to wax an 05 RT. Too much body work and too many panels!
    Dan

  11. #11
    Rpbump USN RET CPO Rpbump's Avatar
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    Smile

    I use a hose to knock off most of the dirt & then use S100 along with a soft bristle brush to get the rest of the grime. Rinse throughly, clean windscreen, wax/polish if needed, and relax with a cold beer. Ride Safe

  12. #12
    Once there was a Tavern PAULBACH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAULBACH View Post
    I recall this discussion back a few clicks.

    Some dealer on the East Coast has a very detailed article on line about how to get the job done from headlight to taillight.

    Have to hustle off to a birthday party a few hundred miles from here. Will try to dig it out on return - if somebody has not found the article by then.
    Found it! Everything you need to know about detailing your Beemer.

    Go to Mortons BMW Motorcycles

    Click on Features which will bring up a page full of interesting articles.

    At the bottom click on Beemer Detailing by Bill Shaw. This is the preface:

    There is a perception within the BMW motorcycling community that anyone with a clean bike, particularly a GS, must not ride far or often, or would rather clean it than ride it. As a matter of fact, Lifetime BMW MOA member and GS rider Don Graling is often heard saying that "a clean GS is a dirty shame." Well, I am here to suggest that the two do not have to be mutually exclusive.

    There are a number of advantages to periodically cleaning your bike like protecting your investment, taking pride in its appearance, or, for those attentive riders mindful of costly repairs, identifying problems before they occur. It should be considered routine maintenance, which is why I recommend doing it with the same commitment and regularity as a 3,000-mile oil change.

    Coupled with ideas given to me by friends, as well as information gleaned from the Internet, marketing literature and other reading material, the following is a compilation of techniques that I've been using for years to clean my Beemers.

  13. #13
    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
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    Hmmmm....nobody else here just waits until it rains?
    Salty Fog Rally 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, AND LOOKING FORWARD TO 2014!

    -Tom (KA1TOX)

  14. #14
    RK Ryder
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommcgee View Post
    Hmmmm....nobody else here just waits until it rains?
    When I travelled through Manitoba and Saskatchewan last summer, the panniers, engine guards, windshield and even my boots were covered with grasshoppers. I did have at least one daytime rain and two overnight rains before I got home. Arrived home with no grasshoppers. That acid rain sure did the trick cleaning up my bike.

    Normally when I return from a ride, less than five minutes with a hose and a quick wipe down will have the bike looking respectably clean for my next ride.
    Paul
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
    Treasurer of the Forest City Motorrad Club #159
    Knights of the Roundel #333

  15. #15
    Mars needs women! 35634's Avatar
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    Go to a HD forum for tips on cleaning. Essentially, clean & polish 23 hours for every
    hour riding. Only ride on nice days. Better yet, put the bike in the back of a truck
    and drive it where-ever. Save's alot of polishing time.
    1987 K75S
    Original litter
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    2012 Ural Gear Up

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