We have a lot of fans out there who love detailing their Motorbikes with our great range of detailing products. When detailing a Motorbike, we stick to the same fundamental principles as when detailing a car with reference to our safe wash system, only we tweak a few things and add some steps for removing grease from specific areas on the bike, and we take special care and pay attention to any external air filters and other sensitive componentry.
The first step is always to inspect the bike.
- What type of bike is it?
- What materials are used on the bike?
- Are there any unpainted plastics?
- Are there matte surfaces?
- Is there an exposed air filter?
- Do other components need to be covered prior to starting detailing?
All of these questions and more, need to be asked before you start the job. Give the bike a good look over and get familiar with the different parts of it - each bike is different, so get to know yours well.
This particular bike we're doing here is a 1999 Aprilia RSV Mille R. It has no exposed air filter, no unpainted plastics and no matte surfaces. It does have a vinyl seat, which we will cover later in this article.
After you’ve looked over the bike thoroughly, it’s time to take some precautions and do some preparation. At this stage, you can start by removing the seat if you wish. Cover any electrical components with plastic wrap or a plastic bag of sorts so that water can’t get in there. Cover any exposed air filters with a plastic bag and any other electrical components around the bike that look like they should be covered - cover them with plastic wrap or similar. With the exposed electrical componentry covered, it’s time to get the bike up on stands or on a lift - we do this for safety so the bike doesn’t fall over during any of the following steps.
Degrease, Wheels and Snow Job
Before you start any of this, have your pressure washer ready and hooked up to the Snow Blow Cannon, all ready to go. This is where we differ off from normal car detailing process slightly. Treat high grime/grease areas with Orange Agent and agitate with a brush like our Nuts and Guts brush. We do this to help loosen all the really caked on grime around the chain, sprocket and guard, and any other areas that are prone to heavy dirt and grime - work quickly; DO NOT LET IT DRY.
Now, just like the process when detailing a car, we want to do the wheels first. We do this with Wheely Clean, and then Snow Job over the top within 30 seconds. Spray Wheely Clean onto both wheels and gently agitate with the Nuts and Guts brush, and then within 30 seconds, hit the whole bike with the Snow Job, starting at the lower sections of the bike, and working your way to the top.
Leave the Snow Job to dwell and break down the dirt and grime for around 4-5 minutes, but don’t let it dry. After 4-5 minutes, pressure rinse the whole bike down, making sure to really get into those tight areas where you sprayed the Orange Agent and agitated with the brush.
Now that the bulk of the dirt of grime has been broken down and pressure rinsed off, it’s time to wash the bike.
You can use any of our lubricating washes; Nanolicious Wash, Wax Wash or Auto Body Gel - all are pH neutral and very gentle with good gloss enhancing properties. NOTE - if you have a matte finish bike, use the Auto Body Gel. For this bike, we've chosen Nanolicious Wash because it's highly lubricating, super sudsy and we just love it. Wax Wash is also excellent for its anti rust properties - really cool for bikes with lots of exposed metal.
Choice of washing tool is up to you, though for this article we used The Love Glove. Shagtastic Wash Pad would be another really good choice for this bike and holds more suds, but for ease of use and getting into all the nooks and crannies on this particular bike, we felt The Love Glove was more suitable. Using the 2 bucket wash method, and with a good bucket of suds beside you, start at the top of the bike and work your way to the bottom. Be sure to rinse out The Love Glove in your Rinse bucket when it becomes dirty, to avoid contaminating your wash suds.
High pressure rinse the entire bike down again in preparation for the clay bar. Be sure to get the pressure washer into all those hard to reach places.
Clay Bar / Towel
If your wash suds bucket is still clean, add another capful of wash solution to it, then hit it with the hose or pressure washer again to get an extremely sudsy mixture going. If the wash water is dirty, pour it out and start fresh with a double dose (2 cap fulls) of wash mix, then froth the mixture up nicely.
Place The Love Glove or your desired wash tool into the suds solution and put a generous amount of suds onto the painted sections of the bike you’re going to clay. Also dip your clay bar/towel into the suds solution, then gently clay the painted areas of the bike, always making sure the area you’re working on is well lubricated with no dry spots. Once the painted areas have been clayed, rinse the areas thoroughly with the pressure washer, or a gentle stream of water from the hose.
We've used the Fine Clay Bar here because it's just a bit easier to get in and around the different areas of the tank compared to the Fine Clay Towel.
Seat / Exterior Vinyl & Plastics
If the seat on your bike is a vinyl finish like the one on this bike, then follow these steps.
Spray Sublime Clean liberally onto the surface, then with The Love Glove or a soft bristled brush, give the seat a good clean and agitation. Rinse thoroughly and then dry the seat.
Once the rest of the bike has been done, you can seal the seat with Vinyl Revival. Simple spray some Vinyl Revival into a Square Bear applicator pad and apply liberally to the seat. Leave it to sit for 1 minute, then apply another layer of Vinyl Revival. Leave that to sit for another minute, then wipe off any excess product with a Dirty Deeds cloth or similar.
With the bike washed and clayed, it’s now time to dry. We like to start by going over the whole bike with a small, battery powered air blowerif possible. This really helps to remove water from all those hard to get to areas and removes the bulk of the standing water.
Once you’ve done this, grab The Big Green Sucker and spray 4 sprays of Boss Gloss per side, then dry the painted areas and other areas you can get to.
Alternatively you can use our new drying aid; After Glow. Grab 2 Big Softie cloths, 1 damp, 1 dry. Spray 4 sprays of After Glow into the damp, folded cloth and dry all the areas you can. With the folded dry cloth, follow up and take care of any remaining residue.
Cleansing - Preparing for wax
Place a 50c sized dollop of Paint Cleanse & Restore onto a Circle Work pad and work the product in with your fingers so there are no dry spots on the pad.
Using back and forth, then side to side motions, gently work the product into the painted areas until the product starts to go clear. Once this occurs, gently buff off the remaining residue with a clean and folded Big Softie cloth on the low pile side. Flip the cloth to the high pile side and give it one last buff.
We always wax first on a freshly cleansed surface to bring out the depth in the paint. Spray 6-8 sprays of Lazy Wax into a clean and dry Drop Bear cloth folded in half. Apply to all areas you’ve cleansed (even other areas, including any plastics too, as Lazy Wax loves external plastics). Allow 10 seconds or so for the product to begin to flash off, then wipe off any remaining residue with a second clean and folded Drop Bear cloth.
Give the wax 3-4 hours to cure, then seal it with Fully Slick or After Glow. After Glow gets applied the same way as it does to dry the car - 1 damp cloth and 1 dry cloth. For Fully Slick, use it in the same manner as Lazy Wax - 6-8 sprays into a folded Drop Bear cloth, apply the product in a back and forth, then side to side motion for full coverage. Once it’s been applied, allow 5-10 seconds for the product to begin to flash off, then use a second clean and folded Drop Bear cloth to buff off any remaining residue.
For layering of products, allow 1 hour cure time for Fully Slick before applying another layer over the top of it, and allow 15 minutes for After Glow. There’s no real need to layer any more than 3 times as there is a point of diminishing returns.
Polishing the metal parts of the bike can really set it off at the end of a full detail. The bike I detailed here didn't have any metal to polish, so I enlisted the help of Nathanael House at Perfection Automotive Detailing who is a bike detailing specialist, and he sent me these photos of a Harley Davidson he's recently detailed and polished with our Metal Polish.
These results were achieved with our new "Tru Blu" Metal Polish formula and a couple of Dirty Deeds cloths. Apply a small dollop of the metal polish to a clean, dry and folded Dirty Deeds cloth, then apply it to the surface and gently spread it around, then use a bit of elbow grease in a back and forth, up and down motion to clean the metal up. Once the area is polished to your satisfaction, wipe the area thoroughly with your second clean, dry and folded Dirty Deeds cloth. Now smile at your reflection :).
As we touched on before, if your bike has a matte finish paint job, these are the steps that you would follow.
Use Orange Agent on all the greasy and oily areas as per normal, then Snow Job as your pre wash and then wash with Auto Body Gel. Snow Job is safe for matte finishes and Auto Body Gel is also safe for matte finishes and will leave a very nice and clean surface without the risk of any streaking.
Dry the bike with The Big Green Sucker without the use of Boss Gloss on the painted areas. Once the bike has been dried, wipe down all the matte finished areas with Clean Detail and a couple Big Softie cloths. Clean Detail is our dedicated cleaning spray and is perfect for matte finishes due to having no extra gloss enhancers built into its formula. It's also got some anti static properties built into it, which makes it very useful for bikes and matte finishes.
Again, I employed the help of Nathanael House from Perfection Automotive Detailing for this one. Nathanael is the most experienced bike detailer we know and does amazing work, as can be seen here with this awesome Harley that he recently detailed.
I hope this has helped answer some questions you may have about motorbike detailing with our car care products. We know there are a lot of you out there who already use our products for your bikes, so I hope this has helped you too.
If you have any more questions about this article or the processes used, feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 1800 351 308.