How to detail a motorbike
Written by: Vinnie van Rooij
Detailing a motorbike isn’t all that different to any other surface. The main different will be the technique and the tools used because of working in small spaces. Motorbike cleaning requires more effort then most other vehicles, due to small crevices and tight corners.
The general idea
When detailing a bike you are working with more metal surfaces, less glass and many more curves and small spaces. The technique of washing the vehicle need to be adjusted to fit the task. There are also certain things you need to take into account.
- Never apply dressing on the part of the tire that contacts the road
- Don’t make the seat slippery by using a dressing, leather grease or a smooth ceramic coating
- Never make the handles slippery by applying a dressing or similar
- Don’t forget to detail the helm and coat the glass screen
Tools to use on a motorbike
Having the right tools can make your job a lot easier. Certain tools will be a big help in getting into the small areas and crevices of a regular bike.
- Small brushes (a bit like Wheel woolies, but smaller)
- A small backingplate
- Small polishing pads
- A soft brush with extra long hairs
- An air blowing device (compressor, air blaster etc.)
- Pressure washer
- Some manufacturers of polishing machines actually make extra small polishing machines
- Steam cleaner
- MF towels
- Melanine sponge
- A small stick
Products to use
Because of the difference between a motorbike and another vehicle, you might need different product or use certain products much more then you would normally do.
- Metal polish
- Traffic film remover
- Metal sealant
- Leather cleaner
- Leather conditioner
- Engine bay cleaner
- Steelwool grade 000
- Plastic polish
tips and tricks
There a few smart tricks you can use to make your job a little easier.
- Use the small brush (like a Wheel woolie) to reach hard to get to places
- You can wrap you microfiber towel around a tool to get into small spaces
- Using a spray sealant will be easier to apply then a wax
- A steam cleaner can help to clean very stubborn caked on grease and dirt
- An engine bay cleaner or traffic film remover can help to loosen up any stubborn dirt
- Steelwool can help to clean dirty metal
- Unlike the engine of a car, a motorbike is designed to withstand the rain. As long as you’re careful, you can snowfoam the vehicle
- Some glass on a bike is actually made out of plastic and can be polished with plastic polish
- Be careful where you squirt a product, it might get into a crevice you can’t get it out of
- Cleaning the handles, seat, footsteps is good. But don’t make it slippery!
- A normal metal sealant/wax won’t work well on the exhaust, because it’ll get way to hot. However, a ceramic coating might do the trick
- A brush with extra long hairs might make it easier to get into small crevices
- Using an air blowing device will help te remove moisture from difficult to reach areas
- If you have experience with bikes, you might have the skills to remove certain panels and make your job a lot easier
- Don’t forget to detail the helmet, this can be polished like normal and the visor can be treated with a rain repellent
- The tank can benefit from an extra strong form of protection. The driver will be rubbing against it. A ceramic coating would be a good product for this
- Remember that the exhaust is at angle, which means that water can’t get out when it gets in. Tape the end off, or put something over it to prevent water from getting in
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