(Image source: Pinterest)
Unlike the developed world, since our roads are never washed and cleaned (other than in monsoons by the rain Gods), it requires a significant amount of effort of keeping our vehicles spic and span. Team HNP shares its top 5 tips for keeping your bike neat and clean.
But first, reasons why you cannot entrust this job to the Chotu who cleans your car every day.
Daily car cleaning is predominantly a two surface ritual – glass and paint. Even if the paint surface becomes dull and swirly over time due to careless cleaning, you can always take it to a car detailing workshop and get it back to showroom condition.
Most street bikes, on the other hand, are akin to cleaning your cars’ engine bay and have 5 or more surfaces to worry about – paint, chrome, aluminium, plastics and glass.
Dedicated bike detailers are not as common as car detailing workshops so no one is coming to your rescue anytime soon, do read on.
TIP 1: Never apply water to a hot bike. Start with a cool bike and work your way down from top to bottom, ideally with a gentle, all surface bike cleaner. Do not use common car shampoo on matte paint surfaces - most of them contain wax and will make your matte surfaces shiny in no time. Clean & lube your chain before starting the wash and cover instrument panel, switchgear, exhaust vent and any other critical areas with kitchen cling wrap before you start.
TIP 2: Use a good quality microfiber wash mitt and plenty of soapy water to gently dislodge road dirt and grime from paint, plastics and chrome surfaces. Use specialised soft brushes and a stronger solvent cleaner for greasy parts and wheel rims of the bike, lower down. Take care not to scratch or create swirls on any surface and do NOT use the brush on cleaner parts of the bike.
Image: Oxford Wash & Wax Mitt
Image: Oxford Triple Brush Set
TIP3: Once you have given the bike a good wash to get rid of all the soap and grime, spend at least 2x the time on drying the bike as compared to wetting it. Pay special attention to getting rid of any water droplets from switchgear and instrument console. If you have an air blower handy, use that to blow dry the bike – best way to dry a bike quickly and without the risk of scratches and swirls.
TIP4: Same rule applies for drying as for washing – start from top and work your way down. Use one good quality microfiber per surface – one for paint, one for chrome and definitely a separate one for wheels as they may contain abrasive brake pad dust which can swirl and scratch paint surfaces.
TIP5: Invest in a quick detailer spray to keep the paint parts of your bike nice and shiny. There are specialized quick detailers for matte paint surfaces. Chrome polishes work great on chrome parts. An all purpose plastics cleaner can take care of the plastics parts.