In a world that is becoming increasingly more virtual, it is comforting to know that something as real as a Harley-Davidson® still exists. Not only can you see it, but you can smell it, feel it and taste it. Iron. Chrome. Leather.
Maybe that is why we spend so much time cleaning our motorcycles. It is not enough just to ride them. We want to feel every fender's curve, every bolt's hard edge, and memorize the sensation. The key is to clean it right.
Despite good intentions, you can actually damage your motorcycle if you don't clean it in the proper way. Dirty rags, harsh detergents and neglected areas can cause scratching, dulling and, yes, galvanic corrosion. Keeping your Harley® clean is crucial to its long-term well-being and value. A clean bike is also easier to maintain and more likely to maintain its value.
Before you turn on the hose and crack open the Harley® Sunwash™, remember to do some simple things that can make a huge difference and help you avoid dreaded scratching:
- Remove rings, jewelry, watches and anything else that might scratch your bike as you clean. Motorcycle jackets with metal buckles, zippers and studs can be especially hazardous to paint.
- Don't try to wash your bike right after a long ride. Make sure your bike is cool to the touch. Not only can a hot engine and pipes burn you, but they can scar your motorcycle by making waxes and cleaners act differently.
- If your bike is caked with mud or heavy soil, rinse it off first. Sponging over crusted dirt can scratch your paint.
- Beware the old sponge -- it may have dirt trapped inside that will scratch your finish. We recommend using the wash mitt available from Harley-Davidson.
Buy cleaning products made for cleaning motorcycles, like those available in the Motor Accessories section of harley-davidson.com. Just because something makes your bathtub or toaster shine, doesn't mean it will do the same for your Harley.
Now that you're ready, it's time to roll up your sleeves and get to work.
- Dilute Sunwash™ according to instructions on bottle and wash bike. Sunwash contains special water softeners that allow it to be used in direct sunlight.
- Rinse thoroughly from the top down, paying careful attention to complete removal of cleaner, especially from nooks and crannies.
- During rinsing, you may splatter cleaner from one part of the bike to another, so go back and give the bike a light misting.
- In drying your bike, pay close attention to areas where water tends to puddle.
- Leaf blowers make excellent bike dryers. Again, make certain the blower is clean. Compressed air is not good for drying, because oil and rust particles are often inside the tank.
Clean your wheels -- and pay special attention to the dreaded galvanic corrosion. In the course of normal use, particles from brake dust get on your wheels. If neglected, these non-compatible metals can react to one another -- creating galvanic corrosion -- and produce pitting on your wheels. The result is costly refinishing of the wheel. In other words, wheel dirt is a whole new kind of dirt -- so it needs a whole new kind of cleaner. Look for a cleaner made specifically for wheels, preferably Harley-Davidson® Wheel and Tire Cleaner.
THE ONCE OVER
As you clean and rinse your bike, be very aware of how water reacts. This will give you an indication of what to do next .
- If the water beads into small round droplets, you probably don't need to polish your bike.
- If the water sheets or forms oblong droplets, it may be time for a polish job.
If your bike is older than six months, professional detailers recommend a pre-cleaning or cleansing. Use Harley® Glaze Polish and Sealant to deal with imperfections, slight scratches, dulling and stains.
THE POLICH AND SEAL
Polishing and sealing isn't just about good looks. A well cared-for bike repels dust, dirt, bugs and dirty water.
- Use Harley® Glaze Polish and Sealant and follow the instructions on bottle.
- Don't use in bright sunlight or if the air is especially humid.
- Use a softcloth for application.
- A soft cloth is an absolute must for buffing.
- If streaking occurs, try dampened softcloth or a couple of drops of distilled water in a gentle circular motion. If streaking is severe, reapply a small amount of the polish and remove quickly.
After polishing, let the bike remain in the shade for several hours if possible.
Give your bike a bath - but probably not like this!