Posted in Bits and Tips
December 11, 2012

Bike Detailing – Part Two

After the Wash

(Again thank you to Sydney HOG for allowing reproduction of this information)

Wheels and Whitewalls: Spray non-acid Wheel Cleaner on the wheels and tyres. White walls need to be well taken care of, because once they start to get dirty, they’re very hard if not impossible to bring back to pure white. Harley Wheel and Tyre Cleaner is excellent; spray it onto wet wheels and let it get to work for a few minutes before washing it off. Use a wheel brush to get in between spokes. Whatever whitewall cleaner you choose, the key here is to use it after every ride, the whitewalls need that extra attention.

Boot Marks: Burnt rubber on your exhaust, either from your pillion’s boots or your own rain pants, can be removed using nail polish remover or acetone. Get the bike hot, then using a rag with acetone on it and some gloves for heat protection, rub away at the melted stuff. It’s time consuming but the rubber or plastic will come off eventually. If the pipes cool down, start the bike again to heat the pipes and keep rubbing with acetone until all the goo is removed. It’s not unusual for your pillion to take over an hour to get this job done!

Engine: The black areas of your engine can fade with time and start to look a bit grey. Spray S-100 Engine Brightener onto your engine casing and allow to stand for 5-10 mins and wipe off any excess. It doesn’t gloss your engine instead, it gives it back the matte, factory black look. Every tip here has been tested on my bike if you’d like to have a look.

Chrome: James and Ivan both recommend Meguiars and Harley chrome polishes. Ivan uses a product call Meguiar’s Motorcycle Wax which he believes is superior to other chrome waxes on the market. One look at his bike, (make sure you wear sunglasses) and you won’t argue. Once a season he uses a thin foam applicator to apply a sparse amount to all the chrome; by which time it’s ready to be polished off using a microfiber cloth. In-between polishes, Ivan simply uses a glass cleaner and microfiber cloth.

James has a word of warning: Do not use Autosol, not even on your wheels. It’s far to abrasive.

Denim Paint: Use Harley’s Denim Paint Cleaner. Don’t buff it, or it will start to look shiny. Just give it a wipe to get fingermarks etc off in-between washes. Did you know Denim Paint is actually designed to age? It won’t stay matte for its entire life, it will start to weather and shin up over time.

Leather: Ivan believes Harley-Davidson has sourced the best leather care compounds for its seat and bag care products and finds them the premium choice in the market and well worth buying.

Polishing Paint: Use terry towelling cloth, microfibre or the Harley Detailing Wipes. They’re all excellent but make sure you keep using a fresh supply so that you don’t get a build-up of dirt. Barry buys terry towels in bulk and never uses the same one twice.

Ivan: ‘Your Harley-Davidson motorcycle has a paint and clear-coat finish that is superior to most other brands. It makes sense to keep it that way. In 30 years of cleaning and polishing bikes and cars, I have finally found what I consider to be the best polish available. It comes in a little round purple tin. It is manufactured by Meguiar’s and is called “Tech Wax Paste”. You apply it sparingly to all tinware using a foam applicator. After a few minutes it will have dried. You then simply polish it off using a microfiber cloth. Meguiar’s Tech Wax is also available as a liquid. But the paste is easier to apply and the result is truly amazing. The lustre looks so deep that your bike looks brand new.”

The Quick Wash: Don’t have time for all these steps? Make sure, as a minimum, you give your bike a wash after every ride with Harley Sunwash Concentrate. Then dry it, spray it with S-100 Detail and Wax, or a glass cleaner, wipe it down and put a cover over it. This will maintain your bike’s appearance over time, but you’ve got to keep on top of it.

Road grime and brake dust are the biggest toxins to your beautiful Harley-Davidson’s finish. Some say cleaning your bike is a waste of riding time. I say it’s all part of it.

Don’t forget the safety aspect of inspecting every nut and bolt while you’re going over your bike with a fine-tooth comb. It shouldn’t be a chore to clean your bike.

With good music, a tasty beverage and a couple of hours set aside, it can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience getting your machine back to its shiny best for its next outing.

Thanks to James Rider, Ivan Obreza, Mark Hurt, Rider Guevara and Barry Miles for their valuable input and expertise in this article.