Wrench Tip Wednesday: Dirty Bike = NO GOOD
A clean bike is a happy bike. I get extremely bent out of shape if my bike is dirty for long. Washing bikes is tedious work and I personally do not enjoy it but I can’t stress the importance of it enough. When the dirt bike is clean, it is easier to inspect damage and work on. What is your opinion, is it a good idea to have dirt clumps falling inside the engine or reservoir's?
How I wash my bike varies on the scenario. It depends on if it was a mudder, what needs worked on, or just needs cleaned. If the bike is just typical dirty and it only needs routine maintenance, I do not take a lot apart. Pull the seat off and install an air filter plug. When it is a mudder, I remove EVERYTHING after washing to my best ability. If you have never done this, you would be shocked at how much dirt hides in the little crevices of the bike. If it is rebuild time (no matter how dirty), I pull the seat, air box cover, and the tank. Anytime the tank is pulled off, make sure the fuel line connection is blocked off. Removing the tank and plastics leave a lot of wires exposed, make sure you don’t spray an excessive amount of water on them.
Time to learn how to scrub! Major key items; power washer, scrub brushes, and soap. Without them you are wasting your time. I first rinse as much dirt off as possible. Then, I will lay it down on its side. This helps get areas hard to see clean. For soaps. I use purple power, bleach white (for white plastics), or Maxima Biowash. Before using any type of cleaner make sure the bike is wet and DO NOT let it sit too long. Most cleaners can stain. Once the soap is applied, I start scrubbing and immediately following I will wash it off. If you run a raw header that is not completely rusted, a good way to clean it is purple power and Brillo pads. Brillo pads can be used on any raw metal service, to bring the shine back.
Make sure you are not just focusing on plastics. Mud that sits in bearing or seals makes them go bad faster. Get the chain clean. Let’s just go with, there should not be any dirt or grime on your bike when you are finished washing it.
After washing, use an air nozzle and blow the bike off. Use common sense and do no blow places off you shouldn’t. Over time the bike and plastics start to look dull, Maxima SC1 smells wonderful and will brighten it back up! Lastly, apply chain lube to the chain so it won’t rust. If you have a raw header such as FMF Fatty, make sure you oil it. I prefer to use Lucas Tool Box Buddy, it is nice and thick.
Now that you have a sparkly clean bike, you should have an idea what needs fixed and it is time to get to work!!