Best Cleaning Methods - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 72 Old 09-01-2013, 11:25 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Tallahassee, FL
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Best Cleaning Methods

I have now driven nearly 500 miles on my 2012 V-Strom 650 ABS since picking it up with 0 miles logged last Wednesday. Having invested a decent bit of money in my new bike, and being very proud of my purchase, I want to maintain the new appearance of the bike. Cleaning the motorcycle is something I'm not to familiar with. Recommendations on the best cleaning methods? What's chemicals as well as rag/cloth/wipe/applicator materials are best for cleaning the painted plastic fairings without scratching the paint? The mirrors, headlights, fenders? Cleaning the motor, exhaust? Frequency of cleaning suggested? Anything helps.
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post #2 of 72 Old 09-01-2013, 11:43 PM
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Location: St. Helena, Ca
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Howdy, for me personally I love the layers of dirt build up around the bike. It's more of a "yes, i drive off road" type of mentality. I do however keep my chain clean. Otherwise a lint free cloth will dust your plastics, I suppose Simple Green can be used around your engine and tires, just be sure to hose it off afterwards.

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post #3 of 72 Old 09-02-2013, 12:21 AM
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Location: Calgary, Canada
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Once the bugs get thick I take out a bucket of warm water with some car wash soap from Wal-Mart. Plug the exhaust and then give it a good bath using a soft, clean cloth. Then it's a rinse with the garden hose.

Remember that the bike is designed for outdoor use. It can handle a good bath

2012 DL650 EXP

Designed for outdoor use

Last edited by mountainpete; 09-02-2013 at 12:24 AM.
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post #4 of 72 Old 09-02-2013, 12:22 AM
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I'm sure many others will chime in with suggestions but I only have one. When you clean the radiator, bugs and such, make sure you use your garden hose and always spray it straight on, never off to the side. It's very simple to dent and bend over the fins. I've seen guys take their bikes to the regular car wash (not a good idea) and literally flatten the radiator fins, then they wonder why the cooling system has problems...:beatnik:

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post #5 of 72 Old 09-02-2013, 01:08 AM
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Location: Colorado
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I might sound funny... but I use a leaf blower on my bike after washing and rinsing it. It works great to get all the water out of the little spaces that a drying cloth won't reach. Your neighbors may think you are a little crazy... but who cares.
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post #6 of 72 Old 09-02-2013, 04:58 AM
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Location: Hampshire UK
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Cover your bike in ACF 50 and leave. Once a year (or so!) clean the re-apply. might look horrible at times, but keeps all the salt and nasty stuff at bay. In 3years time or whenever you decide to trade should still look mint.


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post #7 of 72 Old 09-02-2013, 07:29 AM
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I spray it with S100 Welcome to S100 Cycle Care Products, hose off, towel dry.
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post #8 of 72 Old 09-02-2013, 07:48 AM
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Location: Pasadna area
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Crash it a time or two and have it fall over at gas stations and the urge to have it showroom shiny kinda goes away. Then you can spend the valuable time riding it.
Cleaning the bugs off the windshield occasionally isn't such a horrible thing though.
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post #9 of 72 Old 09-02-2013, 08:34 AM
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Stephen it must be in the name since I also like to keep my bikes appearance up.

Lots of folks like will tell you to let it stay dirty to look cool rather than answering the question on how to clean it but I digress.

I treat my motorcycles like my bicycles. I only use a pressure washer during the very cold months and I do this with great care. Do not spray a pressure washer in areas that require lubrication or a soft touch such as steering head bearing, axles, swing arm, fork seals, radiator, dash etc. I generally keep the pressure washer at a good distance if needed.

I wash the bike when it is pretty dirty (after rain riding etc) with a hose by first spraying off the big stuff. I have an foam spray attachment (not expensive) that you can fill with soap (I use car soap) and foam the bike down. I do this and let it sit a minute. Now I just use a microfiber (this is all that touches the bike period) wash mitt and clean from top to bottom but I don't do the chain with this or any other area with grease on it. Good, now I rinse. If you use a foam gun the radiator will hold lots of soap and bubbles so a gentle stream of water is needed to rinse it.

Now as above I use a leaf blower. Mine is electric and cost $60 at HD. I don't like water sitting in in hidden spots so I take of the seat and blow all the water off. This is great to get all of the cracks, drying the chain and for the windscreen. Windscreens scratch easily and my general thought is anytime you touch the bike with a towel you have scratch it just a little.

So now I go back and use WD40 to clean any oil or grease on the swing arm and rear wheel as well as spray the chain down and clean it with a rag getting as much off as possible. This gets the gunk off and clears any residual water.

Now I lube the chain with my lube of the day.

Last I use my favorite product Optimum No Rinse car wash that I use as a detailer mixed with water. I touch up anything that I missed and also the paintwork.

I also have a premix of California Scientific windscreen solvent Alcohol, Ammonia, water and car soap (look at the site for the ratios) that I use with a microfiber towel when needed.

************************************************** ************

When the bike is not too dirty but just dusty I mix a bucket of Optimum No Rinse car wash and wash without a hose and wipe dry. Always with microfiber.

You should get the bike clean and apply a good wax/sealant as well. One I really like and it is really inexpensive is collinite 845. This will not leave a residue on plastics etc. and is super tough and has a great shine.

P.S. I like the ACF-50 mentioned as well as Corrosion Block. This will be going on my winter bike.

2014 BMW F800gs

2011 TW200

2012 DL650 SOLD

2007 DL650a SOLD

Last edited by stephenmarklay; 09-02-2013 at 09:12 AM.
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post #10 of 72 Old 09-02-2013, 08:49 AM
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Location: Peoria, Illinois
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All good tips Stephen - S100, leaf blower, etc. Only thing I'd add is that Pledge furniture polish I'd good for bug removal and leaves a nice shiner. Also prevents buds from sticking as much next time. And I tend to do deep cleaning less frequently, leaving more time to ride, per notacop. A drop or bash will dampen that urge for a perfect showroom shine, but I still prefer clean motorcycles and bicycles.

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