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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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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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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 ;)
 

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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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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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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.

HTH

Tony :thumbup:
 

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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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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.

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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.
 

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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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I use Armor All "Wash & Wax". Takes all the grime/bugs off with and leaves your bike looking like it took a dip in glossy Armor All High Gloss protectant.

Makes radiator hoses shine and windshield/mirrors are spotless. Removes buildup of chain oil on rear rim. Makes tires look new.

Rinses off like a charm. I use one of those glove type washcloths to get in the hard to reach spots (rims, rear shock area, rear fender housing, front fender).

It even conditions your stock seat. I wash my bike every oil change. Just rice her off with a hose in between.
 

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Here are a few more tips since you are new. If you use car wash soap with wax in it, try and keep it off the tires. It can make them slick a little after the wash. Also, NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER use Armor-All on the tires or rims of a motorcycle. It will make your tires super slick and you will crash. No Armor-All EVER!

I also blow some air to knock the water out of the cracks. I just use it from my compressor. After dry, you can use bike plastic polish/protector, or spray on wipe off wax (stay away from tires!), or simply use Pledge furnitrue polish on the plastic. An added beneift of the Pledge is the anti-static for dust.

Either way, be careful and keep all slick stuff away from your tires.
 

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My favorite that I have used on cars and motorcycles for 30 years is Pledge. Clean your bike or car including the engine with all the methods posted so far. Spray pledge on the engine, all over, including hoses...and go for a ride or drive. Pledge leaves a shine one your engine like nothing else. Makes it easier to clean the next time too. Cars or bikes, it works. Streaky on paint, never on tires and brakes...just in case you were wondering:)

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This makes getting the hard to reach areas easy to clean:

bikebrush.com

For a dirty, bug splattered windshield, wet a soft towel with hot water and drape it over the shield WITHOUT rubbing. Let it sit for 10 minutes or so as it will soften up the dried bugs without scratching. Works on the fairing as well.

If I know I'm going to run into a lot of bugs / insects etc, I apply a fairly heavy coating of 303 Super Protectant to the fairing / headlight area as well as the exposed fork tubes. Prevents many from sticking but also makes for easier clean off for the ones that do stick. Dried bug splatter on the forks tubes cant be good for the seals. 303 also keeps plastic from sun fading as well.
 

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I gently spray the bike with a garden hose on low pressure then wash everything but nothing that is electronic. I use a microfiber towel to clean the bike and use a good automotive wash....NOT DISHWASHING DETERGENT!! I microfiber towel the metal, plastic and rubber parts of the bike then rinse on low pressure also. Then I chamois off everything and when all is dry I'll use Bike Spirits Original Spray Clean and Polish. For the seat I use Turtle Way ICE Total Interior Care. The rims, wheels or anything that is excessive greasy will get a 50-50 mixture of Simple Green and water. For the windshield, headlight and dash I'll spray with a light mist of Windex and wipe with a microfiber towel. I'll let the windshield and headlight soak/set for a few minutes before I wipe it off.

EDIT. I apologize when I said Windex. To me Windex is a general term like Band-aid or Q-tip. I know not to use windex on plastic and I use Plexus Plastic Cleaner. I order it on-line for about $20. Works great and lasts a long time. Sorry for the confusion.
 

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For the windshield, headlight and dash I'll spray with a light mist of Windex and wipe with a microfiber towel.
I always heard to keep Windex off the clear plastic parts because over time it will cause fogging of the plastic. Same with using Windex on helmet visors.
 

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Cleaning the motorcycle is something I'm not to familiar with.
After 45k miles, ditto. :)

Mild soap (I use a dab of laundry soap) and warm water occasionally. A coat of wax once a year to make bugs easier to get off. A thorough degrease of the underside once a year to inspect and lube. That's it.

I do not recommend a pressure washer, ever. Period.

Most of the year, it's filthy. I like it that way.

A clean bike is a sign of a wasted day.
 

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I always heard to keep Windex off the clear plastic parts because over time it will cause fogging of the plastic. Same with using Windex on helmet visors.
I've heard that too. My understanding is that it depends on the type of plastic, especially those that rely on coatings? CalSci windscreens tolerate the ammonia-alcohol-soap blend prescribed on their website. You can even buff out scratches. The stock screen appears coated - mine seems to have a thin star chip.

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A good rain is mostly somewhat of a wash for mine, otherwise a good hose off is about all it gets. Not a bike for keeping clean and being spotless, although I see the OP is from Florida "the land of Harley's"! :mrgreen:
 

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Grocery stores have plenty of it.
Works great on bugs.
 
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