Why should people have to retire later and later and motorbikes not? Of course, driving through four seasons with the current winters and motorcycle clothing has become very easy. That also applies to the kind of classics that have learned to drive at home and not to worry about a rain shower. Funnily enough, these are of course usually not MVs or six-cylinder Hondas. In the wet, cold season you see many well-worn Moto Guzzis, experienced BMWs and many Transalps. And what do they look like after a few winters? This is of little interest to the owners, who usually ensure that their transport is in excellent technical condition.
But what should you do when spring breaks loose again?
The time has come to start spring cleaning. Even if you just take your steed out of the shed from under the flannel winter coat. In addition, the complete cleaning of a motorcycle is also an excellent opportunity to check whether everything on board is still in its original condition. Checking the chain tension is of course the most obvious. But while crawling around you can come across a lot more, such as abrasions on the wiring harness, loose headset bearings and cables that require TLC or preventive replacement. We, as classic enthusiasts, will of course not let ourselves be boxed in by a broken clutch cable. But if such a thing just stays intact, it drives more relaxed.
For the record: Nowadays it is often forbidden to just wash your car on the side of the road. It is not entirely clear how that is with cleaning your motorcycle on your own garage path. Check that locally before an overzealous neighbor calls the police to report an environmental crime.
Your engine consists of many different parts and each part needs a different way of cleaning. It is important that you choose a good order for cleaning your engine, so that you do not forget anything and do not have to do double work. Because one cleaning action can cause dirt for another part. It is therefore best to follow the order below to not only keep your bike clean and fresh, but also to ensure that you do not get in the way of yourself.
Lots of water is good!
You should also keep yourself away if you first remove the loose misery from the case with the hose. If you use a pressure washer for that (and who doesn't have one these days?), you have to do it carefully. Bearings and plug connections are usually not happy with water that enters so hard.
Then you go scrub
You do this with soapy water and a sponge. And that's where things can go very wrong. Because with that approach, your sponge can pick up sand. And sand scratches. That's why they make sandpaper out of it. There are car wash buckets with a kind of rack that rests on the bottom. As a result, the sand does not get the chance to participate 'circularly' with the next scrubbing movement when the sponge is rinsed out. Always squeeze the sponge well, though! You can use a special motor cleaning agent for this soapy water, but usually regular dish soap is also sufficient. You dip the sponge in the soapy water and start scrubbing the plastic exteriors and your saddle. Also include cracks in the frame, just like the lamps and the windshield. When everything has been soaked in and more stubborn dirt has been scrubbed away, rinse all soap residue with water. You can also enter into a conflict with your partner. Microfiber cloths are prized items in most households these days. And that is not for nothing.
To get black stripes and grease off your rims, you can use benzene or white spirit. The Snelle Jelles use the Action's brake cleaner here. Apply the substance to an old polishing cloth and use this cloth to rub the streaks away. By the time you can get the stripes off, your rims will shine again as if they just came out of the factory.
Cleaning the chrome parts of your motorcycle is the last thing you need to do. In most cases, things like your pedals, steering wheel and chain do not need extra cleaning, so you can take them with you while rinsing. If you don't feel like buying a special polish just for this cleaning, you can often also use a wad of aluminum foil that you dip in a bowl of water first.
And if you happen to have driven a few too many winters? Then you no longer talk about 'dirt' but about 'patina'.