How to: Stave off win­ter salt & slime

This sim­ple clean­ing regime will stop salty con­di­tions rot­ting your pride and joy

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

1 Per­fect your pre-soak

Win­ter use can be tough on your bike as road salt and mois­ture com­bine to form a happy breed­ing ground for cor­ro­sion. But you can pre­vent the rav­ages of rust with a solid clean­ing regime – and it’s worth rins­ing the bike after any salty ride. Place the bike on stands so both wheels are off the ground then pre-rinse with water to re­move any loose road dirt. En­sure you thor­oughly soak the bike.

2 Squirt then soak, don’t scrub

Mod­ern clean­ing prod­ucts are in­tended to do just that – clean the bike for you. If you choose the right prod­uct, such as Rock Oil’s Dirt Blaster (£6.99), there should be no need to do any ag­gres­sive scrub­bing and brush­ing. Ap­ply the so­lu­tion all over the bike and ag­i­tate lightly with a soft brush (see right), then leave the prod­uct to dwell for a cou­ple of min­utes but avoid let­ting it dry out.

3 Time to get ag­i­tated

Work the cleaner into the chas­sis parts and en­gine first. Us­ing a suit­able brush, ag­i­tate the cleaner lightly; there’s no need to scrub ag­gres­sively as this will cause scratch­ing and may give cor­ro­sion a foothold. The clean­ing com­pound will loosen the dirt and make it come away with lit­tle ef­fort. For par­tic­u­larly dirty areas rinse off and reap­ply the cleaner as many times as needed.

4 Go to work on your body

Us­ing a ded­i­cated body­work brush, Ox­ford’s Big Softy (£4.99) is a good choice, work the cleaner in without be­ing ag­gres­sive on the painted sur­faces. Use a long-reach brush, like those sold in DIY shops for paint­ing ra­di­a­tors, to work the cleaner in on the in­side of fair­ing pan­els. Give the ra­di­a­tor a gen­er­ous squirt of clean­ing prod­uct but don’t brush it in.

5 Is it squeaky clean?

The fi­nal stage of clean­ing should be a thor­ough rinse with a hose or jet washer, with the aim of re­mov­ing all traces of dirt and any re­main­ing clean­ing prod­uct. Back-flush the ra­di­a­tor so dirt will leave through the front and not get stuck in­side. Run your fin­gers over the sur­face; if it feels even slightly slimy there is still prod­uct left on.

6 Get wheelie clean

Use a ded­i­cated wheel cleaner for your rims as they are bet­ter able to re­move the com­plex com­pounds found in brake dust. Ap­ply the cleaner and let it soak in for a few min­utes, then ag­i­tate with a brush while turn­ing the wheel, mak­ing sure the en­tire sur­face has been cov­ered. Rinse off with a hose or jet washer, us­ing a brush if nec­es­sary.

7 Blast off

Dry the bike off with a qual­ity dry­ing cloth, start­ing from the top and work­ing down. Turn the cloth as you go and wring out as nec­es­sary. Make sure there are no pock­ets or hidden pools of water lurk­ing any­where, such as un­der the fuel filler cap or be­hind the header pipes on the crankcases. Use an air­line to blast the water out if you have one avail­able.

8 Wax on, wax off

Wax pol­ish not only makes your paint look great but can also act as a pro­tec­tive layer. Ap­ply as per the in­struc­tions, tak­ing care not to get any di­rectly on top of raised or em­bossed let­ter­ing, bolts or trim, as this will cause the wax to leave white de­posits which can be un­sightly. Re­move and pol­ish the wax with a good qual­ity clean cloth, and buff to a high-gloss fin­ish.

9 Wipe away rust

Next, treat ex­posed met­als with an anti-cor­ro­sion bar­rier so­lu­tion such as ACF50. Ap­ply the ACF to a cloth and rub it onto the sur­face you want to treat. Use another cloth to re­move and buff af­ter­wards. You can ap­ply it to many parts, such as wheels, chain ad­justers, and sprocket car­ri­ers. It can even be used to re­ju­ve­nate faded black plas­tic trim. Al­ways re­mem­ber to ap­ply spar­ingly and not di­rect from the can.

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