Keeping Your Harley® Clean When The Bikini Bike Wash Is Closed

Unless you keep your bike in your living room all fall and winter, it's going to get dirty. We know you'd rather be riding your Harley-Davidson® than washing it, but sooner or later you're going to take a look and realize it's not as shiny as you want it to be. Show your pride and take care of your baby when you follow these tips.

Gather Your Cleaning Products

Take everything off the bike you don't want to get wet like leather saddlebags or electronics that aren't waterproof. Take your seat off so you don't have to work around it. Then gather everything you think you might need so you don't have to stop in the middle of the job and drive to the store.

You'll need the following:

  • Two buckets
  • soap
  • bug and tar remover
  • engine cleaner
  • wheel and tire cleaner
  • a small, soft scrub brush
  • a bigger more firm scrub brush for wheels
  • microfiber towels  
  • paint polish and metal polish
  • A clean sponge or wash mitt

Prepare Surfaces

Rinse off your bike to get off any loose debris so you don't scrub it into the paint. Start with fresh water, rinsing from the top down. A plain garden hose works great for this part.

Next, spray your wheels and tires with the wheel and tire cleaner. Then, walk around the entire bike and douse all the splatters with bug and tar remover. This part is important, since bug guts are acidic and bad for your paint. Pay extra attention to mirror backs, your headlight, the front of the gas tank, front fork sliders and the front fender. Let your bike soak for a few minutes so the chemicals can do the work.

Mix Cleaning Solution

Any auto car wash soap is fine, but don't use dish soap. It's rough on your paint. Mix per directions in both buckets. Use the sponge or wash mitt to agitate the soap and water into foam.

Wash Your Bike

Work from top to bottom, using one bucket for bodywork and chrome. Keep in mind anything even slightly gritty is abrasive. You want to rinse it away, not scrub it off. Even microscopic scratches will mar the look of your paint. If your mitt or sponge gets dirty, switch it out for a new one.

Use your second bucket for the undercarriage and wheels, since they tends to be dirtier and contain debris. If your wheels have spokes, it's easier to clean between them with a brush than using your hands. Start with your valve stem and work your way around, that way you know when you've made a complete circuit. Make sure you rinse your sponge frequently to remove debris.

Use the soft scrub brush for stubborn bug guts on your headlight and plastic surfaces. When you're finished, rinse again from the top down on low pressure. Check for spots you missed or debris that didn't come off. If necessary lather, rinse, repeat.

Dry and Protect Your Harley®

Use a dry chamois towel or microfiber cloth to remove excess water. Then apply a quality motorcycle wax to protect your Harley's® finish and protect paint from dirt and road grit. Chrome polish will amp up the brilliance of pipes and accents.

Get a Free Bike Wash

Yep, you read that right. You don't have to go find two buckets and spend your Saturday detailing your Harley®. Through December 31, bring your bike in for service and get a free bike wash. Click here for more details.

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