Some riders love getting home after a hard ride on the track or trail and cleaning up their bike to a showroom shine.
Others dread it.
One thing is clear - whether you love or hate cleaning your bike - it has to be done. A good cleaning takes some time but it doesn't have to be painful. With practice and some tips, you don't necessarily have to spend as much time cleaning your bike as you did riding it. Though we certainly understand if you want to spend that much time cleaning. It's a thing of beauty after all!
If you do fall in the camp of dreading the clean-up, know that keeping your dirt bike clean is the first step in maintaining your bike. One of the keys to winning is a well-maintained bike. Dirt, grease and grime can wear down the vital parts of your bike, like the bearings, seals, chain and sprockets, among others, much faster.
That's one dirty bike
The first step to cleaning your dirt bike is spray down the major parts with a good quality bike cleaner. Spray down all plastics, the seat, tires, wheels frame, swingarm and handlebars. Use a degreaser anywhere grease tends to cake up like the chain and sprockets and pretty much anywhere chain lube spits off and attracts dirt.
Note: Degreaser is not for use on plastic parts.
Dirt Bike Cleaners
Dirt Bike Degreasers
Now rinse everything off - but first pop in a muffler plug. Metal + water = rust. You don't want water in your exhaust system and in a worst case scenario - water can seep into your engine and that's never a good idea.
Additionally, an air box cover allows you to wash out the air filter box without getting water or debris into your carburetor and engine. Pop one of those on too.
Air Box Cover
Next, grab a mitt or rag and use a mild detergent soap to wash your bike. Brushes are your best friend in areas where heavy dirt and grease build up like around the chain, sprockets, swingarm and wheels. A popular tool with riders is a pressure washer. But you have to be careful - a pressure washer can rip the graphics right off the plastic and tear a hole in the seat.
You can use the pressure washer on the chains and sprockets but it's still a good idea to use a degreaser first and if the muck is thick it's always best to break it up using a brush. If you use a pressure washer also avoid spraying directly in areas with bearings and electrical components.
Distance is your friend - don't use a pressure washer at point blank range.
Once you're satisfied the mud, muck, dirt and grease is broken up, rinse everything off again. Check underneath too. You may be one of many people who forget to wash the bike's "back side." Check the underside of the frame and swingarm for any build-up.
Now it's time to dry the bike.
Start with a heavy towel to sop up the excess water then switch to a smaller microfiber cloth to grab the remaining dampness and residual dirt and grease. Microfiber cloths also leave your bike water spot and streak free. Compressed air is useful to dry in tight areas you can't reach like around the engine and to blow water from electrical components.
Dirt Bike Cleaning Accessories
Once your bike is dry use a silicone spray polish on all plastic to help keep dirt and debris from sticking - this makes it easier to wash after the next ride. The silicone spray also gives plastic that "new bike" shine. Finally, lubricate and grease your chain, sprockets and bearings.
Dirt Bike Spray Polish
Ready to Ride
Now you've got a clean bike and next weekend is just around the corner.
Written By: AndrewT