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The pride of owning a smart looking bike is often taken for granted – that is until either you (or worse still
someone else) spots a part that is corroding or is generally grubby.

But how many owners really know how to clean a bike properly and how often?

It is simple and easy to properly clean a bike – with a few simple do’s and don’ts anyway. So please read on,
we’re sure everyone will learn something from this.

Below are a few simple rules to put into practice the next time you lovingly lather up your Triumph. Adoption
of these will give your bike the advantage in keeping up appearances.

Before Cleaning – Prepare Yourself!

That’s right, are you prepared? Have you taken off your watch (it will scratch even the best quality paintwork
Triumph can provide), so will those rings or any bracelets you might have on. So take them off and put them
somewhere safe.

Will you be sitting on the bike? Do you have belt buckle on or zips on jackets or fleeces that may make contact
and cause scratches?

OK, you’ve checked you are scratch-free, what about the sponge or cleaning rags in the bucket? Are they grit

With a bike you need a sponge and soft nylon bristled brushes for the non-bodywork areas to shift the grime and
hardened insect corpses that inevitably accumulate and separate sponges and good quality cleaning cloths for
the painted panels. So give them all a good rinsing before you start. Only use cleaning equipment that is good to
go. If in doubt, use nought! Buy some new equipment, it’s a false economy not to.

So your now scratch free and you’re sure the equipment you have to clean your bike with is clean and ready to
use. What cleaning agents are you going to use today?

Well what’s under the kitchen sink? That stuff fetches the grime of the roasting tin every time, so it will work a
treat on my bike, won’t it?

NO. NO. NO. Never, ever, ever use any liquid detergent or anything else that you would expect to use in the
house on your bike. Leave it under the sink for the dishes. Most liquids have salt diluted into them and well, you
try not to ride your bike on salted roads in the winter months for sound reasons, so why sprinkle sodium
chloride over your bike when you wash it? So if you haven’t already got an automotive shampoo, you need to
obtain some before washing your bike.

Do you own any restorative-cleaning agents? You know the sort. They promise to turn that lack-lustre
aluminium into a gleaming shine simply by brushing on, walking away and then come back 5 minutes later. A
simple effortless wipe and by magic, the shine is back. BEWARE of such products. They tend to be by nature
highly acidic or alkaline and are corrosive by nature. If applied to plated surfaces, the protective covering
Triumph has carefully selected is likely to be eaten away by the very product promising to help you. The result
is obviously that those parts that have lost their protection will deteriorate more quickly in the future.
Leave any wire brushes or abrasive pads in the garage. Enough said.

OK, so now, having sorted ourselves out, our equipment and have appropriate automotive cleaning agents, we
can safely approach the bike.

Quick Check:

1. Am I free of things that will scratch my bike?
2. Are my sponges, cleaning cloths clean and grit free?
3. Do I have automotive cleaning agents? Don’t run to the kitchen sink!

Cleaning – a Few Generalities

Frequent, regular cleaning is an essential part of the maintenance of your motorcycle. If regularly cleaned, the
appearance will be preserved for many years. How regularly? Up to you. The more often you clean your bike,
the better it will withstand what the world throws at it. A weekly clean would be appreciated by any bike.

Cleaning with cold water will prevent increasing corrosive action of any salt that your bike may have already
picked up - including exposure to sea breezes, sea water, dusty or muddy roads and in winter when roads are
treated for ice and snow.
Although, under the terms of your motorcycle warranty, cover is provided against the corrosion of certain items,
the owner is expected to observe this reasonable advice, which will safeguard against corrosion and enhance the
appearance of the motorcycle. Do not use household detergent, as the use of such products will lead to
premature corrosion.

Prepare the Bike for Washing

Before washing, precautions must be taken to keep water off the following places.

- Rear opening of the silencer(s) / mufflers: Cover with a plastic bag secured with rubber bands.
- Clutch and brake levers, switch housings on the handlebar: Cover with plastic bags to prevent excessive water
getting into the wiring beneath the switch cubes.
- Ignition switch: Cover the keyhole with tape, again to stop water draining into the electrical connections
within the switch assembly.

Where to be careful. Avoid excess water the following places:

- Instruments
- Brake cylinders and brake callipers
- Under the fuel tank
- Headstock bearings
- Air intake duct above the headlights

Caution: Any excess water around the air intake duct could enter the air box and engine causing damage to both

Hand wash or Pressure Washer?

Use of high-pressure spray washers is not recommended. When using pressure washers, water may be forced
into bearings and other components causing premature wear from corrosion and loss of lubrication. It is not
worth the risk. Hand wash every time.
The Wash

Ensure the bike is cold. Start at the top of the bike. Roll up your sleeves and apply via your clean bodywork
sponge. Soak those areas that have dead insects and leave them for a few minutes, they will come away once the
water has done its job. Return to them after a few minutes. Gentle use of a soft nylon brush will dislodge the
most stubborn debris.

Once you have washed the bodywork, change to your other sponge and use nylon brushes to wash the other
areas. Those areas that catch the grime (for example under the rear mudguard) need to be soaked and left before
you can normally wipe away the road muck.

Take your time. A selection of different nylon brushes will ease the task.

When you think you have dislodged the dirt, use clean cold water to rinse the bike down. This will wash away
any loose dirt still settled on the bikes various surfaces and rinse away any traces of shampoo, which may cause
unsightly staining if not removed.

Note: Use of soaps that are highly alkaline will leave a residue on painted surfaces and may also cause water
spotting. Always use a low alkaline soap to aid the cleaning process.

After Washing

Remove the plastic bags and tape, and clear the air intakes. Lubricate the pivots, bolts and nuts. Use a dry cloth
to absorb water residue. Do not allow water to stand on the machine as this will lead to corrosion. Test the
brakes before motorcycle operation.

Once the bike is dried, we have an opportunity of applying substances that will provide a barrier to
deterioration. There are a host of products on the market and your dealer will be able to offer you local advise.

An auto bodywork polish is appropriate for painted panels. A light lubricant (AKA the oily rag treatment!) is
fine for most non-painted bodywork area. The obvious areas not to apply any light lubricant to are the
working surfaces of brake discs and exhaust system areas (see below for exhausts).

Warning: Never wax or lubricate the brake discs. Loss of braking power and an accident could result. Clean the
disc with a proprietary brand of oil free brake disc cleaner.

Unpainted Aluminum Items

If you are not sure which parts are unpainted aluminum parts on your particular bike, ask your dealer.

Items such as brake and clutch levers must be correctly cleaned to preserve their appearance. Use a proprietary
brand of aluminium cleaner, which does not include caustic elements. Clean aluminium items regularly, in
particular after use in inclement weather, where the components must be hand washed and dried each time the
machine is used. Warranty claims due to inadequate maintenance will not be allowed.

Cleaning of the Exhaust System

All parts of the exhaust system of your motorcycle must be cleaned regularly to avoid deterioration of its
appearance. These instructions can be applied to chrome, brushed stainless steel and carbon fiber components
NOTE – The exhaust system must be cool before washing to prevent water spotting.

Washing: Prepare a mixture of water and mild soap. Do not use a highly alkaline soap as commonly found at
commercial car washes because it leaves a residue. Wash the exhaust system with a soft cloth. Do not use an
abrasive scouring pad or steel wool. They will damage the finish. Rinse the exhaust system thoroughly. Insure
no soap or water enters the mufflers.

Drying: Dry the exhaust system as far as possible with a soft cloth. Do not run the engine to dry the system or
spotting will occur.

Protecting: When the exhaust system is dry, rub ‘Motorex 645 Clean And Protect’ into the surface.

Caution: The use of silicone products such as WD40 will cause discolouration of the chrome and must not be
used. Similarly, the use of abrasive cleaners such as Solvol Autosol will damage the system and must not be

It is recommended that regular protection be applied to the system as this will both protect and enhance the
system’s appearance.

Final Thoughts

Regular cleaning is obviously essential to keep the bike looking fine. It not only gives you the satisfaction of
having a good looking bike to use next time you go for a ride, but you also get technically closer to the bike,
noticing how things are connected and operate, which parts move in what direction. So your technical
appreciation and learning will grow.

Cleaning bike Checklist.

1. Prepare yourself, your equipment and use only approved cleaning agents
2. Prepare the bike for washing
3. Wash the bike and soak
4. Rinse the bike with cold water
5. Dry the bike
6. Apply corrosion inhibitor to metal parts and polish to painted parts

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