10 handy tips for motorcycling cleanliness

10 secrets to keeping your kit and bike in top notch condition

For your kit

Fly away:

The best way to remove swarms of dead flies stuck to your helmet, leathers and visor is to soak some kitchen towel in water and leave it on for about 10 minutes. This loosens the tiny, twisted little corpses and they will wipe off with minimal fuss.

Two in a bath:

Clean your filthy, stinky helmet by giving it a bath. This is the easiest way of renovating a previously horrible lid and it works wonders. Run a bath so it’s about one foot deep with lukewarm water, submerge your helmet and go make a cup of tea. On your return use a pH neutral baby shampoo to really work a lather into the helmet’s liner. You’ll be horrified at the black scrunge and creatures of the deep that come out. Clean the cheek pads and chin bar in the same way, rinse it out with clean water and leave it base-down to drip-dry onto a towel or use a fan to blow cool air into it. You can get in with your helmet if you must. Never dry with a hairdryer, this could damage the lid.

Bug splat:

If you get raspberry jammed by a big bug or wasp that explodes all over your visor, immediately turn your helmet to the side. This allows the windblast to blow the shattered hymenoptera off your visor before it hardens into an impenetrable insect-goo.

Right scrubber:

Treat your leathers like your hands. Wash them with saddle soap (available from any horse equipment shop) and treat the leather afterwards with a moisturising oil-based cream. Never hang them above a radiator to dry, they will crack and shrink. The same is true for horses.

For your bike

Sticker fix:

If you’re removing unwanted stickers don’t reach for the solvent, grab your girlfriend’s hairdryer. Gently warm the sticker, it’ll come off with no hassle and leave virtually no sticky residue.

Clean gleam:

Spray the bike with a de-greasing agent and leave it to soak in for five minutes. Then wash with a dedicated vehicle shampoo, and use separate buckets for the wheels and bodywork to avoid transferring dirt and scratching the plastics. Finally, use a chamois leather to dry and apply a wax finish to protect the plastics.

Brillo brilliance:

Titanium exhaust cans scratch easily but using a scouring pad and gently rubbing at the mark can often remove it. When the R1 had a titanium can, Yamaha actually included a scouring pad in the packing crate so mechanics could remove marks caused during transit.

Mirror shine:

Rub kitchen aluminium foil on your bike’s chrome parts to make them look like new. You will be amazed at the effect this has while the missus will be amazed you know where the foil’s kept.

Rust away:

The worst thing you can do is put a bike away wet, so dry it with some cloths. Clean the bike once a week during winter and apply a salt-neutralising protective spray, allowing it to dry between coats. During the week apply more spray to the front of the bike as it gets washed away.

Scratch out:

If only the surface lacquer is scratched on your paintwork you can use a cutting polish such as T-Cut to recover it, but anything deeper you need to put paint in, polish is a waste of time. Run your nail along the scratch, if it catches you need paint as the scratch is too deep. A pro will charge about £100 these days to bring it up to a perfect finish.

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