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Joe Frickin' Friday

R1200RT: How the hell do you clean this thing?

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Joe Frickin' Friday

Took some Honda spray polish to the windscreen tonight. Cleaned up OK.

 

Then I started attacking the front of the bike the same way. Quickly discovered that there are about a bazillion nooks, crannies, edges, pockets, and other cavities where bugs can accumulate and are difficult to reach/clean.

 

Also, there is several square feet of the black/gray plastic. Can't wait until I get wax on all of that! :eek:

 

My 1100RT didn't have any of these issues - just smooth painted panels. Minimal joints, and no black plastic until you got to the rear triangles and sidecases.

 

So...anyone got any tips that will make it easier to clean this beast?

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CoarsegoldKid

Wax it very carefully and get Mother's Back to Black should help. The little clear plastic wings near the windshield are a PIA and the lower edge of the windshield is also the same. I don't find that I need to wax it so often. SInce most services need to have the panels removed I apply wax while the panels are off the bike. The tail section under the rack is also a problem area but at least it's not seen. Yes it is difficult to make the bike shine after riding in the rain.

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Joe Frickin' Friday
Wax it very carefully and get Mother's Back to Black should help.

 

Will pre-application of back-to-black (which I have) prevent any errant paint-wax from sticking to the plastic?

 

The little clear plastic wings near the windshield are a PIA and the lower edge of the windshield is also the same.

 

Indeed, the wings have a wedge-shaped cavity under/behind them which is impossible to clean effectively. Likewise with the windscreen: its underside meets the control arm/plastic at a very shallow angle, making access difficult: best you can do is to wad up the towel/rag and jam it into the area.

 

I don't find that I need to wax it so often. SInce most services need to have the panels removed I apply wax while the panels are off the bike.

 

This sounds like a great idea; thanks.

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T__

Mitch, welcome to the club.. I have had the same bitch as this is the most difficult bike I have ever owned to keep clean..

 

You can clean behind the overlapping panels by pushing the wash mit in there without your hand in it.. On the windshield-- get in the habit of raising it all the way up before washing..

 

I blow dry mine using a leaf blower as that blows most or the water out of the nooks & crannies but that damn thing still drips water on the clean parts for an hour after washing.. I have drilled a couple of small holes in the bottom of the panels to allow panel drainage & help that somewhat..

 

I’m not big wax type person as I like the paint to breathe (especially on new bikes) but I do use that great Honda cleaner/polish.. I do try to keep it off the dark rough plastic but so far it really hasn’t been a problem with streaking or whiting..

 

You figure out a good easy way to wash these beasts let me know..

 

Twisty

 

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Mr_Ed

quit your whining and get a gs! :grin:

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Bernie

I give mine a sponge bath. I use soft water and micro fiber rags, with lots of rinsing and switching water. No soap. This has been working really well for me. But I did wax the body and shield with Mequires NXT paste wax. To get wax of the black panels, I use WD-40, after all it is good for something. :grin:

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Twisties

Definitely one of my pet peeves. But when I posted about it I got told to go ride... go figure.

 

I can point out a few more problem areas for ya if ya want.... ah, you'll find 'em soon enough.

 

The little wings under the windshield: The dealer installed mine filthy and they've never been cleaned. You have to disassemble the front end to get 'em. If I'm ever in there I'll rough 'em with some sandpaper and spray 'em matte black.

 

A wet microfiber towel will get in all the areas around the headlight. Takes a bit of practice.

 

I too use a blacking treatment on the black stuff after waxing. I too do that when the side panels come off. Never have had the painted panels above the mirrors off, so they get done on the bike.

 

For the valve covers (Oh, I guess I am bringing up one of those other spots) I use a wet vegetable/kitchen brush or an old toothbrush. Same around where the exhaust bolts on.

 

I use a wet rag and then brake-kleen on the exhaust can.

 

Wet microfiber rag on just about everything else.

 

 

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EddyQ

Funny, I think my '07 RT is the easiest bike I ever had to clean. And once clean, it seems to stay clean a lot longer.

 

Try cleaning a big chrome beast with black leather bags, black leather tank bra and spoked white wall wheels.

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Rocket_Cowboy

Mitch ... for the windshield, I find it easier to remove it from the bike in order to clean the back/under-side. Otherwise I do like Joe and try to really detail while I have the bodywork off the bike, and otherwise just do as good a cleaning as I can for the parts that are seen while assembled.

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rogera

Hey Mitch,

I bought a Mr.Clean Auto-Dry Carwash System. Does a

real good job not leaving spots where you cant dry. Yes

it is a small pain to clean but worth it. One note, don't

forget to back flush you oil cooler once and awaile. The

bugs hide in there. I also don't let the bugs set on it for

very long makes them easier to get off.

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gostrida1

Ok Roger,

 

I fell for it, what exactly is back wash you oil cooler

 

 

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tallman

Wash it, clean it, polish it, park it.

Will stay clean indefinitely.

:/

 

I've been cleaning the inside of my panels at service time since I got the bike.

Also a good time to clean under the panels, those parts of the bike you can't access w/the panels on.

 

Next thing you know, you'll be asking about a hair cut.

:grin:

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Albert

I'm probably the wrong person to ask since I've never been accused of being a clean freak but I use Plexus on everything. Windshield, panels, black plastic stuff all over the front forks, dash, etc..

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rglassma

I don't have any trouble. I take it to the car wash, spend a couple of bucks, clean it, dry it and ride it..

 

You guys worry too much about it... It doesn't ride any better when you get the nook and crannies clean..

 

Ride the bike and don't worry so much about it. Only worry about it once if you plan on selling it !!!!

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motoguy128

I guess I never carred if every tiny nook is completely clean. If your riding it... and you guy ride more than I.... it will get dirty again anyway.

 

 

Try this... just drop the bike once..... rpeferrably on a steep slope so ti slides a little too. Once you have a good set of marks and scratches on one side, you won't care so much how perfectly clean it is. :)

 

 

Just regular car wash works fine. I wax it mabe once a year too.

 

 

To clean the windscreen... try raising it only halfway to get hte maximum space under the lower part of the screen.

 

 

If you're super-anal... I suppose you could use a Q-tip and some alcohol to clean under the winds.

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Twisties

I find a wet microfiber rag, followed by a dry one, works fine on the windshield. With the windshield up I can get the edges. To get under the shield down at the bottom I thread the towel through the space and work it back and forth.

 

As for the oil cooler, I think Roger means you should force compressed air through it from the back side to blow the bugs and debris out the front. This should be done with each 6k service, at least. Do it before you clean... DAMHIK.

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VinnyR11
Wax it very carefully and get Mother's Back to Black should help.

 

Will pre-application of back-to-black (which I have) prevent any errant paint-wax from sticking to the plastic?

 

 

I don't think so, but a very light coating of oil (corn, olive, any type) seems to help a lot. I use vegetable oils because I find they wash off really easily afterward.

 

BTW, this is based on a history of keeping a couple of my cars meticulous. I think I've waxed my bike 5 times since new, YMMV.

Edited by VinnyR11

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rogera
Ok Roger,

 

I fell for it, what exactly is back wash you oil cooler

 

 

take the hose and spray the oil cooler from the back side

which will push all the gunk out.

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Albert
Ok Roger,

 

I fell for it, what exactly is back wash you oil cooler

 

 

take the hose and spray the oil cooler from the back side

which will push all the gunk out.

 

I've also found an old tooth brush helps get the impaled bugs out of the fins. I just back wash with the hose and gently agitate the bug guts with the toothbrush (no I don't use the toothbrush for its original purpose again either :rofl:).

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Tapatio

My method

 

1) Clean entire bike with mild soap and warm water. The warm water helps dissolve bug residue. Don't use dish soap as it will remove any wax you have applied.

2) Use a leaf blower or shop vacuum set to blower mode to get all the water out of the nooks and crannies.

3) Clean plastic, headlight and windscreen with Plexus. Plexus will remove any wax residue that might get on the plastics.

4) Chrome gets polished once a month with Nevr Dull

5) I hate cleaning the front rim, no tricks found yet other than jacking the front wheel off the ground so you can spin it.

6) 3 years, 33k miles and the bike still looks new.

 

 

213662849_zgqNQ-L.jpg

 

 

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motoguy128
My method

 

 

5) I hate cleaning the front rim, no tricks found yet other than jacking the front wheel off the ground so you can spin it.

 

 

 

With the rear cases mounted and a top case.. along with being parked uphill on a sloped driveway, the front is pretty light... and easy to lift. Of course getting it off the center stand is harder.

 

 

If you have long arms, you can push down on the rear rack while you reach across and turn the front wheel.

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DonB

Just Ride it Man!

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Rocket_Cowboy
My method

If you have long arms, you can push down on the rear rack while you reach across and turn the front wheel.

 

Those must be some mighty long arms there! :)

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farmerp

Cleaning is a PITA. Everytime I clean the bike I am thinking I could be riding. Maxima SC1 silicone will do almost as good as wax and much simpler to use.

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Funride

I ride my bikes till they get dirty then sell them and get a new one. Saves money on cleaners, water, etc.

 

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Joe Frickin' Friday
My method

 

 

5) I hate cleaning the front rim, no tricks found yet other than jacking the front wheel off the ground so you can spin it.

 

 

 

With the rear cases mounted and a top case.. along with being parked uphill on a sloped driveway, the front is pretty light... and easy to lift. Of course getting it off the center stand is harder.

 

 

If you have long arms, you can push down on the rear rack while you reach across and turn the front wheel.

 

A few bricks in the sidecases ought to do the trick even on level ground.

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krussell
My method

 

1) Clean entire bike with mild soap and warm water. The warm water helps dissolve bug residue. Don't use dish soap as it will remove any wax you have applied.

2) Use a leaf blower or shop vacuum set to blower mode to get all the water out of the nooks and crannies.

5) I hate cleaning the front rim, no tricks found yet other than jacking the front wheel off the ground so you can spin it.

 

 

I use maguiars car wash soap, works well. For nasty bugs, I use Harley bug remover. Stuff is great.

 

I use a metro air force blaster to dry it, an overpriced vacuum in reverse. :-) It's got cool flames on the side though. Once I think it's mostly dry, I take it for a good ride as well.

 

For the front rim, I just put enough weight on the rear of the bike to hold the front up. I also make sure to clean it and wax it while it's off the bike for tire changes.

 

I think the RT is a breeze to clean. Much easier than my HD, and much easier than the Triumph Bonneville I once owned.

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AMRider

Tapatio

Don't mean to hijack thread but I'm curious about your black rack? Did you paint it yourself or get someone to powder coat it? Looks good

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rogera
Tapatio

Don't mean to hijack thread but I'm curious about your black rack? Did you paint it yourself or get someone to powder coat it? Looks good

 

Good eyes. He also did the tank bag rack. I'd like to know also.

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Tapatio

I had the side panels, rear rack, tank rack and gas cap painted with a black satin finish. I removed the parts and took them to a professional painter ~$600.

 

213662857_UqiYt-M.jpg

 

213662864_bx7NK-M.jpg

 

213662871_CTDNB-M.jpg

 

 

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AMRider

Looks nice thanks for posting the pics.

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Fightingpiper

About the only time mine gets washed is when it rains....Otherwise I take it to the carwash and wind dry it about 80mph down the road. Works great!

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Bernie

I only wash the bike, if birds try to eat of it. :rofl:

I also do not like to ride to dry it, I will have to wash it again. :/

Can't stop riding it. :wave:

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Heli

Our water restrictions (12 years of drought) forbid washing motor vehicles ;)

 

But: a trick I have always used on all my aircraft and bikes, is to get the bugs off immediately you finish flying/riding. A clean, wet rag or chamois with plenty of water, and just get the squashed insects off while they're still soft and easy to remove. I keep a bucket of water in the garage, with a chamois, and take 5 minutes before putting it to bed :)

 

Pressure washers are also the go, we hook ours to the water tanks and give the cars/bike a blast when they really need cleaning. Gets into all those nooks and crannies around the headlamps, cleans out the oil cooler, in and under the bike, just the job :D

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KDeline

This is exactly why I will never get that bike. So I got the GSA instead.

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mistercindy

I just don't worry about cleaning motorcycles. I hose it down in a car wash (one cycle soap, and one cycle rinse, at one dollar per cycle). Then I'll wipe the screen and saddle dry, and hit the road at 70 MPH for a few minutes to dry the rest of it. My bike has 58,000 miles on the clock, and I've washed it like that four or five times.

 

My windscreen is fairly tall (an Aeroflow), so it gets wiped down a few times a month when I refuel. I just use the water and paper towels availabe in the window washing containers at the gas station.

 

Of course, I ride a GS so my mindset may be a bit different. :grin:

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RTinNC

Actually the RT is really not hard to keep clean and for the most part Honda Spray Polish (OLD formula only) works on most everything. Any black parts get Black Chrome (no longer produced :mad:) 20 minutes at the end of each day on the road and it looks like new. Plexus on the dash too! The underside gets detailed after each long trip and the wheels each night. Before each long trip the entire gets a coat of pure carnuba wax!

 

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tompn

just reading this thread. a couple pages back, talking about back flushing the oil cooler.

 

I made a radiator cleaner out of a piece of 1/2" pvc pipe with a 90 and a cap with a small hole in the center. add a hose connector to the end. use a trigger spray nozzle with threads and low water volume.

 

works very good at blowing the bugs back out the front. And as said - do it before cleaning the rest of the front.

 

Tom

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Grumpy-ol-Fart

OK, I'll be the first to admit...I spend a lot more time riding than I do cleaning...but I posted a picture of my bike and I actually think it looks pretty good.

 

How do I maintain that amazing shine?

 

I spray clean cool water all over the bike, then I sit in the shade and consume some beverage of choice. I watch the bike and if I see any signs of the surface drying, it's sprita...spritz...spritz; then I resume my position in the shade and continue working on my beverage of choice. I keep the bike wet for right at 30-min. Then I take a wet terry wash cloth and wipe down the paint and windshield, the take a hose with a spray nozzle on it and spray off the entire bike off. I then mix up some simple green in a 1-gal bucket and clean the wheels with 2 aluminum wheel brushes, they fit in all the nooks and crannies. Occasionally if there is some fresh tar the simple green won’t get, I spray some Gunk tar and bug remover on the wet wash cloth I used to wipe the bike down and it will come right off. I use the wheel brush and simple green on the cross over pipe and alternator cover, and same deal with road tar if there is any. Then I hose off the bike and blow it dry with an electric leaf blower. Any spots left get wiped off with a terry cloth towel.

 

If I’m on the road and it needs cleaning, I go essentially the same process without using simple green or the tar remover; I just use clean water on the body work and windshield to get all the bug juice off. Then instead of the leaf blower, I dry it off with a clean terry cloth towel. On the trip I just finished, there were 2 stretches where I collected so many grasshoppers, I even had grasshopper body parts protruding from my boot laces, I got all the bug residue off with clean water.I very seldom use anything on the body work and windshield but clear water, and I’ve never waxed the bike. If God had intended bikes to be clean and shiny, bugs wouldn’t swarm around roadways.

 

Works for me…..

 

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JMR
Took some Honda spray polish to the windscreen tonight.

 

No, no, NO!! That's not THE Honda spray polish. Honda dropped THE spray polish in 2008 for a different formula for reasons that don't matter...point is they dropped THE spray polish that riders used to buy by the case. THE spray polish was wonderful stuff! Week-old baked on bugs hard as cement would soften to goo and wipe right off. THE spray polish would polish and shine painted clear-coated surfaces, windscrens, helmets, shields, made plastics look like Armor All had been used, cleaned tire rims, cleaned tires, cleaned everything and very, very well! And in 2008 it was gone. :(

The origional manufacturer has brought it back under their name (Origional Bike Spirits) and I ordered 4 cans from Competition Accessories just this morning (it's on sale). I've tried the Honda Pro(new)stuff and it's just not got the ju-ju like THE spray polish (the old stuff).

Here's a link to some reviews on kneedraggers, heck...just Google "Origional Spray Cleaner and Polish reviews" and see 'em all. I can clean my 12RT, tires and all, really shiney too, in 35-45 minutes without a drop of water. Actually, I've not used a drop of water to clean any of my bikes for the last seven years, just THE spray polish. P6060005.jpg

On a group ride, (I never go on a trip without it) somebody will ask to borrow to clean a windshield, next thing I know it's been passed around and two or three bikes have been cleaned (plus windshields) and my can of THE spray polish comes back empty. You don't have to wait-out and chase down water spots, 'cause there ain't no water used.

I've used this stuff (THE spray polish) a long time...I guess you can tell I'm glad THE original good stuff is back. Try some, you might like it half as much as I do. You've got that dark blue color, it works great with darker colors. I'd probably brush my teeth with it if it came in mint.

BTW, I'm in the masonry business...no ties to the product in any way...even though after re-reading my post it sounds like a Billy Mays commercial script.

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Jake
Took some Honda spray polish to the windscreen tonight.

 

No, no, NO!! That's not THE Honda spray polish.

 

As much as Mitch typically cleaned his bikes, I'm betting his Honda spray cheese was direct from a vintage can that had the original formula. I still have plenty of the old stuff lying around and it still sprays. Thanks for the link tho, glad to see it's still available.

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RTinNC
Took some Honda spray polish to the windscreen tonight.

 

No, no, NO!! That's not THE Honda spray polish. Honda dropped THE spray polish in 2008 for a different formula for reasons that don't matter...point is they dropped THE spray polish that riders used to buy by the case. THE spray polish was wonderful stuff! Week-old baked on bugs hard as cement would soften to goo and wipe right off. THE spray polish would polish and shine painted clear-coated surfaces, windscrens, helmets, shields, made plastics look like Armor All had been used, cleaned tire rims, cleaned tires, cleaned everything and very, very well! And in 2008 it was gone. :(

The origional manufacturer has brought it back under their name (Origional Bike Spirits) and I ordered 4 cans from Competition Accessories just this morning (it's on sale). I've tried the Honda Pro(new)stuff and it's just not got the ju-ju like THE spray polish (the old stuff).

Here's a link to some reviews on kneedraggers, heck...just Google "Origional Spray Cleaner and Polish reviews" and see 'em all. I can clean my 12RT, tires and all, really shiney too, in 35-45 minutes without a drop of water. Actually, I've not used a drop of water to clean any of my bikes for the last seven years, just THE spray polish. P6060005.jpg

On a group ride, (I never go on a trip without it) somebody will ask to borrow to clean a windshield, next thing I know it's been passed around and two or three bikes have been cleaned (plus windshields) and my can of THE spray polish comes back empty. You don't have to wait-out and chase down water spots, 'cause there ain't no water used.

I've used this stuff (THE spray polish) a long time...I guess you can tell I'm glad THE original good stuff is back. Try some, you might like it half as much as I do. You've got that dark blue color, it works great with darker colors. I'd probably brush my teeth with it if it came in mint.

BTW, I'm in the masonry business...no ties to the product in any way...even though after re-reading my post it sounds like a Billy Mays commercial script.

100% correct !! I have been a huge fan of Honda Spary Polish since introduced in the early 90's. YES ... they did change the formula about 1-2 years ago. The simple way to tell of you have Old or New formula is when they changed the formula they also inconspicuously reduced the can size from 14 oz. to 12 oz. The cans are the same size on the outsize. But the Original Bike Spirits guys were at The Honda Hoot (RIP) last year and being about the most anal person I know I spent about 20 minutes chatting with them. Their stuff really IS the original stuff. And if you look hard you can find it in neat travel size cans as well. When at Americade this summer I spotted the small cans in the Honda Dealer in Queensbury, NY and picked up 8 cans!! The Stuff it great. Works great on most any part of the bike. Helping my bike stay "Q-tip" clean. And yes in by "bike ditty kit" there are 3 size Q-tips!

 

 

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JMR

As much as Mitch typically cleaned his bikes, I'm betting his Honda spray cheese was direct from a vintage can that had the original formula.

Ahem.... made an assumption, didn't I? Well, sorry 'bout that if that was a vintage can you had there Mitch...my batting average with my making assumptions is pretty bad.

Glad to hear about the smaller travel size cans, I'll carry one of those just for the borrowers who always empty my big can!

 

And I'll 'fess up here about the "not used water in seven years" comment I made....I remembered (after posting) that I did use water one time about three years ago. After myself and two other bikes went up a long and winding mtn pass on a rainy day that had just been traveled by a loaded livestock truck who apparently hadn't washed out his trailer for months...but the rain sure washed it out and the wet road surface kept it fresh. We HAD to use water, right away and lots of it once we found some (hours later). The hose-down included our road pants and jackets too. Phew.

 

....sorry about the unintentional fib.

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Darin Bell

I use a bucket of hot water and plain old dish soap with a soft washing mit. I use the air compressor to blow the water out of the hard to reach places and dry the rest of the bike with a chamois.

 

After it's dry, I spray down the bike with Plexus and use those yellow soft micro fiber cloths that Costco sells and polish it up. I wash the bike about every 3 weeks. I keep a cover on it at work so it stays pretty clean.

 

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JayW

5) I hate cleaning the front rim, no tricks found yet other than jacking the front wheel off the ground so you can spin it.

 

There is no need to jack it up. With the bike its centerstand, you can easily rotate the front wheel, especially if the surface is still wet. Just stand in front of the bike, grab a spoke and pull up. This approach rotates the wheel in reverse to avoid the risk of pulling the bike off the center stand. It is weighted so little, that very minimial effort is needed to rotate it 180 degrees in order to clean the other half of the wheel.

 

Jay

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longjohn

The first time I washed my RT I sprayed it down with very low pressure from the hose and let it soak, then used a bucket of soapy water, then dried it with syn chamois, then took it on the street for a few blocks to blow-dry it. I thought it was good to go. But the next morning I went to start it to go to work and it cranked very s l o w l y, and wouldn't start. I checked the switches, the radio, the on off switch, the heat switches, and the warning flasher, and then I hesitantly tried cranking it again. Thankfully it turned over, and hasnt' exhibited that problem since. The service advisor at LB nodded his head when I mentioned this to him and said that it's not that uncommon. Some water apparently gets where is shouldn't be and creates a short that will continue until it evaporates. Anyone ever had this happen to them?

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CoarsegoldKid

no

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marcopolo
no

 

Me neither.

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