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Wheel Cleaning Questions


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OK, it's time to get the grime off of my wheels.

But I have a few questions.


Is it safe to use a power washer on these wheels ?


Is there a better solution to use aside from 'Simple Green' ?


When cleaning the front wheel, is it wise to remove the rotors ?

And if so, what are the torque specs for reassembly ?



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A few pointers - (I am not an expert on cleaning though)


Power Washers are fine provided you do not direct them at the bearings - they can and do remove grease from them.


If you decide to remove the rotors, they are retained using green loctite (similar to red) and the fasteners must be heated to remove them. Lots of effort for regular cleaning, but probably worthwhile for a 'spring-clean' campaign to allow easier maintenance cleaning thereafter. Sorry, I do not have the torque figures to hand.



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First, please fill out your profile. We can't even tell what kind of bike you're talking about. If it is an R1200RT, the disc to front wheel torque is "initial torque: 12nm" and "final torque: 24nm" (from the BMW maintenance CD)

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If you think you need to remove the wheel... there have been recent posts on that subject. Of course if we knew what bike you are talking about we could help you better.


Assuming you just want to clean the wheel with it still on the bike... all you need is some time and a good place to work. Get your chosen cleaning material and several rags and go for it. No, I am not trying to be a smart ass. That is all there is to it.


The paint on the wheel is not resistant to strong solvents nor will it stand much abrasive material. If you give the wheel a good soak with Simple Green and let it sit a while then go back and do the detail with several rags and a bucket of warm water it may turn out to be easier than you thought.


I am amazed at the number of dead bugs and tar spots I get on the front wheel. Bugs get soft if you give them time. Tar needs mineral spirits or kerosene or Brake Kleen etc. Be careful not to melt the paint.


If I had a pressure washer I would hand spray the cleaning material and wait, then use the pressure washer on the wheel. Only reservation would be to keep away from the hub/seals.


You will end up rubbing with a cloth anyway... wax is good too after you attain clean.


Welcome on board.



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Jerry Johnston

Simple Green works fine and won't require a pressure washer to wash off afterward. I use it on the car wheels also.

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Micheal ... IMHO based on your signature ('04 R1100RS and R1200RT) I am pretty sure both bikes have coated wheels so both can be cleaned in the same manner. Some early R1100's had uncoated wheels which were a REAL bear to clean .... I owned a '97 R1100RT and know first hand. But for yours it is pretty simple.


I am REAL anal about my bikes and my bike including wheels get cleaned after every ride. The only 2 products I use are either S-100 Wheel Cleaner or Griot's Garage Wheel Cleaner. Both these products have performed great for me and have never damaged the finish. Some other wheel cleaner products have some strong acids in them that can over time harm the finish. Just wet the wheels, spray on the product and then use a small soft wet sponge to work the grime off. Then I use a larger clean sponge to rinse using a large bucket of clean water. If they are really bad you may need to go over them more than once. Then towel dry with soft towel.


Once done I apply a coat of Original Bike Spirits Spray Polish. That is it! Pretty simple! And I would NEVER use a power washer ... many do .... but I just don't like that much pressure on any part of my bike.








Hope this helps! As others have indicated ... not too complicated ... just a bit of elbow grease. Having a center stand on BMW's sure makes it easier. :grin:

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