Spilled a whole glass of Coca-Cola with ice on my brilliant Spidi gloves from Italy (:*) while dining. The gloves have the “do not wash in any way” sign. Luckily no coke got inside of the gloves. However, they’re now sticking to the handlebar. Gross. Damn it.
On the other hand, now I have a bullet-proof argument as to why exactly I think my leather gloves are so sweet! Take that!
Even if you buy a brand new motorcycle and drive it off the stand from the official dealer store, sooner or later it will require a good wash. Even if you are that one lucky rider who has never been caught riding under the rain during the last 25 seasons, even if your garage is more sterile than the 8th Hospital in Zeytun (hey it’s totally feasible!), and even if you take a shower every time before saddling it, if you’re riding it you’ll get it dirty (no pun intended).
Moreover, if you just love doing it in dirt and gravel, the need to wash it will rise a lot more often than if you’re one of those cafe racer dudes with a Fireblade.
And by often I mean pretty damn often.
So what do you do when the time comes? You know, when the rear suspension doesn’t work anymore because of all the dirt, the leather saddle and the handlebar grips conveniently stick to your pants and gloves like a candy, the turn signal button no longer works because of all the sand around, the mirrors show a blurred vision of a drunk person distantly resembling the reality behind you and she suddenly comes up with all these different reasons why she does not want to ride today? From that point (as well as from any ride that is more than 300km in Armenia) you have two options.
Option number one
Wash your motorcycle. Get some water running (better warm than cold), some dishwashing liquid detergent, a sponge and a bucket.
Make sure the engine is not very hot
Start with splashing buckets of water to essentially get the motorcycle very wet
Spray the running water and try to get off as much dust and dirt by spraying as possible
Get more water in the bucket and soap it using the detergent
Starting with the top (the mirrors), go down sponging and soaping all the parts, taking care of the dead bugs and paying attention to every detail. Avoid rubbing the sponge against big pieces of dirt or sand, as this will scratch the paint.
Clean the motorcycle chain using a commercial chain cleaner available in many stores including Honda’s Yerevan Dealership
Rinse the bike using running water
Let the motorcycle rest for a couple of minutes
Dry it using a damp cloth
Lubricate the chain!
Go on a ride to dry off the remaining parts (enjoy)!
One thing to keep in mind is, do not direct high-pressure water on the carburetor, the front fork suspension rings or the engine radiator. These parts can easily be damaged by that.
Option number two
Have someone else wash your motorcycle. Many riders are feeling very strongly against someone else washing the motorcycle. Moreover, there is a shared belief that washing the motorcycle at a commercial no-contact car wash (aka “Karcher”) will damage some parts because of the extremely high-pressure water and air. However, in reality things are not so grim, if you take necessary precautions and warn the washer about some specifics.
Commercial no-contact car washes have two big advantages:
They do not accumulate any scratches to the paint, simply because pressurized air is used instead of a sponge
They are quick
Warn the fellow to not direct the stream of water at the radiator, the carburetor and the front fork UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES and always stay to supervise what’s he doing. Then pay your 2000 drams and get done with it.
I am personally going to this typical Yerevan car wash in a yard at Grigor Lusavorich street where a guy named Galoust (he’s in the photo above) has become my own personal bike washing expert. Here is where the place is located: