Protecting and Maintaining your Motorcycle

By John Linden

If you own a motorcycle, you know what an investment it is. While people may assume that these smaller vehicles are cheaper than cars, the truth is that many motorcycles are much more expensive. That's why it's important to protect your bikes with a motorcycle cover and make certain they're maintained properly. Otherwise, you may find that your motorcycle no longer looks as nice or even runs correctly.

How to Clean Your Motorcycle

If your motorcycle needs to be washed, you may be tempted to take it directly to a commercial car wash. Don't! First of all, you never want to wash your motorcycle right after you've ridden it, so unless you're taking it to a car wash on a trailer, a commercial car wash is out. This is because you should never put cold water directly onto a hot engine. Don't wash your bike on the street, either. Instead, wash it in your driveway or, if possible, in your backyard.

The time of day is also important. The direct sunlight of mid-afternoon can cause the detergents and other chemicals found in washing fluids to dry before you have a chance to rinse them off your bike. This can leave streaks, mineral deposits, and more directly on your motorcycle.

How often should you wash your bike? If you wash your bike too often, it can actually cause some lubricants to get washed away. However, if you don't, you may not notice damaged parts or leaks, plus it can be very difficult to get squashed bugs off if they are on your bike for too long. If you come back from a ride with a dirty bike, wash it off as soon as you can. If you don't ride that often or don't get your bike that dirty, you can probably get by with a basic wash once every month or so.

Ways of Protecting Your Motorcycle

When you're not riding your motorcycle, you want to make certain that it's protected from the wind, rain, and other elements by covering it from motorcycle covers. To that end, you want to keep it in a garage or other shelter whenever possible. If you don't have a garage, you can park it in a small storage shed or, if you're not going to ride it for several months or more, even rent a small storage unit for your bike. Then you want to cover your motorcycle with a motorcycle cover. This cover should be long enough to cover most of the bike, plus it needs to be waterproof. Check out our covers for Harley-Davidson Tri Glide Ultra Classic, FLHTCU Electra Glide Ultra Classic and Road Glide Motorcycle.

If you have to park your motorcycle outdoors at any time, it's also a good idea to use one of these motorcycle cloth covers. This way, the bike will be protected from the rain and from blowing dirt and bugs.

Also, don't forget to keep your bike in good running condition. It's difficult to protect your engine and other parts when you don't change your oil regularly. Make certain you know how often the oil needs changed and make an appointment to have it done. While the rule of thumb may be every 3,000 miles, today's engines and oils may be able to go much longer than that. Check your motorcycle's owner's manual.

Cleaning Tips

Motorcycles don't do well with salt corrosion, so if you're in an area new the sea, you may want to spray a silicon protection spray on your bike.

Remember to make certain that you have plenty of antifreeze in your motorcycle's radiator, especially before you put it in storage for the winter.

Don't forget that when you're changing the oil, change the filter, too.

A high pressure cleaner can help remove any caked on mud, but be careful with it. It can also blast some of the more sensitive parts of your motorcycle with water and may damage electrical wires or your vinyl seats.

The Benefits of Cleaning and Protecting your Bike

There are a number of different benefits to keeping your bike clean and protected. The most obvious one is that it keeps your motorcycle looking great. It also prevents damage to your bike. By cleaning it regularly, you have a chance to really inspect your motorcycle at a time when it's not in use. When you're really looking at your bike under good light without any plans of riding anywhere, you may notice small issues that you wouldn't have seen otherwise. Catching these issues early on may mean that you can prevent more severe damage to your bike.

Keeping your bike protected during the winter and from storms and the winds by using a motorcycle cover is also a good way of making certain dirt, debris, and even small animals and bugs stay out of your motorcycle's most sensitive parts.