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Cleaning / grit


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Hi there, need some advice for cleaning my bike, so far to clean it i just got some hot soapy water (car soap) and wiped all the dirt off then went over the chrome with a chrome polish to keep it protected, anything else i need to do? Also maintenance on the chain it's done about 500miles i've heard about tightening the chain but i don't want to bugger it up =D.

As it is also winter, the roads are getting gritted, this morning in fact around my area as such i hear grit will ruin an engine if not cleaned properly, as my bike is naked its engine is very exposed! So again tips suggestions knowledge, all appreciated as i would like to keep my little bike looking and running great!

Thanks for the help in advance!

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sounds like you're doing everything you can thus far.

give your bike a good clean with some soapy water and get into as many of the nooks and crannies as you can get into. Once dry, spray all exposed engine components (excluding brakes, tyres and paintwork!) with a liberal coating of ACF50 and allow to dry on. Over the course of winter, clean off crap on your painted areas using the soapy water route. Ensure all your reflectors and lights are clear of grime and build up.

about once a month, remove your brake pads from the calipers and give a clean down with brake cleaner, making sure the grooves are clear of road debris and brake dust. Shouldn't take too long to do that.

finally, ensure the chain is at the correct tension by measuring the deflection from a fixed point on your bike. generally the middle of the swing arm. it should say in your haynes manual what the optimum is, but it's generally about 30mm. if it's any more, crank up your rear wheel on a paddock stand, crack off the rear wheel nut and the nuts on the adjuster (poking out the rear of the swing arm. Use the flats of the bolts to measure how many turns you're making (keeps the rear wheel in the alignment you're currently in). measure several times throughout this process until your deflection is within parameter. After that's done, tighten your rear wheel bolt again to the recommended Nm in your haynes. if your rear brake is not hydraulic, you will need to modify this as well. check the deflection one final time (it can shift when you tighten the rear wheel).

finally clean the chain using a decent chain cleaner and a rag or a specific nylon chain brush. do not use a wire brush as this will damage the seals. spray with lube on both sides of the chain and give a coating of chain wax (brilliant in this crappy weather).

might be worth looking at lubing your clutch and throttle cables as well. stitch in time.

get a tin of clutch lube and the attachment (few quid on amazon). take your clutch cable off at the lever end (probably 1 bolt to undo) then attach the attachment doohickey. spray liberally until it comes out the other end of the cable. re-attach to the bike and clean up the mess you just made. (should take about 10 mins).

all in all, this will take you an afternoon's work, but your bike will thank you for it. adjusting chain tension is frightening the first time you do it, but after that, it's really easy and will save you £30 asking a mechanic to do it.

edit: added paintwork as a place not to spray acf50!

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Pucker response :D Lots of useful information. Some of that i think i can do quite easily, some other bits i may get some assistance from friend/dad =). Now to pop to amazon/halfords pick a few bits and pieces up then wait for a nice sunday afternoon and have a crack at it.

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Ah tell me about it.. Bought my L plate from there "self adhesive" bullshit, 2 sticky stripes hold it on, it blew off going down the A12!!! and cost me £4 bought one from a bike shop £1 perfect.

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Take off the front sprocket cover as it can become a grease and crud bath with suspended road grit in it. The chain runs through that and you will never get it properly clean. I gently poke out the crud with an old screwdriver.

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