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I've been riding in the rain for the past couple of weeks as the weather turns here in the Pacific Northwest of Canada.

I actually have been enjoying it - its not too cold, and its fun to be on a new kind of adventure on my Tbird ...

But then I get home and the bike is FILTHY. Dirty pipes, grimy wheels, dirt under the back fender. I feel compelled to wash it every day :(

I sprayed the underside, electrics and engine with ACF-50 before the rain started, and I lightly re-apply it after a wash occasionally, but here's my routine.

* Let the bike cool so I don't melt anything on the pipes
* Cover the pipe ends and grips with plastic bags
* Piece of tape on the key hole
* Lightly water the whole bike down
* Wash with a rag, bucket of automotive wash/wax mixture
* Rinse it off with the hose
* Start the bike
* Blow it dry with my leaf blower on high
* Run the bike until the rad stops steaming
* Wipe it all down again, re-apply protectant or ACF-50 as needed

Takes me about 30 minutes a day. Ugh.

Am I being obsessive? Is that too much? Do I NEED to do this? Are there shortcuts you guys use to keep your bike clean?

I realize a lot of us on here park the bike in the winter. I'm starting to see why that's appealing ... but I just can't do that!

I get a tight, anxious and sad feeling in my heart after a day or two of not riding my beautiful Thunderbird!

Must ... ride! Must ... wash!?!
 

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I'm a bit anal about keeping my bike clean too mate and follow a similar method as you,but I reckon the leaf blower is not a good idea (could blow moisture into places you don't want to) I just rinse the bike with rain water and use a shammy to dry it and whack some polish on about every 3 washes.
 

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From your description you aren't being anal at all. If your bike is getting as dirty as it sounds, and especially if it's getting wet too, all i would say is thank god you have the energy to do that ! At my age i don't think i'd have the energy/strength to do that daily, and i'm probably more anal about keeping mine clean than anyone. I happen to be lucky tho in that the environment i ride in isn't harsh at all and i never have to wash mine. I just clean it with microfiber towels and various products.

i would suggest 2 things to you....make sure you dry the bikes as thoroughly as possible, as i have seen many people cite corrosion issues with most triumphs including the Tbird. Second, get some of this stuff....
http://www.motorcycle-superstore.com/2/9/197/12490/ITEM/Maxima-SC1-Silicone-Detailer.aspx

I have used every product imaginable, and that stuff is amazing. Nothing, and i mean NOTHING shines like (looks like paint was just sprayed) it and it lasts quite well and resists dirt from sticking as much. There are other silicone similar products and some even use pledge furniture polish, but trust me, this stuff is the best and easist to remove. Other silicone based stuff often leaves oily streaks that take many passes to remove. This works great on every part of the bike including the engine, especially black engine parts, chrome, frame, and tank and fenders. Everything except the seat, grips and tires of course. Can't recommend it highly enough.
 

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It's about pride and care of what you own. You ought to see me.:D I carry a Flitz micro cloth with me where ever I go.

You can use Pledge on any of the surfaces for overall light after ride wipe down. Also what daz has showed you.

If the underside of the T-Bird is really dirty, especially where you can't reach with your hands, use Dow Bathroon Cleaner. Spray it on, wait for about 30 seconds to a minute, no more and wash or wipe it off. Don't use it on the tanks, fenders or side panels, just the engine and other metal parts.

I could go on for hours with all the products that I've tried. Some work extreme well, other not so much. One thing which always works extremely well on the billet, is Semi-chrome. It's been around for a long time but always seems to work best.

I get allot of enjoyment cleaning the T-Bird, because afterwards I can stand back and admire it's good looks and blue is the hue that is true!;)
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Dazco, thanks for that recommendation. I'll look into seeing if I can get a can of that locally. The pointy-head bureaucrats around here have decided that shipping aerosols through the mail is too 'dangerous' so ordering a can online isn't going to work ... but where there's a will ... hehehe :)

This morning it rained. I rode to an appointment and then right home and washed the bike. Then the sun came out, and I headed out again. Good times.

I've wondered about the leaf blower, but it pumps out air at 70mph, which is about the speed any bike should be able to handle. I don't point it directly at the guts of the engine - I wait till the bike is running and warmed up and then hit it from a distance with the blower. Dries it right out very quickly.

I've wondered about the 'cover the grips with a bag before washing' instructions from the manual. Although I do it, it seems like any casual rainstorm would soak the grip area anyway... and riding at speed in a rainstorm is going to blast them for sure. I think that they are assuming people clean their bikes with a pressure washer? Kinda puzzling, if you ask me.

TBrider ... I too find it kind of therapeutic to clean my bike. I just turn on some tunes, and wash away. You focus on the little bits, polish, scrub and brush and it sort of soothes the soul. And yes, you stand back afterwards and compliment her on her beauty! But sometimes, after a long ride on a cold day, when starting a fire in the hearth is the only thing on my mind, I tend to wish I didn't have to baby her so much. This gorgeous machine is a high-maintenance babe, but she sure does look good on the imaginary pedestal!
 

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I have been using a Toro electric leaf blower to dry my bikes for years...never a problem.
 

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Riding is more important than cleaning. Not sure why you're covering your key lock and pipe ends. The electrics of the lock are sealed and water will get in your pipes when you ride in the rain anyway- it evaporates quickly.

Personally, I think 1/2 a day spent on the bike is better spent checking it for mechanical soundness; visual inspection of oil level, tire air pressure, electrical system check (battery, lights, horn, etc.). and general wear-and-tear. I find the best way to keep a bike clean is to keep the seals and gaskets in good condition so it doesn't leak fluids that attract road grime.

I don't mean to rain on your parade, many people who ride love their machines and want to spend time keeping them nice. I take mine to the car wash when it gets muddy, and when I see grime starting to show on the wheel rims, pipes and such, I get out the Brasso and give all of the metal a good going over. Oh, I only do spokes 3 or 4 times a year, when the dirt actually begins to show on them (spokes are a pain in the ass).
 

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You sound like me Draeger, here in the U.K I use a degreaser, but its biodegradable, an enviromentaly friendly one, you wet the bike off and spray this stuff on, spread it about with a brush and lightly hose it off, then a wash / wax after. then I blow out the fins and "screw" fixings with compressed air, chase off the excess water as well, then dry off with shop towels. works for me.
Look out for water ingress in the ECU multi plugs and R / R under the swing arm, yes it happened to me ;-(, and clutch cable, engine end .. ..+

http://www.bike-cleaner.com/productindex4.html
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Look out for water ingress in the ECU multi plugs and R / R under the swing arm, yes it happened to me ;-(, and clutch cable, engine end .. ..+
Kraft,

I've got a handle on keeping the clutch cable clean, but I'm not sure where those ECU multi plugs might be on the bike. I'd like to check them out - any tips on where to look for them?
 

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Use dry silicone spray or dielectric grease on the plugs and any electrical components.

First one to look for is under the left side cover below the SAI. The voltage regulator is also on the left side under the frame rail behing the CAT. There are several under the tank but are better protected from water. Big thing is; never use high pressure washer to clean the bike.
 

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Kraft,

I've got a handle on keeping the clutch cable clean, but I'm not sure where those ECU multi plugs might be on the bike. I'd like to check them out - any tips on where to look for them?

Hi Draeger, yes they are under the left hand Panel as sitting on the bike, 2 screws fix a plate to the airbox which holds ( clamps) the ECU in place, now if your going to remove the multi plugs to inject some Dialectric ( silicone ) grease into them and the ECU`s, for gods sake DISCONNECT the Battery first.. I have filled mine with grease....as I did the Reg / Rectifiers as well.. and that lives under the left side swing arm...just where the rear tire sprays it ;-(
 
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