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Discussion Starter #1
This topic started in other thread and I thought it worthwhile making it a separate topic. Here are the original posts.

ColoradoBob wrote:
At our monthly meeting, my Trident got selected for a detailing demonstration by Nick Stabile who won twice in a row at Sturgis for his expertise at making bikes shine. My bike has never won best of show and apparently qualified as the best "before" bike. WOW, with the proper products, I was amazed at the results. The picture on the left is before and the right is after 20 minutes of cleaning. I did take some ribbing from the other members, but it was worth it. Caked on bugs wiped right off. Road tar was gone in a flash. The seat shines without being slick. The instrument cups look like new. The cases are spotless. Bob
triumpt120rv replied:
Mind sharing some detailing secrets from the pro? I need all the help I can get.
ColoradoBob replied:
Nick's procedure was quite specific. 1 Put the bike on a lift. Remove all jewelry. 4 5-gallon buckets and 2 small buckets. Micro-fiber towels, the yellow ones from Costco. 4 HP Air Force Blaster motorcycle dryer. Fine mist garden hose nozzle. Mist the bike down after wrapping all electrics in garbage or shopping bags. Before it dries spray S-100 http://www.s100.com/s100_tcc.htm and wash it off in 2 or 3 minutes. He will publish a book "Sturgis Ready" in about 6 months. He had about 20 different cleaning products. He said the cleaner is made in Germany and is quite expensive. Bike Bright was also recommended. We used very hot water and several washing mitts. Bob
triumpt120rv replied:
Thanks for sharing Bob. Don't have the lift or the dryer but can come up with the rest. Cheers.


I have a couple of items that are handy for both quick detailing and serious detailing/cleaning.

First, I keep a spray bottle of plain water in easy reach of my bikes. Nozzle is set for a fine mist. I mist the bike windshield, mirrors, headlight etc. and let it sit while I get my riding gear out. After a few minutes, I take a cotton towel that hangs near the bottle and clean off the bugs and such that are now softened by the water. Works great.

For serious washing, I wear cotton gardening gloves, the kind with the little rubber dots on them. Their purpose it to protect my hands. I don't know about the rest of you, but I tend to knock the skin of several knuckes when I clean my bike, especially when I'm drying it off with a cotton towel. This saves your hands and lets you get into all the nooks and crannies without injury.

I use 100% cotton towels to dry my bikes. Bath size seem to be best because there is alway a dry area you can turn to.

In absence of a blower like Bob mentioned, a regular electric leaf blower works great. It blows all the excess moisture off after you rinse the the soapy water off the bike. Just make sure you clean the fan well because if you use it to suck up leaves in the fall, it can pick up dirt and deposit it on the fan or in the fan housing and then spit it out into the paint on your bike. NOT GOOD!

Turtlewax Spray wax is my favorite. It will dissolve a lot of things like bugs and leaves behind a nice shine and no residue. Again, cotton towels for this work.

Lacquer thinner or acetone works good for getting rubber boot heal scuffs off your exhaust from kick starting. With patience, lacquer thinner will also remove burned on plastic and rubber heal material from passengers footwear touching the hot exhaust.

Denatured alcohol makes tires look like new without making them shiny. I had shiney tires. Flat, deep black is the right color for tires. Also works well to spruce up other rubber items like speedo mounts and cups.

Flitz polish works great on aluminum and cad plate. It will keep cad plate shining a long time. Zinc plate too.

Mothers alum polish works well on aluminum bits.

Turtlewax Chrome polish works terrific and will never damage your chrome. I have removed blue on pipes with it. Takes a lot of effort but works. Does wonders on rusty chrome.

Those are mine.

regards,
Rob
 

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I use Simple Green, cuts grease,crud, and oil like nothing Ive ever seen, short of varsol. So far its been kind to my paint,chrome, and plastics, and it smells nice too. Even after the bike gets hot.

I ride nearly every day in all kinds of weather making a mirror polish impractical to maintain so the cases, Amals, and stacks get a single direction scrubbing with a used green scratchy from the kitchen for a soft satin finish.
 

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I use Simple Green, cuts grease,crud, and oil like nothing Ive ever seen, short of varsol. So far its been kind to my paint,chrome, and plastics, and it smells nice too. Even after the bike gets hot.

In the discussion we had during the detailing demonstration, one of the guys mentioned paint damage from Simple Green. Nick specifically cautioned against using a leaf blower to blow dry. His bike dryer blew a much gentler warm stream of air. He very specifically recommended micro-fiber towels. His procedure was aimed at winning best of show at Sturgis. He said he won because his bike was the cleanest. I was truly amazed the the S100 removed caked on oil after 2 minutes and a rinse with fine mist from the garden hose. Nick also recommended carnauba wax for show bikes. He also stated that for his next demonstration he would select a bike that was much cleaner than mine. I always thought it looked plenty good enough when passing by at 85mph. I have his phone number and can have him call for detailed inquiries.
Bob
 

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Well for what it's worth I find Brasso a good polish for chrome as well as alloy and even paint (if the paint needs flatting down - Brasso works like T Cut). It is milder than Solvol Autosol but still does a good polishing job. Don't know whether our American/Ozzie/everywhere-else-in-the-world cousins can get Brasso, but for we Brits it is readily available.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Brasso is or at least was a staple in the US. Just ask all the soldiers with brass belt buckles.

My only comment on using different polishes on different metals is be careful. I once used a polish on a chrome exhaust to remove a heal print and it removed the chrome down to the nickel. So, read the instructions/application info and if it does not specificially say "use on XXX", don't use it on XXX.

regards,
Rob
 

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I am a bit of an anorak on cleaning Vintage cars and bikes, well actually any car/bike. Why have a beautiful machine and not having it look it's best??? Although my wife suggests that if I spent as much time pampering her as I do my bikes she would become a very happy bunny. Anyhow on to the bike:-

First job cleaning the wheels especially the rear, I use WD40 and a soft paint brush, squirt a little on the wheel and brush and paint it on. This is a soft way to remove chain lube, brake dust, grit and any oil that's found it way there. Then with a hose pipe. (Not pressure Washers, very very bad for bikes) rinse off all excess

Next job the engine, again WD 40 and paint brush removing any oil and general road grime....then rinse

Then I move to the front of the bike and use a quick detailing wax to remove all the slatted bugs, it's the best non caustic stuff I have found

Now it's time for a wash, I use the 2 bucket method with a good quality car shampoo and a sheep skin mitt. Using plenty of water Start at the highest point and work your way down, front to back. If there is a wind or it's a warm day I find that I need to rinse half way through, you do not want the shampoo water drying on the bike. Then a really good rinse.

Then out comes the "Air Blaster" I agree I would never let a leaf blower near my toys. and dry thoroughly.

Now the fun starts, polishing, first paint if needed then chrome. Brasso is very rough on chrome, so is autosol, I use a non-abrasive chrome cleaner called Belgom and a miro fiber cloth and polish away.

Next job, Waxing, a little Wax on the palm of your hand and rub all over, allow to dry then polish off with a lambs wool mitt.

re-lube chain, check tyre pressures, oil levels and go for a ride

Job done

AJ
 

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I use glass cleaner and extra fine steel wool on my exhaust headlight & wheels. Then go back over them with glass cleaner and a cotton towel. Works great, and a lot less effort than doing it without steel wool
 
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