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Riding Tips


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Cleaning the Bike

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One of issues that really annoys me is having a clean bike. Maybe I have OCD but I am constantly making sure my bike is up to showroom standard. Even on the trips I tend to visit the nearest garage close to our overnight stay and give it a quick spray over with the jet washer. Something that I have learnt recently is to buy a good cleaner. There are many brands on the market -  MucOff is one of the most common - but recently I discovered SDC100 Motorcycle gel. This is a thick green/yellow gel that you  apply to your bike and let it soak in for about 1/2 hour. Rinse away and it takes 95% of the dirt with it. For stubborn dirt or stains such as flies give it a gentle rub with a sponge or soft brush. For me this really is excellent stuff but its not cheap. For a litre bottle its about EURO 12.00.  Link to buy SDC100 in bulk is here. Thankfully has it now at pretty good prices but the largest they do it in is 2.5 litre and I prefer the larger 5 litre bins. Also Louis also sells a pump activated pressured bottle to apply the gel to your bike which is quite handy. 

Another very good cleaning product I discovered was waterless cleaning NO H2O. There is a lot of talk about these products stating its basically furniture polish and cleaning without water leads to scratching of the paintwork. All maybe have some truth in them however I have been using the products on both cars and my bikes for years now and the results are amazing. What I tend to do is thoroughly clean my car or bike using the traditional ''wet'' method be it using the SDC 100 for the bike or a simple car shampoo for my car. After they have dried then I go over it with the waterless product. It does render a superb shine and a wax like finish. Great is that it requires very little effort to use. Up to you what you do but I find it keeps my bike especially in top condition.


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Another great investment I made was a small electric compressor, basically to airdry the bike and get water out of the small gaps. However I decided to use the paint gun filled with SDC100 Gel and apply it all over the bike. It worked perfectly. Completely covered the bike without having to use the handgun spray and the airgun gave a better coverage with the cleaner gel.  Waited 1/2 hour and all done. Only thing is that in one spraying the gun used up over 1/2 a litre of the gel so be warned. Get a big bulk vat of the cleaner and you can get about 10 washes out of it. The compressor shown on the left cost around EURO 120 with all the accessories. I bought it on line from a company in the Netherlands but you can get them just about anywhere.

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In the video below the person uses a number of cleaning products and methods. Its up to you how you do it but the explanation in itself is quite useful. I had used my compressor above as a dryer to blow out all the loose water from the hard to get to bits but  decided to buy one of the dryers used in the video. I thought it was all a bit of a waste of money but now that I have one I really appreciates its ability and value. Why? Well its simple, the fact that it uses hot air is a big bonus. This makes the drying a lot more efficient. The cold air from the compressor tended to blow the water around a bit. 

There are many on the market so its up to you how much you spend. The make and model on the right is the one I have. You should be paying anything between GBP 110 and 140. If you want one over here on the Continent, best to buy from their Website rather than going local. I have seen that same model going for EURO 180 + postage which is about 35% higher!


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This YouTube clip is quite good in that is does show you how to clean your bike, Maybe pretty straight forward but I have found it useful....and in place of the ''Muck Off'' brand of cleaner I go for the SDC100 gel which to me works a treat!

As a great alternative this video shows how to clean a bike using a pressure washer, snow foam and a Bruhl Dryer. Actually I also do this before going into more detailing using the above products. Its actually a lot of fun!

Which Snow Foam and how best to use it

I have also done some research on snow foam and what products to use as well as how. Apparently the best product on the market is the Bilt Hamber snow foam cleaner called Auto Foam. There is a new product out called Touch Less and the jury is out on the real difference with the Auto Foam cleaner. There are quite a lot of comparison videos on You Tube for cars so you can make up your own mind. 
Seeing as I use mine on both cars and bikes I have gone for the bulk buy (25 litres) of the Auto Foam. Its cheaper in the UK so I took advantage during my recent visit. Results are quite spectacular,  however there are a number of points to note:

1. All forms of Snow Foam are pre-cleaners and should not be used as only cleaning process.

2. If, however, you have a relativley  clean car or bike then the foam will lift any road film and generally will suffice.

3. Most use snow foam to loosen and remove some of the surface grime and afterwards require you go into the detailing process with other cleaning products.

I must say, on my relatively clean car or bike I use the snow foam and work it in using a soft brush; this does the trick for me but as said if you are really going for the detailing and your bike is really mucky then there are basically 4 steps to cleaning process:  rinse, foam, wash & wax. 
Again its all down to the user and how obsessive they are with getting the machine back to show room spec.

Having said all of this I have to really recommend the Bilt Hamber product. As said once applied in the right quantity it really works for me and working in with a brush is all I need to do. If I am feeling really ambitious then after the foaming I go for the SDC 100. 
I let the bike dry and then apply and leave for a further 30 mins, brush in and then remove with lots of water. After drying then applying the non H2O as final polish.

How much foam product to water do I use in my pressure washer?

One of the main issues with setting up your snow foam is understanding the filling ratio or PIR (Panel Impact Ratio) of foam to water in the pressure washer. It can all get a bit complicated and some people just put 100% product into their gun and hope for the best. This can get very expensive if your using this method regularly. I have found a video which clearly explains how this all works.

After poaching these videos off You Tube I decided to make my own. Here's part 1 of the process with my own tips and tricks on cleaning and cleaning products. 


Second part of the series shows me cleaning my new GSA after a weekend in Germany. Roads were wet so naturally the bike came back filthy. In part 3 we will look at polishing with the No H2O product.

Coming soon.....


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