TEN THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WASHING YOUR BIKE
(1) At the track. To make washing your bike easier, before you leave the track, scrape any packed-on dirt and mud from the engine cases and under the fenders. Do not use metal objects, such as screwdrivers, to scrape off dirt, because the hard metal will scratch your bike. Use plastic mud scrapers, as they are fairly inexpensive. Companies like Works Connection and JGRMX both make plastic mud scrapers for under $15.
(2) Prep. We recommend investing in an airbox wash cover (we use Twin Air air box covers). We use them for two reasons. First, we take the seat off to avoid getting water into the seat foam, which deteriorates the foam, making it soft. Second, with the seat off and airbox sealed, you can pressure-wash inside the airbox, and get it nice and clean. A clean airbox minimizes the risk of dirt getting into the air boot and making its way into the engine. Before installing the wash cover, carefully wipe away any dirt around the seal of the air filter. We also use a wash plug in the end of the muffler to keep water out.
(3) On the side. When the bulk of dirt is removed from the bike, take it off the stand. Place the stand in a place where you can rest the handlebars on the stand. With the bike laid on its side, you can easily get to the undercarriage of the bike where dirt is the hardest to get to. If you are using a pressure washer, avoid any direct contact with electrical connections and pivot points of the bike.
(4) Loose dirt. Once the undercarriage of the bike is clean, put the bike back on the stand and spray off all of the loose dirt.
(5) Soap. Once you get the bulk of the dirt off, it is time to use a cleaning agent to remove the dirt residue and grime from the bike. We use Maxima Bio Clean, but cleaning formulas like Mr. Clean and Simple Green work just as well. Whatever the cleaning formula, we like to put it in a spray bottle (Maxima Bio Clean already comes in a spray bottle) to ensure every part of the bike, save for the electrical connections and pivot joints, is being bathed.
(6) Scotch-Brite. While the cleaning agent is working its magic, take a green Scotch-Brite pad and scrub any scuffs or black marks off your aluminum frame (not necessary on KTM or Husqvarna chromoly steel frames). Always scrub parallel to the frame to avoid leaving scratch marks.
(7) Spray off. Use a pressure washer or a bucket of water and a big sponge to wipe away all soap and remaining dirt from the bike. Since everything is clean, take the time to carefully inspect the nooks and crannies of your bikes. Dirt often hides behind the countershaft sprocket cover, in the number plate bolt hole recesses and behind the front number plate. This is also a good time to inspect high-wear parts to see if they need to be replaced or maintained.
(8) Wipe down. Now that the bike is clean, wipe it down with a clean dry towel. MXA has 10 old bath towels we use specifically for cleaning bikes. We throw them in the washing machine at regular intervals. After the bulk of the excess water is removed, we like to use an air compressor to blow out any excess water—again, avoiding direct contact with the electrical connections and pivot joints.
(9) Finishing up. Remove your airbox wash cover and wipe away any water that may have leaked into the air box. Install a clean air filter, and then reinstall the seat and spray it with Windex to clean it up. Dry it thoroughly. If you want to keep the plastic looking as new as possible, use Maxima SC1. We spray it on all the plastic parts and let it sit for a minute or two and then wipe it off. It keeps the plastic looking shiny, but be sure to keep SC1 away from the brake rotors and seat cover.
(10) Start it. Remove the muffler plug and start the bike after you wash it. Let it run for a few minutes. This evaporates any water that may be sitting stagnant on the bike. If the bike needs an oil change, this is a good time since the engine oil will be nice and warm. High-pressure water gets things clean, but it can also make things like pivots and chains dry. Make sure to lube the chain and spray things like the footpeg pivots, shock preload ring threads and clutch perch. We also spray our exhaust pipes with Maxima MPPL to prevent corrosion.