How to Polish a Motorcycle
There’s nothing like giving your scoot that head-turning shine. But, when it comes to motorcycle cleaning products, there’re plenty of choices floating around out there on the market.
So, what motorcycle cleaning products are tried and true, and what's the best technique to polish chrome?
First, wash your motorcycle.
Before you wash your motorcycle, take a second to make sure the ground is firm, you’re in the shade, and have enough space to work. (If you aren't sure how to wash motorcycles, here's a helpful article.) Washing in the shade is a must, as the sun risks drying any cleaning products and scratching or damaging the paint. Remove any jewelry, watches, etc., and make sure no zippers or belt buckles are exposed. The last thing you want is to scratch your baby as you’re leaning over some hard-to-reach spots.
For tips on how to wash a motorcycle, check out this article. A good bath is an important first step. After you’ve washed and dried, go ahead and grab your sunglasses. It’s time to start polishing.
Then, polish the aluminum.
Aluminum parts usually take a little longer to polish than chrome, so this is where we start. Use a polishing cloth or pad to apply a small amount of polish to the aluminum parts. Begin in a circular motion and finish by moving in a straight line. After you’ve finished using this technique, use a microfiber cloth to get some extra shine and clean up any areas you may have missed. There's always the option of jumping into it with total commitment, like this guy.
Then, polish the chrome.
Now, the fun part. Let's polish chrome. Be sure the chrome is completely dry since chrome parts are notorious for developing water spots. I suggest using a dryer sheet to go over every inch of the chrome and make sure it’s dry.
If you want to keep your chrome looking nicer for longer, it’s time to “wax on, wax off.” Just apply your chrome wax or polish and wipe away with a clean, unused cloth. Use a couple of coats, since the first coat will fill any pores, and the second layer will provide that awesome luster. Buff between coats. A favorite chrome polish is Honda Spray Cleaner or regular ol’ Lemon Pledge.
Tip: Chrome is a relatively fragile metal, so you should avoid heavy-duty chemicals and industrial cleaners and don’t rub one spot for too long.
Another tip: Always clean one section at a time, and only move on to the next part once you are sure you are finished cleaning the first. This will help ensure you don’t miss a spot.
Finally, polish the paint.
Apply your polish and wax in straight lines, and step back for a few minutes, take a breather, and let the polish dry to a haze. After a few minutes, gently polish off the wax with a clean, unused microfiber cloth.
Don’t forget your wheels! Go ahead and apply additional coats of polish or wax to your wheels and thoroughly wipe off with a microfiber cloth. Typically, one or two coats of polish are recommended to create a high gloss shine and protect the chrome or aluminum on your wheels.
Recommended motorcycle polish brands:
For paint: Meguiars NXT Generation Tech Wax
For chrome and paint: Honda Spray
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