One of the things that changed when I moved to the Netherlands was that I now live in an apartment and have no access to a hose or a place to properly wash my motorcycle. Adding to that the fact winter is much colder here and the roads get salted the poor bike suffers and at some point there is the need for a deeper clean.
How to do it? Most of the times I just go to a regular car jet wash and give it a general cleanup avoiding using the high pressure jet in more sensitive areas (like electrics, etc) however this does little more than to remove the most obvious soiling, leaving the rims and all the nooks and crannies in and around the engine still filled with dirt, dust and oil residues.
Wouldn’t it be great if the car jetwash places had an extra bay with a simple hose and the possibility to rent the place for 20 or 30min to allow you to properly clean the bike using a sponge, bucket and proper bike washing liquid?
If something like this exists I would love to know! For now I have to make do with my makeshift solution: – a manual pressure sprayer.
The one I have is a large 16L unit with wheels that I bought a couple of weeks ago at Aldi for 29,90€, but you can find them in sizes from 1L and 5€ to 10€. Keep in mind, this is no where as good as a proper hose, the pressure is limited and the flowrate is quite low, but it sure beats using a bucket to rinse the bike and having to go back to the apartment to get more water every 30s.
With this, a bucket a few sponges and a good bike detergent you can with a little bit of patience properly clean the bike.
If you’re wondering why did I decide to dedicate a post to bike cleaning, well that’s because I need to change the oil on the Multistrada and when I removed the bash plate I could see how incredibly dirty the bike was (even after having washed it at the car wash).
After about half an hour the result wasn’t as good as I wanted but it started raining and I ran out of detergent, so this will have be a two step process. I just ordered new bike detergent and I’ll leave the rest of the cleaning for next weekend.
And this brings me to my next subject: what bike cleaner to use?
For a long time I used regular car washing liquid, it’s cheap and easily accesible in every supermarket however it’s quite ineffective at removing chain oil residues and all the muck that gets cooked around the engine, so a while back I bought PROCYCLE Gel Reiniger from Louis.de
It’s very well priced compared to the alternatives and because it comes in gel form it adheres to the surface allowing it to settle for longer, dissolving the dirt instead of just dripping to the floor.
To be honest, it’s not perfect and although it works well at dissolving oil residues it needs to be left for quite a while to work (at least 5min, ideally 10 to 15min). The spray bottle isn’t great either and doesn’t do a perfect job at spraying the gel, so given I needed a new cleaner I was planing on trying one of the more famous alternatives: S100 or MucOff, that is..until I saw the price!
A 2,5L package of S100 costs at least 30€ and a 0,5L concentrate refill package of MucOff costs 25€ (enough for 2L of direct use product).
In comparison the Procycle Gel Reininger is currently for sale with 50% discounted price at 3,99€ for a 1L spray bottle, 9,99€ for a 5L canister or 14,99€ for 10L. That’s 15€ for 10 years worth of bike washes!
Adding to this strong argument I looked up a few reviews online and it seems the PROCYCLE is actually more effective than the more expensive S100
It’s decided then: I guess I’m sticking with the PROCYCLE and for a total of 31€, shipping included (the price of a 2,5L canister of S100) I ended up ordering a 5L PROCYCLE refill, a tube of Hylomar M Sealant, a tube of Autosol Metal Polish and another of medium strength thread locker!