Dirt bikes, and motocross bikes in particular, are purpose built for mx tracks. After a fun-filled experience at the track, your bike will be dirty and potentially caked with mud. You may be exhausted by the end of the day, and the task of cleaning off your dirty machine may feel overwhelming. Still, you cannot leave your bike in such a condition overnight. The cleaning process is crucial for your bike to last longer.
In such a situation, many riders will consider heading straight to the carwash, getting the pressure washer hose, and blasting the bike until every mud clamp falls off. However, this activity can quickly wear out your bike’s seat foam, possibly ruin your rubber seals, damage your bearings over time, and harm the brake pads or discs.
Therefore, here are some tips to ensure your ride is intact after a deep wash.
First Remove and Cover the Sensitive Bike Parts
Dirt bikes prompt some primary care before exposing them to water. Since washing involves direct water streams to the bike, you should remove and safeguard some parts. These include:
- Seats – The foam inside the seat soaks up like a sponge and quickly deteriorates afterward. If it happens, your bike seat will be changed forever. Thus, you will need to remove it before hosing your bike down. Also, remember to reinstall the bolts after removing the seat to prevent the shrouds from wobbling.
- Air filter – This is the last thing you want to destroy in your dirt bike. If you wet your air filter, your dirt bike is done for, and you could end up replacing the entire system. To prevent this, remove the air filter before washing your dirt bike, or better yet, purchase an air filter cover made to protect the air filter during a wash.
- Hand guards, skid plate, and exhaust guards – While washing the bike with these parts on will not destroy them, they potentially hide some dirt areas and prevent you from reaching them. It can become problematic as you ride if you do not extract the dirt, grease, or grime from these areas. Remember, you are not only cleaning your dirt bike for its appearance but also its health.
You will need to cover these parts as you wash:
- Airbox – Even after removing the air filter, you must cover the airbox. The choice is yours here; you can use the actual airbox cover or cover using duct tape. Just ensure the airbox is secured.
- The Muffler – Wash plugs are the most commonly used, although there are other cheaper alternatives to safeguard your engine when washing. Duct tape can be used as one option. You choose whichever method you feel is safe for your engine; just ensure no water goes through into the pipe.
It’s Time to Wash
You may have noticed that we used the word “wash” and not ‘pressure wash.’ Many people will tell you that pressure is suitable for your bike, and maybe it is if you are not sensitive to damaging your dirt bike.
Pressure wash gets the job done with minimal effort, which is appealing, but as mentioned, it can potentially harm your bike. How so? It’s easy for pressure washers to get water into an area where water shouldn’t be. Water in such regions will ruin your ride.
Another reason to avoid pressure washers is that they can ruin your bike’s plastic parts and graphics. It’s easy to get pressure happy after seeing how easy it gets grime off the bike, but constant hosing can cause the damages mentioned above.
If you must use pressure, be very careful when hosing areas around the engine. You also need to be at a considerable distance to avoid knocking your ride down with the pressure.
Scrub the Bike
It’s scrub time after clearing all the mud, dirt, and grime from the surfaces. Bike brushes are ideal for getting the tough pieces of junk that the hose couldn’t remove. They come in handy in areas like the chain, sprockets, and wheels where there can be a mud and dirt buildup.
This is the step you should spend the most time on because dirt buildup only attracts more buildup. Ensure you scrub the underside of the bike to remove dirt still trapped on the bottom.
Sponge the Bike
After scrubbing and rinsing away all the mud and dirt, you now have to get soapy. For the best results, dissolve some dish soap in warm water to sponge it up. Note that your options here are not limited. You can use a sponge, soft brush, wash mitten, and more. Just ensure you get to the larger areas of the bike.
After lathering the bike, it’s good to let it rest for about two minutes for the soap to penetrate any grime remaining, so your dirt bike gets sparkling clean. If you’re washing in the sun, don’t let the soap sit for too long since it will dry and leave a film on the bike. Afterward, rinse again with water and be keen where the soap goes; you don’t want it in unwanted areas.
Use Bike Wash
This is recommended, especially if you feel like your sweet ride needs some extra cleanup after a messy ride. Also, it’s essential for an extra shine in areas worst hit by grime, dirt, and grease.
The correct use of a bike wash consists of application to the desired parts and just wiping it down. Some people choose to rinse the bike off with water again in this step, although it isn’t necessary.
After applying the bike spray, it’s time to dry the bike off. Again, we recommend using a clean, dry towel, cotton, terry cloth, or a microfiber cloth. It can be challenging to reach some smaller, tight bike areas, so compressed air will be helpful here. It goes a long way in keeping rust off the dirt bike or mildew growth. Also, do not forget the cables when drying.
Chain and Reassembly
You must have already brushed the chain up to this step, so it’s essential to remember other chain care routines. If you did not dry the chain in the previous step, do it with compressed air, ensure no leftover water droplets, and then lubricate it.
After your bike gets clean and shiny, remove anything you may have used to safeguard the engine, like duct tapes, plugs, and caps, and put back the parts you initially removed.