Managing Director, Autochem Ltd and Chemical Specialties Ltd.
Harley Road King, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Honda CB750F, 1964 BSA Bushman 175cc, 1946 3-wheel Hyster (Surely not! That’s a vintage fork hoist. There’s a story here).
‘Bike and Car nut from way back!
I regularly use my Harley for touring, and as you can see from the photo I like to keep it looking pristine for the show and shine events I also attend.
Cleaning a bike presents problems that car owners don’t have to deal with. It can take longer to clean my bike than it does my 4wd Jeep due to heaps of chrome parts, the fiddly chrome engine and knuckle-barking inaccessibility of many components. Areas such as the rear tyre and swing arm, front forks and running boards traditionally needed to be sponged or cleaned with a brush – a slow, backbreaking process.
This is one of the reasons I formulated AutoChem “Blast Off” The water blaster fan gets into places that I simply could not access easily with my traditional brush and sponge methods.
I give it a quick wash and dry after every decent ride, and always after a wet ride. Short rides get a spritz up with AutoChem Quick Shine and my AutoChem Ultra Microfibre Towel, so that every time I go out for a ride I know the Harley is looking its best.
My tip – Never water blast into the wheel bearings or head-races. Angle the jet to glance away from these areas, since grease can be displaced too easily, resulting in short lives for bearings and seals. Even a jet from a garden hose can do the same damage.
Tip number two. If you have dull black paint on your engine, make it look new again by spraying with an aerosol silicone oil. The type used for tyres is fine, with a petroleum solvent. The solvent and propellant flash off quickly enough to not damage the paint (do it on a cool engine, though), and silicone oils have the property of self levelling, so an uneven film will creep and spread over the surface to give a glossy, bright finish where there was not one before.
Spray it on chrome too, and it will hide scratches. It lasts a long time and, next time you wash the bike, it will help shed the dirt. AutoChem “Blast Off” will remove the silicone, along with the dirt, but AutoChem “Blast Off” itself makes tired plastic and engine paint look blacker and brighter anyway. The silicone oil adds to this effect – especially useful when you are going on a long ride and might encounter road works and wet clay.
Do not leave thick films of silicone oil on the paintwork, though. A bit of speckled overspray on paint is ok, but wipe it over to remove most of it. The remaining spots will, as mentioned, spread themselves over the entire surface and add to the appearance without doing any harm to the paint. But it is possible for silicone oils to enter the structure of some paints and ‘plasticize’ or soften them, because the thinner oils have something of the nature of a solvent.
A thick oil is best, because it stays on longer in rain and is generally more tenacious.
It will, of course retain more dust than dry paintwork, but fine dust is encapsulated and hidden by the oily film, and I think the anticorrosion protection and enhanced appearance and dirt-shedding properties make the use of heavy silicone oils well worth while.
They are a problem when it comes to repainting a surface, causing a thing called ‘fish eyes’ in the paint, so be sure to tell the painter you have used silicone, and he will remove it with a solvent or alkaline wash, before sanding and repainting.