Tag Archives: Cleaning

Ceramic coating protects your motorbike

A ceramic coating on your paintwork, pipes, chrome, forks and other hard parts will not only protect them from road grime and UV fading, but also make it easier and quicker to keep your bike clean.

We have heard of products with nanoceramic properties, but applying them is a long, expensive and arduous process.

So we went to the professionals — Preferred Car Care who are exclusive Ceramic Pro installers in Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Ceramic Pro is available to professionals in more than 70 countries.

Director Justin Harris says they have worked on many premium motorcycles and cars including Ferraris and Harley-Davidsons.

Permanent bond

He says the Ceramic Pro product “permanently bonds” with the underlying layer whether it’s paint, lacquer, chrome or bare metal.

“It can be applied to anything,” he says. 

“A single coat can be expected to last a minimum of five years on motorcycles. Ceramic Pro can be layered so additional coats extend on its longevity.”

It will also prevent “bluing” in some exhausts depending on the composition of the metal.

We had them apply two coats of Ceramic Pro to our new Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport paintwork, forks, panels, exhaust, rims and frame, costing $650.

Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport ceramic cating

First, they wash and detail the bike, checking for scratches, chips, etc to fix before polishing the surfaces.

The first coat of Ceramic Pro is applied by hand, then allowed to cure before the second coat is applied by spray gun with a 0.8mm tip.Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport ceramic coating

Justin promised the coating would not turn the Duc’s satin sheen paintwork glossy and he was right. 

The clear coating is a little difficult to detect due to the seamless application. It simply makes the bike “glow”.

Ceramic advantages

The advantages of Ceramic Pro are not only that it will protect the paintwork from UV and environmental deterioration, but it also makes it easier to maintain its new look.

Justin says Ceramic Pro creates a “non-porous hydrophobic, heat-proof finish that stops the onset of oxidation and keeps surfaces looking new”. 

By “hydrophobic”, he means it repels water, so when it rains or you wash the bike, the water beads off.

That means road grime and dirt particles don’t stick, but flow off with the water, so it stays cleaner for longer.

We’ve all washed and detailed our bikes only to have it rain and totally ruin the result.

But with this coating, most of the grime doesn’t stick and what remains can be wiped off with a soft cloth. 

I rode the bike through a short shower and on wet roads that left a small amount of grime on the surface. It just needed a quick wipe to restore the surface lustre.

You can also just give it a waterless wash with a products like this from Motul.

Motul dry cleaningMotul dry wash cleaners

I also found bugs can simply be wiped off  whereas they usually stick to the paintwork and require water or a special spray to soften them before removal.

If you do wash your bike after having it ceramic coated, Justin suggests using a pH-neutral car or bike detergent. 

It will only need a wet wash when it gets really dry and he says you won’t need to use any wax.

Justin says it lasts for up to five years per coat and you can get a maintenance service for $330 that includes a full detail and spray application top-up coat.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Which is the best bike plastic trim product?

Unless your bike is brand new, one of the most common areas that give away its age is the condition and vibrancy of plastic trim components, especially the black trim.

They tend to fade to a dull grey and look tired after a year or two of weathering and UV exposure.

I recently noticed this on my Ducati Monster 1200 so I promptly rode to a local store to pick up a suitable product and this is what confronted me:

Where to begin!

Trim it back

There were about eight or more products that specifically referenced “restoring plastic trim” or similar “back-to-black” type products with prices ranging from about $20 to over $50.

The most expensive products seemed to lean more towards actually depositing black pigment and I had visions of mess and potential for black sticky residue on paintwork and cloths which I was keen to avoid.

So without overthinking it, I decided to buy three products and pit them against each other so I could answer the questions in my head: Do they work and is there much difference between them?

I settled on testing three prominent brands (left to right):

  1. Naturally Black by Mothers (355ml $25.99)
  2. Bumper & Trim Gel by Autoglym (325ml $19.99)
  3. Trim Detailer by Meguiar’s (296ml $19.99)

Testing Testing 1,2,3

To test the products head to head, I took a freshly washed (and dried) bike and selected a number of the black/grey plastic trim sections/items on either side of the bike.

I tested each product against each other, appraising the (1) Ease of application (2) How much product was needed (3) The resulting appearance – before and after and combined into an overall value score out of five taking into consideration the cost of the product.

Caveat & disclosure: It was quite difficult to capture on camera the side by side performance of the products as light tends to reflect differently on both sides of the bike – which obviously tilts when on the stand and confounds the comparison. To mitigate this as far as possible I used my swirl finding light and compared/guesstimated performance based on the ‘shine’ i.e. reflection of the light on the surface:

Again, this is not perfect where the reflection angle of the light can vary but what I aim to capture in the picture above, and it was more obvious to the naked eye, was that there is less brilliance in the example on the right (Mothers) VS. the left (Meguiar’s). It is possible to argue that this is not 100% fair which is true, however, the test was undertaken across a number of different trim parts, and looked at from many different angles and a subjective determination made across the test.

Results of head-to-head test:

I had not expected a significant difference in the performance of the products though suspected that the most expensive product by Mothers would be the front runner. I was wrong. There was a noticeable difference between the products as overviewed below.

Mothers Performance (Rating 2.5/5)

Application was least easy – requiring multiple applications to get a good finish and actually tricky to not over apply and leave excess on the surface. The end result was reasonable but just did not quite perform at the level of either Meguair’s/Autoglym.

As the most expensive product in the test by about 25% it was quite disappointing.

Meguair’s Performance (Rating 3.5/5)

Meguiar’s product outperformed Mothers, most notably, in ease of application and final appearance. It went on with ease and immediately yielded a good finish.

Autoglym Performance (Rating 4/5 *WINNER*)

Autoglym really stood out in terms of both ease of application and high shine finish, for this reason I chose to remove the ignition surround and use Autoglym on this prominent piece of trim to really showcase the performance.

As shown with the before and after photos the finish was very good indeed with no streaking or a need to use much effort to achieve the results.

I was so impressed with the result from Autoglym that I also applied it to some of the hard plastics e.g. exhaust heat shield and again, the results were stellar as you can see below:

Having since ridden the bike, made it dirty, and washed the bike again, I was moderately disappointed (perhaps unreasonably so?) that none of the products seemed to remain/retain the ‘new’ look. The obvious implication being that I would need to re-apply to maintain the results and it is for this reason I marked all of the products down by -1 .

So back to my original questions: Do these products work?  Answer: Yes! Is there much difference between them? Answer: Yes!

For $20 and 30 minutes you can transform the look of the plastics on your bike. However, the only down side is that you can expect to have to reapply every every wash.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Cleaning matte motorcycle surfaces

Many modern motorcycles have matte or satin paint surfaces rather than high-gloss paintwork which gives them a mean and macho appearance.

However, that low sheen surface can easily look ugly when it is covered in fingermarks, road grime, rain specks and petrol splashes.

They show up more than on a glossy surface.

Motul Matte Surface CleanCan you see the smears, fingerprints and petrol stains?

If you’ve ever tried to remove tham, you will know how difficult it is to get rid of the smears and “rainbow effects” on the paintwork.

That’s because you are probably using detergent or some other cleaner to wash the surface.

Matte cleaner

What you need is a special cleaner that doesn’t contain any oils or detergents.

We like products from French motorcycle company Motul, distributed in Australia by Link International, which make cleaners and lubricants specifically for motorcycles.

Their aptly named “Matte Surface Clean” comes in a 400ml spray can for $21.90.

They don’t say what’s in it, but the formula seems to work to clean and remove any greasy marks and grime without leaving streaks or sticky smears.

Motul says it also contains a UV filter which should help prevent it from fading.

If you’ve ever seen old matte-black Ducati Monsters, you will know how ugly they can look when the paint starts to dull.


Motul Matte Surface CleanSpray in the outdoors or where well ventilated

Do not use this in a small, confined area. If you are cleaning your bike in the garage, open any doors and windows. Maybe even turn on a fan.

It’s not noxious, but the perfume in the formula can be a little overcoming after a while and give some people a headache. Others, like my wife, actually enjoy the aroma!

Never spray it on a hot bike that has just been running or sitting in the sun.

Keep the can away from naked flames and sparks.

We also suggest spraying small areas rather than trying to work on big surfaces.

Microfibre cloth

Use a microfibre cloth to dust the area down first. Never let a cleaning cloth drop on the ground as it can pick up small amounts of grit that can scratch your paintwork and chrome.

You may also want to give the bike a light wipe first with a wet cloth or spray on some of Motul’s Insect Remover ($11.90 for a 400ml trigger bottle) to get rid of bugs that have dried and stuck to the surface.

cleaning bugs off helmet visor and bikeBugs can be hard to remove

Spray the cleaner on the surface and gently rub it over with a soft microfibre cloth, then let it sit for a few minutes.

It will look like that fake snow you use at Christmas time.Motul Matte Surface Clean

Before it completely dries, use another dry microfibre cloth to rub the surface.

It comes up in a gentle sheen that enhances the beauty of matte paint.Motul Matte Surface Clean

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

How to clean bugs off visor and motorbike

If you’ve ever been showered with bugs on your ride, you will know how difficult they are to remove from your helmet visor and your motorcycle.

That’s because the wind quickly dries them out and they become very hard and stick like glue to any surface.

Cleaning bugs off your bike

While bugs on a motorcycle are mainly a cosmetic issue, they can interfere with the performance of your headlight or clog up oil coolers and radiators.

We suggest trying to remove most of them from headlights and coolers with water from a service station while out on the road.cleaning bugs off helmet visor and bike

You won’t get them all, but you should remove enough to be able to continue riding.

Leave the rest of the bug removal until you get home as it’s only cosmetic.

We suggest using a special bug remover that you can buy from most motorcycle shops, service stations or auto shops like Supercheap. There is little difference we can detect between specific motorcycle cleaners and car cleaners.

cleaning bugs off helmet visor and bikeMotul insect remover

Visor cleaning

As for your visor, bugs can create substantial vision impairment which is a serious safety issue, so it’s important to remove them while out on the road.

Never try to wipe bugs off your helmet with your glove as you will only smear them and create a mess.

Wiping dried bugs can also create almost invisible scratches which may not appear to be a problem … until you are riding into the sun or at night and all you can see is a “spiders web” of scratches!

I carry a small Specsavers pump spray that I rinsed out and filled with Motul helmet & visor cleaner at $14.90.

The original Motul spray bottle is simply too bulky to carry in my jacket pocket.

Some people say Windex is ok, but it is suitable for glass only. It includes ammonia which is harmful to plastic visors.

You can also use other specific visor products or plain water.

I also carry a small soft rag that came with my Skram riding sunglasses.

If you don’t have a sunglasses or prescription glasses cloth, any soft microfibre cloth will do.

Spray a liberal amount of the solution on the visor and let it sit for about 30 seconds. Don’t rub straight away, but also don’t leave it long enough to dry.

This softens the bugs and loosens them from the surface.

Then gently wipe the bugs away with one side of the cloth. Don’t push too hard. You may have to repeat this process.

When they are mainly gone, give your visor one more spray, then wipe it dry with the other side of the cloth.

Crusty demons

If there is a thick crust of bugs on your visor, call into a service station, rest area or anywhere you can get water and toilet paper or a paper towel.

Soak the toilet paper or hand towel in water and then place it on your visor and let it sit there for about 30 seconds. You can also use a soft cloth such as your hanky or neck sock soaked in water.cleaning bugs off helmet visor and bike

Peel off the wet paper being careful not to rub the surface as some paper towels can be fairly abrasive.

Then apply your cleaning solution as per the instructions above.

cleaning bugs off helmet visor and bikeNever use a servo windscreen squeegee

Never use the windscreen squeegee provided at service stations as they may have been dropped on the ground.

They can have oil, diesel, fuel or small particles of gravel and dirt in them which can smear and scratch your visor.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com