Should you wash your motorcycle after riding in the rain?
The quick answer is yes, but here are a few things you can do if you don’t have time to give your bike a thorough wash.
Riding your motorcycle in the rain is a fun, sometimes necessary aspect of motorcycling. It’s unavoidable—no matter how often you check the weather app on your smartphone, or stay tuned to the news the night before, chances are you will, or already have, found yourself on your motorcycle in the middle of a torrential downpour.
Unlike cars, which are equipped with doors, windows, and a rather convenient roof, we motorcyclists are left exposed to the elements with nothing more than our gear to keep us dry. The same goes for bikes. Water can make its way to all the tiny cracks and crevices, and sometimes, if left unattended, cause some damage and premature wear.
While in an ideal world, you’d give your motorcycle a nice, thorough wash after every rainy ride. We don’t live in an ideal world, and most of us have busy schedules which simply won’t allow us to take an hour of our time to either take our bikes to a car wash, or wash them ourselves. That being said, here are a few things you can do in the meantime, instead of washing your motorcycle after every single rainy ride.
Clean off your chain and sprocket
When riding in wet conditions , water from the road gets flung up everywhere and onto your bike. This can very easily make its way onto your chain and sprockets. After continuously being flung with water, the lubrication on your chain will eventually be washed away, and replaced with all the gunk and dirt from the road. That being said, it goes without saying that after every rainy ride, you’re going to want to thoroughly clean your chain and sprocket, whether or not you have the time to give your bike a wash.
Use either a motorcycle chain-specific cleaning product, or a moderate engine degreaser for the job. Make sure you get all the dirt and grime out of your drivetrain, then rinse it with clean water. After this, dry it off with a clean rag and reapply some chain lube.
Wipe your instrument cluster
One of the most sensitive parts of your motorcycle, especially when it comes to things getting wet, is your instrument cluster. Most modern motorcycles are equipped with digital LCD screens, or even full color touchscreen TFT units. Naturally, these are pretty sensitive gadgets which do not like water.
Additionally, other sensitive electronics components tend to be housed underneath the bike's instrument panel. These include the ignition, light switches, relays, and a myriad of sensors responsible for multiple functions of your motorcycle. All that being said, it’s important to ensure that this part of your motorcycle is kept clean and dry, especially after a ride in a heavy downpour.
Clean off your suspension components
Last but not least, is your suspension components. Riding in the rain as mentioned, flings up a lot of dirt and debris onto your bike and its components. Once dirt and grime accumulates on the stanchions of your suspension, it can make its way into the system causing leaks, unnecessary wear and tear, and ultimately premature failure. Suspension components are rather complicated and expensive to repair, so it should definitely be in your best interest to take good care of these parts.
If your motorcycle is equipped with standard telescopic forks, all you have to do is rinse away all the dirt and grime, and wipe the stanchions dry. After this, apply a thin layer of silicone lubricant on to the stanchions and the seals so as to prevent premature wear on the rubber seals. Wipe off any excess lubricant, and thoroughly dry the suspension components.
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