Two jet washes, including a liberal use of this new Shiny Sauce stuff (https://www.rustsports.com/products/shiny-sauce_9736.html), that should do the trick, shouldn’t it? Not a chance, this is a dirty dirt bike. There’s much more to cleaning than just spraying with a high-pressure hose.
Yep, it’s only when you remove the bodywork and the tank that you start getting to the real dirt, the stuff that’s quietly eating away at your mean machine. And really even a keen home clean doesn’t do it. Those works race bikes, they’re stripped to the very last nut and bolt after every event. Then their mechanics measure stuff, even stuff like how much the frame might have stretched (all those jumps), and anything that’s not tip top goes in the bin, to be replaced.
We can’t do that in our home garage, not with our limited resources (the little spending that’s left over after rent/mortgage, bills etc) but we do need to keep on top of it as much as we can, eh?
Cleaning up the RUST Honda CRF250RX after The Ryedale Rally has been a labour (of love, I’d like to think). After two jet washes it was time to clear off the bodywork and go again. It’s amazing how much dirt hides wherever it can. Sadly I think it’s more difficult than ever to clean your dirt bike given new tech. Back when we rode carbureted air-cooled twin shock two-strokes you could strip and clean everything pretty quick, in an evening if you were on your game. Now with fuel injectors, computer-ECUs, radiators, linkage suspension and all the rest of the gubbins it’s much harder to effect a decent clean.
It’s important too, not to get too ham-fisted with the jet wash. Blasting electricals is a real no-no as it forces dirt and water into the connector blocks which if left will then corrode, causing electrical resistance and eventual component failure. So go easy with the washer and use your hands and cloth for the detail cleaning.
Other things get dirty so quickly. I’d cleaned and lubed both hand (brake and clutch) levers but both were gummed-up with dirt after one easy weekend of riding. Well worth taking apart, cleaning and relubing, for that lovely like-new smooth operation.
Fork seals – and dust covers – get a hard life. And despite two washes there was still mud hiding here. I know I must get one of those natty seal cleaners to help with this job, but for now I’m using silicone spray and a rag to get the worst off. Dropping out the dust cover (using a small screwdriver to gently prise it out) is a good thing too, cleaning away what might have got through. It’s worth taking the fork guards off as well, to make sure dirt isn’t left corroding the bottom of the stanchions. A chance to check for chips in the plating here.
Oh, and where I’d been changing the front inner tube in the field I knew there’d be stuff I should go back to – yeah, it seems only right to get the front wheel out again and clean and properly relube the axle. And the pinch bolts. These pick up a lot of dirt, so it’s worth taking them out cleaning the bolts, and the threads in the fork bottoms, to keep everything sweet.
I’m trying some R&G Corrosion Shield (https://www.rg-racing.com/browsetype/RGGLEAM/Universal/Universal/RGSHIELD750ML/) to protect the bike between cleans. I’ll let you know how this works out. Hope is it creates a barrier to the mud, so the bad stuff slips off easier next post-event wash.
So, as I write this it’s four hours of cleaning done, but there’s many more to go. Air filter’s next job, as you can see. I’d like to feel happy about the shock linkage too – but I don’t, I know I’ve got to get into that soon.
Still, on the upside when you clean properly you find things. Like the loose spoke in the back wheel (now tightened).
All of this cleaning the CRF does cause me concern for our adventure bikes though. How often do we properly strip and clean them after a dirty ride?
Anyway, work in progress. How are you getting on with your cleaning? Any tips? Any stories to share on the topic. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch with us through our social media (links at top of the page).