How To Clean Your Dirt Bike
After a day or two on a dirt track or rugged terrain, your dirt bike has accumulated a ton of mud, dirt, and other debris. When it's time to wash your bike, doing it correctly will keep it running smoothly and extend its lifespan. However, if left caked in mud and debris, your bike will suffer irreversible damage that will affect your paint, graphics, and even internal mechanisms. Here is our guide on properly cleaning your dirt bike from top to bottom so it's ready to roll for your next casual ride, practice runs, or race.
Dirt Bike Preparation
First, you'll need to get a few things set up before spraying the bike down. Place your dirt bike on a stand so that you're able to reach both wheels. Take an exhaust plug or a few pieces of duct tape to seal off the exhaust. Tape the airbox openings as well. If you're planning to change the air filter after washing, you won't need to do this. Then, it's time to wet the entire bike to loosen up dried on mud. A water hose with decent pressure is fine for this task. If you have a pressure washer, be careful to not hold the nozzle too close to the plastics, as the pressure can damage your graphics. Completely soak the bike and allow it to sit for a few minutes to allow that rock hard dirt to come free. While waiting, get your soap and brushes ready.
Washing your Dirt Bike
Once you've returned to your bike, the mud will be ready to come off. You'll need to spray off as much mud and debris as possible, so there is no need to apply the soap just yet. Since your mudguards and exhaust are where a large amount of mud will have accumulated, start there. Then, choose a side and work to the front of the bike and then do the same for the other side. Spend a few minutes spraying out the fins of your radiator as well, as mud tends to cake up in there. Since the bike is on your stand, you can spin the tires to get all the mud out of your tread and spokes. From here, you'll address the underside of the bike. Don't make the mistake of leaving this area until next time! You'll be surprised at just how much mud you're leaving should you dismiss it. Ensure the gas is off and lay the bike down on a stand with a soft cloth beneath the grip. Some simply lay the bike on the ground, but this can damage your grips. Spray each side to rid the swingarm, fork leg, linkage, and other areas of mud. Once this is complete, you can finally start soaping your dirt bike.
Using a foam sprayer or regular spray bottle, coat the bike in soap and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Be sure to get the chain and chain guard very good using chain cleaner! We want all the residual oil, dirt, dry lube, and debris to be captured by the soap so it slides off easily. After the soap has worked into the remaining dirt, take a bucket of warm water and washing liquid (made for a bike or car, either will do) and scrub down each side of the bike. For hard to remove stains, a Brillo pad or wire brush will do the trick. Make sure the chain, front sprocket, brakes, and other key areas are completely clean.
Post-Wash Care and Preventative Measures
Once you're pleased with the cleanliness of your dirt bike, wipe it down with a clean rag. You can also use an air hose to dry it if you have one on hand! This is where you'd replace your air filter should that have been on the docket. Lubricate the chain right away, as well as the foot pegs, the kickstarter, the brakes, and other key moving areas that can corrode. You can run your bike for a few minutes to ensure no water got into the exhaust. If you'd like, use a plastic detailer to revive the shine of your plastics and graphics. While not necessary, it does make for a satisfying look for your dirt bike. Now, you're ready to wheel your bike back in the garage and close up shop until your next ride.
This entire process can be knocked out in an hour or so, depending on the amount of grime the bike has. By following these steps on how to clean a dirt bike, you'll not only have an incredibly clean bike, but you'll be more familiar with it too. This is key, since the more you wash it yourself, the easier it will be to notice when things are amiss. Maybe oil is leaking somewhere or your swingarm isn't looking right—whatever the case, you'll be able to tell when hand washing it.