Complete Guide to Detailing Motorcycles

Whether you’re a passionate rider dedicated to keeping your bike in top-notch condition or a professional detailer eager to offer exceptional service, this guide will review every step of motorcycle detailing, revealing insider tips and tricks to elevate maintenance and keep your ride looking and performing its best.

Benefits of Cleaning Your Motorcycle

Like cars, detailing a motorcycle significantly extends the lifespan of plastic, leather, vinyl components, and paint, while safeguarding crucial internal parts from grime accumulation.

How to Detail a Motorcycle

How often you should detail your motorcycle will depend on use. Daily riders should wash their bike weekly and detail it monthly for optimal maintenance. Let’s dive into the steps.

Gather the Supplies & Equipment

Prepare with a range of soaps and cleaners including Bug Remover, Chameleon or Brake Up Wheel Cleaner, Citrus Clean Wheel & Engine Cleaner, Tire & Whitewall Cleaner, a wax-stripping soap like Fresh Start or our wash and wax Black Cherry, polishing compounds like Diamond Cut Deluxe or Lite, sealants like STS3000 or Blue Diamond, and specialized products for chrome, glass, and leather/vinyl. We recommend our Jade Pearl Leather & Vinyl Coating.

Next organize the tools and equipment, including: 

Detailing Steps

  1. Bug Removal: Bugs should be removed as soon as possible to prevent their acidic remains from eating into the paintwork. Rinse affected areas, apply Bug Remover, let it settle, and gently scrub with a sponge or microfiber cloth. 
  2. Wheels and Tires: Rinse the wheels to wash away loose dirt and dust, then spray a specialty cleaner or a degreaser such as Chameleon or Citrus Clean onto the rims and spokes. After it sits for 30-60 seconds, agitate the soap with a brush and work it in between the spokes and around the rim. Rinse off and remove any remaining brake dust with a toothbrush and Brake Up; quickly washing to prevent damage to the metal. Use Detail King’s Tire & Whitewall Cleaner to scrub the tires clean.

    Pro Tip: Never use tire dressing with a motorcycle, as the tires risk losing traction, and sling from the dressing could be harmful to other components.  
  3. Clean the Engine: Wet the motor and apply Citrus Cleaner, then use a variety of brushes in order to reach all areas, such as a soft bristle brush for larger surfaces and a detail brush for tighter spaces. Rinse and dry. 
  4. Wash the Body: Using a hose or pressure washer, rinse the bike down with water, then use a foam sprayer to apply Black Cherry. Gently wipe the body of the bike with a microfiber wash mitt. In between sections, rinse the mitt in clean water and use the grit guard to capture any dirt and avoid scratching the paint. Wash off the soap and thoroughly dry the bike to prevent water spots. Using the Blaster Sidekick Motorcycle Dryer will not only speed up the process but also prevent water from getting left behind in hard-to-reach areas.

    Watch how to use the Blaster Sidekick Dryer. 
  5. Paint Correction: Address swirl marks and scratches with suitable compounds and polishes based on the severity and number of imperfections. The depth of the scratches will be the determining factor in how heavy of a compound you need. For swirl marks that are only noticeable under direct light, a polish may suffice. For deeper scratches, start with our Diamond Cut Deluxe.

    This step doesn’t have to be done on every detail, but it is a necessity for many motorcycles.  
  6. Protect the Paint: Protecting your paint is essential for your motorcycle’s durability, as polishing the clear coat will reduce the protective layer. For a cost-effective option, apply a wet wax. This is the most common form of paint protection. Try our Cherry Wet Wax for a glossy finish that lasts for 3-6 months. For longer protection lasting up to one year, try a polymer sealant like our STS3000. Consider Jade Ceramic Coatings for the longest-lasting defense against dirt and water; these coatings are incredibly resilient when maintained properly.

    Explore our comparison guide on YouTube. 
  7. Final Touches: Wipe the windshield and detail the seat using Jade Pearl, a ceramic treatment that offers long-lasting protection for vinyl and leather. Don’t forget to shine up any medal or chrome with the Medallion High Gloss Polish. Watch our guide for polishing chrome on your motorcycle.

Wrapping Up

Don’t be fooled by their small size – there are lots of components to a motorcycle that often get overlooked when cleaning. By attentively detailing each part, you’re sure to keep customers (and your bike) happy.

Prices for detailing services vary based on package offerings, bike size, and condition, typically ranging between $200 to $500.

For professionals, offering motorcycle detailing can attract new clients and increase revenue. For riders, it’s a crucial aspect of maintaining a bike’s peak performance.

Questions or need further recommendations? Call us at (724) 325-0066