The Honda Hornet has one downfall. Guts.
Hanging out all over the place. Collecting all manner of crap. Particularly in the winter. Fortunately Honda make thier motorcycles pretty tough. Un fortunately it's all the little things that oxidise or corrode. These are the things that make a bike look that bit special when they're clean. The first thing any Hornet owner will notice is the sump of the engine will darken as it oxidises. Honda, unfortunately, didn't choose to protect this part of the engine in the same shiny silvery bronze paint they used on the rest of the engine. The area just behind the exhaust pipes near the front wheel is prone to fouling up.
If you're riding round in all-weathers, particularly winter, then you really should consider a rear Hugger and a Fenda Extenda for the front. I think they're a must anyway, since they help prevent stone damage to the rear shock spring area and the front exhaust pipes.
There are numerous ways to keep the engine and it's components clean and protected from the likes of road salt. One way is to coat the engine lightly in oil. All the shit and cak sticks to it but you just clean it all off with a good degreasant in the spring and hopefully it's all shiny underneath. Not my favoured route I must admit. OK if you're happy riding round on a bike that looks like it's been despatched. See the product poke section for more info.
The best way, sadly, is the most time consuming. Rinse down your bike after every wet ride. Particularly in winter, when the road salt is a nightmare on metal. Wipe the engine loosely with a sopping wet cloth and warm soapy water. Spray the engine lightly with water to rinse it. Since the engine will still be warm it will quickly dry. Wipe down any other parts with a clean, dry cloth. Once again, pay particular attention to the bottom of the engine and the area behind the exhausts. Once the engine is dry and cool take a clean dry cloth and spray it with WD-40. Wipe the cloth over the bolt heads and other shiny metal components. Then wipe down bare alloy parts of the engine in a similar way. The WD-40 displaces any water and leaves a thin protective layer of light oil on the treated areas. Don't get giddy and start spraying it everywhere, it'll just become sticky and oily. There's no need to wipe down the main part of the engine (the silver/bronze painted areas). These areas are well protected already.
Sounds long winded, I know, but with the Hornet a clean engine is everything.
Even just spraying lightly with a hosepipe is better then nothing at all.
Washing the bike.
First job is to clean under the rear wheel arch and the rear mono-shock spring with a cloth and soapy water. Lightly hose the area before commencing washing of the whole bike, that way you won't have filthy, gritty water all over the bike. When washing the Hornet don't go overboard with the Fairy Liquid. Yes, it's a good de-greaser but it also gradually reduces any polishes that are already on the painted surfaces. Just use a drop. Wash the bike with something soft. Sponges are alright but they don't get into all the nooks and crannies. Wash the painted surfaces like the tank and seat surround first. That way you won't have already picked up grit from the dirtier areas of the bike. Such grit puts fine scratches in the paintwork and will eventually 'dull' it. Use an old toothbrush gently on the brake calipers if they are blackened or mucked up. Do this last. Brake dust in water over the rest of your bike 'aint good. When you've finished the bike hose lightly on a 'spray' setting rather than a jet. Avoid the ignition and the wheel bearings etc.
Once dry, apply polish to the bikes painted surfaces and chrome work. I find 'Mer' is the best polish to use. It beads for longer and works on wet surfaces as well as dry.
Armorall Protectant (see product poke section) is the best stuff to use on plastics and rubber.
You can spray it on a cloth and apply it or just spray directly onto the surface.
Avoid getting it on the grips and the surface of the tyres. (Unless you want to Torvill and Dean down the high street).
Use Armorall on the dash, dial faces, speedo covers, rubber hoses, tyre walls, seat(lightly), black plastic parts such as mudguard and chainguard, indicators, and painted or unpainted plastic parts. It's brilliant. It sprays on milky then wipes off. You can use a clean cloth to shine it up. It stays like that for ages and protects from water/lime damage.
See 'Engine' section for cleaning and protecting the engine.
The rims are aluminium and are quite delicate. keep them clean and free of filth. Oil on the rim from 'chain flick' can be easily wiped off with WD-40 on a cloth. The WD-40 also protects the rim and repels water. Lightly wipe some on the front rim. Don't be tempted to spray it all over them. Keep it light. !!And keep it well away from the brake discs!!
Attention to detail. That's what this cleaning lark is all about!
Call me old fashioned, but if a job's worth doing, it's worth doing properly. The little things add to the overall look of your bike.
The brake callipers are one of them. The Hornet sports nice gold ones. Keep 'em clean and they set off the wheels.
Cleaning the brakes is easy. If they are dusted in black brake dust the best way to start is to give them a quick blast with the airline down at your local garage when you're filling up. Blow off all the loose dust, taking care not to breath it in!
Take the bike home and get out your trusty tooth brush.
Add a drop of washing up liquid to some warm water and wet the callipers. Then take your tooth brush and get into all those nooks and crannies. Don't brush too hard, you don't want to wear the paint off!
Rinse with clean water and dry with a clean cloth. You can polish them up if you want, but I prefer a wipe over with a WD-40 dampened cloth, just to protect them.
Then it's the brake lines/hoses. Use Armorall on a cloth or WD-40 to wipe the pipes over, giving them a real deep black shine. Wiping the connecting bolts with WD-40 will also prevent corrosion or oxidisation.
More to come soon...