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Discussion Starter #1
What did you guys think of Aaron Frank's last page editorial on rat bikes in Motorcyclist this month? I wanted to agree with him, but found myself recoiling at the thought of riding, not cleaning, at least regarding my general philosophy on bike ownership.

I simply feel that cleaning and polishing is part and parcel to the experience of bike ownership. Perhaps I'd feel differently if I owned, say, a greasy old '99 SV as my commuter scooter, but I'm a one bike guy.

I do my ~5,000 miles per riding season here in the Midwest, -sometimes less, sometimes more- depending on work and family issues.

I guess I'm not a 'real' biker?  
 

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biker - someone who's into bikes
rider - someone who's into riding

I'm mostly a rider. To me, meticulous cleaning/maintenance is a distant second to riding. Maybe this is the main reason why it'll be a long time before I'll ever own a cruiser, especially a domestic one.
 

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I keep my bike very clean because you find things that are falling off or breaking when you clean it, and it's easier to work on.

I think bikes are great to look at too, but I clean my bike for practical reasons, learned the hard way as a kid with dirt bikes...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
A good moto-buddy, an FZ-1 owner who attended the Honda Hoot with me in June, offered this e-mail response to our discussion this way. I liked his reaction to Frank's editorial and thought I'd share with the list.

'Hrmm. It reads more like a justification of the type of bikes he chooses to build and/or afford than a commentary on the state of the sport. I highly doubt Boehm, Cook, Stark et al are right there with him.

It's an interesting editorial, but not much else. A view from another's perspective, but one that is based on nothing more than an extremely weak foundation. The opening paragraph ends '....is proof that a bike is servingit's intended purpose.'

Uhhhhh...how's that exactly? 'Proof'? 'Intended purpose'?

My bike serves its intended purpose quite well, thank you very much. (Mind you that's a purpose defined by me.) And while I'm still making payments, it's going to have people asking 'Is that brand new?' for a long time to come.

Nice try Mr. Frank- but your affinity for stunt riding and dirty motorcycles bores me.
 

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I haven't read the article yet; but there was an article a while back about couriers in the UK on rat bikes. I don't live or ride in London but from what I read, the weather isn't the best nor is the traffic. They use the bike as a job and ride in all conditions. So I could see how the cleaning might take a back seat. Different kind of riders with different priorities.
 

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I hate it when my bike is dirty.

I just finished cleaning my bike, after a wet track day
I had most the plastics off,
the tank off
the steering damper off
the hugger off
the chain gaurds (x3) off
the tank off
the screen off
the seat off and the wheels off
pulled the air box apart to make sure it was clean in there
even took the chrome htev cover off to make sure ther was no dirt in there.
I cleaned most of the engine parts with petrol and a paintbrush, then degreased it,
cleaned the chain with wd40
then put it all back together and washed it with soap and water, then Mr sheened it all
then lubed all moving parts including the stand with wd40.

I think I have a problem

May be because it was a new bike and I want to keep it that way as long as possible.
 

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There is nothing wrong with wanting your ride to look as good as it performs. How my bike looks is very important to me. I don't do it to impress other people. I do it because it makes me feel great about my bike when it's all shined up and polished. I even clean the tires with a wet cloth sometimes so that there is not a spec of dirt on the bike. I just take a couple steps back and admire it. It's like a sexy babe that just hopped out of the shower!
 

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Let's face it gang, it all boils down to this:

Some of us are anal (myself included), and some of us
aren't. I for one cannot fathom taking my bike on the road with yesterday's bug chit all over it.

OK, let the anal joke flaming begin!
 

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My bikes lucky if it gets cleaned once a month.....I'd rather just hop on and start riding. But then again I'm lucky to get 100 miles on her in a month.

Oh well, I just like to ride when I get the chance
 

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Let's see, if you have/take 10+ minutes to clean the bike. Well, you just waisted 10+ minutes of riding didn't ya'?

At least in my family, work, hobby world (I'm told I spend to much time with it anyhow). I'd loved to have a sparkling bike every time I mounted up. REALITY, I'm just happy to have time to get on it. Plus, in going to the track for a track day or race you have associated maintenance and gear considerations. All said and done cleaning the bike is out of prep (like cleaning and oiling chain) for the event and not brownie points for sparkle factor.

So kudos to those of you that have time to shine the bike! I just have to be jealous cause I don't know how you get it all done. Maybe a factor for those other folk too. We all don't have the same commitments in life.
 

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929flyer : Let's see, if you have/take 10+ minutes to clean the bike.  Well, you just waisted 10+ minutes of riding didn't ya'?

At least in my family, work, hobby world (I'm told I spend to much time with it anyhow).  I'd loved to have a sparkling bike every time I mounted up.  REALITY, I'm just happy to have time to get on it.  Plus, in going to the track for a track day or race you have associated maintenance and gear considerations.  All said and done cleaning the bike is out of prep (like cleaning and oiling chain) for the event and not brownie points for sparkle factor.

So kudos to those of you that have time to shine the bike!  I just have to be jealous cause I don't know how you get it all done.  Maybe a factor for those other folk too.  We all don't have the same commitments in life.
I hear ya 929 - we all have our own agendas. I'm just talking from a street riding viewpoint and w/more time on my hands than you I guess. I'm not talking about taking a toothbrush to the nether regions of the bike, like some people probably do (Chain?). But in reality, how long does it take to remove the 'big chunks', just to make it look nicer? Maybe 10 minutes?
 

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Just another perspective. I live down a mile and a half of rock (aka: dirt) roads. The only problem that I seem to have is that I have to clean the chain all the time (sometimes daily). I guess i just try to keep it clean, but not to the effect of some people, but then again about 80% of my riding is done at night where people can't tell anyway. Also, the small town that I actually live in is known as the mosquito capital of the midwest, so i often need to do some rinsing off before parking it at night.

Just my 2 cents

David
 

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My view on the article was he was trying to put the point across that you should be a little more easy going and enjoy it instead of parking it. I am like he used to be about looking at the weather and such. I don't lose a minute riding though since cleaning it is an anal ritual and it gives me quality time alone with my loved one in the garage. And the question always comes up at gatherings 'is that thing brand new'? No kids, lots of time off, I have no excuse for a dirty bike.
 

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While I'm not anal retentive, I also like to keep my bike fairly clean. Whenever I have some spare time, and it doesn't look like it'll rain during my wash, I'll pull her out and give her a rub down. The more you love the bike, the less prone she'll be to buck you off.
 

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I'm with LTL...I clean my bike as part of a post-ride inspection. Going over everything makes it easier to spot leaks, loose bolts (found a few of those), etc. It's easier to keep your bike clean if it's done regularly. I don't use my bike as a daily commuter or rarely ride on the street so it might be different if it was my only means of transportation.
 

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ConqSoft : I like to ride, but I also like to keep the bike clean.  (Clean it after every ride.)

So, I guess I'm somewhere in the middle.
Ditto, here.

How long does it take to get a wet paper towel to knock
the major bugs & grime off, then a quick spray down
with Honda Spray polish & rub down with soft towel.

I do ride plenty. I have owned the bike 2 years, & was
unable to ride for about 5 months of that time due to
injuries, & I am pushing 31,000 miles
 
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