If you haven’t yet enjoyed riding your motorcycle through a rowdy round of rain, don’t fret; it eventually happens to all of us.
From the perfect-trip cultivating planners to the play-it-by-ear romantics, we all get dumped on during the course of our moto-hero’s journey.
You’ll be OK with good gear and gripping tires, but what about the bike? How do you dry your motorcycle after the rain?
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Here’s How to Dry Your Motorcycle After Riding in the Rain:
Start by cleaning off your sprocket with OEM-approved chain cleaner or degreaser. Wipe your instrument cluster and LED displays off with microfiber towels, clean the grit, debris, and moisture from your suspension, and apply silicone lube.
As soon as you get home and dismount the wet, iron stallion, let her cool down for a few before pouring fresh water over the motorcycle.
Once you’ve flushed the contaminated and acidic rainwater off the entire motorcycle, dry it with chamois or cotton cloth or microfiber towels.
Some bike builders suggest using Teflon or wax coating to keep the bike water resistance, especially if you live in areas where it rains hard or often.
Don’t neglect the rims and spokes and other chrome components, which are especially susceptible to corrosion and rust.
Once dried, using your motorcycle’s OEM-approved jelly on the electronics keeps water from getting into your electrical system the next time you ride.
- There’s a little more to it if you were riding in a significantly dirty area when your motorcycle was rained on.
- If an exposed chain drives your motorcycle, you’ll want to clean them and lube it, not just dry it off.
- Clean your tires with fresh water and let them air dry so the wet debris doesn’t dry and affects your ridability.
- Clean your air filter and air dry it to ensure no water gets sucked into your engine.
- Clean the dirt off your lights and dry them with a microfiber towel.
Your motorcycle might be carbureted vs. fuel injected if you have a rat bike, vintage or chopper cruiser.
If your carb was affected by the dirty rainwater, it might be worth your time to clean out your carb, air dry it, and rebuild it.
Before we move on to answering some other important and relevant questions about post-rain-riding maintenance, we’ll leave you with a few more tips on how to dry your motorcycle after riding in the rain:
- Please don’t kill it straight away when you get home. Let it idle for 2-5 minutes before hitting the kill switch.
- Once you kill the engine, let it cool for 30-45 minutes, and then rinse it with clean water before you dry it off with microfiber or soft cotton towels.
- Be sure to lube your chain.
Should I Dry My Bike After Rain?
Though most motorcycles were designed to get wet, it’s not a bad idea to properly dry your bike off after riding in the rain to prevent corrosion and rust. First, rinse it with clean water; after washing, we suggest lubricating the chain and protecting the electronics with OEM-approved jelly.
These days, most motorcycles are designed to be a safe ride while it’s raining. Applying waterproofing, lubrication, and safe jelly on weak points in your wing are all expected aspects of a routine tune-up by any decent moto-technician.
If you’re conducting your moto-maintenance at home, we suggest following your owner’s manual guidelines and the service schedule. You’ll find that inspecting and applying these treatments is part of the maintenance deal of fundamental ownership.
That said, if you were riding in dirty or dusty conditions when you got dumped on, or if your bike was exposed to rain for extended periods, we suggest following the washing and drying instructions in this article’s final section.
Should I Wash My Bike After Rain?
Ideally, you’re giving your motorcycle a thorough wash every few weeks. If you’ve kept up with your tune-ups and your bike is waterproofed with lubrication and electrical jelly, you can wait until your wash after riding in light rain.
We’ll get to the proper way to do a complete and thorough motorcycle wash momentarily.
First, if you were riding in harsh and dirty rain conditions and you need some quick tips, here are three priorities:
1. Chain and Sprocket
If you’re riding in heavy wet and dirty conditions, your chain and sprockets are probably covered in mud and road debris. If the chain is sprayed with road-spew for an extended period, its lubrication is flushed into the gutter, allowing the grime to stick to your chain.
Wash your chain with a cleaner or degreaser suggested by your bike’s manufacturer and get the grime out of the drive chain. Dry the chain with a clean shop rag and apply proper lubrication per your bike’s spec.
2. Instrument Gauge Cluster and LED Display Screens
Your instruments are electrical, and electronics are sensitive to water and dirt.
Many modern bikes are stocked with fancy LED screens, TFT units, CPUs, ECUS, and various sensors.
And finally, many of the critical wires for your lights, ignition, and starter relays are housed underneath your instrument cluster.
Whether you got caught in a hard, fast downpour or were riding in the rain for hours, drying off the instrument cluster with a screen-and-glass-safe microfiber towel protects all the electronic systems and components underneath.
3. Suspension Systems
Your suspension system can get splashed with dirt and debris while ripping through the roaring rain. Given a chance to build up and pack in, that grimey dirt can shove its way into your suspension system.
Once in there, this corrosive mud accumulation can cause premature wear, tear, and damage to the point of developing leaks.
Suspension parts vary between styles of motorcycles and even from model to model.
This makes it difficult for us to get into the specifics of weak points in your setup, sufficient to say that fixing a damaged suspension system can be a complicated and expensive affair.
If your bike stocks the standard telescopic forks, it’s as simple as clearing out the dirt and mud with a hose rinse after a muddy ride—careful not to overdo it on the pressure.
Once you’ve rinsed your telescopic front forks, dry them with a fine, soft cloth and slap a thin layer of silicone lubrication on the seals and stanchions.
This layer of silicone lubrication prevents wear on the rubber seals, though you’ll want to wipe off the excess lube with the fine drying cloth when you’re all done.
That said, if you have the time for it after you ride in the rain, you should take the opportunity to give your motorcycle a proper detailed washing.
How to Wash a Motorcycle After Riding in the Rain?
Follow these steps to wash your motorcycle after riding it in the rain:
1. Assemble Your Supplies
First things first—you’ll want to get all your supplies together, ensuring you have everything needed in one place and that you also have cleaning supplies explicitly intended for use on motorcycles.
If relevant, you’ll want to consult your owner’s manual to ensure your bike’s Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) approves of the stuff you’re using.
Here’s a quick list of what you’ll need to wash your motorcycle after riding in the rain:
- Sponges intended for use on Motorcycle Finish
- Gentle rushes for cleaning spokes and hard to reach crevices
- Cotton cloth rags or old cotton flannel for drying without damaging your bike’s finish
- Microfiber towels for the final detail pass
- Motorcycle-Safe Spray Cleaner and Space and OEM-approved Chain Lube and Wax Finish
2. Organize Your Work Space
We suggest securing a workspace that’s not exposed to direct sunlight, as it will dry the soap suds to your finish before you can rinse it off.
Pro-tip, make sure you’ve got the room to circle 360 around the bike while washing it.
And this includes prepping the motorcycle. You don’t want to wash your bike while it’s hot; even if you’ve been riding in the rain, rainwater on a hot day isn’t exactly cold enough to cool her down.
Give your bike 20-30 minutes to cool off before dumping cold water on your hot, expanded molecules, or you’ll shock the alloy.
3. Plug Your Pipes
As mentioned above, bikes are water resilient by design. That said, getting water in your air cleaner and exhaust can cause some complications.
While some riders use rubber muffler plugs manufactured by an aftermarket motorcycle accessories company, stuffing some clean rags in there and covering the outside of the hole with a rubber glove does the trick.
4. Pre-Soak Spray Down
You want to get the rain-inspired dirt and dust off your finish before you start scrubbing, as even the most moto-friendly sponges can smear it across your tank and scratch your bike’s finish.
Spray your bike down with a spray cleaner designated for use on motorcycles to loosen up the rain streaks.
How long you need to let it sit varies from cleaner to cleaner; consult the product’s instructions for the specifics of the formula.
Regardless, once you let it sit long enough to loosen the raining debris, rinse it with clean water. Be sure to use a low-pressure garden hose or a bucket to avoid dislodging small bike components.
5. Soap Up Your Motorcycle
Using a bucket, combine your motorcycle-safe soap with the suggested amount of water, following the instructions on the soap you’ve chosen.
Start at the top of the bike’s bars and work your way down the tank, body, frame, motor, fenders, and rims. If you see dirt in your sponge, rinse to avoid scraping your finish. Use the brush for those tricky places.
6. Splash the Soap Off Your Motorcycle
Thoroughly rinse away the soapy residue with clean, soap-free water. Again, you want low pressure, use a standard garden house or a bucket of clean water for this step.
7. Dry Off Your Motorcycle
Dry your motorcycle until there are no water droplets or streaks of wetness anywhere on the bike, as it looks ugly when it dries and causes corrosion and rust.
Use a cotton cloth or microfiber towels to avoid damaging your paint.
8. Lubricate Your Bike’s Chain
Not only does riding in the rain splash up your chain, depleting its required allotment of lubrication, but the effect of the suds-ing and rinsing you just executed also striped your chain of its grease.
Following your owner’s manual’s instructions, reapply chain lube to ensure your chain is ready to roll as soon as you’re done with the scrub down. Mind the directions on the specific chain lube product your OEM recommends for your year model moto.
9. Apply OEM-Approved Motorcycle Wax
If you’ve gotten this far down the list, your bike should be as clean as it will be, free of any rain streaks, dirt, and dust, and dried of all clean water.
You’ll want to use a wax finish that’s not only intended for motorcycle application but also has a chemical-based approval for your specific bike by its manufacturer.
The wax is to defend against future water impact. A decent motorcycle wax should have instructions specific to motorcycles; follow them carefully to avoid applying wax to part of the bike that you shouldn’t wax.