In our last post, we talked about a few easy ways to keep your bike clean and protected during riding season and even though we covered a lot of ground, I realized that I hadn’t mentioned a few important ones.
If you wear a full-face helmet or have a fairing/windshield, you have got to get a bottle of Rain X and try it out.
I mean, this stuff is the daddy of all windshield wiper replacements!
I used to use it on Jeeps, especially the old beaters that I had for running muddy trails – even soupy, dirty water simply beads up and runs off of a treated windshield. Now, if you put it on your face shield, all bets are off – I wear a beanie with “real glass” glasses and actually use it on my shades, but I know they are glass. Some of the newer plastic might be affected by Rain X, but I’ve never tested it. Pick up a bottle and test it out on a small piece out of your field of vision and see how it works – it is amazing.
Another maintenance piece I forgot to touch on was tires. Most of us won’t ride enough to wear out a set, so protecting the sidewalls from UV light – the main reason for sidewall dryrot – is important. Like the leather on your seat, the porous surface of the tire can catch and hold contaminants that slowly degrade the exterior.
Keeping these clean with a good tire cleaner is great, but don’t forget to apply some type of dressing to those clean sidewalls. There are about a million products that can do this, so I won’t even guess what might work for you. Personally, I use whatever is in the garage or is on sale. Obviously, that quality cover we talked about in the last post can alleviate some sun cracking if you store your bike outside or on the porch during the season, but however you do it, take care of your rubber.
One last piece of overlooked protection – especially if you ride an older bike – is dielectric grease. One tube is likely a lifetime supply, but it helps to water proof connections. Essentially, you unplug a wire, give a little dab of grease onto the “male” connector, and then plug it back up. This keeps water, dirt, and condensation out of the connector and can help to keep more electricity going to the right place. Remember, a bad connection creates resistance in a circuit, and what you’re doing with the dielectric grease is effectively reducing the chance of that connection being compromised.
It also is nice, years later, as a new “old” bike owner, to not have to cut apart frozen connections because no one in the bike’s past did any kind of preventative maintenance. Personally, I do this on all my light bulb housings, all my plug connections, and anything that I can easily pull apart. If you have a newish bike, say less than two decades old, many of the manufacturers had already done this, but that grease is getting old, too. Take a couple of hours, clean and re-grease your connections, and enjoy better starting, brighter lights, and less pain and suffering when it comes time to replace a light bulb.
I know that we’re smack in the middle of riding season, but here’s a perfect excuse to spend a few hours on a rainy day going over and taking care of stuff that needs to be handled. Will any of these cost you a lot? Maybe a high-quality cover, but every other one is less than $10 at the store and can make you safer and ensure a higher resale value over the long haul.
Why haven’t you done them yet?