I use the Harley polish (spray can) for light cleaning. I use stuff called Klasse to seal the paint and chrome. It was dealer recommended. The best stuff I have ever used. Wipe on, let haze, then wipe off. I also use the Mothers polish for the wheels.
ditto on the Mother's Billet Polish. I've tried a few things for general washing. The S100 spray, regular (harsh) dishwasher detergent, Meguires Car Wash soap (much less harsh). It all seems to clean just fine. I haven't used Harley Sun-Wash. How is it any better? (what am I missing?)
The anodize aluminum seems to look great no matter what I do. I've tried waxing it with some good carnuba wax. Doesn't seem to hurt it. Looks about the same, although it gives it a smoother finish and feel to the touch. I've also used the Meguires Quick Detail spray. That seems to do a nice job as well for getting the dust off.
For getting 'burnt-on' boot marks off of the pipes, I use a product called Colonel Brassy. doesn't scratch and takes off about anything. Great stuff.
That's the one thing I really like about the anodize. You can wipe the dust off of it with a damp rag, and not worry about putting little micro scratches in the paint. The anodize is so much harder and always seems to look great no matter what you do.
I sometimes wax my chrome. Doesn't seem to hurt it, and it feels so nice and smooth afterwards that it must eschew the dirt a bit more.
One overlooked thing for getting your bike looking its best is to try and wash it under cover - like in your garage - rather than outside. With all the chrome, it is just about impossible for a bike sitting outside in direct sunlight to avoid getting waterspots. A leafblower (or shopvac with hose reversed) makes quick work of drying your bike. I use the Harley Sunwash. Softened water helps too; as does a scrupulously clean, and frequently rinsed, wash mitt.
Unless you live in a very wet, dirty, part of the world (like England..) you probably don't need to wash the V-Rod that much. But you absolutely MUST clean your stock wheels at least once a week, or they will end up getting nasty spots on them.
Bullfrog Cleaner/Degreaser with VpCI corrosion inhibitors. Apply the product to a wet wash mit at 100% solution in a tic-tac-toe diagram, and wash away. The inhibitors are good for 30 days at which time they will exhaust. Re-apply the BF cleaner/degreaserafter each rinse of mitt to rinse away removed dirt on the mitt.
Picked up a small electrical powered blower, looks like a leaf blower, but much smaller from Checkers. They keep them behind the counter where I picked mine up at, so if you don't see one in the store on the shelf, ask them if they have one to look at. They are about 30 bucks regular 20 bucks on sale. Plug the sucker in, and you get 90 MPH wind, small nozzle size, so the force can be directed in between the rotor and wheels and all the other tight and hard to get to spots where water lies.
Works great to blow all the water out of the handlebar controls and housing, which can be a pain in the butt if left after every washing. Another area for excess water build up is below the front leg seal dust covers, and radiator itself as mucho water loves to hide there.
And don't forget, after washing, before drying, lean the bike to the right to get all of the water out between the valley of the cylinders. I do it by standing on the exhaust side, and leaning it way over, using my leg to support the bike
If you don't treat for corrosion, you could have problems.
Final drying with a micro towel for anything that might be left over or a streak or two if found.
Also use paint stirers to get to hard to reach spots with the wash mit, insert the stirer into the wash mit for spots like headers to side cases, swing arm behind passenger seat mounts, cam covers etc, anywhere it is hard to reach with fingers. These work great for polishing the shock coil springs when a towel is used over the stirer with polish.
Don't forget to turn the shock absorbers covers to catch the backsides of them. If you don't much crap builds up there too.
The paint stirers are great little cleaning tools, cheap and made from wood so the won't scratch if used on plated parts. On other coated areas, use common sense. Any hardware store for these where paint is sold. Usually they offer different sizes.
Mothers billet polish for the wheels to pre-polish, then hit them again with Wicked if the spots are tough. Sometimes I will use a buffered bi-flouride cleaner to aid in spot removal, as it produceds a uniform satin finish, and then use the Mothers Billet polish, and final Wicked. If the wheels are not too bad, I'll do Wicked polish only.
Race Glaze polish for all the other metals, and Race Glaze seat conditioner for the seat.
Sometimes Iwill also use Bullfrog wax with the wheels. It goes on clear, also has corrosion inhibitors too. I'll do this when the north swell hits in the winter, as riding that area is like being in a salt fog chamber test, unbelieveable.
I am corrosion nuts in hawaii as this place is corrosion central.
Treat every 8 months or so with CarWell CP-90 for additional corrosion protection, and I do the radiator too.
Wash in the garage, no sunlight to hit it and the bike is stone cold.
That reminds me, I still haven't got off my bum and ordered my sealer for the rims for delivery to Oz.
The way the Aussie Sheckel is at present (.77 US) I had better pull my finger out while the price is so good.
Re using HD products to clean the anodised finish. HD explicitly state that you have to use their products or your warrenty may be voided (no cover for the rims).
HOWEVER, in fairness to HD, their wheel cleaner is the best product of its type I have ever used. Re Sun wash etc, McGuires or any other reputable wash is just as effective in sheeting water. Lowers surface tension but you have to only use a LOW water pressure, ie trickle. Use a McGuires lambs wool glove and you'll never use a sponge again.
Mothers Billet Metal polish is brilliant, (only on bare metal) and I recently purchased a "Buffy Ball" polish cloth for the drill (and almost electrocuted myself in the effor, but that's another story) Clean the rims with the polish, and remove with the Buffy Ball polish pad on your drill. SUPERB finish. It worked so well, I then used it on the Indians paint (after washing the ball), and I haven't seen it shine like that since I repainted it 10 years ago.
I purchased mine from the UK for $9 US and $6 US postage for to me in Oz after getting a very wide of the mark quote from the US ($66 US postage!!!). However US purchasers can get them from Ozzy or Steve for a good price and a realistic postal charge. Get one, you'll love it.
I have only given mine a bath 3 times. For quick cleans I was using Mr Sheen, now shifted to the Harley spray can product - to be honest, I think Mr Sheen was better. All I do to the wheels is use the HD Wheel and tire cleaner when I wash the bike, with a standard sponge. In between I wipe them down with a soft cloth to remove break dust. I was really worried about the rims, but I have had no dramas. I have not polished them, I kinda like the semi matt sheen they have. For the rest, Sunwash and a leaf blower. Harley Gloss I have, never used it.
Hey, I have the cleaning drill down pat to about an hour and 15 minutes when I do the wash/clean thing. In the heavy surf months of winter time I do this weekly if miles are put on the bike, because the size of oahu is so small, that when the surf is up, theres sea salt everywhere.
if any of you ever come out in the winter months, and drive from Haleiwa to Sunset beach with the sun at your back, the sea salt mist looks like a fog as the sunlight lights up the sea salt mist.
It took longer before the blower, and before that, i tried the compressor with an air fitteng. It was a pain in the butt. But the CHECKERS 20.00 blower has cut the effort down big time, and has afforded me more time to concentrate on other things, like getting back out on the road to get it dirty again.
In the summer, no problemo, as I can get away without cleaning for sometimes up to 3 weeks, with only a spray wax on the wheels to pick up the brake dust.
Depends on how dirty the bike gets, season etc. After working at many dealerships, I learned a lot of tricks to be able to get through it all in little time.
I do this routine with 2 bikes too, and last Sunday, started at 8:30 AM and was doen by 10 AM or so, so it is not too bad. what helps keep the time down is the other bike has Sturgis wheels, and they are polished out really nice. Super easy to keep clean, not like the V-Rod wheels, which are nuts to work out if you let them go too long.
The 02 V-rod has 13,000 miles on it and the other bike, Sportster has about 35,000 miles on it, so don't fear, I get my share of riding in.