There are days in winter when riding is just glorious. The muck and road grime are the price to be paid for the joy of riding. Thankfully there are excellent products specifically engineered for removing the crap I get covered in.
I don’t mind when people ask me “isn’t it cold?” or “wouldn’t you rather be in a car?”. They wouldn’t understand my answer anyway, no matter how much I explained that riding a motorcycle is an emotional thing.
Riding a motorcycle clears the mind, moves the soul, lifts your spirits — pick whichever lyrical statement that best describes what riding is for you. For me, it is all of those things as well as simply something I love to do.
Rain is irritating, but it is something that you come to terms with when riding a motorcycle. There is no point in trying to avoid the rain – especially in the UK and Ireland – it is part of everyday life.
The cost of indulging our passion to ride through winter is the crap the roads are covered in. This liquid road grime seems to appear like magic and cover the roads, where it hangs about waiting to get flicked up by passing traffic, so it can spread itself all over motorcyclists.
The ice dissolving rock salt (sodium chloride) that is spread on the roads in the UK when the temperatures fall mixes with rain (H2O) to form a weak solution of hydrochloric acid. Left untreated this is the stuff that furs up the fixings on your bike and ruins the finish on most other metal parts.
If you are interested in the science you can find it described here.
While lavishing love and affection on our motorcycles, our boots and riding gear typically get little more than a quick wipe with a damp cloth. It seems unfair, especially when cleaning my textiles is a lot easier than cleaning my KTM.
Getting the road grime out of textile motorcycle clothing also helps to ensure they continue to keep out the rain. Strange as it might seem the more road grime, muck and dirt there is in the fabric, the less waterproof it becomes.
I can’t claim to understand the science – I’m told it is something called capillary attraction. Evidentially, the dirt and road grime embedded into the textile fabric provides a path for the rain to follow, through the waterproofing, so that you can experience that dreaded feeling of ice-cold water, soaking into your clothes.
Wash the dirt and road grime out of the fabric, no more path for the rain to follow and the waterproofing returns.
Paying for my pleasure
It took two hours to clean the KTM. Twenty minutes clean and apply SDoc100 Reproofing Spray to my boots, and another ten minutes to properly clean my visor and helmet.
My textiles, however, were much easier to deal with, although it may not be the topic of choice for the next tea stop. Starting a conversation about washing liquids, and you may get a few sideways glances. Nonetheless, remember to order some S100 Technical Fabric / Leather Wash, the next time you are surfing the SportsBikeShop web site.
It will arrive in a plain box, so no one will know what you are ordering. There may be some SportsBikeShop tape on the outside, so you can always tell people it was a PowerCommander or an O2 valve eliminator.
Who are SDoc?
Despite the slightly different names S100 and SDoc100 are the same company. Based in Germany, SDoc was started when Dr O.K. Wack, an industrial chemist, was looking for something to clean the mud and dirt from his son’s motocross bikes and clothing.
In the 1970s all the motorcycle-related cleaners were designed to remove oil-based contaminations, rather than dirt. Add a couple of decades and a tonne of research and development, and SDoc today are Germany’s leading manufacturer of motorcycle cleaning products, of which S100 Total Cleaner is perhaps the product they are best known for.
And having cleaned every inch of the KTM and reapplied FS365. Having washed the dirt and road grime out of my textiles with S100, I’m back studying the weather forecast, looking for that next jaw-dropping winters day and the chance to get covered in crap all over again.
A couple of hours cleaning the bike and a trip to the washing machine are a small price to pay for three or four hours riding in the winter sunshine.
I’m a long term user of FS365, XCP and ACF-50, all bought and paid for with my own cash money. Same goes for SDoc100 Reproofing spray.
I was first introduced to S100 Technical Fabric wash courtesy of a sample bottle sent to me by MotoHaus. Since then, I’ve bought my own.