Aluminum is a major part of your Harley-Davidson. It is what gives this bike its look and character. It is also a part of the bike that need to be regularly maintained. Miles of driving can cause the aluminum to become dull over time and the harsh effects of the elements can cause it to oxidize. Rain, wind, sleet and snow all place their mark on the metals of your bike causing it to lose its once beautiful shine. Keeping the aluminum on your Harley motorcycle will keep it in the top condition and help it maintain its original luster.
Many people choose to take their bikes to the factory to have is shined and polished. That is perfectly acceptable if you don’t want to take the effort to restore your bike’s shine and luster. Personally, I prefer to do the job myself and have found that it takes only a few moments of my time. It is a job that can be done by anyone and is also one that can be personally fulfilling.
Before you can begin polishing your Harley motorcycle, you are going to have to gather a few materials first. Here is a short list of the items that you are going to need:
Soft Cloth (old t-shirt or towel)
Baby Wipes or Harley Gloss Wipes
Polishing Compound (Harley Brite Metal Polish or equivalent)
Buffing Tool (optional)
Corrosion Protectant (S100 Corrosion Protectant or equivalent)
When you have gathered together all these materials, you are now ready to begin polishing your motorcycle. Some Harleys can be easily polished without removing the aluminum, but for most bikes the aluminum pieces are going to have to be removed in order to reach the fork braces or headlight bezel easily. In most cases, if you want to reach the engine covers, then you are going to have to remove the foot pegs, shift linkage and floorboards.
Before you begin polishing you need to take a few precautions first. You want to make sure that you remove all rings and other jewelry that may scratch the aluminum. You also want to make sure that you don’t polish in direct sunlight or in very humid conditions because spotting is likely to occur. And don’t try to wash your bike after it has been on the road for a long time. You want to make sure that it is cool to the touch before you begin cleaning it or polishing it.
After you have prepared the bike by removing all the pieces that you want to remove and have observed all the precautions, then you can begin to remove the dirt and grime from your bike using baby wipes. Once all the road dirt has been removed you can then move on to polishing. Use you soft cloth to work the polishing compound into the metal. Be sure to use gentle circular motions and an even coat of polishing compound. If streaking begins to occur, use you soft cloth and a few drops of distilled water to work out. After you have removed the streaks you can then reapply more polishing compound. If you want to add a little extra shine, then you can use your buffer to really work the metal over.
When the polishing is completed, make sure that you allow some time for the aluminum to completely dry. You can then apply the corrosion protectant. This is an important step to protect the aluminum on your bike from road grime, dirt and insects that it is sure to pick up while you are riding. If you choose not to use the corrosion
protectant, then make sure that you don’t wash your bike for at least a week after it has been polished. Reassemble the bike and allow it to dry for a few hours before you hit the open road.