Nothing can detract from the visual appeal of an older Harley Davidson motorcycle than rusted wheel spokes. Old chrome steel spokes were standard equipment on most Harley motorcycles, using up to 80 spokes to tie the rear tire to the axle hub. Motorcycle wheels withstand the punishment of the environment by being in contact with the road surface, which contains salts, acids, water and other pollutants. A motorcycle owner can remove even the most stubborn rust from spokes with a few basic steps and cleaning products.
Step 1: clean motorcycle tires
Find a paved outdoor area that has good drainage, such as a driveway or garage. Place the motorcycle on its kickstand and go with the ignition key turned off. Wet the wheels with a high pressure water nozzle. Mix a mild dish soap and water solution in a bucket. Thoroughly clean wheels and spokes with a wheel brush or a nonabrasive fiber detail brush. Remove as much scale, rust, mud, and stains as possible. Move the rear of the motorcycle necessary so that you can wash every section of the wheel that may be hidden under a fender, chain guard, or exhaust pipe.
Step 2: how to clean rusty motorcycle tires
Use compressed air and a high pressure nozzle to remove all moisture from the small joints, seams, and cracks in the spoke areas on the axle hub and rim. Make several passes with the nozzle and move the motorcycle to access all parts of the steering wheel. Wipe the spokes, hub, and rim with a microfiber towel until completely dry.
Step 3: how to clean the spokes of the motorcycle
Wear safety glasses and gloves. Apply rust remover gel to each individual spoke with a brush, for a very strong rust build-up. Let the gel set according to the instructions, which can take 10-20 minutes. Test a small area with an abrasive pad to see if the rust breaks and lifts. Tightly wrap the abrasive pad around each spoke and scrub up and down. Use the wheel brush to clean the spoke seals at the rim and axle hub locations. For slight rust, use an abrasive pad and regular wheel cleaner. Rub each radius individually.
Step 4: how to clean motorcycle tires
Use a small pad of 000 steel wool on areas of the spokes that are deeply embedded or pitted. Scrub the small sections, but do not apply enough force to remove the chrome plate from the spoke. Spray the spokes, hubs and wheels with a high pressure water nozzle, making several passes to remove all wheel cleaner or gel residue from all cracks and joints. Dry the spokes, hub and rim with a microfiber towel. Let the motorcycle stand in direct sunlight for an hour or more to completely dry the parts.
Apply a gel polish paste or sealer to each of the spokes with a microfiber towel. Rub the polishing sealant into the metal spokes and spoke joints, filling in all joints and cracks. Let the paste dry, then remove it with a microfiber towel. If the nail polish sealer is gel type, wipe off any excess with a microfiber towel. Remove any cleaner or polish residue from the sidewalls or base of the tire with the microfiber towel.
Tip: how to clean the spokes of the motorcycle
- Instead of a sealer-polish, you can use a spray metal cleaner and protector that will exclude moisture. Just be sure to mask the tire, exhaust system, or any other part that won’t benefit from using it.
- Be very careful when using a gel rust remover; It is caustic and can damage some rubber, polished aluminum, and plastic surfaces. Wear gloves and safety glasses at all times. Wash off any rust gel cleanser that comes in contact with your skin with fresh water.
Items you will need: how to clean motorcycle spoke rim
- Mild dish soap
- Wheel brush
- Compressed air and nozzle
- Microfiber Towels
- Safety glasses
- Rust removal gel
- Wheel cleaner (optional)
- Paint brush
- Abrasive sponge
- Steel scourer
- Polish sealer