I don’t know about you, but I get a deep sense of satisfaction after I’ve given my bike a long-overdue clean. Restoring my pride and joy from a hanging mess to a pristine shiny bike is quite an addictive process.
That’s my ZX-10R, pictured above. It’s got over 15,000 miles on the clock and I use it in all weathers but with a good clean and wax, it looks sharp, especially for an old girl.
If you don’t get around to cleaning your bike as much as you should, it’s essential to wax your motorbike to better protect it in between washes. A waxed motorcycle will help the bodywork withstand the elements much better and be easier to clean, as the dirt won’t get deep into the paintwork.
Anyone new to motorcycling or just not up to standard with a complete wash and wax often ask, is polish and wax the same thing? No, is the short answer. Polishes aren’t designed to protect your bike’s paintwork; they are designed to correct the paintwork by causing microabrasion to the paint’s surface and removing any minor scratches to its layers. You end up with smooth paintwork that continues to look as new as the day you bought it. Wax is non-abrasive and enhances this polishing process by adding a tough layer of protection over the painted surface, keeping it free from oxidisation.
You don’t need much equipment, a couple of microfibre cloths or pads and some wax …oh and a little bit of elbow grease. The whole process is simple, but with 100s of products on the market, the hardest part is picking a good wax.
We’ve narrowed down the search for the best polishes and waxes for motorcycles and provided you with a quick guide in the techniques used to polish and wax your motorbike to give you’re a helping hand. Read on for our top choices.
Long-lasting deep shine, easy to apply
Poorboys Natty’s Paste Wax is brilliant. It can be used on any colour and provides long-lasting protection thanks to its natural Carnauba wax. It doesn’t matter if you want to use it in the sun or shade, it’s easy on and off wax that gives a 3D look to your paintwork.
A mirror-look finish in minutes
For a quick, dark, wet-looking shine without a leftover white residue, Gold Class spray works with a simple mist-on, wipe off approach. Meguiar’s claims this product is suitable for use in direct sunlight, but for a more professional finish, we recommend following our ultimate cleaning guide.
What’s the difference between a wax and polish?
A polish is designed to remove tiny marks which can affect the finish on your bodywork. These marks can be anything from scratches to spotting and oxidation.
Polishes are usually pastes or creams which contain abrasives or chemical cleaners which flatten the surface. Some polishes are more aggressive than others and polishes are not designed to add protection to the paint surface. They are designed to correct the paint.
A wax will enhance and protect a painted surface. They’re best applied after your bodywork has been polished
Automotive wax is a non-abrasive coating which usually contains Carnauba and other waxes. The wax serves as a clear, shiny protective layer between the elements and the bodywork. It fills in very tiny (microscopic) dimples in the bodywork and keeps the rain, road grime and other chemicals from affecting your paintwork.
The cheapest motorcycle wax
If you’re looking for a top-notch finish but your budget’s a bit tight, then check out Turtle Wax Original Wax Paste.
This well-known brand gives an excellent finish to your cleaning regime and claims to last for up to 12 months.
Top tip, as soon as the water stops beading on your bike’s paintwork, it’s time to reapply.
Turtle Wax instructs you to leave the wax on until it’s dried into a haze and then buff out with a microfibre cloth.
The most expensive waxes
Believe it or not, there’s a car wax out there that costs a whopping £24,000.
Yes, for the price of a Ducati V4S, you could own a block of wax to wax your, er, CB500?
But back in the (sort of) real world, the most expensive wax we could find for sale is made by Swissvax. Those cheeky Swiss are known for having a bob or two, so perhaps the Concorso Luxury Car Wax doesn’t look pricey over there but from where I’m standing, it does. It gets good reviews but then, at £190 a pot, I’d expect it to wax my car for me.
Quick guide to waxing your motorcycle
Many people who are new to a DIY clean, polish and wax often ask what techniques are best when it comes to waxing their bike. Here at Biker Rated, we have a comprehensive guide on the whole cleaning process but to get you up to speed on waxing and polishing, here are our helpful hints and tips.
1. Using your microfibre cloth or pad, add a bit of polish or wax (trust me, a little goes a long way!) and smear it on your bike’s bodywork one panel at a time.
2. Applying light pressure, rub the polish or wax in a circular motion, leave to dry slightly and buff out using the same circular motion with a clean microfibre cloth.
It shouldn’t take too long to complete this process; bike panels are small (thank goodness!) but if you want to use a separate polish and wax, apply the polish first and the wax afterwards to keep the protection of the hardened wax. It will obviously take longer with this approach but you'll get a better finish.
Waxing your motorcycle: The other products you’ll need
£2.48 from Amazon
For a pack of 3, you can’t go wrong with this small price. The thick, soft pad works with both waxes and polishes to give your bike that stunning shine you’re aiming for.
Motorcycle plastic polish
Meguiar’s Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer 355ml
£13.49 from Amazon
Once you’ve given your bike a good polish and wax, you don’t want the minor details to let you down. Black plastics on a motorcycle can fade in the sun; by applying a restorer, you can get them back to black in minutes. A favourite of ours here, Meguiar’s black plastic restorer lasts a long time and is tough enough to withstand rain without leaving streaks. Use with a microfibre cloth to get the best results.
Some of the specialist wax manufacturers produce wax for light coloured bodywork or dark colours.
Always apply wax away from direct sunlight. If you can get your bike in the shade or carry out your valet session in the early evening, that's ideal.
Make sure you dry your bike properly as any residual water will make it really hard ot buff off the wax.
Use a tiny amount to get going and after a while when your applicator pad is saturated you won't need to add much more.
Other great waxes on our shortlist
Bilt Hamber Double Speed-Wax
£16.85 from Amazon
This award-winning wax is robust and dependable. It holds up even after thorough washes and use of your bike. The transparent film is perfect to use on any colour and metallic and non-metallic paintwork. As a bonus, with this purchase, you get a free microfibre cloth and an applicator pad.
Simoniz Original Carnauba Wax
£7.85 from Amazon
With natural Carnauba wax, you get a glossy, high-shine finish that provides lasting protection to your motorcycle. Apply a little wax and buff out straight away without leaving to dry. The hardened protective layer will last for a few months, which is perfect for those who don’t like doing a full clean so regularly!
Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax Cream
£25.99 from Amazon
This wet wax cream is easy to work with based on its consistency. Suitable for all coloured paintwork, it has high UV ray protection rate and leaves an impressive hard shell that lasts. With no white powder residue, it makes the job even more manageable as it saves the clean-up operation after application.
Autoglym Rapid Aqua Wax Complete Kit
£13.48 from Amazon
One of the most well-known names in vehicle cleaning products, the name says it all. Make the job faster by using on wet or dry bodywork; it’s proven to leave a streak-free finish every time.
Meguiar’s G7716EU Gold Class Carnauba Plus Premium Quik Wax 473ml
£14.53 from Amazon
Meguiar’s spray on wax is easy to use, spray a thin layer on wet or dry surfaces and wipe off. It leaves no white residue on trims or plastic in sunlight or shade; this wax is up there with the best in the category.
Dodo Juice, White
£5.99 from Amazon
A firm favourite here at Biker Rated, a little goes a long way, and for the price, you can’t go wrong with that. This colour-free Carnauba wax can be used on all colours and provides comprehensive coverage and protection while still delivering a deep shine. Claiming to last up to 3 months, you’ll be quids in with this one.
Motorcycle wax FAQs
Can you use turtle wax on a motorcycle?
Turtle Wax is a well-known brand and most featured in adverts containing cars, but don’t be fooled. Turtle Wax can be used on motorcycles in the same way. It’s safe to apply to all types of bodywork and all colours.
How often should I wax my motorcycle?
How often all depends on how particular about a clean bike and which product you’re using. We recommend checking the packaging for manufacturer recommendations if you’re unsure, but our top tip can be done without digging around in drawers for it…when your bike is wet, if the water stops beading on the surface, its time for another application.
Should I use wash and wax on my motorcycle?
Of course. Wash and waxes are formulated to be used all over the bike rather than just the panels. It works in between waxes by reinforcing the protection of previously applied wax. We recommend applying a separate wax over the top of your cleaned bike as it provides added protection.
How do you clean matte paint on a motorcycle?
Clean your bike the same as you would if it had metallic paintwork; the difference is the finishing product. Make sure you use a matte specific finisher like this RAT WAX Motorcycle Matte Finish Detailer Spray Cleaner from Amazon. It doesn’t contain any gloss to create an unnatural looking shine or any additives that can damage matte paint. Creating an additional layer of protection stops the damage from UV rays.
What’s the difference between wet and dry wax?
The main difference is that wet wax can be used on wet or dry panels. It often comes in spray bottles you spray a thin layer and wipe off immediately. Whereas dry wax you apply to dried panels and leave to “set” and then buff out. Both achieve the same results; it’s just your personal preference on the amount of time you want to spend overall.
Thanks to the following websites which helped us research and write this motorcycle wax guide: