Here’s the thing about riding a dual sport in the dirt: it tends to get your bike all dirty. This is really only problematic for those of us with OCD tendencies – and whoever has to repair or maintain the bike. Personally, I’ve always been inclined to regard any piece of machinery I own anthropomorphically, which is a fancy way of saying I treat inanimate objects as if they were human. I try to nurture my bikes in between torturing them off-road, which means you can probably add a passive/aggressive disorder to my laundry list of mental health issues. Speaking of laundry (and ADHD), it turns out one of the best ways to keep my dual sport looking immaculate is by cleaning it with Shout Triple-Acting Laundry Stain Remover.
As the executive chairman of Dual Sport Alchemy’s Frugality & Lethargy Department, I’m particularly fond of this trick for two reasons: it’s extremely economical and effortless to use. The price of a 22oz bottle of Shout is less than two and a half dollars at Walmart, the cost of which can easily be subsidized by pilfering a homeless man’s change cup (pan-handling homeless people are conveniently located at the entrance to every Walmart parking lot). Application of this cleaner is simple – spray it on and let it soak, gently scrub any areas that have heavy soil accumulation, then rinse it off. Unlike harsh degreaser there’s no danger of accidental material etching or degradation from improper dilution or overexposure.
As senior miscalculation strategist of Dual Sport Alchemy’s Research & Negligence Department I took it upon myself to perform a cursory study of this trick using an old rear fender and two common contaminants. Half the fender was smeared with mud blended by our resident pedologist (my 5-year-old son) and the other half was sprayed with Schaeffer’s Chain Lube. Dried, plastered bugs were excluded from the study because DSA’s resident entomologist (my 8-year-old son) was preoccupied playing video games.
After letting the contaminated test fender cook in the sun for two days, I applied a liberal amount of Shout to the lower half of the fender and let it soak for 2 minutes, then rinsed the entire fender with a garden hose. The picture above shows results without any elbow grease – no scouring, scrubbing, or rubbing. In the interest of being thorough I decided to experiment with a longer soak time to see if it would remove the old sticker residue on the fender, but I became distracted by a butterfly and eventually just ended up wandering around in other people’s front yards.
I know many riders consider a dirty bike a badge of honor. A few might even argue that if you let enough time go by without washing your bike, it simply won’t be able to get any dirtier. But a clean bike isn’t just a matter of esthetics – all that dirt can be detrimental, particularly if you ride in an area where it rains frequently.
Areas with higher rainfall tend to have soil with a low pH. Soil with a low pH has a higher acidity level. Letting acidic soil accumulate on your bike for long periods of time is bound to have adverse affects; your dual sport shouldn’t look like it was just unearthed from an archeological dig.
So next time you want a great cleaning product for your dual sport don’t head to the bike shop, head to the laundry room and grab a bottle of Shout!