I used to own a detailing business and had contracts with Merc to prepare their new and 2nd hand lines for the showroom. Whilst I no longer look after other peopleís vehicles, I still genuinely enjoy looking after my cars and bikes so hopefully the following will prove useful...
Firstly... give the bike a good hosing over with water. This will remove some of the grit and contaminants but also prepare for the next stage.
I personally like to use snow foam next, (autoglym polar blast) does a great job of loosening some of the more stubborn contaminants. Simply spray it over the bike whilst wet and leave for up to five minutes. Ensure the bike is out of direct sunlight and do not allow the bike to dry out. Then simply rinse with water.
If the bike is heavily soiled then a more intense motorcycle cleaner is advisable. But my bike seeís dry weather use only so it isnít strictly necessary for me.
Now that all of the loose surface grit and contaminants have been removed it is now safe to wash the bike with a reduced risk of scratching it with a mitt.
Fill one bucket with warm water and your chosen shampoo. Fill a 2nd bucket with just plain warm water. My whole bike has matt black paint, so a shampoo with wax should be avoided so opt I for Autoglym pure shampoo. As suggested already, invest in a good quality micro fibre mitt. Ensuring the bike is still nice and wet... dunk the mitt in the bucket containing shampoo and start cleaning your high risk painted areas first, so your fuel tank and front and rear mudguards. This is where your 2nd bucket with clean water comes in... before placing your mitt back into the shampoo bucket, first dunk and agitate the mitt in the clean bucket of water to loosen and remove any grit it might have picket up... then back into your shampoo bucket etc. Work your way from the top of the bike down, and be sure to avoid cleaning around the bottom areas of the bike and then moving back to painted finishes as you are likely to pick up small stones on the mitt that will then result in scratches on your painted areas. Personally I use two mitts, one specifically for the painted areas, and the other for the engine, wheels etc. Itís just safer that way. Once the bike has been cleaned from top to bottom itís time for another liberal hosing to remove all of the soap. Top tip... whilst soaping the bike over, if you find areas youíve already covered are drying out, just keep rinsing them. If you let the soap dry itíll leave nasty marks that are a PITA to remove.
Now on to the part that I personally donít enjoy... drying! Drying a bike is a pain in the ar$e... just when you think itís all nice and dry, you move it and water runs out from everywhere. I have invested in a bike dryer and I have to say itís the best money you can spend... it results in less time drying and more time riding. Is also helps to remove water from areaís that you simply wonít be able to reach by conventional methods, and this pooled water leads to rust so time saving aside, it just works out to be a lot better for your bike. Also... the less time you spend rubbing anything over your bike... the less risk of scratching it.
Okay now for the fun part...polishing and protecting. You need a matt finish friendly polish for your headers and exhaust pipes. There are a number of suitable options out there... personally I alternate between two currently, being AutoGlym Gloss protection and Muc Off matt finish detailer. Both protext well and leave an even finish and most importantly maintain the matt look. You have the Jet Black finish on your tank and mudguards so in your case feel free to use what ever polish you have come to like. Personally, and probably unsurprisingly Iíd opt for yet another Autoglym product in the form of their Super Resin Polish. Itís easy to apply and more importantly very easy to remove.
On the wheel rims I also use the muc off matt detailer.
For protection duties... I choose to use ACF-50 on all of the exposed nuts, bolts, engine casings, wheel spokes, cooling fins and so on. Pop some onto a small sponge and simply wipe over these areas every 6 weeks of so and you will not experience the rust issues commonly associated in these areas. It goes without saying... avoid getting any on your brake disks.
And thatís about it... if you carry out this routine youíll keep your bike in tip top order, with a reduced risk of scratching it and it will as a result look great for many years to come.
Hope that helps and feel free to let me know if you have any questions or need anything explain in more detail... itís fare easier for me to clean a bike than it is for me to describe it here