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To Clean or Not To Clean - That is the Question

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  • To Clean or Not To Clean - That is the Question

    I picked up an original paint low mileage 64 Duo Glide as a backup for the Chief. It does not appear to have been cleaned or polished in many years, perhaps decades. The bike would really pop if paint and brightwork were detailed. Better half says DO NOT clean. There is a trend to have crusty looking originals and I like original but that crust wasn't there "originally" and am torn between leaving it in its current natural state or cleaning up the paint and brightwork. Leaving dirty leans toward neglect but at same time there seems to be some desirability for old dirt and the natural undisturbed degradation of finishes that only time can create.
    I once saw a friend who shall remain nameless in a crazy panic at the Jefferson meet because it clouded up quickly and he was scrambling to find a tarp so rain drops did not disturb the old dust on his original 48 pan.

    Interested in hearing thoughts on cleaning it or leave it alone and ride it.

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    Jason Z
    AMCA #21594
    Near Pittsburgh PA (Farm Country)
    Allegheny Mountain Chapter http://amcaamc.com/

  • #2
    I say clean it and it will be dirty again after 1000 miles. I always prefer dirt/oil that has accumulated from my own riding. Lovely bike!
    Nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile....
    -good ol GD

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    • #3
      I never understood the appeal of 'vintage dirt'. Clean it and enjoy.
      AMCA #41287
      1998 Dyna Convertible - 100% Original
      1982 FXR - starting restoration
      1979 FXS 1200 (1340) nearly done
      96" Evo Softail self built chopper
      2012 103" Road King "per diem"
      plus 13 other bikes over the years...

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      • #4
        I vote to clean it up. A unkept motorcycle usually is neglected in other areas also. Maybe not always but a lot of times things as wheel bearings and neck bearings are not serviced regularly. Just my opinion but each to their own. There is a difference between used with wear and tear versus neglect.
        Jim D

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        • #5
          I say clean it and maintain it then ride it. Nice looking ride and good find!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
          Steve

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          • #6
            If you don't clean it, Skirted,..

            Then its a NeglectaGlide.

            ....Cotten
            AMCA #776
            Dumpster Diver's Motto: Seek,... and Ye Shall Find!

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            • #7
              I vote for clean it up. Leave the original finish on all the parts, but clean the grease and dirt. Can't see where that would hurt for enjoying it as is. Looking forward to some road trip pics!
              Eric Olson
              Membership #18488

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              • #8
                Well being that I have both kinds of vintage bikes, chrome and clean and crusty and dirty, I will tell you crusty and dirty is quite liberating!!!! You immediately realize rain, puddles, and all the other stuff that makes us crazy is no longer a concern. I was out with a couple of friends last summer out east, out of nowhere it starts pouring rain while we are stopped for lunch. I couldn't care less as it was only a passing storm. After lunch, I dried off the seat and we pulled out. Spent the next 20 miles riding through puddles being a d**k splashing my friends!!! Very liberating.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by T. Cotten View Post
                  If you don't clean it, Skirted,..

                  Then its a NeglectaGlide.

                  ....Cotten
                  Ugh I wonder what a knucklehead is called that never gets washed? Jerry

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jerry Wieland View Post

                    Ugh I wonder what a knucklehead is called that never gets washed? Jerry
                    A 'secret in the back of the barn', Jerry!

                    You knew that.

                    .....Cotten
                    Last edited by T. Cotten; 04-07-2021, 09:25 AM.
                    AMCA #776
                    Dumpster Diver's Motto: Seek,... and Ye Shall Find!

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                    • #11
                      I would clean it if for no other reason than you will then get to see the physical condition of everything on the bike. Perhaps avoiding a potential problem before it becomes one. You can always let it get dirty again. JMHO.........Smitty

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                      • #12
                        Personally, I would not even had asked what I should do with my bike. You own it do as you see fit.

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                        • #13
                          Touche (with an accent mark that I don't know how to add)

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by HDSmitty View Post
                            Touche (with an accent mark that I don't know how to add)
                            Press alt while keying 130 on the numbers pad, Smitty!

                            Or just cut'n'paste this .

                            I like my dust and dirt stratified.

                            (If you saw my shop, you'd understand.)

                            .....Cotten
                            AMCA #776
                            Dumpster Diver's Motto: Seek,... and Ye Shall Find!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              NICE Bike
                              I agree; clean it as Smitty stated "get to see the physical condition of everything on the bike. Perhaps avoiding a potential problem"
                              Consider: Clean it save the dirt and post on Ebay as "vintage bike make-up" Hey there could be a rare horse fly squashed in there.

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