Best Wax for Motorcyles and Other Cleaning Products

Was it too far gone? We test the limits and some cleaning products.

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by John L. Stein
The YDS2, as a “100-footer.”

See how the author cleans up this old damaged bike. Find out the best wax for motorcycles and what motorcycle spray cleaner and polish worked.

When scientists first saw a baby woolly mammoth that had been frozen in Canada’s Klondike permafrost for 30,000 years, they must have been ecstatic. That’s about how I felt, too, after discovering the timeworn, 5,100-mile Yamaha YDS2 twin seen here earlier this year.

Unbelievably rough, it was also magically original, with only the tires changed and the two-tone black-and-white gas tank repainted, rattle-can style, long ago. Abhorrent to some, such crusty authenticity electrifies me instead, due to the opportunity it presents for real time-traveling. In this case, to 1964, when The Beatles toured the U.S. for the first time, Yogi Berra steered the Yankees to the pennant, and A.J. Foyt scored the last-ever Indy 500 win for front-engine roadsters. Context is everything.

Regarding classic bikes, I honor the adage that “it’s only original once.” Which means, when restored, a machine’s “time and place” are erased forever. And that’s why, for this ancient moto-artifact, instead of taking the restoration route, I decided to embark on a process of finding out just how far “back” I could bring it by using the right products and practices. And if there was ever a litmus test for such a mission, this bike would be it. The ample chrome was more than just rusty — it was shot, and in places, absent altogether. The paint on the frame was pitted, but looked savable on the headlight, fork, shocks and air cleaners. The aluminum was dull, and the factory clear-coated parts were yellowed and blotchy. Ironically though, the vinyl seat cover, although wearing a few small tears, looked savable.

Motorcycle Classics Magazine
Motorcycle Classics Magazine
Motorcycle Classics Magazine Featuring the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!