Liquid Performance Spray Cleaner & Polish, Metal Polish and Street Bike Wash
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld
The webBikeWorld garage is chock full of motorcycle cleaners, polishes, waxes, metal restorers, scratch removers, wheel cleaners, stink reducers and just about every other spray, lube, soap and gunk remover on the planet.
One word invariably comes out of visitors' mouths when they walk in and gaze at the shelves: "Whoa!".
There are two schools of thought regarding this collection: more is better; or anything other than soap, water and carnauba wax is a waste of time and money, not to mention the threat to the environment.
I'm somewhere between the two but, of course, always on the lookout for easier, better, faster and cheaper.
So when the box of Liquid Performance goodies arrived, I rolled up the sleeves, rolled out the bikes and dug in.
I wasn't familiar with the Liquid Performance brand, but, coincidentally, the company is located not all that far from here in southern Virginia.
They make a variety of cleaners, polishes, waxes and other wonders of modern chemical science for marine and RV use in addition to their motorcycle products.
The kit shown here is a pretty good deal at only $35.95; it contains just about everything necessary to keep a motorcycle looking clean 'n' shiny, including two nice microfiber polishing cloths; a 32 oz. bottle of Liquid Performance Street Bike Wash, a 14 oz. spray can of Liquid Performance Spray Cleaner & Polish and an 8 oz. bottle of Liquid Performance Metal Polish.
By the way, if you don't already have a supply of microfiber cloth in your kit, get some, because it works great for polishing motorcycles, helmets and visors while greatly reducing the chance of scratching those surfaces.
We've tried a quiver full of "all-in-one" quick-cleaner/quick-polish products over the years, as you can see by the links in the right-hand column. We've reviewed nearly 60 different cleaners, polishes and waxes of all different types, so we have a good database from which to compare.
The Liquid Performance Spray Cleaner & Polish is similar to the familiar ProtectAll spray cleaner and polish. It's a "spray on/wipe off" product, used when you don't have time for a full-on detail.
The label says the Liquid Performance Spray Cleaner & Polish is, well, both a cleaner and a polish. The manufacturer claims that it is "specially formulated to remove road grime, dirt, grease and bugs on contact."
My feeling is that the Liquid Performance marketing department may have gotten a bit over-enthusiastic, because I think they would have been better off selling it as a spray wax instead. I tried the Spray Cleaner & Polish on a variety of surfaces that were either dirty, dusty or buggy, but it seems to work best on surfaces that have already been cleaned but are in need of a coat of wax or polish. The product just doesn't seem to affect hardened bugs and dirt, but, I suppose, nothing much short of a good soap and water wash does either.
I found it works best if the product is either sprayed very lightly on clean, painted or chrome surfaces and immediately buffed out to a shine. The formula seems "waxy" and the directions say nothing about letting it dry. It leaves a thin waxy/polish film that takes more time than expected to buff out.
But if it's used on a clean painted surface or clean chrome, it does buff to a nice finish and, in fact, it left a deep shine on the various painted surfaces I treated and the colors seemed noticeably deeper or richer after treatment. So I'm not sure why Liquid Performance calls it both a "Cleaner" and a "Polish"; my experience with it tells me the "Polish" part is more accurate.
I also experimented a bit and found that the Spray Cleaner & Polish does a nice job of spiffing up the details if a little bit is sprayed directly on to a clean cotton cloth and then used to polish chrome, mirrors, visors or helmets with previously cleaned surfaces. I tried this method also on chrome mufflers, where it also brought out a nice, deep shine.
Liquid Performance Spray Cleaner & Polish also does a good job of polishing a helmet and a visor, except that it didn't clean any of the bugs from the visor, which confirms to me that it's best used on surfaces that are pre-cleaned.
By the way, we've found that the best method for cleaning visors is to hold the helmet near the sink and rub some clean, lukewarm water on the visor with your finger, which loosens up and removes the bugs quickly, cheaply and efficiently. We also keep a few cans of '50's-look Sprayway Glass Cleaner in the garage, which is perfect for removing bugs from visors, helmets and windscreens.
So what's the bottom line? Liquid Performance Spray Cleaner & Polish is a nice spray wax that makes a good polish, but it doesn't clean as well as some of the other "all in one" products we've tried, like ProtectAll or another shop favorite, Auto Glym.
This product looks, feels, smells and performs to something I know we've tried before. It is very similar to the obscure Blue Diamond metal polish we tried some time ago.
Liquid Performance Metal Polish has a heavy petroleum smell and the active ingredients quickly settle to the bottom, so the bottle must be frequently agitated to ensure the contents are mixed. The liquid is a very thin solution, which is probably due to the petroleum base.
The bottle comes with a plastic plug inserted in the neck plus the usual foil cover over the top of the bottle, underneath the flip cap. The solution is so thin and so "slippery" that once the bottle is opened, it must remain upright or the ultra-thin liquid will slowly leak out.
The directions call for rubbing the polish into the metal until the rag turns black, which only seems to happen with raw, uncoated metal, like an aluminum engine case. It seems to me that modern motorcycles don't have a lot of metal parts that are uncoated, and chrome can be cleaned with either a wax like the Liquid Performance Spray Cleaner & Polish or a dedicated chrome polish.
Where the Metal Polish really shines, if you'll pardon the pun, is on chrome plated mufflers and wheels. If the chrome plating is in good condition but covered in dirt or grime, the Metal Polish will have them looking like new, although not without some effort.
For example, the chrome rims on the GT1000 have become pretty grimy, and cleaning them is about #101 on my list of Top 100 chores. I shook up the bottle of Liquid Performance Metal Polish and went to work on the front rim (or, at least, a portion thereof!) and with a bit of elbow grease, it had the chrome looking better than new.
The question is whether or not another type of chrome cleaner or polish would do the job just as well or better or with more or less effort, but nevertheless, the Metal Polish delivers.
Just for kicks, I also tried it on the BMW's bare aluminum engine cases and it does seem to help clean them up also.
The Liquid Performance Street Bike Wash is a crystal-clear spray liquid, designed to clean a motorcycle with a minimum of hand washing. The directions instruct the user to first wet the bike with a mist of water before spraying on the Street Bike Wash from its pump bottle. A hose must be used to remove the Street Bike Wash -- and the dirt -- off the bike. The Street Bike Wash is supposed to be removed before it dries.
I tried the product on two motorcycles and a car, but without good results. The directions are explicit about not letting the product dry on the paint, which means that it must be almost immediately sprayed off with the hose. I gather it's supposed to have some type of surfactant to help the dirt slide off the paint.
But if I'm going to go through the bother of getting out the hose and spraying down the bike, it's just as easy to use soap and water to clean off the dirt. In any case, the Street Bike Wash just doesn't seem to live up to expectations.
The Liquid Performance Street Bike Cleaning & Detailing kit includes a basic variety of products to help keep a motorcycle looking good. The products are also available individually, but the kit is relatively inexpensive, especially compared to similar kits from S100 and others.
|wBW Review: Liquid Performance Street Bike Cleaning & Detailing Kit|
(Ours was provided by SMF Cycles)
|List Price (2007): $35.95|
|Kit Includes: Liquid Performance Spray Cleaner & Polish, Metal Polish and Street Bike Wash||Made In: U.S.A.|
|Review Date: June 2007|