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Long term update: Mud-slinging exercise

Published: 13 November 2015

Updated: 12 November 2015

“Nobody enjoys riding in the wet or cold.” It’s a statement you’ll hear often, but not from me. The negative for me isn’t the effect winter can have on flesh and bone, but the effect it has on metal and plastic.

Metal dulls and corrodes, plastics pick up mycelia-like scratches and hard-to-reach areas clog with filth. But with a good set of brushes, liberal doses of sDoc100 cleaning gel, and a rigid acceptance that you need to spend an hour a week using both – you can use your bike all year.

The RR is due to return to BMW, so won’t be carrying me through the worst of winter, but I’ve had a go at simulating some of the abuse. A full month of autumnal crud is about the same as a week of deepest winter, so the RR has been intentionally neglected, left to fling muck over itself like a naughty monkey at the zoo, and wallow in its own mess.

I’m impressed with how it’s coped, too. My rural commute is akin to doing a trackday on a compost heap at this time of year, but RR has shrugged off far more filth than it’s hung on to.

Where it does suffer is the radiator, exhaust, the wheels (which are dirt-magnets), and the undertray. Three out of four being the result of the very short mudguard and hugger – lengthen both, and the only significantly filthy part would be the wheels.

And after an hour of cleaning, it looks close to new. The first failures are usually nuts, bolts and fixings – the areas where many firms save money – but all are mint. In fact the whole bike, with the exception of the radiator, looks faultless, while a set of R&G rad guards would be a wise investment.

With the fairings stripped the story was no different beneath. You often find dirt traps and furry engine parts that would normally escape cleaning attention – but nothing. After 7000 miles of all-weather riding, the RR is pretty much box-fresh. 

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