Roughly four years ago, Trevor Bridgwood’s motorcycle broke down outside of Newark in Nottinghamshire. Following a few hours of messing about, he finally got his motorcycle recovered to his home near Lincoln and over the next few days set to finding out what was wrong. Everything pointed to a failed fuel pump; the actual cause was a corroded wire.
It seems the manufacturer had located some of the wiring on the motorcycle in a place where water could flick off the rear wheel, and spray onto the electrics. Over time this led to corroded connections and the eventual breakdown.
Having found and repaired the damage, but in need of a cure to stop it happening again, Trevor came across ACF-50, a fluid developed for the aviation industry that displaces water (including salt water) and forms an invisible protective film over metal surfaces to prevent corrosion.
According to the technical specification, ACF-50 remains fluid and would continue to work its way into every nook and cranny, including electrical connectors, displacing water as it does so and protecting against corrosion. It doesn’t last forever, repeat treatments of ACF-50 are typically once a year.
All of which is superb stuff, but Trevor rides a motorcycle and isn’t in the aviation industry.
While deliberating if ACF-50 would be the answer to his problem, Trevor came across All Year Biker, a company set up by Roy Cross, who had developed a method for applying ACF-50 to a motorcycle.
Roy had realised that the commonly available cleaning products were either not cleaning deeply enough for an application of ACF-50 to deliver maximum protection, or were so aggressive that they would damage some of the surfaces you find on a motorcycle.
Being unable to find cleaning products made to the right formula, Roy took his requirements to a cleaning solution manufacturer who, after some head scratching and testing, produced what are now the standard All Year Biker cleaning products.
Add all of these events together, and you now know how Trevor ended up with the Lincolnshire franchise for All Year Biker, which in turn explains why Trevor was preparing my Tiger for its ACF-50 “bath” on a sunny, but chilly, December morning.
“You can dissolve pretty much anything” explained Trevor while treating my Tiger, “and whereas using one of the high PH value cleaners you can buy, will get your bike clean, you need to make sure you thoroughly rinse the bike, before applying ACF-50. Worse still, if you continue to use aggressive cleaners after you have applied ACF-50 to your bike, you will strip the ACF-50 away, defeating the whole purpose.”
The process that All Year Biker created removes the layers of dirt, grease, and road grime using low PH cleaners, that also rinse away easily. Sounds simple when I say it, but actually it is all rather clever.
As Trevor pointed out while we chatted, “There is nothing magical about the process, and there isn’t a secret ingredient. Rather, it is a proven method, developed by someone who understands the technicalities of the products we use.”
A typical All Year Biker clean, and subsequent ACF-50 treatment, will take between 4 and 5 hours and is a painstaking process. By the time Trevor had completed the pre-wash, degreased and then cleaned the bike with a high foam shampoo, it was sparkling, but just getting to this point had taken 3 hours.
Even when my Tiger was sparkling clean, it still wasn’t time to apply the ACF-50 as the treatment works best if the motorcycle is dry, and this wasn’t going to happen naturally on a cold December day.
“Regardless of the time of year, we blow dry the motorcycles” explained Trevor, “to make sure that the ACF-50 can get to the parts it is there to protect. You could apply it to a wet bike; ACF-50 would eventually displace the water, but why make it difficult?”
Finally after all the preparation work and having covered the brake discs and the tyres, the ACF-50 is applied to the Tiger, using a pressurised gun, not too dissimilar to a painters spray gun. Once completed my Tiger was hand polished, and ACF-50 was applied by hand to the disk callipers and wheels.
Needing the patience and the eye for detail to get the motorcycle clean, without using aggressive cleaners is part of the reason All Year Biker insists on training the franchise holders directly. It might seem to be bordering on OCD to take three days to teach someone to clean a bike, but this is the way in which Roy Cross ensures that the results are consistent and truly outstanding. And outstanding is the right word. I thought my Tiger was clean when I bought it, after four hours with Trevor … as I say, outstanding, is the right word.
To celebrate all of Trevor’s hard work, I then rode the Tiger the 30 miles to home on damp & dirty winter roads, passing a couple of gritting lorries just for good measure.
If you want to avoid demonstrating such a lack of respect for the hours of work Trevor and the other franchise holders put in, they can come to you if you prefer. All of the details and booking arrangements are available on the All Year Biker website.
The good news for me, though, is that when ACF-50 has been correctly applied, the motorcycle only requires hosing down or perhaps a quick wash, with the right shampoo, to remove the dirt and salt.
And finally, we have to address the vulgar subject of money. Four hours of a man’s time and skill, materials, and equipment. Two cups of tea, some engaging conversation, all resulting in a showroom clean motorcycle. How much? £300 or £400 perhaps. No, £70. Yes, seventy. OK to be absolutely correct, £80.99 after I added in a bottle of All Year Biker’s shampoo.
Small price to pay for the service and the protection. Oh, and I had best explain, for some reason the Tiger is called Susan – go figure.