I really like this forum and if I could, I would like to add a thread about washing/waxing a motorcycle.
1. The engine has to be cool.
2. Use a bucket of clean water to rinse (I like to use a sheep skin mitt) but whatever you use, rinse it in the bucket to keep grime away from your finish.
3. Use a quality "car" wash soap. Don't use dish washing soap, it will tear down any wax along with totally drying out the natural oils in your finish.
4. Use cool water to rinse the motorcycle off. Do this twice, once to loosen up the dirt, the second time rinses some of the dirt away from the finish.
5. Start with the top, working your way to the bottom. I like to use a brush to clean tires/wheels and brake calipers before I start with the mitt.
6. I rinse the motorcycle down at least three times while washing to keep the soap from drying.
7. Everyone hates drying it off because of all the little spots/crevices that hold water that drip over a dry surface. I use a "Shop Vac" to blow water out of those spots/crevices. This works really good! Start on top working your way down to the tires/wheels.
8. While drying with the "Shop Vac" I use a small towel to wipe away small amounts of water that won't blow away. You will find that the "Shop Vac" blower air is enough to run water out of areas you want dry. If you don't have one, you could use compressed air. I have tried both and prefer the "Shop Vac" for its consistent air flow.
9. Everyone has their favorite wax, I like McGuires brand. They have products that clean, polish, wax and protect. Use a commercial pad to apply the wax using the directions on the product. Wipe wax away once it hazes over. Spray a fine mist of water on the waxed part, wipe that away drying off the area completely. Apply a second coat of wax. After you wipe it off bring the motorcycle out into the sun, let it sit for about 1 hour to harden the wax. These extra steps will give you a brilliant shine.
10. Put all your riding gear on; helmet, long pants, jacket, gloves...Start it up, take it out...apply all brakes slowly to dry them off. Remember, they will not give you full brake power until they are dry. The tires should also be given time to dry naturally. Their will be plenty of time to go fast once the motorcycle is dry and all systems have been verified that they work after washing/waxing.
I hope that this is helpful. -Ed