The Dawn of things

[January 8, 2007]

It's 9:45pm on a Monday and I'm elated because most of it came out.  I have a normal suit again, almost, but I'm getting a bit ahead of myself here.  Let me start from the beginning and you'll see why I'm so happy that things are working out the way it is.

Rewind the calender back to November 2006.  I finally got the go ahead from my wife that I can bite the big bullet and purchase myself a BMW Rallye 2 Pro suit.  I currently have the gray Rallye 2 suit and love it.  The pants have been worn countless times on all motorcycle activities I have ever been on.  Everything from riding to work, riding in the rain to work, riding to far out places (e.g. Death Valley and Yosemite are some examples).  Suffice to say the pants are a little beat up.  I even have grease stains from cooking for the crew when we went on the last Central Coast trips.  As a whole the Rallye 2 suit still has a lot of life to it.  So buying the Rally 2 Pro suit is more of a ... "I WANNA!"  Having a grungy pair of pants is a good a reason as any to get the new suit, right?  What can I say it's a combination of wanting something new, wanting a backup suit, etc.  I can probably fill entire paragraphs full of excuses.  Anyway, a long story short, three weeks later it arrives in the mail along with the LED turn signal lights for the R12GS.  Did I notice the lights when the entire thing came in?  Nope!  Hardly remembered it.  40R, that's me.  It fits like a glove.  The new 40R pants is a little longer than the previous suit, but that's not a problem.  I was happy as a clam and jumping for joy.

Fast forward to January 2007.  My friend Kevin is getting back into motorcycling and decided to purchase a used '06 F650GS Dakar.  I myself have been thinking about getting a GS Dakar as a second bike but wanted to wait until I finish paying off the R12GS before attempting such a feat.  Anyway, since Kevin is just getting back into the swing of things, he doesn't have a helmet yet but he found an excellent deal on a '06 GS Dakar from a gal in San Diego.  We both took off Sunday morning and headed down to her place for a check out, and purchase.  The plan is for me to ride the GS Dakar back to Kevin's house while he follows in his supercharged Mini.  When we arrived at the gal's place we see the GS Dakar.  As expected, it's seen dirt.  We talk a bit and I take it out for a test ride.  The bike rides great.  Kevin did the paper work and we both headed home.  About 2+ hours later I arrive at Kevin's place and park the bike.  There were some road construction on the I5 so Kevin and I got separated as I split to avoid the monstrosity of a traffic jam.  Cal-Trans had decided to change a street sign that day so they closed the North bound I5 for a short duration of time.  Anyway, when I got close to Kevin's place I can't help but notice that my left foot kept on loosing traction when I put the foot down.  That's odd, the road doesn't look very slick.  I pull into Kevin's drive way, scooted the bike around, and parked it.  As I lean the bike over onto it's kickstand, I noticed oil dripping onto the ground.  That's not good.  I looked at the oil cap and noticed oil had been spewing out of the cap running down the left side of the bike (definitely not good).  Next I look at myself and noticed that the bike had done a good job of pissing on me.  My first thought, "Dam it!  This is a 2 month old suit."  I was very perturbed.  I checked the oil cap and yes, it wasn't on all the way.  I've heard it happen to another biker with a 650GS but never thought I would experience it for myself.  What's worse is I'm doing a number on my suit and it's on someone else's bike.  I wasn't happy.  Nonetheless, I waited until Kevin got back to collect my things and headed home to cleanup.

My first attempt was to use Formula 409 since it's a degreaser.  Talk about a miserable attempt.  Next I tried Oxy Clean.  The infomercial claimed it can get all kinds of stains out.  Yeah right!  I think all it really does it turn the water white.  I even tried Lever 2000 soap.  It didn't do jack.  By the time I've gone through these iterations, I pretty much gave up and got tired of trying.  I basically came to the conclusion this is how the cookie crumbles and pretty much ended it with that.  The next day I went to work with the suit oil marks and all.  The left side of the suit saw the most action.  In particular, the leather patch at the knee was extremely oil soaked.  It had so much 15W-30 that it was slicker than snot on a door knob.  Still, my mind was on the thought that it's hopeless.  As I rode home, it dawned on me to try using Dawn the dishwashing soap to try and get rid of the oil.  Dawn is known to washing away and dissolving oil and grease.  What the heck, worst case is it doesn't do anything.  It can't hurt to try.

I got home, walked over to a local grocery market and picked up a bottle of Dawn Ultra concentrated.  $2.50 later I was walking home with one last attempt to clean my suit.

I would have been able to live with the suit the way it is but it doesn't hurt to try one last time before the oil stains sets in.  I did do something different this day.  I have been soaking the effected areas of the suit in plain water for a while to make sure the suit is absolutely saturated with water.  I then grabbed the bottle of Dawn and a tooth brush and started scrubbing like I was sawing my way out of Alcatraz.  To my extreme surprise, there is a definite lack of oil on my suit.  What's even more surprising, even the oil soaked leather part of the suit is letting go of its 15W-30 reservoir.  My god it's full of bubbles.  I have since performed a couple rinse cycles and noticed a big difference in the suit.  Spots where I've spent the time to scrub and rub show signs of recovery.  However, I'm not entirely out of the woods yet.  The coat itself still has a lot of oil stains.  The pants still has blemishes here and there.  As a last of the last attempt, I soak the effected areas of the suit in a bucket full of dawn.  Leaving the suit soaked over night, with a one time agitation, might do the trick, according to what I've seen so far.  If not, at least it's in much better shape now than it was before.

[January 9, 2007]

The first thing I did this morning was to remove the suit from the Dawn bucket.  I think the 6 hour soak must have done something because the bucket full of dawn is not as transparent as it was last night before the soaking began.  The liquid is definitely darker looking.  A quick examination of the suit, beyond the field of bubbles, yielded some promising results.  I rinsed as much of the suit off as I possibly can before introducing the suit to the washing machine rinse cycle.  By the time the machine is done with the suit, I'm also ready to head off to work.  Yes, the Ralley 2 suit came back out of the closet and serves as an excellent backup suit.

5:30pm and I'm racing home from work to find out the results of the Ralley 2 Pro suit.  I had taken the suit out of the washing machine and left it in my office to air dry before going to work.  The light comes on in my office and and sure enough, 90% of the oil stains are gone from the fabric part of the suit (Cordura 500).  Yes!!!  The leather knee patch had more spots than I had expected but it's nothing compared to what was seen originally.  I can definitely live with this.

What's the moral of the story?  Easy, wash your Cordura motorcycle suit with Dawn Ultra concentrated dishwashing liquid.  It's mild enough that it doesn't effect the ballistic nylon but at the same time it's strong enough to break away all of the grease.  So if you ever get stuck with a bunch of oil or grease on your suit, Dawn it!  From what I can gather, if I were to soak the suit even longer, I would have gotten more oil out.  Why didn't I do it?  I'm lazy and I'm willing to live with what I have now, which isn't bad at all.

So there you have it.  A perfectly non conventional way to clean you greasy motorcycle suit.  I don't wish this on anybody but if you're ever stuck in the same neighborhood, at least you have this tip to guide you out of the woods.  Good luck to you on your suit cleaning expedition.

Written on: January 8, 2007
Last modified: January 9, 2007