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Premium Member
3,670 Posts
i treated the matt black (casings) on my bikes just like the rest of the bike. Flat painted tanks etc should be no different) Regular car wash soap, soft micro fiber rag. No rubbing or Brillo pads, whether its glossy paint or a matte finish, aggressive rubbing with a "hard" type cloth will flatten the finish.

35 Posts

where did you get your understanding from? and
how did they say you were supposed to treat the matte black?

9 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I think I read it on another forum. A couple people said they used pledge and some other said the Harley Davidson cleaner a polish for their denim bikes worked well. What have you been using?

35 Posts
Haven't washed it yet. Still has that new bike smell...(450 miles on it). Never rode in wet.

21 Posts
Care and Feeding of the Matte Cowboy

Hello machingu, I'm in the same position. I just bought a 2013 Vaquero with the matte/flat/sparkle...(whatever the heck Kawie is calling it) paint job. I love the look but am concerned about care. I haven't been able to find much online yet (maybe I'm not searching the right things) and was wondering what your wash routine has turned into.

Is there some kind of "wax" that can be used on it without losing the matte finish? The owner's manual is NO help and the dealer wasn't sure.


295 Posts
Hi everyone, I just bought a 2010 SE and I am not sure how to take care of the Matte black paint. Thanks for any help.
I would guess that the paint on the body would be taken care of the same way that you'd care for matte black pipes, which I have on my '09 900 Custom SE. I wipe them down with a damp rag and if I get a speck of asphalt on them then I use mineral spirits to get that off. They still look like new.

357 Posts
just use mild soap and lightly wash. don't rub in one spot and shouldn't have to worry about it. my bike's been rained on many times (ya, I'm allowed to forget to cover it) and it still has the matte look.

on another note where I keep the net attached is starting to lose the matte and get shiny due to the constant rubbing. bags are in teh works just need to get funds and make a decision.

7,620 Posts
It's just paint. There's nothing 'special' about the SE's paint. It's not a special matte coating, it's paint.

I'm sure certain products may add a sheen, and rubbing will flatten it; but a mild car wash and a soft sponge or cloth, followed by a good wax is all you need. Don't rub the wax hard, just lightly apply, wait a few minutes in the sun for it to 'dry' and turn white, then gently remove with a soft cloth. It'll keep the paint clean and protected.

I'm guessing- but it's probably just the regular black paint used on other Vulcans with a 'matte' clearcoat. Would explain frizzman's paint getting shinier from rubbing, as the clear is rubbed off first.

24 Posts
For what it's worth, here's my 3 cents (inflation).

The dealer gave me instructions that match my expierance with flat black in the past, so I tend to think whatI was told was correct.

1st, wash as was advised in an earlier post; soft cloth soap& water or use a canned type cleaner like the HD type.

Biggest thing is: don't use a wax prodct with ANY type of abrasive, like turtle wax, even if it says it's clearcoat safe. Where it doesn't leave shiny spots from the abrasives, it can leave a permanent haze, because the wax (like when you get the white edge in a chip) will tend to stay in a textured surface, which in fact is what a flat surface is.

Laquer paint on hotrods (now illegal most places because of emissions laws) lays on flat and has to be hand rubbed to really shine, which in effect you will do to your paint on the SE over time if your not carefull, and is in fact what a previous poster's net is already doing due to vibration and wind effect.

Also, Pledge has been used for a while on motorcycles (I used nothing but on my C109 and C50, and currently on my Can Am Spyder), I use the orange because, for some reason (ask me how I know) the lemon seems to attract bees!

Pedge is nothing more than wax in a non-finish attacking solvent base with no abrasives; do a google search for posts on Pledge use on motorcycles. One guy goes so far as to discuss it's chemical breakdown. I have not used it on my SE yet, but when I get home, the first time I clean it I will check on a hidden spot just to make sure it won't hurt the finish.

Sorry for getting long winded, now if the spelling and grammer nazis will leae me alone....

BOTM Winner, July 2016
52 Posts
I found this on a few different forums. What caught my eye was the part about not using it on matted finishes, which I believe the flat of the SE and my 2013 classic fall into. take with a gain of sault...it may just be internet mumbo-jumbo.

I am a scientist just not a rocket scientist. I deal with organic, inorganic chemistry and do research in chemical engineering.I also ride just about every day weather permitting,I like Jack Daniels, wet T shirt contests, biker bars and pee in the back yard too frequently according to the wife (have a tall fence).

No I DONT have a pocket protector or wear dark horn rimmed glasses. I'm so ugly that when dating, before I got married, the tide would not even take me out. My breath is so bad that when I exhale, my teeth duck! and my wife tells me that my package resembles a grub worm in a turtle neck. Hey atleast it still works!
I also teach and found that humor helps to retain attention.

Now that we have that straight..I hope this helps.

Lets start out with the actual ingredients found in a spray can of Pledge.

Please note that the base formula will be different being dispensed from a spray can or pressurized aerosol vessel due to the fact that a "propellant" is needed to transfer the product from the container to a surface, in this case lets say a fender or a windshield. A trigger plastic spray container would not require this propellant additive.

For the purpose of this discussion, I will list the information relative to Pledge in the aerosol spray can as it appears to be the most common used by others on this forum.
The base ingredients are:
1.Naphtha, petroleum, light alkylate 5%-10% or (isoparaffinic hydrocarbon solvent)
2.Polydimethylsiloxanes (Silicon oil) 5%-10%
3.Water 70%-85%
4.Butane1% -5%
5.Isobutane1% - 5%
6.Propane1% - 5%
Now we can breakdown what these are and what they do.

The first ingredient is:

1-Naphta,petroleum,light alkylate.
This is a hydrocarbon solvent-based dispersant formulation which combines oil penetrability. In other words remember the label says "smear and smudge proof"? These are the ingredients that will break down and remove the smears, finger or dermal tissue oils. Criminals take note.. use this to eliminate finger prints. Just dont be a dumb azz and leave the can behind!!

Now, what is a hydrocarbon?
A general term for organic compounds which contain only carbon and hydrogen. They are divided into saturated and unsaturated hydrocarbons, aliphatic (alkane or fatty) and aromatic (benzene) hydrocarbons. Crude
oil is essentially a complex mixture of hydrocarbons.

To break it down even further, I will now define an organic compound.

An organic compound is any member of a large class of chemical
compounds whose molecules contain carbon.
What is carbon you asked? I knew ya would!!

Carbon is a chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6. As a member of group 14 on the periodic table, it is nonmetallic and tetravalent (a state of an atom with four electrons making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds.)

A chemical element is a type of atom that is distinguished by its atomic number; that is, by the number of protons in its nucleus. The term is also used to refer to a pure chemical substance composed.

What does this all mean?? It is a pure chemical substance.
Why is it in there? Remember the finger print? It is a solvent that removes oily residues. This is the cleaning agent in the product.
Look at the can.."It dusts and cleans". this is what makes it clean/remove dirt,grease,oil,grime.

Dont try it on bodily fluids!! Get a bucket and warm water mixed with a 50:50 bleach solution. Ooops sorry, got a little carried away there. I mean...I have never had to do that detective sir. Hey I live in Florida and we shoot first then ask or answer questions later.

That was the more lenghty one. The remainder are relatively simple. If you are still reading at this point, thanks for bearing with me.Go grab another beer! I will summarize at the end and compare to other products on the market in terms of ingredients, costs and results.

The second noted ingredient is:

2-Polydimethylsiloxanes or Silicon oil 5%-10%.
This is silicone based oil. The molecular structure of this is such that friction is significantly reduced. This nifty additional ingredient is also the reason why the ..refer to label again.. NO WAX BUILD-UP!! Silicone will blend with it'self and not mix or layer with other chemicals.
It does however have the ability to **** bike painters off due to the fact that it needs to be completely removed proir to coating with paint. If not...start all over again. It makes surfaces slick so that nothing sticks. It also provides the shine to the surface.
This chemical is also present in 95% of products us bikers use on our scoots such as Armor All, Meguires Wax and STP Son of a Gun just to mentiion a few so if you are worried about using Pledge in the past on your bike, you may alraedy have and just did not know it.
This silicone oil is also an ingredient in Right Guard deodorant, baby powder,Desitin, Gillette Dry and several moisturizers and creams. This is why Pledge does not contain wax, they use this instead.
Makes me want to try it with the goa....wife!
To the guy that posted about the fella steping on his fender and sliding off...about to 5 drops of this in a drink will cause lets just say possible incontenence" which will then require the need for additional Desitin with the same ingredient to help that diaper rash from the copiuos ammounts of passing solids!!! Great stuff ain it?

The third ingredient:

3-Water. This acts as a dilutor. Kind of like "filler" in cheap dog food but in liquid form.
Cant use the product undiluted.

The remaining butane, isobutane and propane are the propellants that assist in expelling or propelling the liquid product from the can. Sorta like lighting a fart. The methane is the fart building under pressure and the propane, butane provides the ignition source. Both pledge and a good fart will produce a romantic blue and orange flame. Or so I have heard, maybe seen...OK OK I have done it! Kinda like putting your tounge on a 9v battery. You know you are gonna do it eventually when no one is looking. Try chewing aluminum foil!! Nah...dont do that either.

Other ingredients asuch as aromatic compound like orange, lemon or any other organic scent additive can also be incorporated.
If you are still with me on this one, you are either killing time, Fu&^*% off at work or the porn filter is working real good on your computer. If neither one... thanks for sticking around.

Now with this little snippet of knowledge, how does one apply it to everyday living.
If Martha Stewart says that a prison panty liner work just as well as a microfibre cloth stop reading. If not..please bear with me for I am almost done.
Several products out there are costly for several reasons. 1 because of proprietary ingredients/raw materials, 2 advertising costs, supply and demand and product to market costs. What will the market bear? I have always compared ingredient when shopping. Silicone oil is silicone oil, Pepto Bismal, for the guy trying to stand on the fender coated with silicone oil is pink Bismuth...same thing!
Pink bismuth is MUCH cheaper.

I heard of a product called Plexus. A great cleaner and conditioner for Lexan. At $15.95 for a 13oz can versus an 18oz $4.99? can of Pledge? I have not bought or used Pledge and do not know the actual cost I am sure it is not even close to this other product.

In summary:
•Will not damage finish
•Will provide a nice shine
•Will not build up or layer
•Safe on windshield. No alcohol or amonia
•Safe on chrome
•Also has some (although not real good) anti corrosion properties. I use Boeshield T-9 for this application.

One precaution!! Flammable! Do not use around open flames or on hot pipes or other hot components. Do not get on or use on denim ar matted finishes!!

I would also highly recommend that a wet or water wash, or a soft wetted cloth, (I use warm clothes because the heat helps soften bug guts better than cold) be done or used first to remove surface debris and particulate from the soon to be applied to surface, fenders, gas tanks,side panels. This will reduce potential scratching of your paint.

Well, I hoped this helps. Like I said, I have never used "Pledge". But I have applied the same ingredients in Pledge (just under a different name...Maguires Wax) on my bikes not knowing it, and they have all looked great!

No get off the computer and spray your bike with Pledge!, or go riding...
bold, underlined, red text section put there by me for emphisis

BOTM Winner, July 2016
52 Posts
sorry for the double post but i wanted to not post a wall of text.

I also found this on how to properly use pledge if you can.


How to use regular Pledge Multi-Surface Cleaner on Your Motorcycle

...and save a fortune on overpriced products that do NOT work as well!


•Over 90% of the time you won't have to "wash" your bike. Just use the Pledge Multi-Surface Cleaner (regular).
•IF your bike is covered in mud or other crap, of course hose it down or whatever first so there's not going to be anything on the surface that will stratch your finishes when you start cleaning with the Pledge Multi-Surface Cleaner. (Watch your electricals and NEVER run a powered hose into the axles of the front wheel...trust me on this.)
•IF you have a LOT of bugs on the windshield soak a towel with hot water and let this rest on the shield for a few minutes first while you get your stuff together. Otherwise...
All you have to do is get TWO (2) micro-fiber cloths and the little blue can of Multi-Surface Pledge (regular unscented is perfect, but NEVER get the Lemon - it attracts bees, wasps and YELLOW JACKETS like you wouldn't believe!):
1.Spray the surface you want to start with the Multi-Surface Pledge (little blue can - no LEMON).
2.Take one cloth (A) and clean it off.
3.Then take a new/clean different cloth (B) and use it to wipe off the pledge and polish.
4.Do NOT mix up the cloths. (the second cloth should always be clean and dry)
5.Save the second cloth (B) to use as your first cloth (A) the next time you clean again.
6.Wash the first cloth (A) so it will become your new/clean cloth (B) the next time around.
I do my bike in small sections. It makes it go faster for me. Something to drink, old 70's tunes and a good cigar seem to help as well.

Do each section first by spraying, wiping down with cloth A and then going over that section again with dry cloth B:

•windshield (only use an up and down or a left and right stroke - never both and never swirl)
•front lights, fender and forks (I almost never do my wheels - I ride too much to worry about them - but that's just me.)
•grill, highway bars, horns, pegs and mirrors
•tank area and handlebars
•engine area on the right
•engine area on the left (need a stool if you're over 55, hurt or just too fat - I've been all three - or put on lift in the first place)
•pipes, side covers and shocks
•bags (if you have them)
•rear fender, light, plates, rack and sissy bar
Now, just throw both cloths in the bags, fire up the bike and take a ride!


•If I'm really taking my time and enjoying the music, it takes me about 40 minutes.
•Try not to do this in the wind or direct sunlight. The pledge can dry too quickly and it will be a tad harder to buff and get the SHINE. This is usually when first time users will whine about streaking. Most of us have never seen streaking...not even once.
•IF you have to work in wind or sunshine, then just do smaller sections.
THERE ya go! ...that's all there is to it!

You can carry the can and cloths with you and spot clean if need be while on rides, missions or bopping from vendor area to area at rallies and stay looking really spiffy with no effort at all! Of course it's great on the road with other X's on a group ride, too!

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