When your ride takes a heat beating
Ways to repair damaged motorcycles after prolonged exposure to the sun
I will be the first to admit that I "take cover" whenever the mercury busts the 32 deg C mark.
Last Sunday's record 35.6 deg C saw me cowering in front of a fan, refusing to leave my home.
In recent weeks, the kind of heat we have been experiencing takes the fun out of riding as warm air is constantly blowing my way.
Our motorcycles, particularly those parked outdoors, can face irreparable harm when exposed to the sun for prolonged periods of time.
To find out what kind of damage, I left my four-year-old KTM 350 EXC-F out in the open for 40 days without using a bike cover.
Here are the results:
It lost its shine - I almost did not recognise my dirt bike. The deep orange sheen on the plastic parts has faded.
The oily layer of protective wax is gone and some decals have started to peel (above).
My rubber grips feel sticky. A rubber sensor cover near the radiator (above) has also become deformed after losing its lustre and flexibility.
The most worrying damage seems to be the translucent fuel tank where tiny fractures (below) have formed.
What were once clear - like the headlamp and turn signals - are now dull.
My rear-view mirror has also developed strange spots on it (below) while the lubrication on my motorcycle chain has lost its moistness.
I am certain this has been a costly experiment for me.
But some of your motorcycle's former glory can be restored, says Mr Ian Lim, distributor of the German-made S100 range of care products.
He recommends the spray-on S100 Colour Refresher, which costs around $27 for a 300ml bottle, to bring life back to black and grey components.
Mr Lim says: "The heat in Singapore is bad for any motorcycle.
"If you want to keep your motorcycle looking like it just left the showroom, you must keep it covered or at least parked under a shelter."
Applying protection like a paint and plastic polish at least once a week should be practised.
But when plastic components begin to crack, they need to be replaced, says Mr Lim.
If you are a stickler for detail, consider a visit to a professional like R69 Ultimate Detailing in Ang Mo Kio.
The company restores discoloured painted metal surfaces like fuel tanks and fenders.
Harmful ultraviolet rays degrade the clear coat on painted surfaces and turn them a little yellow, says Mr Joel Wong, managing director for R69 Ultimate Detailing.
He recommends a detailing package that uses ceramic coating, a semi-solid clear paste, to attain that brand new shine.
Of course, your motorcycle will first be washed and cleaned.
You will need to leave your motorcycle with them as the polishing job requires a curing time of between 24 and 48 hours.
Mr Wong says: "Protecting your motorcycle from the elements involves more than just using a bike cover.
"Even covering your motorcycle immediately after a ride can be harmful because the bike cover traps heat and humidity, which can affect your paintwork."
Prices start from $250 depending on the detailing package you choose.