Harley-Davidson Sportster XL1200X Forty-Eight - Owner's Manual > Drying the Motorcycle

Care and Cleaning / Drying the Motorcycle

1. Dry the surfaces from the top down using a SYNTHETIC DRYING CHAMOIS or a HOG BLASTER MOTORCYCLE DRYER. Avoid using any type of forced air on speakers or other sensitive components.

2. Dampen chamois in clean water and wring out the excess. The chamois is more absorbent when wet.

3. Wipe across the vehicle surface.

4. Repeat as necessary until surface is dry.

Polishing and Sealing

NOTE: If motorcycle has denim finish, skip the Polishing and Sealing procedure.

1. Apply GLAZE POLY SEALANT with a DISPOSABLE DETAILING SOFT CLOTH or MICROFIBER DETAILING CLOTH, following the instructions on the package.


3. Polish and seal the wheels to prevent corrosion.

Denim Finish Care

Some motorcycles have a denim (flat or matte) finish. The denim finish has qualities which differ from high gloss finishes on all other Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Like denim fabric, denim paint burnishes or mars with age and use that adds character and personality to the finish. Refer to Recommended Cleaning and Care Products for recommended products.

  • If scratched, the color coat of paint does nick/scuff and these marks cannot be rubbed out.
  • If polished, the finish will become less matte and more glossy over time.

How to Clean

For light deposits: Use DENIM PAINT CLEANER and a MICROFIBER DETAILING CLOTH. This treatment helps remove finger prints and light soil.

For heavier deposits: Use either SUNWASH BIKE SOAP and a clean WASH MITT or QUICK WASH. Rinse thoroughly with clean water.

Leather and Vinyl Care

Do not use bleach or detergents containing bleach on saddlebags, seats, tank panels or painted surfaces. Doing so can result in equipment damage.

Do not use ordinary soap to clean leather or fur. It could dry or remove the oils from the leather.

Leather, vinyl and other synthetic surfaces must be periodically cleaned and treated to maintain its appearance and extend its life. Clean and treat these surfaces once a season or more frequently under adverse conditions.

These surfaces are not designed for long-term exposure to inclement weather. Protect these surfaces with an HARLEY-DAVIDSON SEAT RAIN COVER or MOTORCYCLE STORAGE COVER (sold separately).

1. Vacuum or blow dust off surface.

2. Thoroughly clean surfaces with SEAT, SADDLEBAG & TRIM CLEANER, following directions on the bottle.

3. Allow the material to dry naturally and completely at room temperature before applying other products to the material. Do not use artificial means to dry the material quickly.

4. For leather only, rejuvenate faded black surfaces with BLACK LEATHER REJUVENATOR. Apply LEATHER PROTECTANT to weatherproof and preserve the leather.

NOTE: Many Harley-Davidson accessories and seats are made of either treated or untreated leather or have leather inserts. Natural materials age differently and require different care than man-made materials. Seat covers and panels made of leather gain "character", such as wrinkles, with age. Leather is porous and organic and each leather product settles into its own distinct form with use. Your leather product matures into its own custom shape and style from the sun, rain and time. This maturing is natural and enhances the custom quality of your Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

Wheel Care

Wheels can corrode or be cosmetically damaged if they are not properly cleaned, polished and preserved. Cleaning and sealing wheels with the proper treatment guards against pitting, corrosion, spots and stains. Harley-Davidson recommends that wheels be cared for weekly. Corrosion to wheels is not considered a defect in materials or workmanship.

NOTE: Bare aluminum wheels do not have a protective coating and corrode unless properly treated. Apply BARE ALUMINUM WHEEL PROTECTANT when purchasing the motorcycle and at least twice per year to prevent cosmetic damage.

Keep wheels clean from harsh chemicals, acid-based wheel cleaners, salt and accumulated brake dust. After washing wheels with WHEEL & TIRE CLEANER, use the polish and sealing products according to the type of wheels. Refer to Wheel Polish and Sealing Products.

Wheel Polish and Sealing Products

Wheel Polish and Sealing Products

Windshield Care

Polycarbonate windscreens/windshields require proper attention and care to maintain. Failure to maintain polycarbonate properly can result in damage to the windscreen/windshield.

Use only Harley-Davidson recommended products on Harley-Davidson windshields. Do not use harsh chemicals or rain sheeting products, which can cause windshield surface damage, such as dulling or hazing.

  • Powdered, abrasive or alkaline cleanser can damage windscreen/windshields. Ammonia-based window cleaners cause permanent yellow effects to windshields.
  • Do not use gas station windshield cleaner as finish can be damaged.
  • Do not use a brush or squeegee as finish can be damaged.
  • Do not clean in hot sun or high temperature.

Windshields require special care. However, windshields can be washed with WINDSHIELD CLEANER INDIVIDUAL WIPES, SUNWASH BIKE SOAP or QUICK WASH when washing the entire motorcycle. Refer to Recommended Cleaning and Care Products.


  • To treat windshields with water repellent use WINDSHIELD WATER REPELLENT.
  • Use BUG REMOVER to soft bug splatters. Wipe clean with a BUG EATER SPONGE.
  • Covering windshields with a clean, wet cloth for approximately 15-20 minutes before washing makes dried bug removal easier.

1. Use WINDSHIELD CLEANER to detail windshields.

2. Wipe dry with a clean MICROFIBER DETAILING CLOTH.

NOTE: To minimize swirl marks, clean windshield when the motorcycle is cool and parked in the shade. Faint swirl marks are normal. Swirl marks are more visible on tinted windshields.

Hard Candy Custom Paint

Hard Candy Custom paint features a unique coating which may include flakes of varied color and size. The surface may have an uneven texture, resulting from multiple layers of clear coat being applied over heavy concentrations of metallic flake. Each part has its own distinct and custom appearance. These are normal characteristics of the custom paint process, and do not reflect warrantable conditions.

    See also:

     Harley-Davidson Sportster XL1200X Forty-Eight - Owner's Manual > Cleaning and General Care

    Clean and protect the cosmetic surfaces on your motorcycle as often as possible to inhibit rust and corrosion. After the motorcycle is cleaned, polish and seal the motorcycle to create a barrier of protection against the weather and harsh substances.

     Harley-Davidson Sportster XL1200X Forty-Eight - Owner's Manual > Troubleshooting

    Troubleshooting: General The troubleshooting section of the Owner's Manual is a guide to diagnose problems. Read the service manual before performing any work. Improper repair and/or maintenance could result in death or serious injury.