I am planning to visit Bonneville Salt Flats in a few weeks, and wanted to take my bike out for a spin there. Not breaking any speed records, you see, just for fun, and the sense of history, so to speak. However, my primary concern is the heavy salt deposits that can accumulate there (photo credit):

One aspect of it is the abrasion of salt crystals, and if it’s something to worry about at all, say, comparing to regular sand.

More importantly, I am worried about corrosion, and cleaning. I’ve heard that people clean vehicles right after the run, but how important to do it right away at the spot? Can I just run to nearby town and hose it down? Is there any specific cleaning routine with specific treatments, or just a regular thorough wash would do? Is there any pre-treatment such as waxing etc. to further protect the surfaces? Should I be worried about the instant reaction of salt and water to produce some sort of acidic solution given the amount of salt?

1 Answer 1


I would have thought it'd be fine to run to a nearby town to clean it - although if everyone is doing so, there might be a dedicated cleaning area set-up anyway? (assuming you're at an official meet)

The reaction of salt and water will basically give you sea water - which is slightly alkaline. The problem is that the salt increases the conductivity of the water and thus causes the oxidation process to occur quicker. Any treatment which covers the surface of the steel will help - make sure the paintwork is in good condition with no chips. Waxing should help too, for the same reason - you also might want to spray some kind of rust-preventative inside the frame too, if it's accessible? (waxoyl/dinitrol or similar)

I'd avoid using any chemical cleaners which might react with the salt though - just use water, or a properly formulated car cleaner. Re-wax it again after cleaning too..

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    don't forget the chain. I would clean and relube it with a dry lube. Any oily resudue left on the chain will cause more salt to stick to the chain.
    – mikes
    Mar 12, 2013 at 10:59

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