Using a pressure washer to clean your bike.

webboo
webboo Posts: 6,087
edited November 2023 in Workshop
Currently the roads where I ride are covered in mud and at times I can barely get the wheels to go round. As we have a pressure washer I was wondering if anyone used one as a quick way to clean your bike.
I know about the potential for getting water in the bearings but watching cyclocross races they use them to clean the bikes mid race. As they are doing this in a rush I wonder how careful they need to be. Yes they probably replace all parts post race but a BB full of water is going not going to help win a race.
Thoughts please.

Comments

  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 26,569
    Small sample of one but I, and my bearings, regretted it.
    I now only use the hose in "mist" setting to initial wet, then to wash soap off.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • pangolin
    pangolin Posts: 6,549
    Does normal hose pressure not get the job done?
    - Genesis Croix de Fer
    - Dolan Tuono
  • First.Aspect
    First.Aspect Posts: 16,053
    It is quite a good way to get shit off your chain and jockey wheels and wotnot, but you have to be extremely careful with component finishes as well as bearings.
  • webboo
    webboo Posts: 6,087
    pangolin said:

    Does normal hose pressure not get the job done?

    No. The usually way is spend a fair amount of time using a brush and some cleaning agent to get most of the crap off then hose it down. Which doesn’t get the drive train clean. That usually stronger cleaning stuff and a lot more brushing.
    This the quick clean the longer version is the above and a bucket of hot soapy water as well.
  • pangolin
    pangolin Posts: 6,549
    webboo said:

    pangolin said:

    Does normal hose pressure not get the job done?

    No. The usually way is spend a fair amount of time using a brush and some cleaning agent to get most of the censored off then hose it down. Which doesn’t get the drive train clean. That usually stronger cleaning stuff and a lot more brushing.
    This the quick clean the longer version is the above and a bucket of hot soapy water as well.
    Usually spray mine with the hose then some mucoff and leave it for a few minutes. Then sponge/hose again. Maybe you get worse mud around there!
    - Genesis Croix de Fer
    - Dolan Tuono
  • I have a worx battery for regular and portal use and a Bosch plugin for really bad days. I raced cyclo-cross pre-pandemic but not seriously to have a pot/2 bikes. I regularly clean my off-road bike with one, and have for years, without much increase in maintenance.
  • webboo
    webboo Posts: 6,087
    pangolin said:

    webboo said:

    pangolin said:

    Does normal hose pressure not get the job done?

    No. The usually way is spend a fair amount of time using a brush and some cleaning agent to get most of the censored off then hose it down. Which doesn’t get the drive train clean. That usually stronger cleaning stuff and a lot more brushing.
    This the quick clean the longer version is the above and a bucket of hot soapy water as well.
    Usually spray mine with the hose then some mucoff and leave it for a few minutes. Then sponge/hose again. Maybe you get worse mud around there!
    The mud usually comes off with the hose. It’s the black grunge I was hoping to blast off.
  • Gcn made a video a few years ago that showed unless you hold the nozzle very close to your bearings for an extraordinary length of time (IE minutes) then there is no water ingress
  • With regards getting all the black gunk off the drivetrain, I find morgan blue chain cleaner and a fine tip paint brush removes 95% of it (the brush is key, cycling specific chain brushes are rubbish, you need a proper tip to 'paint' the degreaser all over). Then just run the chain through a soapy sponge and hose down to get the last bits off. No need for a pressure washer and this method gets everything spotless for me.
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 74,796
    FWIW, pro team mechanics use pressure washers all the time, but then they a) disassemble the bike every time, and b) have enough time, patience and kit to replace bearings as soon as they go, a luxury I presume none of us have.

    If it's just on the frame I can't really see a problem; just don't point it at any bits that move.
  • There is a GCN vid where a pro team mechanic is pressure washing wheels. When they ask if he is worried about ruining bearings, his response is no because the rider will break the wheels before he has to worry about bearing being replaced :D
  • Just don't use the high pressure mode pointed directly at your hubs and BB and you'll be fine.

    For drive train cleaning this stuff is incredible. £27 at Sigma right now and a bottle will last dozens of cleans. I've done my time cleaning drivetrains the all the old-school ways but life's too short. This stuff is a winner...even if it smells of eggs.

    https://road.cc/content/review/silca-ultimate-brake-and-drivetrain-cleaner-299031
  • super_davo
    super_davo Posts: 1,195
    I don't see the need for a pressure washer. There is the risk you'll damage something if you're not careful about where you're pointing it, and it doesn't shift black grease as well as Screwfix No Nonsense degreaser either. (about £10 for a 5 litre bottle that lasts a very long time)
  • First.Aspect
    First.Aspect Posts: 16,053

    FWIW, pro team mechanics use pressure washers all the time, but then they a) disassemble the bike every time, and b) have enough time, patience and kit to replace bearings as soon as they go, a luxury I presume none of us have.

    If it's just on the frame I can't really see a problem; just don't point it at any bits that move.

    Depends how close you get with your wand. Fnarr.

    I've stripped decals and ruined shifter grips with a carelessly wafted pressure washer. Pretty sure it would be possible to do worse.
  • Guy I know used one on his sl7 ,went through a few headset bearings
  • I don't see the need for a pressure washer.

    I don't really either for road bikes, though I do use it out of convenience. A hose is more than enough but if I use my battery powered one I can clean the bike behind the shed and keep everyone happy. Off-road bikes however and they become a real time saver.
  • webboo
    webboo Posts: 6,087
    edited November 2023
    So it seems the consensus is degreaser and the garden hose or use the turbo till April.
  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 26,569
    webboo said:

    So it seems the consensus is degreaser and the garden hose or use the turbo till April.

    That's what I've been doing for the last 4 years.
    Decent weather and a hose, bad weather and the trainer.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • webboo
    webboo Posts: 6,087
    When I went out last Friday, it was a decent day and fairly dry on the roads. However I went up one road that must have mud two inches deep in places. At the top I had to pull over to find a stick to clear the mud so my wheels would rotate freely. You would need to be telepathic to predict to state of the roads.
    I suppose that’s what you get when it’s all arable farming in your area
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 74,796
    Something for everyone.

    Bike maintenance is the worst. If I were a very rich man I'd pay someone to do it.
  • katani
    katani Posts: 138
    edited November 2023
    If it is only water you use to clean the bike, the high water pressure alone isn't a problem as most bb/wheel hub cartridge bearings have plastic dust seals on top of the rubber seals, so the rubber seal isn't directly hit on with a stream of water. Cartridge headset bearings are also well protected against that as they are housed fully inside the head tube, oriented horizontally and also have additional protection: the bottom one - the fork crown, the top one will usually also have some sort of plastic dust seal on top of it. They should also come with full contact seals.

    It becomes an issue though if you use an aggressive degreaser and then wash it off with a pressure washer which may cause the degreaser penetrate past those seals and cause corrosion of the bearing races. Personally, I don't care about low drag of the seals, so I always use cartridge bearings with full contact seals. Can't feel any difference in the drag when I ride the bikes, but the bearings seem to last longer.