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  1. #1
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    Power washer , Good idea to clean a bike?

    Time to clean my bike after weeks of non stop snow and rain here in the UK, seems to me power washer would be a good option as long as I avoid bearings and lube well after, saves long hours with toothbrush in akward places or is it not a good idea

  2. #2
    Afterburners...good idea Sapling's Avatar
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    Resist the temptation, don't do it!

  3. #3
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by desperadono1 View Post
    Time to clean my bike after weeks of non stop snow and rain here in the UK, seems to me power washer would be a good option as long as I avoid bearings and lube well after, saves long hours with toothbrush in akward places or is it not a good idea
    Not a good idea. No matter how careful you are, you'll still push water into your bearings.

    A good compromise is to use a bucket of warm water with a little soap. Scrub down the rims and frame with a sloppy-wet towel, then rinse with a gentle stream of water. After that, clean the chain (the on-bike cleaner gadgets are OK, but I prefer to remove the chain completely) and relube.
    Jeff Wills

    All my bikes.

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    Thanks chaps that will be a no no then for me

  5. #5
    Ninja! paste_me's Avatar
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    Power pressure washer and small bike... sounds like a massive unfortunate event waiting to happen.

  6. #6
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    I use a power washer on my bike and with 15,000 miles on it, no problems. I don't blow it directly into the wheel bearings but everything else is fine. Saves a lot of time and you get a better job especially on the chain. After I'm done, I wipe down the brake sides of the wheels with some lacquer thinner or painting alcohol.

  7. #7
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    Even if you avoid the bearings, you'll still get water all the way up the cable housing. Also, any scratch will be blown wide open. Don't be lazy!!!!!

  8. #8
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    I had forgotten to mention, after I wash my bike with either a power washer or a hose and brush, I use my air compressor to blow the water off the frame, every component including every link. It never surprises me how much water gets blown off and out of the derailleur.

  9. #9
    Reeks of aged cotton duck Hydrated's Avatar
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    Wash my bike?

    Hmmm... never tried that...
    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.-Aristotle

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lawrence08648 View Post
    I had forgotten to mention, after I wash my bike with either a power washer or a hose and brush, I use my air compressor to blow the water off the frame, every component including every link. It never surprises me how much water gets blown off and out of the derailleur.
    Man you are just full of insanely awesome advice that everyone should take well to heed.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  11. #11
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    So you blast the water further in to the bearings and cable housing with compressed air? Awesome! All you need is a spray bottle, a rag and some water, as well as patience.

  12. #12
    Shrek on a Trek white_feather's Avatar
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    I just put my bike in the shower and clean it there.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]'96 Trek 730//'08 Kona Eighty-Eight//

  13. #13
    Latvietis Ablaut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by white_feather View Post
    I just put my bike in the shower and clean it there.
    Since our shower is broken, I just dip my bike in the local duck pond. Winter is tough cleaning-wise.

  14. #14
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    You can use a power washer and dial down the pressure, you don't need to have it on high plus you can adjust the spray width and you can control where you point it. When I use the power washer, I dial down the pressure, when I'm doing the wheels, I don't point it in to the bearings, I use the fan mode to do the rims and most of the bike. You only need enough pressure to do the job. Before I spray the bike, I spray with a degreaser, you can use Fantastik, 409, or similar, I've even used petroleum degreasers such as aerosol engine degreaser to chain, cassette, and chainrings. When spraying the cassette, again, don't point it to towards the bearings. I have greaseable bearings and have taken them apart and noticed no breakdown of the grease with water. I use a pressure washer and I ride my bike in the rain and have even taken it through 18" of water and still there wasn't any water infiltration, the latter amazed me. I have found that water doesn't seep in the bearings as most think it does, especially if you are careful, this is an unjustified fear. If the bike is immersed in water such as sitting in a pool, pond, or river, then water will seep in, but not from the use of a hose.

  15. #15
    My bike's better than me! neil0502's Avatar
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    Some risk, some reward.

    I wouldn't do it, but ....

    Reminds me of the occasional "Can I use oven cleaner to degrease my chain?" thread....

  16. #16
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    I just use a spray-bottle of 409 and give the dirty-spots a couple of shots. Then wipe it all off with a rag. The most time-consuming part is wiping it down with the rag anyway. You'll have to do this regardless if you use a power-washer or hand-operated bottles. So really no convenient time-savings with the power-washer, and it may actually add a lot of time if you end up needing to re-pack the bearings.

  17. #17
    Fred-ish rogerstg's Avatar
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    In the amount of time it would take me to set up and put away a power washer, I'd be done cleaning my bike with a couple rags and soapy water.

  18. #18
    Senior Member CaptCarrot's Avatar
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    I have some REALLY greasy (as in 10 years of neglect) bits I have just removed when I upgraded from 24 to 27 speed.

    Could I put the rear mech/front mech/rear cassette & chain in the dishwasher?

    Will it screw the dishwasher?

    Is there any other option? Like leave it to soak ity some industrial degreaser?
    Not as green as I might be cabbage looking!

  19. #19
    Light Makes Right GV27's Avatar
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    Man, don't tell my bikes this stuff! I've always used power washers to clean my bikes both motorized and non. I just avoid the bearings and such. And to be clear I'm talking the coin-op car wash type, not the strip-the-paint-off-battleship type. More like Lawrence is describing. I can see where the sort you use to peal old paint off your deck could be dangerous.

    As far as drivetrain parts go I just soak the chain and cassette in mineral spirits or kerosene or some other strong, non-explosive (gas is a BAD idea) solvent overnight or something. Use a toothbrush to scrub. I don't soak the mechs but just scrub them with a toothbrush and solvent. Be careful of plastic parts in this case.

    I suppose a dishwasher would work, however. In either case make sure you lube everything up when you're done.

  20. #20
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    this question reminds me of the guy who was using degreaser everywhere and was wondering why he had no grease on his axle bearings
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  21. #21
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    Astana's mechanic seems to go against the wisdom of those on this board. See for yourself: http://www.rbaction.net/fly.aspx?lay...xid=68&cid=210

  22. #22
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    sure sometimes of course but you have to be careful where you aim it
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  23. #23
    he said member ls01's Avatar
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    I want some of thier "special solvent". not because its better, because its "special"!

    Its your bike, if you want to take a chance with it, go for it. but if its so dirty that you need a power washer to clean it. maybe you should clean it a little more often? just sayin'. The problem is if you do blow the grease out of a bearing or get enough water in one to cause it to rust you wont know it until it is ruined. but like I said its your bike, do what you must.

  24. #24
    Gear Hub fan
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    I know that Rohloff specifically warns against the cleaning of their hubs with a power washer and they are far better sealed than most bicycle hubs. Seems to me that SRAM and NuVinci have similar warnings too.
    Gear Hubs Owned: Rohloff disc brake, SRAM iM9 disc brake, SRAM P5 freewheel, Sachs Torpedo 3 speed freewheel, NuVinci CVT, Shimano Alfine SG S-501, Sturmey Archer S5-2 Alloy. Other: 83 Colnago Super Record, Univega Via De Oro

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  25. #25
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    he can probably spray everything except the hubs - I hose my bike a couple times a year and just keep the stream away from the hubs - heck everything gets wet when it rains anyway - anobody use a bike cover? I need one
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

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