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Pressure Washing?

Old 11-15-20, 02:06 PM
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dmanthree
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Pressure Washing?

Just wondering if anyone has used a pressure washer to clean their bike. I know you don't want the 4,000 PSI model since you can damage bearings, but would carefully using a smaller lower pressure unit be OK? If so, what make/model?
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Old 11-15-20, 02:10 PM
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No. Just no. You can use a hose, but don't squeeze the end to "really get in there".
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Old 11-15-20, 02:12 PM
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Yeah. Don't pressure wash your bike.
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Old 11-15-20, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by dmanthree View Post
Just wondering if anyone has used a pressure washer to clean their bike. I know you don't want the 4,000 PSI model since you can damage bearings, but would carefully using a smaller lower pressure unit be OK? If so, what make/model?
Yes just be careful. I just use the ones at gas stations for cleaning cars.
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Old 11-15-20, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by blamester View Post
Yes just be careful. I just use the ones at gas stations for cleaning cars.
Just thinking if you back off, use a wide spray, you should be OK. Sounds like a low pressure electric model will be fine.
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Old 11-15-20, 03:09 PM
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People that say 'never' don't have a clue. Moderate pressure, correct distance, and not pointing it at the wrong places will make sure you're fine. I've pressure washed hundreds of race bikes and before you spout the classice "but race teams have an unlimited supply of spare parts" line we may have a ton of parts in the trailer but we don't want to be replacing parts all the time, we like to have dinner and get some sleep. You can most definitely use a pressure washer safely to help clean a bike.
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Old 11-15-20, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
People that say 'never' don't have a clue. Moderate pressure, correct distance, and not pointing it at the wrong places will make sure you're fine. I've pressure washed hundreds of race bikes and before you spout the classice "but race teams have an unlimited supply of spare parts" line we may have a ton of parts in the trailer but we don't want to be replacing parts all the time, we like to have dinner and get some sleep. You can most definitely use a pressure washer safely to help clean a bike.
On the other hand: People asking about whether to use a pressure washer on their bike wouldn't know how to use one without actually using the "pressure" part of it. Hence the "never".
Normal water pressure from the tap with a wide spray nozzle is enough. Hence the "never use a pressure washer".

Of course, if you clean your bikes from a truck, you need something to actually provide some pressure (as in tap-pressure).
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Old 11-15-20, 03:36 PM
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Is this a cyclocross bike or other off road bike that is caked with mud and other slime? Sure, I'd pressure wash it.

If this is just a road bike with what for me is normal road grime that takes many miles to accumulate, then I' just use a couple wet wipes of some cheap brand. They even hold together well enough to roll up the used ones and then get between the cogs.

Is it perfect? No, but you'll never tell as I pass you! <grin>
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Old 11-15-20, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Is this a cyclocross bike or other off road bike that is caked with mud and other slime? Sure, I'd pressure wash it.

If this is just a road bike with what for me is normal road grime that takes many miles to accumulate, then I' just use a couple wet wipes of some cheap brand. They even hold together well enough to roll up the used ones and then get between the cogs.

Is it perfect? No, but you'll never tell as I pass you! <grin>
It's a road bike. And it seems to get pretty grimy quicker than I'd like. I've watched a few videos on this, and it sure seems like you'd have to go out of your way to cause any harm.
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Old 11-15-20, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by dmanthree View Post
It's a road bike. And it seems to get pretty grimy quicker than I'd like. I've watched a few videos on this, and it sure seems like you'd have to go out of your way to cause any harm.
I use a cheap Harbor Freight electric pressure washer, always with a wide spray at a distance 6"-8"", so that I can put my fingers in the spray without damaging the skin. I direct the spray parallel to the cassette cogs, so as to clear away the grit, and to knock the schmutz from the chain. Likewise the front chain rings, and anywhere else that grit has found a new home. I recently disassembled the front crank and found zero moisture in the bottom bracket, so I might be doing it right.
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Old 11-15-20, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by DeadGrandpa View Post
I use a cheap Harbor Freight electric pressure washer, always with a wide spray at a distance 6"-8"", so that I can put my fingers in the spray without damaging the skin. I direct the spray parallel to the cassette cogs, so as to clear away the grit, and to knock the schmutz from the chain. Likewise the front chain rings, and anywhere else that grit has found a new home. I recently disassembled the front crank and found zero moisture in the bottom bracket, so I might be doing it right.
You are, apparently. The youtube videos echo your results: just use a little care and you're fine. I think I'll get an inexpensive model since I really don't need high pressure.
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Old 11-15-20, 07:31 PM
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Iíve wrecked a lot of stuff using a pressure washer, never tried a bicycle though.
Tim
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Old 11-15-20, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by dmanthree View Post
You are, apparently. The youtube videos echo your results: just use a little care and you're fine. I think I'll get an inexpensive model since I really don't need high pressure.
If you have the task of pressure spraying the concrete driveway, a high power gasoline driven sprayer might be called for. You can do it with a cheap electric model, but it takes a while. My cheapo does a good job on most tasks, from deck prep for painting to truck washing.
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Old 11-15-20, 09:21 PM
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I barely wash my bikes at all, so wouldn't use the pressure washer if just for the hassle of setting it up,

but they get used all the time for CX racing. More chicken-littleing, IMO.

Last edited by woodcraft; 11-16-20 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 11-16-20, 01:45 AM
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Please don't do this. When I even use a regular hose I don't set it with too much pressure. Just use your pressure on your floor.
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Old 11-16-20, 08:47 AM
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I use a bucket of soapy water and some brushes, and a hose with the "shower" setting to rinse it. What would be on a bike that needs a pressure wash?
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Old 11-16-20, 10:15 AM
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I use mineral spirits, paper towels (the all-paper variety), plastic gloves, do it outside, take a ride immediately so all the solvent vaporizes, no water.
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Old 11-16-20, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by cutdbeard View Post
Please don't do this. When I even use a regular hose I don't set it with too much pressure. Just use your pressure on your floor.
Did you read my previous post? If done carefully there is no issue at all using a pressure washer.

Originally Posted by zacster View Post
I use a bucket of soapy water and some brushes, and a hose with the "shower" setting to rinse it. What would be on a bike that needs a pressure wash?
Ever been to a muddy CX race?
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Old 11-16-20, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
People that say 'never' don't have a clue. Moderate pressure, correct distance, and not pointing it at the wrong places will make sure you're fine. I've pressure washed hundreds of race bikes and before you spout the classice "but race teams have an unlimited supply of spare parts" line we may have a ton of parts in the trailer but we don't want to be replacing parts all the time, we like to have dinner and get some sleep. You can most definitely use a pressure washer safely to help clean a bike.
This reminds me of the old quote about experience (maybe from Peanuts?). Adapted for this situation, it would go something like:

You need experience using a power washer to wash your bike safely without damaging anything. How do you get that experience? By washing your bike with a power washer and damaging something.

Probably safer for people who haven't washed hundreds of bikes this way to stick to a garden hose.
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Old 11-16-20, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Arthur Peabody View Post
I use mineral spirits, paper towels (the all-paper variety), plastic gloves, do it outside, take a ride immediately so all the solvent vaporizes, no water.

I dunno...

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Old 11-16-20, 11:57 AM
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For one bike I wouldn't spend the time to set up a pressure washer.

Even on my mountain bikes I use diluted Simple Green in a spray bottle and a hose with a fine spray nozzle.

John
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Old 11-16-20, 12:42 PM
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I use Dawn and a soft brush on the frame and a stiff brush on the wheels and drive train. When I am finished with the soap I rinse my bikes with a low pressure flow from a lawn nozzle.
My buddy Chuck the physicist took his muddy mountain to the carwash and proceeded to wash the nasty grease out of his BB bearings. After a while it began to make a dreadful noise while we were on a week long ride in Virginia.
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Old 11-16-20, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
People that say 'never' don't have a clue. Moderate pressure, correct distance, and not pointing it at the wrong places will make sure you're fine. I've pressure washed hundreds of race bikes and before you spout the classice "but race teams have an unlimited supply of spare parts" line we may have a ton of parts in the trailer but we don't want to be replacing parts all the time, we like to have dinner and get some sleep. You can most definitely use a pressure washer safely to help clean a bike.
But then why use a pressure washer. The same thing can be achieved with a garden hose with a shower head. Im sure you can (safely) use a pressure washer, but in a private setting, why would you?, except to save one or two minutes over the garden hose. In fact rigging and unrigging the darned thing may take up more time than you save ... :-) From a maintenance point of view there is no benefit at all, possibly even a (small) chance of ruining a bearing or spraying water into cable openings in the frame.

Btw maintenance and washing is not the same thing. (I'm aware you didn't make that claim, but ppl tend to conflate the two)

Last edited by Racing Dan; 11-16-20 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 11-16-20, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by dmanthree View Post
It's a road bike. And it seems to get pretty grimy quicker than I'd like. I've watched a few videos on this, and it sure seems like you'd have to go out of your way to cause any harm.
The only harm might be high pressure water blowing the little bit of grease out of areas that it normally helps to protect water from getting into. But even if it does it probably won't cause those parts to fall off the bike immediately render it useless. It might just be that those parts will just wear out somewhat faster. How much faster? Don't know. When and if they ever do wear out, you can decide then if water intrusion was fully to blame and whether or not you want to change your current methods.

I myself wouldn't like the time it took to set up the pressure washer or how wet I got with it. But if it works for you then keep at it and you can thumb your nose at all the Nay Sayers claiming doom and gloom.
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Old 11-16-20, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Racing Dan View Post
But then why use a pressure washer. The same thing can be achieved with a garden hose with a shower head. Im sure you can (safely) use a pressure washer, but in a private setting, why would you?, except to save one or two minutes over the garden hose. In fact rigging and unrigging the darned thing may take up more time than you save ... :-) From a maintenance point of view there is no benefit at all, possibly even a (small) chance of ruining a bearing or spraying water into cable openings in the frame.

Btw maintenance and washing is not the same thing. (I'm aware you didn't make that claim, but ppl tend to conflate the two)
The question was asked, I answered it. That's all. I normally use a hose w/ a trigger spray thing on my own bikes because it's convinient. I also keep my personal bikes clean so it's never much work to wash them...unlike some of the disgusting wrecks of all values that I see in the shop every day. I find it hard to believe that someone will spend $10k on a mtb and then basically ignore it.
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