How to jet wash a bike

Take care when cleaning your bike with a jet wash

It can be the ultimate time-saver — just take care, explains bike mechanic Chris Penfold.

1. Keep your distance

There are times after a really muddy ride when a pressure wash is the head-start you want for a speedy clean-up. Remove any accessories first, such as your water bottles, pump, bike computer and the like.

“If you’re going to pressure-wash a bike, focus on areas where it’ll quickly and effectively clear the muck off — the wheels and frame — but take care not to hit the bottom bracket and headset,” explains Chris.

2. Clean the lines

Hose the main parts free of tough mud and if need be use a small stiff brush and a cloth to clean off grime. Spray along the plane of the bike, rather than coming at it from the side on — aim down from above and from the front and back — paying close attention to the rims and tyres.

“Use this as an inspection time too, and look out for any wear and tear.”

3. Brush, don’t rush

“Next, use a degreaser to clean the cassette,” says Chris. If you’re using a hand-pump, you can mix a degreaser like Fenwicks F1 cleaner concentrate into the wash solution.

Keep the pressure low — hold your thumb over the hose if need be — so that you don’t break any seals or soak any bearings. Or apply the degreaser with a brush, making sure you clean those teeth front and back!

4. Watch the wash

Once you’ve cleaned the chain and cogs, switch to the gentlest setting to rinse off the degreaser to avoid any long-term corrosion.

Check over the whole frame again for any pools of water, and dry the metal with a cloth before refitting any parts you’ve taken off, then reapply grease to the working joints.

5. Riding dry

“After jet-washing your bike, take it for a short ride to keep the parts moving,” says Chris. “That should prevent any water from pooling, especially beneath the bearings — any water left sitting around them can lead to rust. Check once more, and wipe away any water.”

Chris Penfold is a professional bike mechanic and owner of Deen's Garage.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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