The PB:2 is from UK-based CleanByAir, and unlike jet washers it doesn’t use a high-pressure water jet – instead, a 1700W motor inside the 9kg stainless steel unit creates a powerful mist by carrying detergents on low-pressure air to make short work of shifting muck and grime.
The main advantage of this system is that it’s kind to your bike, unlike a jet wash, and so is fine to use on bearings in derailleurs, hubs and bottom brackets, for example. The other big advantage is it doesn’t rely on a mains water supply or a heavy water tank. In testing we cleaned a filthy bike covered in mud using less than 1l of water, all in less than half the time it’d take to wash it by hand.
To control the PB:2 you use a rocker switch trigger on the gun-shaped lance to switch between cleaner (to wash down filth) and clean water (to rinse), which are held in separate one-litre bottles on the unit’s flanks. The final trick is leaving the switch centred, which sees the PB:2 push out warm air, so not only can you wash your bike, you can also dry it ready for re-lubing and polishing.
As the misting/cleaning action isn’t under high pressure you can also clean yourself down, and especially your shoes, the minute you get off your bike, so you can say goodbye to traipsing filthy clothing through your house after a ride.
CleanByAir doesn’t recommend the PB:2 for muddy mountain bikes – it suggests the more powerful PB:2 With Vari-Flow for that. But we had no problem using it on road bikes covered in road grime and mud from country lanes, and cyclocross bikes freshly slathered in gloop. It made short work of both. We even successfully used it on alloy car wheels.
The downside is that to use it out and about you’ll need to invest in an expensive inverter to use it from your car. It’s also much pricier than your average jet washer. We’d still recommend it, though, as in the long run it’ll pay for itself since it uses minimal water and won’t damage components.
In all, it’s by far the best cleaner we’ve found for road bikes. It’s simple to use, kind to both your bike and the environment, and it’s built by cyclists, for cyclists.