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  1. #1
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    Powerwashing Bikes

    I know I'm not supposed to power wash my bike because it forces dirt into bearings. That being the case, why do I see pros' bikes being power washed? Evidence below. You'll recognize that as Steve Peat's world cup bike.

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  2. #2
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    Because they get free bikes.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    Because they get free bikes.
    Ditto

    And even if they didn't they can easily have it ripped apart and everything regreased and repacked.

  4. #4
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    The photo is an example of 1% of the mountain-biking population... and probably only 05% of the pros. Peaty, Hill, Gwyn, etc are elite enough to have a van pasted with sponsor-decals, a mechanic who not only (power) washes your bike but wrenches it too and factory-backing to represent, test and - hopefully - podium their product.

    Most of the pros, experts and common schmucks like you and I want our bike and components to last. Wash only if absolutely necessary (using Muc Off, of course) or if you're sponsored well enough to advertise for SC, Enve, Maxxis, etc.

  5. #5
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    In the end, the answer is always "Money."

    I guess if I only had to use the same bike for a few times, I'd power wash the bike too. Or just have someone do it for me.
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  6. #6
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    It's worth more to have pictures of a clean bike and a mechanic making it work well than the alternative.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    It's worth more to have pictures of a clean bike and a mechanic making it work well than the alternative.
    Well yes, but what I meant by "money" was that I don't have the money to hire someone to keep up my bike for me and buy new parts constantly, and they're sponsored, so they do.
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    ...and it's not advisable especially if you have a carbon fiber bike.

    -S

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Map204 View Post
    In the end, the answer is always "Money."

    I guess if I only had to use the same bike for a few times, I'd power wash the bike too. Or just have someone do it for me.
    Quote Originally Posted by Map204 View Post
    Well yes, but what I meant by "money" was that I don't have the money to hire someone to keep up my bike for me and buy new parts constantly, and they're sponsored, so they do.
    Well really,
    in the end these professionals are constantly risking paying the ultimate price with how they ride. With surgeries and everything else it costs to be that good of a rider, they're probably putting in a lot more of their time (which we all know is money, right?).

    Anyways, many of these guys get free bikes and components, but the pro mountain biker isn't paid nearly as much as the pro football player. The high life of a mountain biker is mostly when we're catching air.



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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ehigh View Post
    Well really,
    in the end these professionals are constantly risking paying the ultimate price with how they ride. With surgeries and everything else it costs to be that good of a rider, they're probably putting in a lot more of their time (which we all know is money, right?).

    Anyways, many of these guys get free bikes and components, but the pro mountain biker isn't paid nearly as much as the pro football player. The high life of a mountain biker is mostly when we're catching air.



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    I guess I misspoke about the riders hiring someone to maintain their bike. I kind of assumed it was via the sponsor, not the rider themselves. I knew that very few pro riders get any sort of substantial pay. I guess the next question is regarding medical insurance. Is that something that's covered by the team? I would guess no.
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  11. #11
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    Meh... I have been powerwashing my bikes for years, and have never had to replace anything due to the "washing" process. It's obvious that you do not spray directly "in to" any part, however it is just fine spraying "on to" any part. I mean, it's really about using common sense while your doing it. But, to each their own... pedal on...
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  12. #12
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    They don't have the time to baby their bikes really maybe. WC schedule, driving location to location internationally, racing every weekend, getting practice in, setup, and getting familiar with the place. They pick/design their parts carefully too, to stand up to what happens during WC runs, or just carry enough parts as spares as needed.

    I know some consumers expect their parts to last and it's disappointing to see bearings shot in no time, who then pull back the seal to look in and inspect and... maybe it could just be comparatively speaking. Some could compare Mavic hubs to CK hubs and generalize that Mavic hubs spin freely since their sealing is not as good. They could refer to some pic of a bike with CK hubs that was recovered from some rapids and be amazed when they crack it open and see it's in better condition (internally) than what that shop/mechanic has seen from other riders' CK hubs. Maybe people think certain things fail easier, like certain brands/models of BBs or headsets.

    Or maybe one ride through the rain and the next day the guy could have some squeaks. After troubleshooting, and finding parts that should've been sealed are actually the cause of the squeaks, they feel that that if that rain and maybe a few puddles did that, high pressure spray would be worse.

    Or maybe people are just reading their manual and following what it says to not do.

    You can speculate why or why not, reason why others do it, but if you aren't convinced by what anyone else says, you can start power washing for yourself and see for sure.

    IMO, it's not the dirt that's the problem. It's the removal (washing away) of lubrication and riding it without sufficient lubrication that is the problem. If you're gonna relube it meticulously afterwards anyways, and powerwashing can save ya some time (for spending on lubing), and doesn't have any other negative side effects, why not? It's a good test of the seals, one which they expect a few customers would do anyways, and race teams provide very good feedback at the arguably the highest and most demanding level of the sport. Also helps them identify warranty claims that caused damaged resulting from powerwashing.
    Last edited by Varaxis; 11-27-2012 at 03:07 PM.

  13. #13
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    You can power wash - with common sense.

    For an über muddy bike, there is almost no other way to get it clean in a quick/easy fashion.
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    That guy doing the power washing will probably also be rebuilding the fork between runs. The run to run prep that goes into a WCDH bike is absolutely mind blowing. Actually, any pro level riding race prep is insane, those mechs are another level. Just remember: World Cup riding has nothing to do with what the rest of us do; pretty sweet to watch though.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    That guy doing the power washing will probably also be rebuilding the fork between runs. The run to run prep that goes into a WCDH bike is absolutely mind blowing. Actually, any pro level riding race prep is insane, those mechs are another level. Just remember: World Cup riding has nothing to do with what the rest of us do; pretty sweet to watch though.
    Seriously? Between runs?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Map204 View Post
    Seriously? Between runs?
    Yeah, seriously. Not always, but it's not uncommon.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ehigh View Post

    Anyways, many of these guys get free bikes and components, but the pro mountain biker isn't paid nearly as much as the pro football player. The high life of a mountain biker is mostly when we're catching air.
    I dunno, considering the top pros are making six figure incomes, I think cashing those checks is a pretty good high light. Not to mention the free bikes and other kick backs.

    And the women. oh yeah the women.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Map204 View Post
    Seriously? Between runs?
    DH racing is srsbsns.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    Yeah, seriously. Not always, but it's not uncommon.
    Don't forget the beer too.

    It is pretty cool to see a boxxer rebuilt in just minutes.


    Quote Originally Posted by kjlued View Post
    I dunno, considering the top pros are making six figure incomes, I think cashing those checks is a pretty good high light. Not to mention the free bikes and other kick backs.

    And the women. oh yeah the women.

    It's all playing the percentages. To get that high, they deal with a lot of lows. That's my point. Outside of that, I wouldn't take six figures a year to burn my body.

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    This thread is a trip!

    In a World Cup weekend, a pro and his/her bike sees what the "common rider on his/her bike" experiences in about six months. Washing with a power-washer probably equals 3-4 "backyard-washes"; fork-service between practice/quals and semis/mains equals the disciple who services his/her fork bi-annually; "dialing-in" the bike between rides is probably you or I over three rides... and those that spray champagne just earned what "John/Jane Doe" earned over said half-year....

    ...um, yeah, I have absolutely no idea where I'm going with this.

  21. #21
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    If a power washer will take paint off my house, I'm not taking one anywhere near my bike.

    I used a hose with pressure on my bike when I was in college and I ruined my bearings in short order because I didn't repack them with grease and they were low end parts that didn't make much attempt at sealing said bearings. If I had more sense back then, I'd have serviced those bearings and probably kept the bike a little longer.

    But that said, I don't even use a hose with pressure anymore except in super rare cases. Now, water is used for rinsing. If I need to blast some dirt off, I use my air compressor. And even that is rare. Usually, let mud dry and I use a rag and/or nylon brush to get it off.

  22. #22
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    At some locations, they don't use the power washer. I've seen mechanics haul water from a lake with buckets and bring it back to the pits to clean bikes. Good mechanics much prefer working on a clean bike, over a dirty one, and will clean it beforehand. Maybe a pressure washer makes efficient use of a limited water supply... or not. Saves a lot more time maybe. I know some of the mtns they race at are rather remote.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by emptybe_er View Post
    This thread is a trip!

    In a World Cup weekend, a pro and his/her bike sees what the "common rider on his/her bike" experiences in about six months. Washing with a power-washer probably equals 3-4 "backyard-washes"; fork-service between practice/quals and semis/mains equals the disciple who services his/her fork bi-annually; "dialing-in" the bike between rides is probably you or I over three rides... and those that spray champagne just earned what "John/Jane Doe" earned over said half-year....

    ...um, yeah, I have absolutely no idea where I'm going with this.
    I think you are advocating washing our bikes with champagne.... it will increase our skill level and immediately start bringing in the big sponsor checks!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ehigh View Post
    Don't forget the beer too.

    It is pretty cool to see a boxxer rebuilt in just minutes.
    I've seen those races they do between the mechanics. It's pretty cool. I tried changing the oil, wipers, and seals on my Marzocchi once...took me 3 hours and I bent a valve.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by callyer View Post
    I think you are advocating washing our bikes with champagne.... it will increase our skill level and immediately start bringing in the big sponsor checks!
    I'll try it and report back
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    My bike is usually covered in dirt/mud/grime about 65% of the time after I'm done riding.

    If your bike is getting wet due to wet/muddy conditions on the trail what is the difference between getting it wet with a hose. Nothing! As long as you aren't high power blasting the thing, it will all be fine.

    I have always used a hose to get everything clean. Suds it up, use a brush/sponge to remove gunk. I then dry it off and wipe it all down and re-lube where necessary. I've never had to replace anything, my bikes have been fine.

    I usually turn my bikes over every 5 years or so, so maybe if I was really trying to extend the longest possible shelf life of my bike I'd maybe be a bit more careful..... but I doubt it.

    I vote for washing and drying, and having a nice clean bike. At least until your next ride

  27. #27
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    I've been using this method since I started mountain biking and have not experienced paint getting blasted off or any other problems. I think this method works best in removing dirt/grime in places that are hard to reach or too time consuming, even with a brush.
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Map204 View Post
    I'll try it and report back
    Sweet! I can't wait to hear the results!

  29. #29
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    The pressure is adjustable. This just isn't that big of a deal. It used to be a big deal and can be if you aren't using sealed bearings. Headsets, bottom brackets, hubs and pulleys are easily replaced and so are the parts that contain them.

    It's recommended to repack or replace them every year anyway.
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  30. #30
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    bearing shields

    Here's an idea; garden foam wire ties. One wrap and twist around each bearing area before spraying. They are a half inch in diameter and should be re-usable.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Powerwashing Bikes-rapiclip_foam_wire_835__72373__63383.1348982054.1280.1280.jpg  


  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by obdon View Post
    Here's an idea; garden foam wire ties. One wrap and twist around each bearing area before spraying. They are a half inch in diameter and should be re-usable.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    Because they get free bikes.
    Not quite. Those bikes cost someone money. Those teams don't necessarily just blow through stuff all willy nilly. They've got budgets to work with. Granted, they usually do have quite large product budgets, but they do still often have to be mindful of cost.

    Quote Originally Posted by shibiwan View Post
    ...and it's not advisable especially if you have a carbon fiber bike.

    -S
    Yet another carbon alarmist. You would have to have a pressure washer turned up awfully high to damage a carbon frame.

    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    The pressure is adjustable. This just isn't that big of a deal. It used to be a big deal and can be if you aren't using sealed bearings. Headsets, bottom brackets, hubs and pulleys are easily replaced and so are the parts that contain them.

    It's recommended to repack or replace them every year anyway.
    ^ This.

    If you know what you're doing and know where to spray, it's an efficient way to get your bike clean.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deep Thought View Post
    Yet another carbon alarmist. You would have to have a pressure washer turned up awfully high to damage a carbon frame.
    It's not about damage to the frame from the pressure. Water is a big issue on carbon composites with aluminum inserts. The water acts as an electrolyte enabling galvanic corrosion in the bonded aluminum/carbon interface. Keeping the frame dry as much as possible will prevent this.

    There's also the plasticizer effect of water on the carbon fiber resin, but this usuallly takes a long time and most frames are protected with a water resistant gel coat.

    (Yes, I do a good amount of aerospace composites to know what I'm talking about.)

    -S

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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by shibiwan View Post
    The water acts as an electrolyte enabling galvanic corrosion in the bonded aluminum/carbon interface. Keeping the frame dry as much as possible will prevent this.

    There's also the plasticizer effect of water on the carbon fiber resin, but this usuallly takes a long time and most frames are protected with a water resistant gel coat.
    Daaanggg... you lost me at "electrolyte." lol jk

    I think I'll (low) power wash my (AL) bike, but I won't point it at anything important.
    It's pronounced "so pro and cool."
    It was an impulse decision.

  35. #35
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    Watched a Sam Hill video and the mechanic stated he tears down the whole bike each night. After practice he will change the wheel bearings, chain, BB and overhaul the fork. every third or fourth day with also swap out cassette and chainrings. Freakin crazy, if I had the resources to change that stuff everyday I would powerwash too.

    They just powerwash to make sure the sponsors get most for their money.

    Also I have seen a long day in the rain ruin HS, wheel, BB bearings in one ride.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by shibiwan View Post
    It's not about damage to the frame from the pressure. Water is a big issue on carbon composites with aluminum inserts. The water acts as an electrolyte enabling galvanic corrosion in the bonded aluminum/carbon interface. Keeping the frame dry as much as possible will prevent this.

    There's also the plasticizer effect of water on the carbon fiber resin, but this usuallly takes a long time and most frames are protected with a water resistant gel coat.

    (Yes, I do a good amount of aerospace composites to know what I'm talking about.)

    -S

    Sent from my Kindle Fire using Tapatalk 2
    Ohhhh. I guess I didn't think about that. Seems like more and more carbon bikes these days aren't using any aluminum inserts, but I guess there are still plenty that do have aluminum inserts.

  37. #37
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    Seems like some semantics may help out here. Its not okay to POWERWASH your bike, but it's okay to WASH your bike with a POWERWASHER. Avoid pressure around bearings, forks, chain, etc. If you back up and don't get zealous with the spray gun you can produce a nice mist which could have even lower pressure than your garden hose. Dry off and re-lube. It's a bike. Not a house, or a pink balloon.
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