Should You Jet Wash Your Bike? | Maintenance Monday

Should You Jet Wash Your Bike? | Maintenance Monday

– The jetwash, an amazing and fast way to get stuff clean, stuff
that includes your bike. Question is though, should
you actually jetwash it? Well, we’re gonna find out, ready? (dramatic music)
(maniacal laughter) People that say don’t jetwash your bike will tell you that one quick
blast from a high-pressure hose will completely ruin your bearings. The theory goes that
water will get forced past your delicate bearing seals and
onto the bearings themselves potentially even taking
grit and dirt with it. That, if true, would then
ruin all of your bearings on your bike, your jockey
wheels, your freewheel, your rear wheel bearings,
your front wheel bearings, your bottom bracket bearings,
your headset bearings, and your pedal bearings. So potentially then,
quite a costly mistake. But, does it? You see I don’t think that
anyone actually knows. Pro mechanics use
jetwashes on a daily basis but they also replace
parts more frequently. And as a cyclo-cross
rider, I know the value of a cheeky little jetwash. It’s literally the difference
between winning a race and standing on the sidelines
with two broken bikes. Clearly then, we need to
find out if jetwashing ruins your bike. You’ll forgive me though if I’m feeling a little bit squeamish
about jetwashing this to see whether we can break it. So instead we’ve commissioned this. What do you mean you
don’t know what it is. It’s a bottom bracket stand clearly, custom made by master
craftsman Tom Sturdy. You see what we’re
gonna do is attach this, a much loved and well used crank set to it and see how long it’s
gonna take to jetwash it and yet it has done some
miles but I’ve literally just repacked the bearings
with fresh grease. Then, after a quick jet wash
we’re gonna dismantle it again, check for water ingress and to see whether our grease is still in place. Depending on the results,
we can then rebuild it and jetwash it some more. How long is it gonna take
to blast a bottom bracket? (upbeat instrumental music) (buzzing) Whoo, five seconds. Not gonna lie, quite excited to find out what’s gonna happen. Got some moisture on the outside. I’m gonna need to mop that off. External seal. Yeah there’s nothing in there is it. Grease completely in
place, no sign of water five seconds of jetwashing,
survived, stage one complete. Rebuild done. 20 seconds now. – [Cameraman] Three, two, one, go! (buzzing) – Whoa! We’re gettin’ in there. We’re really gonna getting in there now. Come on! – [Cameraman] Stop! (laughing) – Oh. I think there’s a bit
more moisture this time. It’s dry, grease still in place. Not a trace of moisture. That was a pretty serious jetwashing that. So that’s withstood 25 seconds now. (upbeat instrumental music) Alright then. One minute starting from. – [Cameraman] Three, two, one, go! (buzzing) – Whoa! I’m gonna really get in there this time. I really wanna clean this. It’s feeling a little damp. One minute and 25 seconds of jetwashing. What do you think? Wet or dry, grease or no grease? Oh my days! (laughing) Still grease, no water. I’m gonna go one seal in. Okay, there’s literally not a
trace of any water in there. Let’s take it up to 11 or two minutes. (upbeat instrumental music) Two minutes of jetwashing. – [Cameraman] Three, two, one, go! (buzzing) – Ah, come on jetwash! (buzzing) So I think I’ve spotted
a point on the crank which is channelling water
directly into the bottom bracket. So I’m gonna blast there as much as I can. If anyone ever did this to
their bike to try and clean it I’d be questioning their sanity. (yelling) (sighing) Two minutes. Well I don’t know about the bottom bracket but I got wet that time. There’s water ingress. (laughing) Three minutes and 25 seconds and we have some water ingress inside the first seal so let’s see how are our bearings looking inside? To be honest with you that’s
not looking too bad is it? It’s hardly like the grease
has been jetwashed out of it but we are starting to get a
little bit coming in there. Three minutes and 25 seconds. So what does this all mean then? Well, I’m gonna leave you
to draw your own conclusions actually because I know that
for some of you who live and ride in really dry areas that actually the idea of even getting your bike wet is completely alien to
you and so this I assume was probably really quite terrifying. For those of us in
temperate climates though it probably doesn’t seem so bad. And for me personally, it
actually doesn’t really change anything because
I was always quite happy with the idea of occasionally jetwashing really filthy bikes, always
trying to steer clear of delicate bearings. Although I suppose it does give me a little bit more confidence that actually what I’m doing isn’t too bad. Although let’s bear in
mind that this is just a bottom bracket bearing
and actually your headset is probably slightly more delicate and I’ve got no idea
about your jockey wheels. Hopefully though what it will do is if you’re one of those people that thinks that you cannot jetwash your bike, it might give you pause for thought. Clearly it hasn’t just disintegrated in front of our very eyes. Hopefully though once you’ve
had a think you will then get involved in the
comments section down below. Should you jetwash your bike clean? It’s a tough one that one? Anyway, before you do head
down there please make sure you subscribe to GCN. It’s very simple, just click
on the globe and then it’s done and then if you’re after some more content clearly it’s gonna be
bike washing content, up there is how you
can clean a filthy bike without a jetwash and down
there is how a pro mechanic cleans a bike with a jetwash.


  1. How does this compare to submerging the bottom bracket? I had to ride a flooded road once and the water came up to the forks, so I'm sure the bracket was swimming. I always wondered if that did the grease any damage or not…

  2. What about driving on wet roads with your bike on a towbar mount? I'm concerned about 70mph gritty water getting forced into, well, everything. Is that a valid concern?

  3. I "pressure washed" my "all terrain"(bought just before the mountain bike term caught on) about a month ago. It's been through two complete wheelsets and a rear re-rim. I know I've replaced the freehub on this hubset. Now the prawls in the freehub are not engaging. I tried not to spray near bearings but was trying to clean the drive train. Oh well guess I'll figure this out.

  4. iff you do 3 times x week and dont open de BB for a monht ! is go to be a diferent , not only the bearings suffer, the screws to ! try in a bb30 !!!

  5. I have been power washing my mtb every week with years and i get no issues with bad bearings..and even if i did have to replace a bearing or 2 every season, so what bearings are cheap..and id prefer to keep my bike spotless with as little effort as possible. an for anyone who is still worried just keep the nossle back from bearings

  6. You used a path cleaner attachment not a std jet wash plus did it parallel to bearing which is no where near as bad as hitting it at right angles eg on pivot bearings and dérailleur bearings

  7. It just depends on what kind of gear you have on your bike, some still use the older parts and not like the items he has on there.

  8. The angle of where you spray also plays a big factor. I wouldn't use an actual jet washer as it's just a bit over powered for the job but high pressure is fine as long as you avoid the sensitive areas. Plenty of safe areas can be sprayed down.

  9. i have used a jet wash, bike parks mainly but i dont tend to get as close with the gun when doing it, maybe 2ft away ish

  10. A recently repacked BB, that hasn't had any ride time is going to the best case (aside from a brand new bearing) test. Jet wash a BB over and over after a months worth of weekend rides, then a jet wash is going to penetrate it much easier. I don't ram "don't jetwash" down peoples throats, because they can do what they want. But I encourage people to take a smart attitude and avoid it. A hosepipe is perfectly adequate, you just perhaps need to scrub with a brush/sponge a bit more.

  11. You don't need 3 minutes, second it was blasted at a single spot and components are made to keep things out so I see why no

  12. in fairness you're using a turbo nozzle on the jet wash which I would never use anywhere near paintwork. more for cleaning paving and the likes. I've never had a problem with her washing my bike. as long as you use a bit of common sense

  13. Are people really getting their bikes so filthy that they can't clean them with a regular garden hose with a sprayer on it, followed up with a towel in the nooks and crannies?

  14. First of all, this is a 10 year old bb design I hope no one really wants to be using these days, LOL. Also, the other bearing casings (wheels. headset, etc.) are just as worthy of this test so I think this should have been considered. Thanks for trying Si 😉

  15. screw the jet wash. I enjoy laying hands on my bike and giving it a good clean. I stick it on a stand, remove the wheels, add the sleeper hub and then give it an almighty good rub…

  16. I do we have a washer that you can change the hardness of the water I put it on the softest one and don't have any problems

  17. Never did it like this, so agressive, I always avoid the bearing zones and fork seals and I never had any problems. 99% jet washing my bike (Merida TFS 1000D & Fox Float 32 Talas) for years, and it gets pretty muddy & filthy, trust me. Never used any detergents except soap or bike washing stuff.

  18. Usually no real need to jet-wash. I suppose occasionally when your MTN bike is a mess! Road bikes should be gently cleaned using a sponge, soap & water (rinsed with a low pressure garden sprayer or hose) and the drive-train degreased, washed and lubed on a weekly basis. The pro's have their bikes cleaned using a jet-washer due to time constraints and because they will have a new bike faster than the bearings can be ruined!
    Si, your jet-washing skills are reminiscent of Matt clipping-in! Enjoying GCN.

  19. If the bike has got nice and muddy (usually the MTB, but I did get a road bike that muddy one winters day), then yes, out with the hose/jetwash to spray the thick stuff off. Then hand wash as normal. I don't spray anywhere near that close though, and avoid going directly at bearings. So far, so good!

  20. I recently bought myself the Kärcher OC3, a portable low-pressure model. 5 bar iirc. Works very well to remove dirt, even has a brush for cycle cleaning, but is not strong enough to blast the grease out of the bearings. Battery is good for about 15 minutes continuous use. You need to refill the tank every few minutes, though.

  21. I think it's not a good idea cause this is the first wash if we see after 10 or 15 washes you will see the water in the barrings

  22. Why not show how to use a proper tool. The dirt blaster lancer is for concrete and the like. Just the basic lancer minimum 30 centimeters away would be more proper tool. Why now explain also use of soaps? The Kärcher model used has a detergent claimed to be for bikes. Does it work well? That could be a follow-up video.

  23. Thats not a great test tbh as the jet was was just aimed in one place and not a angle you can normally get to with a built bike the last test was better tho angling the jet at the seal

  24. the direction of the jet makes a huge difference. Spray at 90 degrees and you'll definitely get water ingress. Spray in line with the bike and you're much less likely to get water in your bearings.

  25. I did wash my bike old bike and went very wrong i recomand you guys take the chain barrings and all the important parts you dont wanna break then wash the rest

  26. excuse me GNC…. but, are you running out of content? Who jet washes their bike? and to time it….. as if! Can you please discuss real cycling issues, please?

  27. I usually use a hose pipe and bucket. But I taken my bike to the trails in the wet and well it was called in mud. I blasted it at the petrol station and looking at it now, it's not exactly clean.

    Still going to have to actually clean it with bike soap and degreaser. At this point I could rinse it with the jet wash, but it wouldnt be any different from a hose.

  28. I think it is no problem at all. In the winter with Mud conditions going my bearings on my mtb very fast. And that's only with driving the bike

  29. You're not likely to spend that much time with a jet wash on the bearings, so you may as well use it to clean your bike. Personally I think jet washing or even hosing your bike down wastes too much water, which is why I stick to a bucket and a sponge.

  30. You have tried jet washing am extremely well designed sealed bb with a low pressure cleaner. This is an very poor test. Jet wash some shimano hubs (since they are loose ball) or even a sealed headset. Then I'm sure you'll find the results are drastically different. Or even just go to a carwash and use one of their hoses (plenty of people stop in at a carwash and hose their bikes off after a ride). Also try a bb that's not freshly greased, as the grease will repel water and many people don't regularly grease them. And don't forget to give the parts a good spray with cleaning products first which both break down the grease as well as reduce the surface tension of water (allowing it to penetrate further)

  31. I always wipe down my bike with wet rag that has some mild degreasing detergent. I'll also use WD40 with another rag and toothbrush for grease and oil based cleanup, then wiped with degreasing soap. Not used water hose or spray of any kind for years

  32. My previous bike was a DeVinci hatchet and over the course of 2 years of year round riding I had pressure washed it and every component as needed during the winter months where road grime really accumulated, although I didn’t put the sprayer nozzle any closer than 6 inches from components – the hot water from the car wash melted away dirt and grime and a micro Fiber towel got the rest with ease.

    I had disassembled the headset, bottom bracket, wheel bearings and upon visual inspection there was zero ingress of water! Wonderful what modern bikes can handle!

  33. Cant bear the thought of a tiny piece of rock getting caught in the jet and getting tossed at my carbon frame at thirty five times the speed of light.

  34. I wouldn't personally powerwash mine, I enjoy the process of meticulously cleaning and checking it over!

  35. Its important to note, that many low budget bikes have older style, cheap cup and cone style bearings, many of which don't even have rubber seals. There should be a gcn retro tech about huuuuubs!!

  36. I think to be on the safe side, I will use a standard garden hose. I would probably use a pressure washer if the bike was incredibly filthy 🤣

  37. What a ridiculous uninformative video. Nobody uses a concrete lance for washing vehicles or bikes. How about repeating the exercise with a normal vario like the one briefly shown being used by the pro's? Would be much more relevant and informative

  38. I tried this today and had no problem. It would take at least a good 100 psi to remove the grease from the out side.

  39. so the Karcher nozzle used is the most powerful nozzle for that washer, there is no need to use that nozzle, the adjustable nozzle is ideal to quickly go over your bike as its not as powerful so is safer for your bike, and also don't aim straight at the bearings, after 15 years of mountain biking in the uk I used to have a lot more problems with wet sandy races than power washing my bike.

  40. I have about 100 bikes to wash most days, so I appreciate the savings in terms of time, back pain and elbow grease with the pressure washer. Whilst I try to avoid the bearings with the jet, it inevitably passes over them from time to time. No problems encountered so far though …

  41. well the video is overkill, first he is using the blasting nozzle instead of regular hosing nozzle, which is MUCH higher pausing pressure, 2nd he hose it soo close thats for removing old paints. and then he is aiming at gap of the BB. IRL nobody would do that, if u use the regular hosing nozzle and keep distance at least 25cm away, and u not aim at the bearing seal there is no problem, even using on hub or jockey wheel. i ride in dusty places and there are sand caught on chain, cassette, crank, BB and derailleurs. after ride or before next ride just give it a quick hose down with garden hose, not from close range to get rid of sand and dirt. takes a minute, my bike is parked next to my garden hose. no problem at all. i'd rather hose it often then having sand on my chain/cassette

  42. We used to ride our BMXs down boat the boat ramp for fun, completely submerged. Simply took the bearings out and regreased them.

  43. Should I buy special bike shampoo to clean my bike or regular soap and hot water would be fine? I have a Canyon Ultimate CF SL 7.0

  44. It looked like the jet washer was using the most powerful spray head as well. Being sensible and using a less powerful head and it’ll be fine!

  45. I always clean my bike off on the inside, especially because I live in New York City and there is no outdoors spaces for me to clean my bike. So the only places in my bathtub and that goes for both my mountain bike and my road bike. I also don't take trains, I use my mountain bike when it snows in the winter on my road bike for pretty much everything else throughout the year. I don't think jet wash is the best way to go

  46. Sometimes (depending on a bike) is hard to reach all the areas with just a sponge so jetwash is excellent. Nothing's gonna happen if you hold jetwash at proper distance in certain areas.

  47. I dont think washing just the bottom bracket for three minutes proves anything either way, because damage caused by repeatedly jet washing your bike over a period of time will take months to manifest itself, most bearing these days are not of an open cage design and at the very least have dust covers. I think a balanced approach of jet washing and being cautions around the bearings will work fine.

  48. I think people are full of shit. As long as you don’t have a super high compression you’ll be fine. I use one of those rigs you hook up to an air compressor at a low setting to wash my bikes and I’ve never had any issues. And I always keep my bikes maintained and lubed.

  49. If he had placed the wash head very close to the bottom bracket, 5 seconds with a 3500psi would have been enough to push water into the bottom bracket. Staying 200mm away is relatively safe.

  50. I just do the frame paint surfaces .not directly onto bearings…no need. Spray from a distance at them. Rag them after. Kept my '92 GT with Pace forks running til now!

  51. But that would depend on the quality of the seals, and the shields used. That bottom bracket has a huge shield. I'd think it could get through less well designed shields. And soap will increase the ability of water to penetrate shields/seals. Early Shimano three piece cranks would let water in I'd wager. And headset, totally possible, but after 6 years on a Madone, I finally replaced the headset bearings because I thought it was probably about time, and they were actually pretty clean and no contamination/rust. shrug Like everything, your mileage may vary.

  52. The chap is using a Karcher with the “master blaster” head. That is meant for patios etc. It will come with another head called the Vario Lance. You can vary the pressure with that. It is perfect for washing you bike. Just don’t too close and use something like muc off to loosen the crud.

  53. Where is this place that GCN is always filming in? I notice the buildings and the streets and wonder where they are

  54. Me personally I Jet wash my bike in a car wash half a block away from where I work, , lots of salt on the roads takes a toll on how smooth your ride gets. I do relube my bike at home after the wash.

  55. The person deciding your content isn't paid enough. This question was a great idea. Also, in very wet regions, (GB?) there is a phenomenon called thermal pumping.
    I've always wondered if a bike BB could be subject to that process. (It would have to get quite warm and I don't know enough about how warm that part of the bike would get. It's a problem that occurs in four-wheeling. (Jeeps, Land cruisers, etc.)

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