Wash and go
Most rides end up in an anonymous car park with no hosepipe or jet wash to hand, so the only option is to buy one of the best mobile pressure washers.
At a very basic level this can just be a bucket and brush. If you take a few big bottles of soapy water you will be able get the worst off but you will need to get your hands dirty and, if it’s the middle of winter, pretty cold too. A thick (and long) pair of rubber gloves won’t go amiss in this situation but if you really want to make the cleaning process a lot more pleasant it’s worth investing in a portable bike cleaner.
These have been around for several years and most feature an internal water tank, mini hose and plug into the cigarette lighter. However, they’re not that powerful and cleaning can often be as involved as using the bucket and brush, your hands will still get cold.
The best mobile pressure washers 2018
Thankfully things have moved on and the very latest portable washers now feature cordless battery power. These are not cheap but both of the washers featured here can hose off a bike in a matter of minutes and if that means less time freezing your arse off, we definitely think it’s a price worth paying.
Worx Cordless Hydroshot Pressure Cleaner, £149.99
Unlike Bosch Fontus, the Worx Hydroshot doesn’t have a water tank but it does have a 10m water hose, which you can drop into any third-party water source. It also has a filter on the end, so you can use a dirty water such as from a puddle, stream, lake and apparently the sea! You also get a fold up bucket, into which you can collect water. You can also clip a standard garden hose the Hydroshot and there’s also an adapter for the bottom of the lance to screw on a mineral water bottle.
The Hydroshot has three pressure settings and the nozzle rotates to offer five different spray features from a powerful jet stream to a wide fan spray for dousing the bike. Work claims 2.5Mpa water pressure (about 25bar), which is twice that of the Bosch but in use both units very pretty similar.
Powering the Hydroshot is one of Worx’s Powershare 20V MAX lithium-ion battery batteries, which means it can be shared with other devices. The Hydroshot is even available as a ‘body only’ for around £80, should you have a device with one of the batteries included.
In terms of cleaning power the Hydroshot is more powerfull than a garden hose, so will shift stubborn dirt but it’s not as damaging to paint work and bearings as a jet wash. There’s plenty of grunt to clean mud from tyres and most of the cavities on your bike and on a single charge run time is over 20mins, which is enough time to clean one bike really thoroughly.
The Hydroshot doesn’t feel quite as solid as the Bosch but it’s half the price and, being able to tap into multiple water sources, is a bit plus when cleaning at the end of a ride.
Bosch Fontus, £269.99
At 7kg the Bosch Fontus is about the same size and weight of a medium wheelie bag, it even comes with a pull-out handle and sturdy wheels so you can drag it about. Once you fill the tank though it tips the scales at over 20kg! Getting it in and out of a vehicle is an effort but it does have a 3.5meter hose so you can leave the unit inside when cleaning in the field.
Unlike the Hydroshot, which just comes with a bag, the Fontus has built in storage for the hose, spray gun, smart brush head and battery pack. The spray gun is also smaller and easier to handle and also comes with four different spray patterns. Combine these with the three power modes and you to really dial down the pressure when cleaning delicate areas like bearings and suspension or boost it for stripping dirt from your frame and tyres. Bosch says the Fontus delivers a claimed pressure of about 12bar (1.5mpa), which is about half that of the Hydroshot but running both units side-by-side, the Bosch actually seemed the more powerful unit.
The Fontus is powered by one of Bosch’s standard 18V Lithium-Ion batteries, which is interchangeable with other Bosch tools and accessories. The company claims a one hour run time but since you we got through a tank of water in about 10-15minutes, it just meant we didn’t have to charge it that often between rides.
The Bosch Fontus is heavier, more expensive and less portable than the Worx Hydroshot but it feels top quality, has a greater run time and you don’t have to hunt around for a water source.
Also worthy of a mention…
Mobi V-15 Mobile Washer, £99.99
mbr review: “The Mobi V-15 is one of those bits of kit that deserves a space in the boot of every rider. Simple to use and with neat attachments it makes cleaning your bike at the end of a ride a much less painful process.”