Kärcher OC3 Mobile Outdoor Cleaner – The Perfect Bike Cleaner?
Something slightly left of field for today’s post. A blog about triathlon and a review of a pressure washer is slightly odd I agree. However, I was recently at the London Triathlon Show and spotted the Kärcher OC3 Mobile Outdoor Cleaner at their stand.
I will admit I’m not the most dedicated when it comes to cleaning my bikes. Often due to the fact that if it needs cleaning it’s because it’s been raining and thus muddy. Consequently I’m muddy and want to get inside and get clean and warm. I have dutifully purchased the Muc Off Bike Cleaner Kit and can’t fault it. However it’s more effort than I was looking for.
Enter Kärcher with the OC3 Mobile Cleaner. At a basic level it’s a lower pressure version of the renowned pressure washers from the brand. The biggest differences being that it’s battery powered and eminently portable. It weighs in at just over 2Kg (without water) and is completely self contained – the hose and water container are integral to the unit.
In the Box
The first test was an impromptu test of the strength of the shipping box. Being a cat, she loves a nice new box… she’s also a fairly hefty breed. The box handled it effortlessly!
Inside the box, is a fully assembled unit.
The only additional items further to the packaging are a power supply and an instruction manual – being a man, i’ve no idea what’s in this!
Power & Charging
The power supply is a simple 3 Pin plug, with the transformer built in. It’s a moulded unit though, so each country will have it’s own specific adaptor I assume. What would be handy is a 12v charger for use in cars. Whilst it would remove some portability, it could come in handy in certain use case scenarios. Personally I didn’t find any issues with battery life, managing to clean the bike in the pictures you’ll see below with the power it arrived from the factory with! The unit is unique and not a figure eight lead as it may appear.
The plug fits in behind this waterproof seal when charging is required.
The green light indicates that the unit is charging. This could possibly be confusing as there is only one light. In one colour. However it’s unlikely you’d be confused with charging or using the cleaner.
The unit has a capacity of 4 litres, with handy markers in case for some reason you need an exact quantity. It’s a decent capacity and a full 4 litres is perfect for giving an adult bike a quick hose down after a ride. It needed more for the challenge below.
I’ve no idea why I figured keys were good for scale. But I couldn’t lay my hands on a ruler. Hopefully it’s a useful indicator for some!
The large rubber section on top is the seal to hold the water in. It’s a bit of a faff to fit, but once you get the hang of it, it’s not a major bother. It fits outside the plastic lip FYI…
Below is a short video demonstrating that whilst it may be fiddly, it’s definitely watertight. Hopefully it remains so over time.
The larger, top handle secures the water reservoir in place. I haven’t tested it yet, but I am confident that with this secured, you could fill the unit and travel happily with it in your car.
It’s also very robust and I’m sure will stand the test of time. It locks down in place with this strong bracket.
Self Contained Unit & Tools
As I said above, everything you need is contained within. The little yellow bit is the nozzle that fits in the end. Personally, I’d rather it was permanently attached as the pressure is non-existent without it. You don’t use it if you have any of the accessories, such as the brush, as they attach directly.
I’d quite like the bike accessory box as it’s a perfect fit for my needs.
Below is a quick video showing the unit and the accessories contained within.
On the left we have the Kärcher OC3 Mobile Outdoor Cleaner. On the right my current system from Muc Off. I’d like to add that I have no issues with the Muc Off stuff, in fact it’s great. But, as I said above, it takes time and I’m fairly lazy when it comes to cleaning my bike! I still need the chain cleaner and lube etc too!
The extent of the challenge ahead, and my sheer laziness is visible below. In my defence I don’t usually let my bike get this dirty before cleaning it but I was waiting for the unit to arrive before cleaning it. Due to a short delay the bike got dirtier…. I also wanted to demonstrate the cleaning power as there had been some skeptics at the London Show.
And below a video demonstrating the power of the cleaner. This is with no detergent or pre-soaking of any sort. Just the cleaner, on the bike from the above pictures. I’m seriously impressed!
I’ve used the cleaner again since and it’s perfect for a quick rinse down after a ride. 4 litres is about perfect to clean it quickly and it takes minutes. I’d love the full bike accessory box as at times a detergent cleaner and brush would be helpful to remove all of the dirt.
To answer my question at the top. I think a qualified yes, it is the perfect bike cleaner. Combine it with the bike accessory box and it genuinely is. Even as an out and about unit or for a quick rinse down though, it’s so much better than the manual method. I fill it up before I go out so I can rinse the bike down when i’m back. Used as a portable unit for say, Mountain Biking, i think it would be ideal. You could hose the mud off on site and then clean it more thoroughly when you got back.
I heartily recommend it though – go buy one!