Karcher OC3 Portable Cleaner

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Ask yee shall receive. So I asked to be included in the Karcher product testing for a new portable cleaner from the German pressure washer manufacturer and I eventually got one!

The OC3 was launched at the London Bike Show this year with much anticipation surrounding it coming from such a well respected manufacturer; but how does it hold up?

First let me start by saying I haven’t used anything other than bucket of water or a hose pipe to clean my bikes, so I cannot compare to other portable washers on the market and this review is purely on my experience so far.

The OC3 is really small and compact. Easy to move around the bike and hold in one hand if you wish while spraying with the other.  This is partly because the tank only holds 4 litres of water which is OK, but a bit of squeeze for cleaning a bike thoroughly.

Its not a high pressure like you might expect from Karcher (and I don’t know what the other portable washers on the market deliver) but its certainly enough to get loose surface dirt and mud off.

Let some of your favourite bike cleaner soak in and it will shift a little more, but don’t expect miracles this certainly will not do the job of a good stiff brush especially if you have let some dirt dry on.

Operation is simple – one button for on and off and one nozzle with no adjustable spray settings. I can’t complain about this but I am sure some will.

Its takes a couple (3) hours to charge fully and the charge lasts plenty for you to clean a bike. Depending on how through you want to be I think the charge would be sufficient for you to clean “the worst” off two bikes before transporting them.

I’ve only used this a few times as thankfully the sun has started to shine in the UK and there has been much less bike cleaning required of late – I am sure this will come in really handy come the winter again. For now it will be used for the occasional clean of my bikes and maybe come to some use as we start to use the garden more – cleaning patio sets, BBQs etc. Updates as and when I get around to it…

My only complaint is the lack of 12v car charging adapter which is really important for a portable cleaner in my opinion.

There are plans for larger tanks, brushes and other accessories,  for more info go here on the Karcher website.

You can buy the OC3 in Halfords for £129 – http://www.halfords.com/motoring/car-cleaning/pressure-washers-hoses/karcher-oc3-portable-cleaner

 

Remember to use your British Cycling discount in Halfords!

 

Monday Morning Routine

Monday Morning Routine
First Thing First

I have a job that doesn’t involve riding bikes, fixing bikes, selling bikes or anything to do with bikes. But my first job on a Monday morning, once I’ve had breakfast and walked the dog is to have a brew and clean off the weekend’s mud.
Continue reading “Monday Morning Routine”

Support Your Local Trail Centre – NOW!

Support Your Local Trail Center

I am not sure of the full story behind the UK Bike Park closure on 28th February this year but I am sure it can only be down to cold hard cash.

This is sad news for riders and for what was the UK’s premier free ride and down hill bike park. Business rates, complying with health and safety standards, running uplifts and generally maintaining the trails costs money and unless we use these facilities they will close. Our hard earned cash is forever being spread thin between the rising costs of living and the desire to pimp our rides and wear the latest gear. But if we don’t spend our money paying for uplifts, car parks and on site cafe facilities these amazing places will close and fall to rack and ruin.

Cognation has recently brought us new trails in South Wales at Cwmcarn and last year opened Bike Park Wales. These are built at an average cost of £200k – £250k per trail and come with annual maintenance costs in excess of £50k per year per trail.

I hear complaints about the quality of the food at cafes, the rising price of car parks. I am guilty myself – after all its so much easier to take some food than to pay the higher prices at the trail centre! But next time you go – please buy a coffee or tea and slice of cake at least – it all helps and will keep our trail centres open; open for you and me!

Find a trail centre near to you to ride on iBikeRide

A Tale of Two Weekends (Pt 2)

Sunday MTB RideAfter last Sunday’s rapid dumping of the bike in the shed to go and get dry and warm I was greeted with possibly the dirtiest bike I have ever seen this morning. Cleaning the bike moments before embarking on a muddy ride seems a little counter intuitive but believe me it was a state.

It was so disgusting that I couldn’t bring myself to take a photo to share with you. It was embarrassing to say the least. However, its amazing what a little motivation and Muc-off can do. Within 10 mins or so the bike was in an acceptable condition to be seen in public. The chain, cassette and dérailleur were looking reasonably clean and some wet lube meant they would soon be clicking and running smoothly.  A quick start, 8am out of bed and 9am on the bike, meant that initially pedalling was a struggle but I soon warmed up.

Meeting some local riders for a muddy 30km was the last thing on my mind when I opened my eyes at 7.59am, but I had agreed to meet up and didn’t want to let the other guys down.

There were only 3 of us and we soon set about making it up as we went along. Shall we do this bit? What about going over there? Have we got time for that? You know the sort of thing. This is the beauty of a local ride on familiar trails – its easy to freestyle a little and add and take away from your plan (or lack of) as you go along. Some of the slower riders weren’t present so instead of hanging about and pacing the ride we were able to do a little more than is usual.

The conditions were atrocious. Mud tyres can only give you so much and in this part of Wiltshire we have a lot of clay that becomes treacherous in the wet. We dug in and climbed and slid around the local country side with a few sketchy moments and one off.

My Storm Control tyres have suffered from some inappropriate use over the summer – I should have taken them off – and have finally had their day. This didn’t help with grip and mud shedding.  Though I found that even the most mud packed tyre, clogged gears and tired legs can still sprint up a hill when pursued by some rather interested cows.

Again I ended up with cold feet – not wet as I had the longer socks on. I put this down to the summer Specialized SPD shoes I have been wearing. They are of leather and mostly suede construction and just soak up the water, and in this weather cold water retained in shoes and socks doesn’t help.

We stopped for a tea and some chocolate brownies at The Divine Cafe in Cherhill and I decided that I will buy some over shoes rather than buying some new shoes just yet. As well as some new mud tyres.

Back at home I gave the bike a thorough clean and lube which made me feel good and the bike is ready for my next ride…

A tale of two weekends (Pt 1)

Muddy bikes in Lacock
I haven’t written a blog post in a while so I figured it was about time I updated you very patient people and let you know what’s been going on.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago (Must Try Harder) I have been slacking a little, and apart from the off burst of riding I haven’t been out as much as I’d ideally like. This hasn’t changed greatly but I have had a few local rides in the last week or so.

Last Friday I decided it was time for a cold wet commute to work on the bike. It had been a full week since riding and getting up early on a work day to cycle to work cross country requires a little effort. Once up and out the legs push, the wheels turn and its all good. Though it wasn’t all good.

Having had some sketchy moments recently on slippery mud and clay and I had decided to lower the tyre pressure a little (on my 29er) with the expectation that I would gain a little extra grip. Well will extra grip comes extra drag, requiring more effort and a tired Tim. My time to get to work didn’t take much longer than usual, but it did require more effort to keep the pace I knew I needed so as not to be late.

Come 5 o’clock it was time to prepare for the return journey. Magic shine lights at the ready it was time to tackle the dark ride home. Oh and it was raining… The effort didn’t feel too bad, I had tried to eat well though out the day so I was more than prepared for the effort. What I wasn’t prepared for was the mysterious and elusive puncture I had half way home.

The Green Lane descent into Avebury was hard work with the rear end of the bike sliding around particularly more than usual. It wasn’t until I got to the bottom did I spot the reason. The tyre had very little air in it – time to check for holes! I couldn’t find a puncture. Even by the bright lights of my torch and bike I couldn’t find it at all. Was it the valve? So I pumped up the tyre and pedalled on. After 10 mins I realised it was well on its way down again. Time for another check, as I still had about 10k to go.

Still no sign of any tube damage, the valve seemed ok and I also couldn’t find any thorns or evidence of a puncture anywhere. I decided rather than to risk putting a fresh tube in and have that damaged by the same thorn or whatever had caused it, I would take it steady, pump the tyre as hard as I could and make it home stages, pumping the tyre every 15 mins or so.

It took me 2 hours, approximately 40 mins longer than it should have. I was annoyed.

Saturday was a busy day, so it was Sunday lunch time before I got the bike out again to meet a friend for a long ride. Needless to say I found the puncture in the day light and fixed it all within 5 mins. Lesson: the lower tyre pressure had caused two problems. It made the pedalling harder and it caused a pinch flat that I just couldn’t spot in the dark.

Muddy grounds, blue skies

The ride on Sunday was great. A muddy climb and single track trudge to start with made up for by the great blue skies. A burst along the road and down to the beautiful village of Lacock for a hot sausage roll at the bakery was reward for the first half of the ride. What followed was my first mistake of the day. For fun we decided to ride through the ford which is only about 8 inches deep and shouldn’t be a problem for a prepared rider. However my ankle length SealSkins that had been great in the wet grass suddenly became woefully less than perfect for the job once the river water got in!

The second half of the ride included a some newly regenerated canal towpath and the old railway line, now a cycle track, from Chippenham to Calne. One more deep section of water later and my feet were well and truly sodden! The temperature had dropped and the cold wet socks weren’t going to dry out on their own.

After 45k we made it back to the start as it was just getting dark. A good ride with a good friend ruined slightly by my lack of preparation. I left the bike in a muddy state, stripped my clothes and headed for the shower…