Written by Alan Starrett Monday, 17 September 2007 00:00
When I first saw the Nomad Dirtworker Portable Pressure Cleaner I could see the potential and knew I had to try one out. I got one in time to use at a few of the mid-summer mountain bike races but what I really aspired to do was put through its paces during the cyclocross season.
The concept and construction is pretty straightfoward. It is a completely self-contained unit comprised of a thick walled 3 gallon plastic water container with a 12 volt pump sealed in the bottom of the container. The pump is powered by the included 10 foot, 12 volt cigarette lighter power cord. The pressurized water is delivered via a 20 foot kink free hose with quick disconnects and an adjustable spray nozzle. Pressure at the nozzle is reportedly 90 psi (I haven't measured it) and a full 3 gallon tank will run for a continuous 10 minutes.
In the past I have always used the old standby Coleman SunShower from WalMart for after race cleanup. It is low tech and cheap but works provided you don't need any pressure and you have a place to hang it. No pressure I can deal with if I am just cleaning myself off but the hanging part can be a little more problematic. This is where the Dirtworker really shines.
The first MTB race I used it at I sat on the bumper of my van after the race, flipped the switch and leisurely sprayed off my legs. And arms. And face. And head. And bike. And anything else I felt like. 90 psi and a 20 foot hose gives you a lot of options. A lot more options than the old SunShower. And so it went, the deal was done. The poor SunShower was relegated to the basement and the Dirtworker was a regular fixture in my van.
I finally had the opportunity to use it at a cross race a couple weeks ago and if it was possible to reaffirm its value it did. The race was not what I would call a mudfest but it was what I would call greasy. Fairly typical for a rainy September day in New England. The type of race that leaves a decent film of sand and sod all over bike and body. There was some talk about a public hose not being available but it was not a concern of mine. I sat on the bumper of my van, fired up the trusty Dirtworker and went about cleaning myself up. When I was done with myself there was plenty of water left so I hosed off my bikes and put them in the van clean. No lines, no waiting. It was on this day that I can attest that I did get a full 10 minutes out of the 3 gallons. Speaking of bikes I was proudly displaying my brand new Salsa Chili Con Crossos but what was drawing all the attention was the Dirtworker. People walked right on past the bikes as I was cleaning up and said "What is that?" "Where is the power coming from?" "Where is the water coming from?" I was more than happy to oblidge and pimp my new favorite gadget.
Now 90 psi water pressure may seem like a lot but it is not a ton. It is a whole heck of lot more than what you would get out of a SunShower though, even if you stood on it. It is not enough to pressure wash your house but it will get you and your bike clean as well as irrigate a bloody, dirt filled abrasion on your knee, which I actually did at the 2nd cross race I took it to.
If you need more than 10 minutes you can carry along extra water or refill it anywhere you can find a clean water source. I have yet to try filling it in a gas station bathroom sink but I will let you know when I do. With its portablity I have considered toting it to the pits along with a 12 volt battery pack at those super muddy cross races. I have one of those cheesy 12 volt air compressor / power supply rigs that I tuck away in the van and it powers it up fine. Now that would be a dope setup, I just need to find a sucker, errr, friend to stand in the pits and hose off my bikes for me during the race.
So, as you may have figured out I am a big fan of the Dirtworker. 5 hairy Bikeman heads for you dear Dirtworker. I almost kicked it down to 4 becuase at first I was hoping for a little more pressure but c'con, it does all that it needs to. Initially the price tag of $145 seemed a bit steep as well but the first time you use it you will know it is worth it.
|Dirtworker Portable Pressure Cleaner: Portable pressure cleaner generates 90 psi of pressure to safely wash you and your gear. Powered by 12V power port of any vehicle - 10’ cord length. Large three-gallon capacity holds enough water to run for a continuous 10 minutes....|
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