Growing up working in bike shops, there was usually a parts washer of some sort hidden in the back room. More often than not, it was some disgusting leftover from an automotive shop which you really didn’t want to use unless you absolutely had to, and even then you had better wear at least two pair of chemical resistant gloves. Even when aqueous parts washers started to become common place, the models I used either didn’t clean that well and still required a lot of manual scrubbing, or worse – damaged the finish of pricey bicycle components.
All of those reasons are part of the inspiration behind Renegade’s new TMB 5500 Automatic Top Load Solvent Free Parts Washer. Essentially a dishwasher for your bike parts, Renegade looks like they’re already making friends in the high end bike service industry…
Based on the video from Maplewood Bicycle in Missouri, cleaning parts with the TMB 5500 is as simple as loading them in the machine, closing and locking the lid and pressing start. Custom designed for the bicycle industry as well as small engine repair shops, the parts washer uses solvent free detergent that appears to be safe for the finish of bicycle parts yet easily breaks down grease, oil, and lubricants. Featuring a high pressure spray manifold and high temperature washes, the end result is a tank full of clean parts and waste water that falls in the same industrial waste category as mop water.
That means there are no hazardous chemicals, VOC’s, or solvent vapors to worry about for your shop, your employees, or your customers. Based on how well this thing appears to work, I’m second guessing all those hours and hours I spent scrubbing bike components by hand with a brush and a can of Speed Clean. However, it still probably won’t be for every shop as it’s most likely pretty expensive. Renegade says that they don’t publish prices and sell direct since the systems are usually customized and require consultation before a quote can be given. Even if it is thousands of dollars though, the time saved in cleaning and the boost in productivity to your service department may be worth it.