Powerful, portable cleaner with a large capacity tank
Dec 21 2018
Tools - portable
Enough water to wash two bikes fairly well
Good water flow and pattern in 'high' power mode
Rugged and portable with no cables required
Coiling up the hose to store is a faff
Heavy once full
you want a quality washer that removes mud quickly and can be taken anywhere... in a vehicle
The Bosch Fontus Cordless Washer is a large capacity, battery powered cleaner that you can take to the trails, providing you have room in your vehicle and you are strong enough to heft it around! The Fontus is an adept cleaner that will have your bike clean in no time, it just comes at a rather princely price of £269, potentially making this a luxury rather than a necessity for most.
The Fontus is a pretty large, fully portable washer that can use its 15L capacity clean one very dirty bike very well or two dirty bikes adequately. For the record ‘cleaning adequately’ consists of rinse down, hose switched off, bike wash applied, hose switched on and rinse off.
The unit is self contained, meaning the water, hose, nozzles and water are all packaged into the washer you see here, it's not small but it is neatly done, with the large amount of water taking up most of the space. The whole thing measures 645 x 395 x 320mm, so it’ll happily stand in the boots of all vans and most estate cars. It’s pretty sturdy too, ours never fell over in transit. Talking of stability the wheels on the washer are good for dragging this thing about over any terrain, it feels well made and robust. There is a ‘suitcase style’ extendable drag handle on the top for that sort of manoeuvring. It's no lightweight, at nearly 10kg empty, it takes some muscles to lift in and out of cars and vans but it's not impossible and well worth the effort.
The Fontus is powered by a removable Bosch battery which tucks under a sealed flap at the rear of the cleaner which gives about 60 minutes of run time. We managed to dispense two full tanks and wash four bikes using the highest power spray before the battery was dead. Tha batter is quick to charge taking a little over an hour, but if you have anther Bosch ‘Power for ALL lithium-ion cordless battery’ at home you can just swap it out and go again. There is no option to plug this into a 12v supply should the btattery run out though.
There is a filter in the tank so you can top up from a stream or other questionable water source 'on the go' but the water tank isn't removable so how you get said stream water to the tank is anyone's guess, we used an old 5L water bottle.
You can set the water to flow from 1.5 to 3.1 litres a minute over three modes. I chose to keep the washer set in high whilst using the flat spray setting for all the bike cleaning duties, the spray is decent but not so strong that you are going to rid your bike of grease. The flat spray (check out the video below) is perfect for cleaning of dirt and grime in one foul swoop.
The washer hose is plenty long enough and can be completely unattached from the washer for storage. This is where my only niggle with the washer comes in, to store the hose you need to manually coil/fold it up and feed it down behind the retaining plastic at the rear of the washer. It’s a right fiddle especially when the hose and your hands are stiff and cold, get it wrong or don’t do it neatly enough and the hose doesn’t stay in place. It’d be nice to see a fitting around which to coil the hose and clip or fix it in place.
At £269 the Fontus isn’t cheap, but if you are after a powerful washer that doesn’t need to be plugged into a cigarette lighter to take with you to the trailhead or use at home then it’s well worth a look. It’s the large 15L capacity, along with the sleek way that it is packaged that is this products trump card.
There are others on the market that compete with the Fontus, such as the Nomad 18V which is a tad cheaper at £189 and good for rinsing my coleagues tell me and there is also Mobi V-17 with a 17L water tank and a rechargeable battery at just £99. Our editor Jon has seen a Mobi in action though and didn’t exactly sing its praises where the power is concerned. There’s also the Karcher OC3 portable cleaner but that only has a four litre tank which our tester needed to refil or the WORX Cordless Hydroshot Pressure Cleaner but that requires a separate water source which might not be so easily transportable. There is also the likes of the Rinsekit which works under pressure created from the tap on filling unit we have tested previously, but this lacked consistent power.
For me, it’s a ‘luxury’ product to own but once you have used one, it a luxury you probably won’t want to be without. It’s not the smallest or lightest cleaner but the offset here is that you can clean two bikes well or one bike very well with the minimum of hassle.
Rachael is happiest on two wheels, she's been riding bikes for a good few years now after horses got too expensive! Partial to a race or two Rachael also likes getting out into the hills with a big bunch of mates. She's been writing - for publications such as Mountain Biking UK and Flow magazine - for as long as she's been riding and is equally happy getting stuck into a kit review as she is creating stories.