Getting your motorcycle cleaned is not an easy task. Whether you decide to do it yourself or give it to a washing centre, each option comes with its own set of problems.
If you're doing it yourself, you could opt for an electrically powered high-pressure washer. Although quite a few options are available in the market, they retail from around Rs 15,000 which does make them an expensive one-time investment. Now, they are lightweight, easily portable and very user-friendly. However, they need both an electrical and a water connection to function. Also, being a high-pressure unit, one has to operate it with utmost care and precaution.
And at a washing centre, you'll have to not only wait for your turn but also supervise the entire process so those hard-to-reach spots are cleaned properly. Either way, it will take at least 45 minutes to complete the wash and additionally, a substantial quantity of precious water will also be consumed.
So, this weekend, we decided to explore a different method of getting a motorcycle spic and span. We took a bike from our fleet to Express Bike Wash at R City mall in Ghatkopar, Mumbai.
As the name suggests, the machine is designed to get the job done quickly. However, the interesting bit is that it’s India’s first automatic motorcycle washing system. For the sticklers, you are separated from the washing area by a see-through glass panel and get to see the process, without getting drenched. Express Bike Wash is a smart 'plug and play’ machine with a water tank, consumable storage and a recycling unit. It is 3 metres long, 2 metres wide and 2.5 metres tall. It even comes with wheels, making it easy to move around.
This machine has been designed and manufactured in India by Entropy Innovations Pvt Ltd.
This machine actually completes washing a dusty motorcycle within 2 minutes. In fact, the quality of the wash is so good, the dusty TVS Apache RTR we brought along came out looking brand new.
The machine is not fully automatic because the many difficult-to-reach places like the insides of wheel arches necessitate some amount of manual intervention. There’s a handgun for this purpose which is an integrated part. The washing bay has a few oscillating nozzles for spraying water under the chassis. Currently, the machine has the capability of dispensing soap-based solutions. The company is working on integrating automatic foam dispensing, which is done manually at present. Even the drying process is not automated for now. The manufacturer is working on incorporating this, as well as automatic dispensing of wax and degreaser, in subsequent designs.
The doors ensure that the washing area remains enclosed and there’s no external leakage of water while the process is on. The only moment that water manages to escape is when the bike gets pulled out of the machine for drying.
Now, one wouldn’t expect a bike washing machine to conserve water. But the manufacturer felt that conservation of this precious resource should be given top priority. Also, since this machine is designed to be conveyable, the company didn’t want it to be reliant on an external water source. Hence, it gets two in-built water storage tanks – one for fresh water and the other for recycled water.
Getting your bike cleaned with recycled water does sound a bit unnerving at first, as the impurities could affect the paint. However, upon being informed that a few major OEMs have tested the machine’s recycled water quality and certified it as fit-for-use, we were at ease. The fresh water tank has a capacity of 200 litres, while the recycled water tank can hold 500 liters.
Usually, the fresh water gets refilled twice in a day, and the recycled water gets flushed out two days later. Since biodegradable chemicals and oil from the motorcycle are present, the water goes through multiple layers of water recycling. First is the level suppression where the mud or sand gets deposited in one particular section. Then the water gets transferred to another section where the oil and grease are separated.
At the final stage, the water will have a slightly muddy appearance but is free of any suspended impurities. The initial cleaning is done using recycled water, while for the final flushing, around 2-4 litres of fresh water is used. The company claims that there have been no issues of water affecting the electrical bits. It says that the pressurised hand guns used at authorised service centres operate at up to 150 bars, while this machine is at 40 bars pressure.
Initially, the company was open to offering the machine on rent but not anymore. It is primarily targeting authorised service centres for outright sale and private operators as franchisees. The machine is operational at two popular two-wheeler authorised serviced centres in Mumbai. Previously, the washing job at those outlets was manually done and they took in 80-90 bikes per day. Since the machine has been installed, the service centre takes in around 150 motorcycles on a daily basis with the same level of quality, while utilising less resources and at a lower operational cost.
A service centre is said to spend around Rs 30 on every manually washed two-wheeler (including soap, water, electricity and labour cost). In comparison, the Express Bike Wash machine reduces it to just Rs 7 per bike.
“I see more value in the B2B segment and the authorised service centres. This year, we are planning to set up 25 franchise outlets to begin with. But the potential of the B2B segment is something that we cannot even imagine, as it is huge. We are aggressively targeting major service centres of all two-wheeler brands,” said Niraj Taksande, co-founder of Entropy Innovations. Procuring this machine, either as on outright sale or as a franchise, would require one to spend a minimum amount of around Rs 10 lakh and the cost will increase depending on the customisation requirement.
Subjecting your motorcycle to an Express Bike Wash will not only transform your dusty motorcycle into a brand-new looking example, but also help conserve a good amount of water in the process. Additionally, the job will be completed within 2 minutes and will lighten your wallet by just Rs 50. If it still seems too good to be true, we suggest you visit the RCity mall and witness the prowess of this machine for yourself.