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#4528968 - 09/29/17 01:05 AM Grease for bicycles
tronstein Offline

Registered: 09/24/17
Posts: 3
Loc: Ohio
Hello everyone. I was googling some things about grease and found this forum, so I thought it might be a good place to bring up some topics that I haven't found answers to.
I'm a bicycle mechanic, and through the years of working in the cycling industry I've always liked to dabble in other mechanical hobbies and learn about different trades. I recently got to thinking about the role of lubricants in cycling applications. I figured it would do me some good in my trade if I better understood lubricants rather than just the classic "wet" and "dry" lubes for chains.

There are 4 main moving parts on a bicycle that require lubrication: the hub bearings, the headset bearings, the bottom bracket bearings, and the chain. Not to be dismissive, but I'm not too worried about those parts. The bearings on a bicycle aren't subjected to high temperatures, high loads, or excessive rpms.

So my questions has to do with non-moving parts. We use a lot of grease for threaded fittings and close fitting components (like the seatpost sliding inside the seat-tube). Wouldn't it technically be better to use an anti-seize lubricant for this purpose, rather than grease? I'd say the big reasons for greasing these parts are to avoid galling, oxidation, or corrosion from 1). dissimilar metal contact, 2). rain, snow, and salt, and 3). customers' sweat.

All of this thinking came about when I got a new grease gun and was trying to decide what to put in it. My other one already has my favorite bearing grease in it, and I got to thinking if another grease for the above applications was really the best solution. Anyway, I hope I can learn some things here. Thanks.

#4528978 - 09/29/17 01:51 AM Re: Grease for bicycles [Re: tronstein]
Reddy45 Online   shocked

Registered: 08/15/08
Posts: 2561
Loc: USA
I would say you are onto something, but it also seems like the various parts of a bicycle get regular touch/exposure so would you want a very viscous and glittery anti-seize to get on your hands or on the clothes (as a bicycle rider)?
2015 Toyota Tacoma V6 4X4

#4529004 - 09/29/17 04:23 AM Re: Grease for bicycles [Re: tronstein]
Rolla07 Online   content

Registered: 11/05/11
Posts: 4574
I wonder if a simple spraydown with a rust proofing oil would be the answer? Light oil coating to prevent rust and add slight lubrication ability? Im not too familar with bikes but is lubricaton really that important on where a bike seat slides in?
2007 Corolla Red Pearl 151k miles
Castrol Magnatec 0w20 & Napa Proselect

#4529101 - 09/29/17 07:37 AM Re: Grease for bicycles [Re: Rolla07]
fenixguy Offline

Registered: 02/08/17
Posts: 306
Loc: NC
Originally Posted By: Rolla07
Im not too familar with bikes but is lubricaton really that important on where a bike seat slides in?

If you ever had to take out one that was rust-seized then you'd understand. Plus, it makes it easier to make minor seat height adjustments from time to time.

Anyway, OP I'm sure you have much, much more experience with this than I do. I'm just a casual rider that likes to maintain my bikes like I do my cars... Anyway, I would think the seat post and other points would just get whatever grease is going in the bearings so you don't have to keep two kinds of grease. That being said, I just recently got acquainted with Fluid Film and that will be my go-to lube/rustproofing for everything except bearings. I've read about some riders (motorcycles included) that have used it on their chains/cassettes when riding in wet or salty conditions.
'16 Frontier SV 4x4-PP/Nissan OEM
'08 CR-V EX AWD-Valvoline Syn MaxLife/Fram TG
'01 Civic EX-Valvoline Syn MaxLife/Fram UG
'00 Civic LX-PYB/Fram UG

#4529161 - 09/29/17 08:38 AM Re: Grease for bicycles [Re: tronstein]
buck91 Offline

Registered: 04/17/12
Posts: 2389
Loc: West Michigan
I've always used grease for seatposts and the like, most frequently Phil Wood (although we used Polylube for EVERYTHNG when I worked at a shop). Only problems I've ever had were from un-greased seatposts which were never moved in 20 years. Or slipping seatposts from poor tolerances and/or carbon fiber.

That said, I do like anti seize for BB threads. I have seen a number of those get pretty rough. Plus it usually keeps the squeaks at bay better; especially if the bike gets used in very wet conditions. Although my last build (actually a frame swap) seems to be the exception as it started creaking on the second trail ride :rollseyes:
2011 F150 4x4 5.0L
1996 Mustang GT 5spd/ragtop

#4529191 - 09/29/17 09:05 AM Re: Grease for bicycles [Re: tronstein]
Kestas Offline

Registered: 06/04/02
Posts: 12173
Loc: The Motor City
If there are rust issues on a bicycle, then the owner is abusing it by storing it outside. Bicycles should be stored indoors. My bicycle is 39 years old and it has no serious rust issues except cosmetically on the frame and some pitting on the rims.

I don't see a lot of wholesale use of bicycles in the rain here as in other countries.

The worst I've had to deal with is galling in threaded aluminum parts.

#4529642 - 09/29/17 05:57 PM Re: Grease for bicycles [Re: tronstein]
nthach Offline

Registered: 01/02/04
Posts: 3515
Loc: California
I've always used anti-seize on bottom brackets, pedal threads and bottle cage/rack eyelet bolts. Almost always those will be steel going into aluminum and the risk of galvanic corrosion is always there. Especially if the bike will see rain or if it's going to be raced.

As a matter of fact, PraxisWorks/Enduro/Wheels Mfg require a good copper-based anti-seize like Loctite C5-A to be used on their retrofit bottom brackets that use a collet to expand into a BB30/PF30/Specialized OSBB shell to help solve the problems inherent to those.

If you're dealing with carbon seatposts, technically nothing is to be used unless it's going into a carbon frame. Practice with carbon is to use grip paste, which is more or less a light grease with plastic or silica microbeads. I've greased carbon seatposts in the past and anything works. Even horrible Polylube.

#4529716 - 09/29/17 07:20 PM Re: Grease for bicycles [Re: tronstein]
tronstein Offline

Registered: 09/24/17
Posts: 3
Loc: Ohio
Thanks for the input, everyone. As a couple of you mentioned, I do sometimes use anti-seize on bottom bracket threads. But Reddy45 brought up a great point about anti-seize being really messy. I guess the thought that I had in mind was what if someone who didn't know much about bikes or common bike mechanic practices, but knew everything there is to know about lubricants/greases/anti-seizes was asked what to use for those applications? What would they choose? Again, grease has never let me down for those slip-fit and threaded interfaces, and bicycles probably aren't subjected to as much abuse as many other applications/industries, but I was curious if anti-seize or something else would be technically better than grease.

#4529964 - 09/30/17 02:33 AM Re: Grease for bicycles [Re: tronstein]
NYEngineer Offline

Registered: 12/12/06
Posts: 1429
Loc: NY, NY
I have and build quite a few fat bikes. I do custom builds a few times per year. Since these get ridden in sand and snow and 99% off road, they need to lubed properly.
I really like Finish Line Premium Grease. WAY better than Park Tool's grease. It works on seat posts and bottom bracket threads and also in bearings.
I lube chains with Phil Wood Tenacious Oil most of the year. If the bike is going to see a lot of beach riding, I switch to Finish LIne dry lube so sand is less likely to stick to the chain.
In the freehub pawls I like to mix the Finish Line grease with a little Tenacious oil. Works great.

#4531885 - 10/02/17 09:19 AM Re: Grease for bicycles [Re: tronstein]
UG_Passat Offline

Registered: 05/27/08
Posts: 1851
Loc: NJ
For seat posts, there is a specific grease to use, called friction grease, so that you don't have to clamp down as hard on the bolt, causing potential damage.

my general grease is generic marine-grade grease. Why pay for the brand name when you don't have to?

#4534506 - 10/05/17 10:56 AM Re: Grease for bicycles [Re: tronstein]
Claud Offline

Registered: 02/11/14
Posts: 502
Loc: Margate England
Good old 3 in 1 oil works fine for my old all steel ol' reliable.


#4535106 - 10/06/17 03:41 AM Re: Grease for bicycles [Re: UG_Passat]
tronstein Offline

Registered: 09/24/17
Posts: 3
Loc: Ohio
UG_Passat, I would only use friction past when one or both of the surfaces are carbon.

#4535200 - 10/06/17 07:57 AM Re: Grease for bicycles [Re: tronstein]
UG_Passat Offline

Registered: 05/27/08
Posts: 1851
Loc: NJ
Originally Posted By: tronstein
UG_Passat, I would only use friction past when one or both of the surfaces are carbon.

It works for aluminum seat posts in aluminum frames also. I had a constantly slipping seatpost on my MTB, which eventually when I put the friction paste on, it no longer slipped.