Bicycle Mechanics - Does any grease work for bike bearings?
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07-25-09, 11:10 AM
Question as above. I'm wondering because I seem to have pretty regular problems with tires rotating hard to the point of having to redo the bearings. This is some point after I redo the bearings and have the wheel spin satisfactorily afterwards (cones not too tight or loose). When I redo the bearings, I find the most/all of the grease has worked its way into the middle of the hub and onto the axle, and there is very little of it in the bearing races.
So I'm wondering the question as in the title. I know the grease is on the older side, as well, so could it possibly just be too dry and is not viscous enough for the job at hand?
hmmm, I dunno know! I do know that I've use Mobil 1 grease for years on my bearings and never had any problems.
You really want to use a water "proof" grease like Phil Woods or marine grease.
07-25-09, 12:01 PM
I've found this on my bike also. The grease gets "pushed" out from the balls. The characteristic you're asking about is called the "tackiness" of the grease. When buying grease you should research the specifications on line to find the one that meets your needs.
Different bearings require different types of greases. It's hard to find a "one size fits all" grease - what works great for headsets obviously isn't optimum for wheel hubs. The closest one I've found is an aluminum complex, disc brake automotive grease that was made by CATO. I was given an half-used can from an old friend, and that stuff was fantastic! Too bad it's not made anymore, though you might find some in some retired mechanics garage sale.
07-25-09, 12:08 PM
I would stay away from bacon grease.
Actually, I'm not sure what you meant about "old grease" but what kind of mileage are you getting on your bearings before overhaul? Sheldon explains this pretty well, that even just slightly too tight can cause premature wear on the bearings.
I've used Pedro's Syn Grease, Finish Line Teflon, and Generic Marine Grease, and I can't tell a difference, wear or performance. If it is waterproof you should be fine. And, I use that same grease in my BB, headset, etc.
If your grease is "old" as in, you've left it in your hub, than clean it out more thoroughly.
Oh, and by the by, spring the extra dollar, and get some Grade25's.
07-25-09, 12:53 PM
If in doubt - don't use it. This is in reference to automotive products. Some of them work - some of them can harden into plastic. Marine grease, made for lubricating things that will be in, or under, water is good stuff. Finish Line Teflon-based grease is excellent and very long-lasting. Phil Wood is good - but way expensive. But if you're not going into greasing things as a steady occupation - never mind the money. Get some good grease from a bike-store, or internet-store, made for bicycles.
I use 3 different greases at present - for different applications. For the longest-lasting, I use Finish Line or any Teflon-based grease.
07-25-09, 11:42 PM
Actually, I'm not sure what you meant about "old grease" but what kind of mileage are you getting on your bearings before overhaul?
By "old grease", I mean grease that's been sitting on the shelf a while. As for mileage, I'm not getting much at all, if any. I noticed the crank to be hard to turn and the wheel not coasting at all after redoing a wheel and having the bike sit.
Part of why I ask is what I find if I were to open up the hub is that most of the grease will have worked its way to the hub/axle, and all that is left is nothing different than if I just spread a bunch of chain oil in it.
By "old grease", I mean grease that's been sitting on the shelf a while.
Over time, the oil suspended in the soap seperates and ends up in the bottom of the tub. You could try to stir it together again, but purchacing a fresh batch would be your best bet.
07-26-09, 01:07 PM
I greased the threads on a hub made for freewheels. I used a Teflon-based grease that is about the same as Finish Line. Then I rode the blazes out of it - and then put it in storage for 10 or so years. Then I dug the wheel out of storage and rode it silly again.
So about 15 years later, I pronounced the wheel as "retired." As it had a Campagnolo hub, I disassembled the wheel. The hub was/is in excellent condition - YAY CAMPY!! I had to remove the freewheel first, of course. After all those years, I surmised I was in for the "Fight Of My Life" to get the old Suntour freewheel off the hub. But it came off nice & easy.
The old Teflon-based grease was still there - and was as fresh as the day I first applied it. Hence I still use Teflon-based grease for longevity in bearings and other areas of the bicycle that are under high-pressure/tension.
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