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Old 08-09-06, 12:57 PM   #1
euroford
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recomended grease, BB/Hubs/Headset

i imagine my mid 80's Bianchi has probobly not had a proper bearing service in years, if ever. So, thats this weekends project. title says it all, what grease do you recomend?
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Old 08-09-06, 01:21 PM   #2
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I use plain good old white lithium grease... comes in convenient squeeze tubes, costs a buck or two at any hardware store. Keep in mind that you may want to replace the ball bearings as well, should be a few bucks at a bike shop... the bottom bracket and rear hub are nearly always 1/4" balls, the others vary a bit in size.

White lithium grease works well for most bike uses. Some people prefer the Phil Wood or Pedro's greases, but they just seem like a fancier, more expensive version of the same thing to me. When aluminum and steel parts are mated together (e.g. pedal threads in crank, stem in fork steerer, etc. etc), some people use anti-seize compound to keep them from getting stuck together, but grease works quite well for that purpose also.

PS- You may also want to overhaul the bearings in your pedals if you feel they need it. They're cup and cone bearings of the same type as the hubs, headset, and BB.
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Old 08-09-06, 02:00 PM   #3
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The conventional wisdom, if you want to save money, is to use a water-resistant marine wheel bearing grease (e.g. Lubrimatic). You can get a 1 lb tub for about $4, which should last pretty much forever for most home mechanics. Or else just get whatever bike-specific brand is on sale, or has the prettiest label, or anything else that turns you on. I don't think it makes that much difference in a bicycle application, except that ideally it should be water resistant. The bike-specific stuff might cost a little more but, unless you are constantly overhauling multiple bikes it should last you for years so it's really not that big of a deal.
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Old 08-09-06, 02:01 PM   #4
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I use Phil Wood waterproof grease. White lithium is a good choice if you live in a realtively dry and dust free area. It's been my experience that white lithium, while lighter and somewhat less "sticky", gets dirty or corrupted too fast. Phil wears better IMHO.

SGS
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Old 08-09-06, 02:12 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Sea Green Sky
I use Phil Wood waterproof grease. White lithium is a good choice if you live in a realtively dry and dust free area. It's been my experience that white lithium, while lighter and somewhat less "sticky", gets dirty or corrupted too fast. Phil wears better IMHO.

SGS
Gotcha. I live in Maryland where it's quite humid and definitely not dry and dusty, so maybe that's why I've had such good luck with white lithium grease.

euroford: By the way, if you don't already have a degreaser (which you'll surely need for cleaning up a bike that hasn't been serviced in 20 years), you can use Simple Orange which is a non-toxic biodegradable degreaser that works better than the bike-specific green stuff they have at my campus bike co-op.
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Old 08-09-06, 02:26 PM   #6
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I tend to agree with Metaluna regarding bike specific grease---it costs a bit more, but I only go through a tube in a year's time at the very most. I like Phil Wood grease for bearings and such, but I'll use a cheaper, thicker type for lubing seatposts, bolts, etc.

I do NOT like the chartreuse-colored Shimano grease. The consistency is too thin, watery and spongy(?) for me.
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Old 08-09-06, 02:36 PM   #7
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thanks for the tips yall. i'll give the white lithium a try, i actually already have some laying around for car purposes. pedals should be fine as they are brand new. I have some good degreaser as well, i'll surely need plenty of it.

if the bearings need replacement, is this the kind of item my LBS should have laying around?
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Old 08-09-06, 02:42 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by euroford
if the bearings need replacement, is this the kind of item my LBS should have laying around?
Absolutely! Any decent LBS should have a full stock of bearings. If you're unsure how decide whether the ball bearings or races are pitted and need replacement, look at Sheldon Brown's guide to bearing adjustment.

Some LBS's charge unreasonable amounts for ball bearings... one of the local ones charges 4 cents for a grade 25 ball (almost as cheap as buying bulk), while another charges 50 cents for each ball (ridiculously expensive). Nashbar sells grade 25 bearings, as do biketoolsetc.com...
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Old 08-09-06, 02:50 PM   #9
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...and Loosescrews.com, who has the best price I have found for grade 25 bearings. Be aware that grade 25 is the best--I went into my LBS to buy some bearings, and the so-called mechanic cheerfully said "We have grade 200!! That's even a higher grade!!" I tried to break it to him gently, that the number refers to the tolerance, and therefore a lower number means a higher grade. He didn't take it too well...
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Old 08-09-06, 04:58 PM   #10
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When I got out of high school my dad gave me a 5 gallon can (yes, metal can) of wheel bearing grease. It's been used on VWs, Chevy Vegas, Jag XK 120s, Sunbeam Alpine Tigers, '67 Mustangs, Ford Escorts, Mazda pick-ups, Plymouth K-cars, Dodge Dakotas and Intrepids, Ford F-150s, a '44 Jeep, and every bearing on every bike I've ever owned including the Atala I've been riding since '73 or so. Still 3/4 full......
Top
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Old 08-09-06, 06:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by top506

When I got out of high school my dad gave me a 5 gallon can (yes, metal can) of wheel bearing grease. It's been used on VWs, Chevy Vegas, Jag XK 120s, Sunbeam Alpine Tigers, '67 Mustangs, Ford Escorts, Mazda pick-ups, Plymouth K-cars, Dodge Dakotas and Intrepids, Ford F-150s, a '44 Jeep, and every bearing on every bike I've ever owned including the Atala I've been riding since '73 or so. Still 3/4 full......
Top
Here son, your great grandfather gave your grandfather this can of grease, at that time it was worth about $4, now you could use it, or sell the gallon or so left on E-bay for $4,000,000 since it contains petroleum, which we haven't seen in 20 years.
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Old 08-09-06, 07:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wogsterca
Here son, your great grandfather gave your grandfather this can of grease, at that time it was worth about $4, now you could use it, or sell the gallon or so left on E-bay for $4,000,000 since it contains petroleum, which we haven't seen in 20 years.
Quite droll.....
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Old 08-09-06, 07:52 PM   #13
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What is it about lubrication threads that brings out the weirdos?

The best grease is new grease (any!); more important is to adjust the bearings correctly.

Take that, ya weirdos!
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Old 08-09-06, 10:13 PM   #14
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+1 on the Lubrimatic Marine Wheel Bearing Grease.

Cheap, reliable and all-around good grease. It has the additional property of being moisture and water resistant. Just get a one pound container, put a little bit in an empty film cannister, and use from there so as to prevent the contamination of the big tub.

Available at The Home Depot for about $3 or so.

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Old 08-10-06, 02:31 PM   #15
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Here, where I work, we trust multi-million dollar machines to lithium complex #2 grease from whatever supplier has won the contract, and they all work the same. Any reputable company makes a good lubricant and a #2 grease is a #2 grease. Current vendor is She**, previously Mob**, Tex*** Cast***. Honestly, a quality lube is good. What defines the lube is the additive package and that is pretty much the same from supplier to supplier. If there was a standout, the rest would be out of business. Just like chain lubes, (Oh boy, here we go) the purpose of the lube is three fold. One, reduce sliding friction. Two, carry heat away from the bearing surfaces, in a chain this is the pin and roller assembly. Thirdly, to carry contaminants away from the rolling elements, again the pins and rollers. That is why I like to use a light oil. The homebrew concoction of one part oil and three parts mineral spirits as a vehicle is just fine. My personal choice, I know many disagree and that is fine. This is what I like to use.
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Old 08-10-06, 11:35 PM   #16
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+1 on the Lubrimatic Marine Wheel Bearing Grease.

Cheap, reliable and all-around good grease. It has the additional property of being moisture and water resistant. Just get a one pound container, put a little bit in an empty film cannister, and use from there so as to prevent the contamination of the big tub.

Available at The Home Depot for about $3 or so.

Regards,
Seconded. In the UK Shell (I know, I know) produce an equivalent - they appear to have purchased the formula from the company that used to make the grease that was traded to cyclists as 'Black Gold' and to the mariners as soemthing else. It's like slippy glue.
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Old 08-10-06, 11:48 PM   #17
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Apparently good mechanical grease was hard to come by at some point in the past few decades... I saw an Old Sturmey-Archer manual that recommends using lard or butter to grease the bearings of a 3-speed hub!! Sounds delicious

If we ever run out of petroleum and the price of good old white lithium grease tubes skyrockets, I'll remember Sturmey-Archer's advice.
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Old 08-11-06, 06:06 AM   #18
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I like the PROGOLD products; especially the the ProLink Chain lubricant.

Slick as snot on a door knob

http://www.progoldmfr.com/products/EPX-cycle.html
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Old 08-11-06, 09:58 AM   #19
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=
Slick as snot on a door knob

...By golly.


This isn't an Astroglide commercial.
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Old 08-11-06, 05:14 PM   #20
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...By golly.


This isn't an Astroglide commercial.

But that would probably work too, if you overhauled your bottom bracket often enough!
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Old 08-11-06, 10:41 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LUCAS
+1 on the Lubrimatic Marine Wheel Bearing Grease.

Cheap, reliable and all-around good grease. It has the additional property of being moisture and water resistant. Just get a one pound container, put a little bit in an empty film cannister, and use from there so as to prevent the contamination of the big tub.

Available at The Home Depot for about $3 or so.

Regards,
Would not all grease basically be water resistant?
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Old 08-12-06, 08:26 AM   #22
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got the job done last night, thanks for all of your help everybody!
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Old 08-12-06, 11:53 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oilman_15106
Would not all grease basically be water resistant?
Well, some are more water-resistant than others. A grease compound formulated for marine wheel bearing use, I am sure you'll agree, definitely won't lack in moisture/water-resistant qualities. I am not a grease chemist, nor am I an engineer, but Lubrimatic Marine Wheel Bearing grease has always worked well for me re: my bicycling maintenance needs.

I remember also reading somewhere a while back that the off-shore petroleum exploration industry likes grease that are very moisture and water-resistant. I took it from that article, that there are grease, and there are super moisture/water-resistant grease.

I live and ride close to the ocean, hence my insistence on using marine wheel bearing grease. It is also cheap and effective.

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Old 08-14-06, 06:22 PM   #24
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I like the Parks grease. It is nice and sticky and holds the ball bearings in place really well.
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