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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 09-04-06, 04:03 PM   #1
ASU
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Grease for headset/bottom bracket?

what kind grease should i use when repacking the bottom bracket and headset? Can i get it at an autoparts store?
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Old 09-04-06, 04:38 PM   #2
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White lithium grease works great (available at any auto parts store or hardware store). I've been using it for years with good results.

Many knowledgeable BF members prefer marine wheel bearing grease (used for boat trailers, and therefore designed to be highly waterproof), which a boat store would have, and a hardware store or auto store MIGHT have.

lawkd did some actual research into the quality and properties of various greases and decided that marine wheel bearing grease is as good as, if not better, than expensive bike-specific grease brands (such as Phil Wood and Pedro's). I can't find that thread, but it was recent...

This topic is one that has provoked many mindless flame wars on bikeforums. Hopefully I've included enough balance in this post to avert that?
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Old 09-04-06, 05:06 PM   #3
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thanks mox. should i look for the White lithium grease in a tube/can or what? thanks again!
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Old 09-04-06, 05:07 PM   #4
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Bike bearings are so lightly loaded compared to auto bearings that almost any grease will work OK. I just use what ever automotive wheel bearing grease I have in my shop.
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Old 09-04-06, 05:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASU
thanks mox. should i look for the White lithium grease in a tube/can or what? thanks again!
You can get it in several different forms: toothpaste-style tube that you can squeeze by hand, cartridge for a grease gun, or can.

Personally I prefer the toothpaste-style tubes, since they dispense the grease in a convenient way while preventing dirt from getting into the container. The cans do have an advnatge though: you can dip in a painbrush and apply grease to a seat tube or stem or bolt that you're trying to grease up, which is very convenient. But cans of grease tend to collect dirt, which isn't good when you're going to use it on bearings.
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Old 09-04-06, 05:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moxfyre
You can get it in several different forms: toothpaste-style tube that you can squeeze by hand, cartridge for a grease gun, or can.

Personally I prefer the toothpaste-style tubes, since they dispense the grease in a convenient way while preventing dirt from getting into the container. The cans do have an advnatge though: you can dip in a painbrush and apply grease to a seat tube or stem or bolt that you're trying to grease up, which is very convenient. But cans of grease tend to collect dirt, which isn't good when you're going to use it on bearings.
I used to use a popsicle stick, to dump some grease on a margarine tub lid, then apply from there, since the first stick, which is used only in the grease can, doesn't touch dirt, the can stayed clean. You can still get a pack of the sticks from a craft store......
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Old 09-04-06, 05:44 PM   #7
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I used to use a popsicle stick, to dump some grease on a margarine tub lid, then apply from there, since the first stick,
This is why you should just buy tubes as opposed to the tubs.
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Old 09-04-06, 06:31 PM   #8
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Tangentially, if you ride in nasty conditions, a Lizard Skins Headseal might be worth getting.
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Old 09-04-06, 07:52 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by mechBgon
Tangentially, if you ride in nasty conditions, a Lizard Skins Headseal might be worth getting.
I've seen those, but don't really "get" them... are they any more effective than simply wrapping a section of old inner tube around the headset?
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Old 09-04-06, 08:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moxfyre
I've seen those, but don't really "get" them... are they any more effective than simply wrapping a section of old inner tube around the headset?
Same idea, just easier to install.
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Old 09-05-06, 12:17 PM   #11
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Any grease is overkill for a bicycle for the reason Charles states. Having said that, I use CV joint grease because its cheap and comes in a tube, which is a lot handier than the tub O' grease.
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Old 09-05-06, 12:32 PM   #12
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I have the white lithium stuff in a spray can (!) and a tube. I'm afraid of bearings, though, so I can't say how good it is for those sorts of applications. (I use it on threads and such)
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Old 09-05-06, 03:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moxfyre
lawkd did some actual research into the quality and properties of various greases and decided that marine wheel bearing grease is as good as, if not better, than expensive bike-specific grease brands (such as Phil Wood and Pedro's). I can't find that thread, but it was recent...
And here it is! Good idea or bad?


Quote:
Originally Posted by moxfyre
This topic is one that has provoked many mindless flame wars on bikeforums. Hopefully I've included enough balance in this post to avert that?
Personally, I love these discussions of things like grease and chain lube. And Mox, I think you are one of the most balanced people here.
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Old 09-05-06, 09:07 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by San Rensho
Any grease is overkill for a bicycle for the reason Charles states. Having said that, I use CV joint grease because its cheap and comes in a tube, which is a lot handier than the tub O' grease.
Huh? So you're sincere belief is one shouldn't grease the bearings at all? So why do you use grease?
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Old 09-05-06, 09:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by San Rensho
Any grease is overkill for a bicycle for the reason Charles states. Having said that, I use CV joint grease because its cheap and comes in a tube, which is a lot handier than the tub O' grease.
The particular type of grease used on a bicycle is irrelevant in terms of high-temperature stability, that's correct. But that kind of misses the point...

Bicycle grease still needs to be chosen for maximum waterproofness, since bike bearings aren't as well sealed as car bearings (better seals add weight and drag). Also, for those who may ride in cold climates, LOW-temperature viscosity is important!
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