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Thread: Winter Grease

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    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    Winter Grease

    Has anyone used lightweight synthetic grease during the winter to reduce the stiffness in bearings?

    I was out in my unheated shop tinkering with a frame/fork that I picked up and pulled out the can-o-grease just to smear some on the stem and seatpost, both of which had been slightly stuck. The grease was so thick that I had to dig at it to get some on my finger and it was very hard to smear on the seatpost. No wonder my bike has seemed so stiff. I thought it was a combination of cold muscles and heavy clothing.

    Since this new to me frame and fork will become my Plan B and winter bike, I was wondering if I should put in an old style cup and bearing BB so that I could pack it and the wheel bearings with lightweight synthetic grease next fall.
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    Senior Member bikeman715's Avatar
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    you can add a light oil to your grease to thin it out . I like your idea of using an old style cup & bearing BB . Depending on how cold it can get in your area can and will makes the grease dryer and harder . it best to repack the bearing every 6 months depending on how much and where ,& how you ride.
    bikeman715

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    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    +1

    How long had it been since you'd repacked those bearings? The stuff doesn't last forever, it will get thick/dry/crusty over time. I have not had a problem with bearings getting stiff using regular auto disc and drum bearing grease in temperatures down to -10F. Cables on the other hand...
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    Senior Member bikeman715's Avatar
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    for use on cable ,use a light oil instead of grease . yes back in the day before housing liners we would use grease . the liner replace the grease and gives you a smoother and better respond .
    bikeman715

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    I use lightweight grease (Phi'ls in my case) year round for all my bikes. Bearings last nearly forever and I see no benefit to heavier grease anytime of the year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    I use lightweight grease (Phi'ls in my case) year round for all my bikes. Bearings last nearly forever and I see no benefit to heavier grease anytime of the year.
    +1, a decently light grease is plenty in the summer and manageable in the winter. Not counting cables, and freewheel ratchets which I oil, the only time I've run into a stiff grease issue was some 40+ years ago when my headset was so stiff at -8F that the bike was barely steerable. I didn't notice any difference in the hubs, BB or pedals, which I guess the riding kept free enough.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    I use lightweight grease (Phi'ls in my case) year round for all my bikes. Bearings last nearly forever and I see no benefit to heavier grease anytime of the year.
    +1, a decently light grease is plenty in the summer and manageable in the winter. Not counting cables, and freewheel ratchets which I oil, the only time I've run into a stiff grease issue was some 40+ years ago when my headset was so stiff at -8F that the bike was barely steerable. I didn't notice any difference in the hubs, BB or pedals, which I guess the riding kept free enough.
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    I use Pedro's synthetic grease year round and it doesn't get thick in cold weather. Finish Line also makes a synthetic grease that works just as well. The Pedro's looks like hand creme.

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    Mobil 1 makes grease.......$8 for a couple of lifetimes supply.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lawrence08648 View Post
    The Pedro's looks like hand creme.
    Phil's looks like green hand cream. I expect the consistancies and year round usability are the same.

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    you would be amazed how much you can warm up grease and oil by compressing it.
    as the ball rolls around the race, it compresses the grease ..
    a Diesel engine compresses oil until it detonates..

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    Grease I use for bearings and threads is Super Lube grease. I used to use finishline teflon grease.

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    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responses. All my bearings on the bike I'm currently riding were packed last spring and the wheels were repacked in late fall using a general purpose automotive grease. The BB is a UN54 so whatever is in there is what I'm stuck with. As mentioned, I'm building a Plan B/trail/winter bike and that is where I'm considering using a cup a bearing BB with lighter grease. In fact, I may switch over to using Super Lube silicone based synthetic grease with teflon for all my bearings as the search I did revealed good reviews on the product. I see Ben4345 is using it. Anyone else? Any reports good or bad?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myosmith View Post
    Thanks for the responses. All my bearings on the bike I'm currently riding were packed last spring and the wheels were repacked in late fall using a general purpose automotive grease. The BB is a UN54 so whatever is in there is what I'm stuck with. As mentioned, I'm building a Plan B/trail/winter bike and that is where I'm considering using a cup a bearing BB with lighter grease. In fact, I may switch over to using Super Lube silicone based synthetic grease with teflon for all my bearings as the search I did revealed good reviews on the product. I see Ben4345 is using it. Anyone else? Any reports good or bad?

    Super Lube grease is really good stuff, even you don't use it for your bike, it is a great to have around the house too. I have used it on a lot of things, very versatile.

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    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Personally can't see any reason to use a thick grease even in the summer. Bicycle bearings neither spin fast enough nor get hot enough to need a high viscosity 'soap' to deal with those conditions. Its the oil content in the grease that provides the lube - the rest just keeps it from dripping out.

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    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    I was surprised to see how thick the grease in the can got being it was only down to about 15F at the time I used it. It was so stiff it was hard to spread on the seatpost with my finger and didn't want to stick or smear well. I can't imagine how thick this stuff would be at -30F.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    you would be amazed how much you can warm up grease and oil by compressing it.
    as the ball rolls around the race, it compresses the grease ..
    a Diesel engine compresses oil until it detonates..
    Technically you can not compress liquids. In a diesel you compress the air to the point it is super-heated and then spray in a mist of fuel and the super-heated air ignites the fuel/air mixture.

    I am with the just use a quality light grease like Phil's and you will have no issue. So far this winter hasn't dropped below zero but at 5-8 deg I can not tell any noticeable difference in how well the bike rolls or the cranks turn.
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    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    you would be amazed how much you can warm up grease and oil by compressing it.
    as the ball rolls around the race, it compresses the grease ..
    a Diesel engine compresses oil until it detonates..
    I shouldn't nit pic on a tangential point, but your diesel engine compresses air till it reaches the temperature that oil will ignite when injected. It does not compress the oil.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    you would be amazed how much you can warm up grease and oil by compressing it.
    as the ball rolls around the race, it compresses the grease ..
    a Diesel engine compresses oil until it detonates..
    I was going to let this slide, but might as well pile on. Even if grease were compressible (which it isn't) you couldn't compress it with a rolling ball in a bearing, you can only push it out of the way. The process is more analogous to plowing snow.
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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Ice skates and bobsleds heat the ice as they pass over it, part of the speed ..
    it not going to be much but a little counts in physics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Ice skates and bobsleds heat the ice as they pass over it, part of the speed .. it not going to be much but a little counts in physics.
    I understood your point that bearing friction can warm and thin out the grease in hubs but your extrapolating it to the ignition level was a bit over the top.

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    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    I'm surprised that Sixty-Fiver hasn't checked in yet. He blends in synthetic and/or light oil during the winter, so his bikes keep working at really low temps.
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