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Spoke/Nipple Grease

Old 04-20-19, 07:46 PM
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Jon T
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Spoke/Nipple Grease

I am going to respoke my wheels. What kind of grease should I use on the spoke threads and nipple seats? I have wheel bearing, Phil Woods (green) and white Tetra Grease. Are any of these acceptable? If not, what do you recommend? I know to use just a very light smear.
Thanks to all.
Jon
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Old 04-20-19, 09:47 PM
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There are many ways to address spoke threads and nipple seats. I usually use a combo of Spoke Prep and Triflow. Like so many lube questions it is that some is used is usually more important then which type. Andy
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Old 04-20-19, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Jon T View Post
I am going to respoke my wheels. What kind of grease should I use on the spoke threads and nipple seats? I have wheel bearing, Phil Woods (green) and white Tetra Grease. Are any of these acceptable? If not, what do you recommend? I know to use just a very light smear.
Thanks to all.
Jon
Doesn't matter, pretty much any oil or grease you have on hand will work to let the nipples turn freely while you build the wheel.
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Old 04-20-19, 11:19 PM
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I dip each spoke in an anti seize, myself...
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Old 04-20-19, 11:22 PM
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I use a Teflon based pipe thread sealer on the nipple threads and a little oil on the heads. The sealer will be tacky, but never freeze the nipple to the spoke.
https://www.amazon.com/2087069-567-T...gateway&sr=8-5

Last edited by davidad; 04-21-19 at 02:29 PM.
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Old 04-21-19, 06:44 AM
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Rim brakes or disc? I use Boeshield T9 on rim brakes for the nipple bed. It is a wax based lube, and won’t contaminate brake pads as bad as oil based lube if you don’t get it all off.

On the threads I use Loctite 222. This purple compound is very light when cured and flows well.
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Old 04-21-19, 07:18 AM
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On the families wheels I have used with success boiled linseed oil, oil, grease and anti-seize. With brass nipples they all work, with aluminum/alloy or in wet weather I would go with anti-seize or consider a spoke prep product. Loctite can dry in less than an hour so if you are slow or can get distracted I might avoid it.
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Old 04-21-19, 01:34 PM
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I would not use regular grease on the spoke threads. Grease and oil will run out of the threads in time and the nipples can seize. Spoke nipples are a specialty application. Yes the spoke nipples need to be able to turn under pressure but they also have to stay where they are once the wheel is trued.

It's a balance of slippery versus sticky. There is a special paste the folks at Retrogression sell for that very purpose. It's called Alchemy Lube & Spoke Prep. Get it here: https://www.retro-gression.com/colle...-lube-and-lock My guess is that is really good stuff for that application.

Back in the old days they would use boiled linseed oil on the spoke threads because after a few days or weeks it would cure in the air and harden up but would still be slippery enough so the spoke nipples would turn yet hold their place once the wheel was trued.



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Last edited by drlogik; 04-21-19 at 06:34 PM.
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Old 04-21-19, 05:06 PM
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Thanks for the tips. I like the BLO idea. I have that on hand for refinishing gun stocks. I guess it's a case of "any thing is better than nothing".
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Old 04-21-19, 10:58 PM
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Properly built (and tensioned) spokes will not untwist, so no need to glue them (including the above mentioned "spoke prep").
Anti seize is best since it prevents them from seizing in the long run.
Other options (grease, or oil) will disappear after the wheel is built (within one year after that).
Oil is easiest and quickest to apply - dipping the spoke thread ends and using cotton wool sticks (for "ear cleaning") dipped into oil for lubing the nipple-rim interface.

If spokes start untwisting without any glue, it's a sign of either:
- Rim got hit and bent
- Spokes have not been tensioned enough (if a wheel is built to the 70%-80% of max. tension the rim can take, then the rim is to week for the application/use - using thinnger, or at least swagged spokes can help with this, especially on the non-drive side of rear wheels that have a cassette - and are hence dished).

So for my own wheels, I'd rather know of this (by noticing the spokes coming loose). For wheels built for (far away) customers, using glue makes sense in case a rim gets a dent - it will keep the spokes in place so they can more easily "limp" to the nearest bike shop.
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Old 04-21-19, 11:17 PM
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Thank you Bike Gremlin for the info. I'll be using single-butted on the DS and triple-butted on the NDS.
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Old 04-21-19, 11:46 PM
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I used to use Phil green but switched a few years ago to marine boat trailer hub grease, the thick blue stuff from any auto store. It does not break down so adjusting the true later or removing the nipples to swap rims isn't an issue, even if years or harsh winters have gone by. Nothing a bike will ever see touches that stuff.

Never used any form of "locking"grease. Always found that well built wheels don't need any kind of spoke lock, at least not until you hit that deep pothole and bend the rim.

Ben
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Old 04-22-19, 07:57 AM
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Thank you, Ben.
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Old 04-22-19, 10:32 AM
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I like boiled linseed oil. It lubricates the threads as you're building the wheel, then over the course of a couple days hardens into a varnish that locks them in place. It's not so hard a bond that you can't break it with a spoke wrench, should the need arise. A few bucks can buy you a lifetime supply.
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Old 04-22-19, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
I like boiled linseed oil. It lubricates the threads as you're building the wheel, then over the course of a couple days hardens into a varnish that locks them in place. It's not so hard a bond that you can't break it with a spoke wrench, should the need arise. A few bucks can buy you a lifetime supply.
My dad does that with his chopping knives. Nice idea

I use polyeurea synthetic grease. The same grease I use on my entire bike. I'd avoid copper anti-seize if you're gonna use alu rims and nipples. From what I heard copper and alu engage in something called a galvanic reation which causes corrosion to aluminium in salty conditions (think salt on roads in the winter).

Polyeurea grease is virtually washout proof and it doesn't have any metal based soaps so it doesn't engage in galvanic corrosion with other metals.

I use Lucas X-tra heavy duty grease, it's quite cheap, but you can get it in 50g tins from cbennissupplies on ebay as well, it's the same stuff:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Lucas-X-T...385P3OhSAl8scA

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/100g-Extr...UAAOxyUrZSz1-F

Good luck, Kret
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Old 04-22-19, 06:15 PM
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Thanks Kret.
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Old 04-22-19, 10:38 PM
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...I started out using 30 or 40 weight machine oil (a la Jobst Brandt). It works fine. Now tha I am older and more forgetful, I've been using Park green grease because it's dark enough to show up on the threads and I have visual reminder of where it is and isn't.

With the machine oil, you just lube all the threads at once. With the grease, I've been doing them post insertion through the hub flanges, but just prior to the insertion into the nipples.

As stated above, if you tension your wheels adequately, they won't unwind. So I'm not a fan of the various spoke preps. Good luck in your project.
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Old 04-23-19, 03:01 AM
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Originally Posted by krecik View Post
My dad does that with his chopping knives. Nice idea

I use polyeurea synthetic grease. The same grease I use on my entire bike. I'd avoid copper anti-seize if you're gonna use alu rims and nipples. From what I heard copper and alu engage in something called a galvanic reation which causes corrosion to aluminium in salty conditions (think salt on roads in the winter).

Polyeurea grease is virtually washout proof and it doesn't have any metal based soaps so it doesn't engage in galvanic corrosion with other metals.

I use Lucas X-tra heavy duty grease, it's quite cheap, but you can get it in 50g tins from cbennissupplies on ebay as well, it's the same stuff:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Lucas-X-T...385P3OhSAl8scA

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/100g-Extr...UAAOxyUrZSz1-F

Good luck, Kret
The point about copper grease is not correct. In a bit more details on anti seize for bicycles.
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Old 04-23-19, 03:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Bike Gremlin View Post
The point about copper grease is not correct. In a bit more details on anti seize for bicycles.
Bike Gremlin - "The point is that bicycles take small loads and pressures (compared to cars for example). So it doesn’t take a special mounting paste to handle it – practically any will do."

Idk, I'm plenty happy with synthetic grease, never had problems with it, as you said yourself, just about anything will do. I use synthetic for the peace of mind.
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Old 04-23-19, 03:33 AM
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I like 79pMooney's suggestion to use a thicker grease. I myself use

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