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Is white lithium grease an inferior grease?

Old 10-21-14, 04:44 PM
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jambon
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Is white lithium grease an inferior grease?

Hi there ,

A friend of mine has tried to convince me that white Lithium grease is poor stuff . He told me that it doesn't keep out moisture , that it is too thin to pack in and forget about and that you would have to re grease frequently as it is so thin . Is this what you have found ?What kind of grease would be best for packing into a headset and not worrying about servicing for a long time ?

Thanks in advance
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Old 10-21-14, 05:08 PM
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Marine wheel bearing grease.
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Old 10-21-14, 05:14 PM
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+1 some lithium greaes are thick enough and perfectly adequate - not the same as the more watery old fashioned generic white lithium grease, but there are better indeed better options for extreme use. You can also use a section of inner tube at the bottom of the head tube and fork junction to protect the bearing.

Last edited by cny-bikeman; 10-21-14 at 06:49 PM.
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Old 10-21-14, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by jambon View Post
A friend of mine has tried to convince me that white Lithium grease is poor stuff . He told me that it doesn't keep out moisture , that it is too thin to pack in and forget about and that you would have to re grease frequently as it is so thin . Is this what you have found ?What kind of grease would be best for packing into a headset and not worrying about servicing for a long time ?
Ham,

Your friend doesn't know what he's talking about... I wouldn't worry about it. Mobil XHP222 is an excellent wheel bearing grease, it's what Hope uses in their hubs, it's what I use to repack my hubs... and, it's a lithium complex.
The only real downside to lithium for bicycle use is that it will emulsify if submersion in water is prolonged, which is why an aluminum marine grease such Belray or Sta-lube is a good choice for *extreme* wet conditions. and even then, Mobil XHP222 is considered a marine grease.

You want a tacky grease, with good resistance to water washout. You also want a grease that is intended for wheel bearings. Most marine and/or trailer greases fit that mold, but it doesn't have to be a marine grease. Mobil1 (synthetic oil/lithium thickener) is a good choice, Royal Purple (synthetic oil/aluminum thickener), Mystik JT-6 MP (Calcium thickener), or any of the available polyurea greases (Lucus, LiquidWrench, ParkTool) are good... the list goes on and on and on.

I would love to make your friend explain to me what a "thin grease" is... I'm sure I'd have a good laugh.

*Edit to add*
My reading comprehension is off today, somehow I missed the "white" part of your thread. It doesn't matter though, I stand by my above comments. White-lithium isn't some universal grease where every brand is the same, different compounds will have different characteristics, even if both are a white lithium grease. I'd be perfectly comfortable using plews-edelmann white lithium grease in a bike hub; I probably wouldn't use the Sta-lube version though... it's a matter of comparing the individual numbers for two products, not making blanket statements about white-lithium as a universal norm.

Last edited by headloss; 10-21-14 at 10:28 PM. Reason: failed reading comprehension 101
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Old 10-21-14, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by jambon View Post
. . . Is white lithium grease an inferior grease? . . .
. . . What kind of grease would be best for packing into a headset and not worrying about servicing for a long time ?
Which white lithium grease?
Inferior to what?
Define "best."
Is never long enough? I use lithium grease on my headset and I never worry about it.

Last edited by AnkleWork; 10-21-14 at 06:06 PM.
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Old 10-21-14, 06:05 PM
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I use wheel bearing grease, always have.
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Old 10-21-14, 06:13 PM
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Bicycles don't exactly put much stress on any of the lubricants used on them, which is why there's such an argument over things like "best chain lube" or, as here, best grease.

Damn near anything will work fine under the light loads of bicycling.
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Old 10-21-14, 07:16 PM
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achoo +1

Probably the only bearing in bikes that are stressed much is the headset bearings. In headsets I use the heaviest extreme pressure grease I can find.
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Old 10-21-14, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
achoo +1

Probably the only bearing in bikes that are stressed much is the headset bearings. In headsets I use the heaviest extreme pressure grease I can find.
They are not so much stressed as they are a poor design. The shimano 1" headset solved the problem by having a tapered surface and ball bearings.
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Old 10-21-14, 08:45 PM
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Bicycles do not put much demand on grease; pretty much anything will work. The main advantage of a white lithium grease is that it is clearly evident when the grease has become contaminated and should be replaced.
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Old 10-21-14, 09:04 PM
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The only grease that I would never use on a bike again after trying it is green color Phil Wood grease. I found that it melts and runs out/off bearings on a hot day in SoCal, when when the bike is sitting still in the shade.

I used automotive StaLube white lithium grease until switching to Valvoline synthetic grease over twenty years ago. Nothing wrong with the white lithium grease, it just doesn't last as long as the synthetic grease before it breaks down and needs to be replaced.

Valvoline synthetic appears to last virtually forever without breaking down. I use Valvoline synthetic everywhere on cars, and bikes, as it's still the best general purpose grease I have found and tested. Just don't get it on your clothes.

Last edited by RoadGuy; 10-21-14 at 09:07 PM.
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Old 10-22-14, 05:38 AM
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Hi thanks for the inputs , the white lithium grease that I own is Tf2 white lithium grease by the weldtite brand , may not be available in the U.S using it for all applications at the moment on a few bikes so had a scare when my mate told me it was crappy (he was refering to white lithium grease across the board and not just my particular brand )
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Old 10-22-14, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by RoadGuy View Post
The only grease that I would never use on a bike again after trying it is green color Phil Wood grease. I found that it melts and runs out/off bearings on a hot day in SoCal, when when the bike is sitting still in the shade.
That would get messy. Did it splatter the rims and brake surfaces?
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Old 10-22-14, 09:21 AM
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Radial loads on bike bearings can be pretty high for the size of the bearings used. For example, the radial load on the BB drive side bearing for a 150lb rider standing on the DS pedal at 3:00 o'clock with 172.5 cranks, 34 chain ring and typical BB30 crank is about 525 lbs.

Under those conditions the radial load on the rear wheel DS bearing is roughly 380 lb.

A heavier strong rider going all out could likely double that.

Where bike bearings aren't stressed is in speed and heat.

Last edited by Looigi; 10-22-14 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 10-22-14, 09:32 AM
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+ back in the day, the team mechanics overhauled the bikes, often, in the GrandTours.


as suggested, Marine wheel bearing grease... Aka Boat Trailer Wheel Bearing Grease ..

the Go to product at the dawn of the MTB era ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 10-22-14 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 10-22-14, 09:54 AM
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I don't like white lithium....simply because I have taken about several older bikes that this was used on and it is a real pain to clean out.

I stick with phil grease for bearings.

YMMV
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Old 10-22-14, 10:16 AM
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While it is true that bikes don't put a whole lot of load on their bearings but keep in mind those bearings are made for the weight in which they were designed, while they won't last long in a car they are adequate for a bike. So like a car with better bearings vs a bike you should use a good quality grease so the bearings will last a long time. Yes, it is true this conversation is a lot like chain lube it's all just opinion and so is mine. Personally, note that word, I use Mobil Polyrex EM Grease, some people will argue that Polyurea (which is what the Mobil grease is) is too heavy, but I found out years ago that Park Tools grease is Polyurea and it's the same consistency as the Mobil! So why pay a lot for a small amount of Park Tool Grease when you can get the same stuff from Mobil? And since I've been using it for years I've never had a bearing wear out. Also the Polyurea grease is very water resistant, will not corrode the bearings or make them rust.

Of course Marine grease is also very good, but those too are Polyurea Grease! So use marine, use Mobil, use Park, use whatever, it'll work. I just happen to think that the Mobil grease is top tier...again just an opinion, I also use it in all my cars.

Last edited by rekmeyata; 10-22-14 at 06:05 PM.
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Old 10-22-14, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by OldsCOOL View Post
That would get messy. Did it splatter the rims and brake surfaces?



Yes, it was messy.

I didn't even get to the bikepath before I founds the mess the first time. Was carrying the bikes on a rooftop Thule rack, and found the green goo running out of the hubs, and down the spokes, rims, and tires, when we got to the bikepath, and went to take the bikes off the rack.

Have not used Phil Wood grease since (and the nearly full used once tube of Phil Wood grease leaked out all over the inside of my tool rollaway in retaliation). How can you trust a grease to work when it won't survive without melting/breaking down sitting in your toolbox?
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Old 10-22-14, 11:42 AM
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I used Phil grease for years in New Orleans without nary an issue; and it is some hot there.
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Old 09-30-21, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by jambon View Post
Hi thanks for the inputs , the white lithium grease that I own is Tf2 white lithium grease by the weldtite brand , may not be available in the U.S using it for all applications at the moment on a few bikes so had a scare when my mate told me it was crappy (he was refering to white lithium grease across the board and not just my particular brand )
I bought some of the Tf2 white lithium grease by the Weldtite. It is sold on the Simply bearings website UK.



This is what they sale with bearings. Or without.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/TF2-03004-L..._t3_B0048EZOL4



It does not mention any waterproofness but it has done the job until now.
I may buy some Bel-Ray Waterproof Grease next time, but until then that will do.

I don't see the problem with all the bikers who service their bikes every year. I don't and it works fine.
I remember a mechanic from Aprilia gave me some red grease once for my motorbike. Still have some left.
Yes it is thicker but we are talking about bicycles on here, not motorbikes.
So keep your knickers on and come down.
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Old 09-30-21, 09:08 AM
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The old white lithium grease is different than most of the modern lithium greases. It's thinner with fewer additives. As a former farmer I would not use white lithium grease to grease $$$ machinery, modern EP lithium complex greases are much better for that. And in a lot of cases they are almost black when new.

Example, old bike hubs didn't have seals, you could peer through the gaps and see the bearings in the races. If the grease that was nice and white when fresh looked pretty dirty inside the hub, it was time for an overhaul. Pro team mechanics would be doing teardowns and overhauls on a regular basis. And thinner grease gave faster times.

When I do an overhaul on my bike with sealed hubs and all that, I want to go as long as possible before having to do it again. So something like name brand marine grease would be the best choice for me.
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Old 09-30-21, 09:31 AM
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I think that is sort of true- wheel bearing grease is thicker and separates less, but causes more drag.

For the hubs on your boat trailer, don't use white lithium grease,

for a bike, it's fine. I've mostly used up the can that I got in the '60s.
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Old 09-30-21, 09:56 AM
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Certainly the OP will appreciate the info. Even if it is 8 years too late.
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Old 09-30-21, 10:00 AM
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Meanwhile, 7 yrs later.....the debate rages on...
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Old 09-30-21, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by canopus View Post
Meanwhile, 7 yrs later.....the debate rages on...
Well it's closer to eight than the 2 day life this short thread had. <grin>

I suppose I need to check my math.....
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