Author Topic: Can someone explain grease to me...?  (Read 15790 times)

Kim

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Can someone explain grease to me...?
« on: January 22, 2015, 05:58:07 pm »
A newbie question that I've been failing to get round to asking for a while.  In my defence, I'm more inclined towards the software and soldering iron end of the engineering spectrum, and only pretend to know what I'm doing with a spanner.

So yeah: grease.  I understand that it tends to be used for one of three main functions: To lubricate moving parts so they run smoothly with less wear; to protect things from corrosion; and to encourage parts to fit together more consistently and/or eventually come apart with lesser degrees of Persuasion.

Supplemental to that, I'm aware that in comes in all sorts of flavours, the subtleties of which may or may not be important for a given application.  Thermal grease I understand.  Copper grease to prevent parts from seizing makes sense (indeed, I've got a tube of it somewhere, which I use as a talisman to ward off stuck pedals and freewheels).  That high-speed moving parts are going to make specific demands in terms of temperature stability and viscosity makes sense, as does the fact that you don't get such high speed moving parts on pedal cycles.  I can imagine gear hubs are quite fussy about viscosity, though.  I'm also vaguely aware that some recipes are better for keeping water out of stuff (which *does* seem desirable on a bike), that some may not get on with certain plastics, that lithium is what you need for manic-depressive bearings, and I read on a newsgroup that the there's this stuff called molybdenum disulfide that when applied to your chain will allow you to climb hills like Lance Armstrong.

Up until now, I've been lubricating my mechanical bits (chiefly screw threads, but also the odd headset bearing, suspension part or brake pivot) with a small tub of "bicycle grease"[1] that was cheap on Wiggle when I didn't really know what I was doing.  It's almost run out, so I probably ought to invest in something else.

So, what do I need, guys?  (Answers of the style "get a litre of this from your local chandler for a fiver and use it for everything except hub gears, and it should last you until you're getting birthday cards from the queen" strongly preferred.)


[1] It's white, and tastes bad.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Can someone explain grease to me...?
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2015, 06:02:09 pm »
... I read on a newsgroup that the there's this stuff called molybdenum disulphide ...
FTFY
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LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Can someone explain grease to me...?
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2015, 06:07:00 pm »
Most of the time, the type of grease doesn't matter very much. It is basically just oil mixed into soap to stop it from running away from where the oil is needed. If you have high temperatures (coaster brake) or very high loads, then you need something fancier.
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contango

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Re: Can someone explain grease to me...?
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2015, 06:07:00 pm »
Molybdenum disulphide grease is also handy if you ever work with clock mainsprings.

Aside from that it probably won't help much to just say "Grease is the word that you heard"
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Re: Can someone explain grease to me...?
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2015, 06:07:45 pm »
I use Castrol LM for 'general' use.  Not sure why that particular one other than it is readily available, is relatively cheap and seems to work OK.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Can someone explain grease to me...?
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2015, 06:08:27 pm »
... I read on a newsgroup that the there's this stuff called molybdenum disulphide ...
FTFY

That too.

AIUI we agreed under international treaty to spell sulphur incorrectly in exchange for the USAnians accepting that it's 'aluminium', which seems like a worthy sacrifice.   :D
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Cudzoziemiec

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Re: Can someone explain grease to me...?
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2015, 06:09:33 pm »
Referring back to the other thread, I had a flatmate who lubricated the squeaky hamster wheel her pet rat used to run round in, with cooking oil. Worked perfectly.

Might not be recommended for bikes though, not even chains.
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robgul

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Re: Can someone explain grease to me...?
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2015, 06:11:26 pm »
.... is The Word

- according to Mr Travolta and Miss Newton-John

IGMC

Rob

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Can someone explain grease to me...?
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2015, 06:12:10 pm »
Referring back to the other thread, I had a flatmate who lubricated the squeaky hamster wheel her pet rat used to run round in, with cooking oil. Worked perfectly.

Also recommended for bread machine paddles.

(Friend of mine had gerbils that would lick all the oil off their wheel bearing, with digestive consequences.)
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Cudzoziemiec

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Re: Can someone explain grease to me...?
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2015, 06:14:17 pm »
Possible digestive consequences were her reason for not using a more usually greasy form of grease.

(Rat was called Jagger; big lips, couldn't sing)
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mattc

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Re: Can someone explain grease to me...?
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2015, 06:16:23 pm »
This  http://forum.ctc.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=42374#p341163
contains all of the most informed discussion I've ever seen on this topic.

The outcome was a group buy of something that only came in 10kg tubs (or simlar); "colin" agreed to sell it on in senmsible sized bottles. Or something.

Are you busy, Kim?
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caerau

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Re: Can someone explain grease to me...?
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2015, 06:18:33 pm »
... I read on a newsgroup that the there's this stuff called molybdenum disulphide ...
FTFY

That too.

AIUI we agreed under international treaty to spell sulphur incorrectly in exchange for the USAnians accepting that it's 'aluminium', which seems like a worthy sacrifice.   :D


Yup - but when they make it fosforus I quit chemistry ;)
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Cudzoziemiec

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Re: Can someone explain grease to me...?
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2015, 06:30:35 pm »
This  http://forum.ctc.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=42374#p341163
contains all of the most informed discussion I've ever seen on this topic.

The outcome was a group buy of something that only came in 10kg tubs (or simlar); "colin" agreed to sell it on in senmsible sized bottles. Or something.

Are you busy, Kim?
The one CJ recommends costs £867.23 for a 50kg barrel. http://www.lubrishop.co.uk/mobilith-shc-1500-50kg-414-p.asp
Ho humm.
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Biggsy

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Re: Can someone explain grease to me...?
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2015, 06:34:19 pm »
I don't think the type of grease matters much for short service intervals, but some Any Old greases I've used have dried up or separated within two or three years.

Campag grease has been the best in my experience.  Some say it's water pump grease (though I've yet to buy water pump grease to compare for myself).

I've also used Finish Line Premium in headsets to minimise drag and be seal-friendly.
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Torslanda

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Re: Can someone explain grease to me...?
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2015, 06:38:39 pm »
My preference for general purpose lube requiring grease is Weldtite TF2. For a couple of reasons.

Firstly it comes in a tube which screws directly to a needle nozzle gun which allows you some degree of accuracy when refitting ball bearings.

Secondly it's RED in colour. As most bike shops use white or amber grease - possibly because cost - it means I can generally tell if I've been in there before.

The grease gun may seem overkill when you can dip you finger in a tub of the stuff and smear the bearing surfaces before fitting the ball bearings but when I'm working with it all day there is much less mess and/or chance of ingestion. I really don't like it on bacon sandwiches! Another very useful feature is being able to lay a bead of grease accurately (usually) in a circle when using the grease as a sealing compound. The best example I can think of is Hollowtech II bearings which are internally sealed (ie inside the frame) but externally open to the elephants. A bead of grease on the inside of the crank will squish out as it makes contact and help to keep the weather out.

I use two different anti-seize compounds, traditional copper grease for bolt threads and a genius ceramic based compound called 'Off Shore' on the likes of brake pads & disc calipers, seatposts and quill stems. The latter in an aerosol, looks like grey primer and dries to a sticky grey film which will not migrate even when extremely hot, water resistant, etc, etc.

For derailleur pivots and area lubrication I also use aerosol white grease as found on car door hinges.

It's by no means the cheapest way of doing things but I like the idea of being able to undo something that was tightened 12 months ago - often the time interval between customer visits.*

ETA: Also, for some customers, the interval for cleaning the bike . . .
VELOMANCER

Well that's the more blunt way of putting it but as usual he's dead right.

Re: Can someone explain grease to me...?
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2015, 06:43:02 pm »
My dad who by all accounts was a bloody good millwright and bike builder, always insisted on using a marine (waterproof) grease for most bike bearings. But I suppose that was going back to the days when seals were not as good as now.

I now use lithium grease for bearings that need lubrication and copper grease on parts of mixed metals or likely to cease.
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Re: Can someone explain grease to me...?
« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2015, 06:46:50 pm »
....... with cooking oil. Worked perfectly.

Might not be recommended for bikes though, not even chains.

Also worked perfectly for me on a very dry and squeaky chain.  Usual café stop found it very amusing and now offer if to other cyclists in need of lubrication!

Torslanda

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Re: Can someone explain grease to me...?
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2015, 06:51:25 pm »
If anyone is interested I have a 3kg tub of said red grease which will probably never be used.

Open to offers but I'm not posting it . . .
VELOMANCER

Well that's the more blunt way of putting it but as usual he's dead right.

LEE

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Re: Can someone explain grease to me...?
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2015, 07:18:01 pm »
I've owned a tub of Castrol grease for about 25 years, I mean the SAME tub.

You push down on an internal plate and grease oozes out of a hole on the middle (so it keeps the contents clean).

It has about 1/3 remaining which could keep me going until retirement.

It's just the perfect viscosity to hold ball-bearings in the race until you can get an axle in there.

Every bolt ever refitted on any of my bikes received a dab.
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Re: Can someone explain grease to me...?
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2015, 07:24:12 pm »
My preference for general purpose lube requiring grease is Weldtite TF2. For a couple of reasons.

Firstly it comes in a tube which screws directly to a needle nozzle gun which allows you some degree of accuracy when refitting ball bearings.

Secondly it's RED in colour. As most bike shops use white or amber grease - possibly because cost - it means I can generally tell if I've been in there before.


I bought some of that specifically because that's what the two LBS I trust most with bikes seem to use... Seems decent enough stuff, but I ditched the gun for a better one I've had for years. The white Finish Line is good as well.

Campagnolo grease is very expensive but those in the know rate it highly. One day...

Re: Can someone explain grease to me...?
« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2015, 07:34:54 pm »
My preference for general purpose lube requiring grease is Weldtite TF2. For a couple of reasons.

Firstly it comes in a tube which screws directly to a needle nozzle gun which allows you some degree of accuracy when refitting ball bearings.

Secondly it's RED in colour. As most bike shops use white or amber grease - possibly because cost - it means I can generally tell if I've been in there before.


I bought some of that specifically because that's what the two LBS I trust most with bikes seem to use... Seems decent enough stuff, but I ditched the gun for a better one I've had for years. The white Finish Line is good as well.

Campagnolo grease is very expensive but those in the know rate it highly. One day...


Does CAmpagnolo grease work with Shimano groupsets?

Re: Can someone explain grease to me...?
« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2015, 07:40:52 pm »
Shimano Dura ace grease is lush.

(But a ridiculous price)

nicknack

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Re: Can someone explain grease to me...?
« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2015, 07:41:41 pm »
I've owned a tub of Castrol grease for about 25 years, I mean the SAME tub.

You push down on an internal plate and grease oozes out of a hole on the middle (so it keeps the contents clean).

It has about 1/3 remaining which could keep me going until retirement.

It's just the perfect viscosity to hold ball-bearings in the race until you can get an axle in there.

Every bolt ever refitted on any of my bikes received a dab.

Blimey. Not just me then.
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Re: Can someone explain grease to me...?
« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2015, 07:41:53 pm »
I can remember when a periodic grease and (waste oil) spray was standard for road vehicles and this cost, in the day, something like 35p inc. Grease like everything else, seems to have become a high cost, high added value, branded, must have.  I also have a tub in the garage at least 35 years old.  ( I also use TF2 and needle gun).
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LEE

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Re: Can someone explain grease to me...?
« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2015, 07:50:25 pm »
I can remember when a periodic grease and (waste oil) spray was standard for road vehicles and this cost, in the day, something like 35p inc. Grease like everything else, seems to have become a high cost, high added value, branded, must have.  I also have a tub in the garage at least 35 years old.  ( I also use TF2 and needle gun).

It's certainly possible to spend 10x more for 1/100th the amount of grease I bought 25 years ago.
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