Grease, anti seize and locktite

Three things you should have, two things you use in certain circumstances, and one you need in exceptional circumstances.

So when to use, and when not to use. Well, it’s not really that complicated. Just slather the grease about and you’ll be golden. However, if like me, you like to play about, anti seize has a valid use. If your the kind of person who assembles things, and don’t plan on taking the apart for awhile, anti seize is your friend. Let’s take pedals as an example, you install pedals, they may never be removed from the cranks for years, if ever over the course of the frames life. Anti seize will stay around for a longer period of time than grease, which may wash out over time, or dry out. Anti seize, thanks to its metallic particles will always help prevent galvanic corrosion and jamming up.

So when the time comes to remove those pedals after a few years, you’ve a better chance with anti seize applied. However, if you plan on bike maintenance, with a good schedule, grease is just fine to use. I’d use anti seize on:

  • Pedal spindles
  • Bottom bracket cups
  • Derailleur bolts

That’s it. Quite a narrow use clause for that one. You could quite easily manage without a can of it in the workshop.

My singlespeed, which sees alot less maintenance than my geared bikes tends to see more antiseize than grease. Purely based on the fact it gets taken apart much less.

Thread locker, aka locktite, is used on bolts that you bolts you just can’t afford to come lose. I’ve only ever used it on jockey wheel bolts, where they have almost zero torque, but you can’t risk them falling out. Use it on anybolt you want to lock in. People use it on handle bar bolts, chainring bolts, seat pin bolts and many many others. Just use the blue coloured one. The red is too strong for use on bikes.

So grease, grease is your friend with bike maintenance. Use it wherever you have metal on metal contact, be it screw, slide or rotate. Unless you have a need for anti seize, or locktite, grease will do.

Pedal Maintenance and new wheels

Respect your pedals. They suffer a lot of abuse but just keep on going..

My pedal maintenance is simple. Every few rides, I lube the contact points with a dry lube, this avoids the annoying pedal squeak when the cleat rubs. Drop a drip into the spring mechanism while your here.

Every once in a while, I’ll crack open the axle, clean it off and fill the chamber with fresh grease. Reinsert the axle and snug it down driving the grease up through the bearings.

I’d used the muc off biogrease for this first time, and the pedals went slack really quick. Did them about 500 miles ago, this time using Park Tools grease. Spinning the pedals today, they are smooth, with a little resistance from the grease. Perfect.

Needless to say, that tube of biogrease has been binned never to be seen again.

I’d bought a new set of wheels, that come with cup and cone bearings, and what excuse do I need for another tube of grease to try. My existing greases would of worked fine, but wanted something that was quite thin, and tacky. The crystal grease is a little too thick, the park tools grease has a tendency to stain light coloured areas. The exus blue would of been my choice, however I’ve sorta stopped using it in favour of the crystal. So I’d ordered a tube of Rock ‘n’ Roll Super Web. The stuff Is amazing in bearings. It’s quite a thin grease but hellishly sticky and coats everything. It’s ideal in the hubs and loose bearings. Being a nice bright white colour, it’s easy too see where it’s applied too.

I’ve also had to replace the rear brake caliper. I’d disconnected the cable to space the pads a little further out, and when I removed the cable, the right hand arm had a massive amount of play. So I’ve ordered a new R8000 ultegra to replace it. I’ll also redo the front caliper later in the month.

MucOff Bio Grease

I’d previously written about mucoff BioGrease, and I wasn’t impressed at the time. I’ve decided to give it a bit more of a chance. Previously I’d used it in the wheels, and it went south pretty quick.

This may of been due to the high spin speeds on the hub, the BioGrease is more designed for low rpm high sheer, such as headsets and bottom brackets. So, from here on, threads and headsets will be slathered in BioGrease, and the wheel rebuilds will be the stinky, incredibly tacky blue, which works well in high revolutions applications. So let’s see how it handles the dry summer months.

But don’t forget, any grease is better than no grease, use what you have on hand, and enjoy the maintenance of your bikes as much as riding them. After all, your bike gives you a lot, give it something back!

Muc Off Bio Grease

I recently picked up a tube of the Bio Grease, and had high hopes for it.

Being an avid user of Muc-Offs chain lubricants, using them all over the bike and SpeedPlays my expectation of this grease was great. However in practice, it’s really a sub par grease.

I’d used it when rebuilding my front hub, and after a short time, the hub had developed a really annoying squeak, and I really hate any odd noise on my bike. So, back at home I took the wheel apart to find out what this offensive squeal was. The Bio Grease I had used in the hub had gone a really light pink colour, and just looked wrong, wiping it off the surfaces, it was incredibly thin. Alot thinner than it should of been. It had obviously soaked up a load of water.

So cleaned that out and replaced with the good old crystal grease. Squeak gone.

So, the bio grease has been placed at the back of the shelf, destined to be forgotten about in time.

More Grease

I’ve written before about grease, it’s somewhat of an obsession with me. I’ve got tubes all over the garage.

Anyway, last time I cleaned out my headset (according to maintenance logs, 17th November), I used Park Tool standard grease, and as I had to remove the forks today, I thought I’d do another headset relube. So, looking at the grease that’s left, I was impressed that the bearings where still well covered, and the filth was minimal on the rear of the bearing seat. I’d ridden alot in some proper dirty wet weather, and the park grease had stood up well. A certain amount had clearly washed out, but enough remained to make me feel it would of been OK for another couple of months.

I’ve replaced it now with Crystal grease, which is alot thicker, and I’m pretty sure will stand up even more to the weather. It’s kind of become my goto grease at the minute, But time will certainly tell how it lasts.

After reassembly, the steering felt alot smoother, but that maybe in my head more than anything. One things for sure, crystal grease is alot easier and cleaner to apply than the park grease.

I’ve somehow gained a tube of MucOff bio grease to try out, so that’s another grease to try later. So far I’ve put it in my speedplays (which to my horror the left pedal was dry) but not ridden yet with it in. Muc-off states that it’s very water resistant, so hopefully it should stick around longer than the Weldtite. My speed plays are starting to wear anyway, so the grease may outlast the pedal bodies..

MucOff grease is pretty much the same colour as the Weldtite Tf2 Teflon grease I had been using, but has these weird silver things visible in the grease. I’ve not seen anything like it.

Lubes

The dizzying array of greases on offer is bound to confuse people. Any cycling website will all have page after page of people explaining what’s the best grease, arguing over the perceived advantages over everything else.

The truth is that a bicycle isn’t a demanding machine when it comes to grease. Any grease will do. Some, is better than none.

I do however have my favourite greases on hand for maintenance:

  • Park Tool Polylube
  • Weldtite TF2
  • Exus EG-01
  • Crystal Grease

I use the park tool grease for almost everything and anything.

The weldtite grease I use exclusively for greasing my speedplay as it’s bright red colour makes it easy to see when the old grease has been flushed out, and as weldtite is unable to tell me if it’s carbon safe, it’s used for metal contacts and pedals.

The exus is a very clingy grease that sticks to everything. I don’t use it much. And it stinks. I mean it really stinks.

Generally, don’t worry about grease, just use whatever you want to.