Grease, Lubricant, Threadlock, Fibregrip: What & Where Should You Use It?
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Grease, Lubricant, Threadlock, Fibregrip: What & Where Should You Use It?

October 17, 2019

– So walking into a bike
shop, it can pretty confusing with such a vast array of
products on the shelves. And what we’re gonna
tackle today is lubricants, greases, and thread locks, and where and when to actually
use them on your bike, as they are actually specific to each part and also seasonal too,
so let’s take a look. (upbeat music) So firstly, what is grease? Well it’s largely oil
based, which makes sense because it is after all, a lubricant, and then you add in some thickener. And what does that do? Well, it turns into a semi-fluid
kind of substance like this so whilst it’s not totally solid, it’s obviously not a liquid. And then the viscosity of the grease, so really that’s the thickness, that depends on how much
thickener you’re adding in. Logical, right? Now there are a lot of characteristics that actually make up grease, despite the fact that on first look, it just looks like grease, doesn’t it? And there’s three mains
ones really to talk about. Firstly, a level of water resistance. For us cyclists, pretty
important, isn’t it? Because we tend to ride
our bike in the rain a lot here in the UK. I know some of you rarely see rain. But at the end of the day,
we all wash our bikes, or though, I at least
hope we all do anyway, so the grease does need to have a level of water resistance to it. Secondly is actually the dropping point. So that’s the temperature
in which a grease is no longer a grease,
and ends up dripping, so turning into an oil or a lubricant. And then finally are additives. So that’ll be things put in to try and reduce or resist corrosion, and in some cases, actually
try and reduce friction too. But where are we actually
going to use grease on a bike? Well, the way I like to think of it is things which don’t actually
get taken apart that often. So things like your
bottom bracket threads, if you’ve got a threaded bottom bracket. All of your bearings, so
particularly cup and cone. I appreciate that with cartridge bearings, it’s not really that practical to actually go in there and greases them but you could still
layer grease around them. Also a brake lever assembly, so actually those bolts that go through and clamp the brake levers
onto the handlebars. Now I’ve taken off some handlebar tape on people’s bikes in the past, and it’s been absolutely disgusting there. The amount of salt that has
come through sweaty hands, through the bar tape, and it’s almost corroded
through bolts there. So actually, by greasing them, you gonna do yourself a
favour in the long run. And a final one is seat posts. Now I’m gonna tackle them more later on, because there are some
special greases to use. Now what grease to actually choose, because there is a few
different options out there. But for a bike, go for something
medium viscosity really because will cover all your bearings, and any jobs you need to use it for, so any bolts and frames,
that kind of thing. So something like this. It’s pretty good, it’s not too
thick and it’s not too thin. If it’s too thick, then bearings aren’t gonna
be able to turn well enough, and if it’s too thin, then it’s not gonna stay around for long. In the winter though, I
actually use a special grease. So I actually go to a boatyard
and buy some marine grease. Why do I do it? Well, in the winter, the
bikes tend to get more abuse from riding conditions, and in particular, salt off of the roads. So that marine grease tend to stay around a little bit longer, it
does in fact last longer. Important to remember
though, use some gloves, and also a workshop apron
when using that marine grease, because it’s very sticky and very messy and I’ve ruined a fair few
jumpers, t-shirts, jeans. I even got some on the carpet once and got into a lot of
trouble, so for your sake, make sure you don’t ruin
a carpet, or clothes. (upbeat music) Now special greases, let’s
take a look at those. First, anti-seize or copper paste. At first, they actually do in
fact look like a normal grease but they are different, and
it’s not just the colour. They tend to be either
silver or copper in colour, and that’s because, added into
the compound of that grease is actually ground up bits
of either nickel or copper which gives it that colour. And why does it do that? Well it’s actually to
stop those two components that are being assembled
together sticking, and being a total and utter nightmare to disassemble months later. If it’s ever happened to you, you’ll know exactly
what I’m talking about. So where are you actually gonna use it? Well it’s great for
applying to the surface of two reactive metals. So think about titanium and aluminium. So in that case, bottle cage bolts, perhaps stem bolts if
you’ve got something fancy, aluminium bottom brackets, pedal
threads, that kind of thing. So what’s commonly known as
fibre grip across cyclists, it’s not actually a grease as such, and it’s not set out to do
the same purpose of a grease. But what is it? Well, it’s a paste which is
slightly tacky to the touch, and in amongst that paste
are actually, in most cases, tiny little granules of plastic that are ground up very very fine, and that is in there to actually
create friction, but why? Well carbon is actually pretty slippery, and in doing so, people in the
past tend to have a tendency to actually over torque bolts, and therefore damage those
expensive carbon parts. So by using the fibre
grip, it actually takes up those tolerances slightly,
improves the grip, and in turn, you then
don’t have to over tighten your parts and risk damaging them. Now where are you actually gonna use it? This one, if you read any internet forums, is of somewhat of a divided opinion. But I’ve spoken to some
carbon fibre experts and luckily, they’ve
agreed with me on this. Some areas could be, if you’re putting a carbon fibre seat post into an alloy frame or a carbon frame, carbon fibre steerer tubes, stems, bar stem, into faces as well. Also saddle rails is a very important one, because they have a tendency to creak, as well as people over
tightening those carbon rails. And finally, not very common, but a THM Clavicula crank
set because that uses a carbon fibre spindle, as
well as a carbon fibre crank. And you certainly don’t want
to over tighten that one. (upbeat music) So thread lock, it does exactly
what it says on the label, it locks your threads, but
why do you want to do that? Well, firstly, there’s a
safety reason behind it. So think about perhaps your stem bolts and your disc rotor bolts. Some manufacturers actually
specify that as standard from the factory, because ultimately, you don’t want those things coming loose. If they come loose, you
are going to know about it, and it’s not necessarily
gonna be that pretty. (crashing sound) Also, derailleur pulley wheel bolts, that’s a place where you
can put some thread lock. You could also it on some other bolts that have a tendency to come loose. But bare in mind that if
those bolts are coming loose, actually think about why, because
this isn’t a miracle cure, it’s not gonna solve it, and investigate that loose bolt really. Important to remember
though, is to actually don’t mix your thread lock with a grease, because it won’t work. And also, I personally, I
never apply on aluminium bolts, reason being, aluminium bolt
heads are actually quite soft quite often, depending on the
grade of aluminium being used, and it can round off if over
tightened in the first place. Now some manufacturers, they
do actually specify as standard and I have seen some
chain ring bolts like it, and those chain ring bolts
weren’t able to be released without rounding off the heads
of those chain ring bolts, so I would personally
avoid it, but ultimately, stick to what the manufacturer recommends. (upbeat music) Retaining compounds. Now we’re seeing a lot of bikes these days with press-fit bottom brackets, despite quite a few people
out there not liking them. The main reason being
actually, is for the creaks. But with a retaining compound, you apply that in between
the bottom bracket shell, so the inner side of that,
and the bottom bracket cups, and effectively, it takes up
those tiny, small differences in tolerance between the two components which, I’m lead to believe, causes those creaks in the first place. So by coasting it in that and then fitting the bottom bracket in, not only does it help to
keep the cups in place, but it’s also, hopefully for you, remove that annoying creak, give it a go. (upbeat music) So lubricants are an area where there’s quite a big
bit of confusion actually, when people walk into a bike shop and see a whole wall
full of different types. Ultimately, you’re gonna
use them on your drivetrain, although you can use
them sometimes on cables, to actually put a few
drips in to get a cable that’s not working that
well back up to speed, although it’s just a temporary
fix to be perfectly honest, pedals springs, that kind of thing. But why actually do we need use it? What’s the purpose? Well, efficiency, so to reduce
friction of the drivetrain, also to reduce wear, and
then to reduce corrosion, so any types of rust. But what types are there? Firstly, wet lube, obviously
designed for wet weather, and it’s designed to stay on
your chain and your drivetrain in wet weather and doesn’t wash off, which is important for squeak-free riding, as well as not getting rusty mid-ride. That can happen, believe it or not, if you’re going for long enough. The downside of it, to
be perfectly honest, is that a lot of dirt, grime, and dust does get attracted to it, so you need to keep a close eye on it because your drivetrain is gonna wear at a faster rate than using a dry lube. Then we’ve got drive
lube for dry conditions, sounds logical, doesn’t it? Although it’s still actually a
wet liquid when it comes out. But basically, if applied properly, it then dries to leave
a film-like covering over your chain rollers,
and it doesn’t generally attract a lot of dirt or dust either. One thing though to bear in mind is that if you do get caught out in rain, then it doesn’t hang around for very long and it washes off pretty easily indeed. Now there are also some
specialist lubricants out there, such as UFO Drip from CeramicSpeed, which is applied in exactly the same way as the previously mentioned lubricants. However, it is actually
really dry to the touch, and actually it does come at a cost, but the claims are that there’s
a reduced drivetrain wear, and also, a reduced
friction, so therefore, making you go a little bit faster. And also, there is the good old
method of waxing a chain too which is I did a video
on, not that long ago. Right, so how actually
apply chain lubricant? Firstly, a little tip of
mine, this is just my own view but you may well want to listen carefully. I never actually use
anything from an aerosol can. Reason being, when you spray it, you don’t have full control of
that so it could contaminate, so it could well go into your disc brakes, render them useless for a ride, go onto the rim sidewall,
not having great braking if you’re mixing lubricant
with brake pads, are we? So I go for something
with a nozzle like this, that I can actually drip
onto the roller of a chain. But how am I actually gonna do that? Firstly, make sure you got a
really really clean drivetrain, so nothing on there,
you’ve just washed it, nice and clean and dry. And then, find the joining pin or the split link of the chain, and get it in about the middle of the bottom run of the chain, so that’s beneath the chain. And then just apply a
drop, so one single drop to each and every roller
but working backwards, and then once that original starting point comes back around, stop
applying lubricant. Then give it probably three
or four revolutions backwards with no lubricant coming out the nozzle, and then wipe away any
excess, and you’re good to go. Right, I hope that’s been of use to you, and I want to know as well, what grease and what lube do you use, in the comments down below. And remember as well to give
this video a big thumbs up and share it with your mates too. And also, check out the GCN shop, and for a great video on
how to wax your chain, click just down here.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Using squirt lube year round on all my bikes. Requires more attention but it really increases the lifetime of the drivetrain.

  2. I use Finish Line Extreme Wet lube in the winter bike and Muc-off dry ceramic lube for the summer ride. Both are great but the muc-off is superb

  3. Loctite 222 screwlock for chainring bolts, limit screws and brake bolts.
    Weldtite TF2 lithium grease with teflon (not ideal environmentally, but have had one tube for the last 3 years) for bearings, seatposts and other dissimilar surfaces I don't want to sieze.

    Chain Juice wet lube for chain in current UK conditions.

    For all other things like derailleur pivot and swing points, occasional cable easing, brake levers and gear shifters I use good old 3 in 1 multi purpose lube.

  4. I've recently installed new brake calipers to my bike. I noticed the existing threads had an application threadlock on however I've used bio grease on the new application. Is this OK?

  5. How about grease with ceramic or grease with Teflon, do they have a specific use? Bought them when I was building my bike, as one thinks more expensive, must be better, but never got the different scope of each.

  6. I'm using the wax method for more than 3 months now, and aside of the removing chain to lube, it's perfect.
    Obs.: I reapply every month or 3 weeks. Started with a new chain, and the wear is apparently normal.
    A tip I learned. Where I live, big ceremonial candles are cheaper for the weight and easier to find than to buy paraffin.

  7. As always, great video from GCN 🙂
    For my chains, I use Biomaxa – a lanolin based kiwi product – get it from the Ground Effect – – great product, stays on regardless on how much water is thrown at it, ideal for long rides in the bush or weekly commuting. and it smells nice.. if you like that kind of sheepee/woolee fragrance ..
    I did not see any comments (or did I miss it?) on lubricating STI shifters?

  8. Hey Jon, do you use a degreaser to clean the chain before applying lube? I do, but I've heard a theory saying that you shouldn't, the reason being that you cannot – allegedly – properly get the lube "inside" the chain, so you should let the factory lube stay in there, and using a degreaser wipes the inside clean. What is your take?

  9. Something else to consider is stopping galvanic corrosion between materials which have a large difference on the galvanic scale with a suitable grease or coating. A carbon seatpost set in an aluminum seat tube spells mega trouble. I had to totally destroy a carbon wrapped Most seat post to liberate it from a Pinarello F4:13 seat tube which to my surprise was aluminum with a carbon fiber over wrap. It took hours of chiseling and reaming with improvised tools to get the tube cleared for a new Deda seat post. I slathered on carbon gripper paste and taped the interface to stop any water from getting in.

  10. Wd40 wet lub for winter or muc off dry lube for summer And after washing I use gt85 to pull the moisture from the the links of the chain and use on springs in the derailiers and on occasion the inner workings of the shifters.😁 o and I find gt85 works well to protect the frame.👍🏻 smashing video as always

  11. I have been thinking about this. I half been using wax(mixed with some paraffin oil) chain for 1 year now. I like it for its longevity. Reapplying is tedious. I wonder I could extend the period between each complete wash and re-dip by actually using wax in a squirt bottle. The wax will be solid so I must heat it up before dripping at each roller of the chain.

  12. I would've stated the lube accessories which are helpful, that is using a needle spout oiler bottle, which is very helpful lubing chains, and a grease gun is great for speedplay pedals.

  13. When the thread is greased or otherwise lubricated, the torque required for the same clamping force or tension on the bolt is 20-40% less that the torque of the dry threads. Do you apply this correction when greasing the bolts with a specified torque setting, or are the torque specifications in the bike world usually provided with lubricated threads in mind? The standard torque specification tables for fasteners are based on 90% of yield strengh of the bolt, so, for example, if you grease an 8.8 grade M5 bolt and torque it to 6 Nm, you'll likely exceed its design load.

  14. I use and have used a wax based lubricant called Sqirt for my mountain bike and road bike chains. It works in both wet and dry conditions. The application method is different for wet vs dry .I've had excellent results with it.

  15. I have been using chain saw oil for my chains over the last couple of years, it has similar properties to some of the high end lubes at a fraction of the price. You can buy a large can that lasts forever.

  16. Makes me proud to see so many of my fellow cyclists Squirting. Sometimes if I'm going super long and hard, I'll Squirt more than once. On Sundays, I like to Squirt right after I wake up, just before having my coffee. #DoYouEvenSquirtBro

  17. Rock n Roll Gold, and if it's going to rain which doesn't happen often RnR Extreme chain lube. Penrite Copper anti-seize for all metal on metal non moving interfaces, and Kincrome Hi Temp lithium grease for moving parts. Need to get low strength threadlock, do not like the medium blue stuff.

  18. I tried waxing for a few months over winter. Even indoors on a trainer I couldn't get more than 100miles per waxing so was waxing about 5-6 times a month.

    I tried adding more parafin oil to soften it but no improvement.

    Gone back to messy old lube.

  19. Anti-seize: Don't use any copper-containing one, go for a ceramics-based product. Threadlocker: Loctite 222 should be enough; but due to all the aluminium and Ti parts, you'd need to use activator 7471 or 7649 as well. And if you live in Germany, you can get away with the best all-season grease for a bike: KP2K-35 or KPK-30 (5€ die Kartusche, für Landwirtschaftsmaschinen). Lose bearings or press-fit BB? Loctite 638.

  20. Is it true that lithium grease can ruin cartridge bearing seals? What is Teflon grease? Is it also obtained from oil? Is there any grease that doesn't come from oil? What do you think about lubes made from vegetable oil? I'm interested in more details like these, compatibility and stuff. Maybe could be a topic for a new video? Thanks 🙂

  21. Ok I almost never clean my road bike, because once I start I don't stop and 3 hours later I'm sort of finished. I haven't taken my hubs apart but cleaned the exterior with rag and tooth brush. I know your not supposed to, but I use wd40 on every thing. It's just so easy the airesol spray can flush out areas between the free wheel cogs etc. I can't be bothered with three different types of specialty lubes really! I wipe down the rims with a clean dry rag at the end and there is no noticeable contamination or breaking problems. I bought 2 tubes of white car grease 25 years ago and I still have half of one left. I use this grease on anything I put grease on. Head tube bearings hub bearing caps and chain once a year. In the summer I use wd40 on the chain and now a dry lube depending on weather or dirt on chain I'll use one or the other. In winter in snow and freezing weather I use only the grease on the chain and not wd40 because that will freeze and you cant shift gears. ( back in the day when I worked as a bike courier year round. In the winter in Montreal Canada it can get to -20 Celsius easy). So the question is as a non competitive cyclist whats the big deal? Why should I clean my bike more? Will My chain rings and freewheels where out faster? will I ruin my chain faster? will I ruin my hubs faster? PS I've never used thread lock nor seem to need to. PPS Spray some wd40 inside your cable housing will make them run smooth and never need to be replaced. Well almost never, I shredded the nipple some how on my gear housing cable and had to replace it. If you wax your chain do you still lube it ever?

  22. Not a bad video, but you missed a heavy emphasis on an important greasing point… the seat post/seat tube interface. A steel frame and aluminium post can cause a welding effect if left for too long, and other combinations can stick together, but less so. (I had to use the NaOH or Draino method a while back to burn the aluminium post out of my steel frame) Nevertheless anti-seize ideally, or just regular grease on the seat post and seat tube prevents huge problems in the future. Same goes for fiber paste with carbon to carbon components. Enjoying the channel all around…

  23. How about the following for the chain:
    1. Using CX-80 (similar to WD-40), but the difference with WD-40 being, that it has with smaller oil fractions, thus, penetrating the chain better. I stopped using WD-40 altogether (only for door hinges or "big" elements, and switched to either CX-88 or Zollex (used for lubricating key holes and locks). Don't use CX-88 or Zollex indoors becasue creates an oily smell that will take hours to air out.

    2. The good old white spirit. Getting the chain off and putting it into a plastic bottle and shaking it. All the small pesky sand bits that sit on the inner rings are removed. I found this one better then lubing it, since white spirit evaporates off leaving no lube that, in turn, is going to collect all the dirt as you cycle. Though, this method requires taking the chain off, which may lead to buying small chain pliers in my case. I don't hold anything bad against lubing. It is still a vital part.

    I found pressurized cans do a better job for the chain since they blow/rinse off the small bits from the chain.

  24. I have used just plain motor oil for 18 years on my Trek hybrid utility bike. It is simple and reliable but I do not race.

  25. best lube for a chain .. 90w gear box oil . If its good enough for motorcycle chains then its good for human powered cycles .. dont be fooled by the hype bollox

  26. No mention of a Teflon Grease like Finish Line?
    Does it compare well to oil-based grease? I recently used it to rebuild my pedals and it seems less messy than oil based.

  27. I wonder what would happen if you use thread locker and fibre grip on your chain, and chain lube on your carbon handlebar .

  28. Which grease will work the best for pillow block bearing for heavy load, dust, high temperature a d some force impact? I need it for my rock crusher bearing.

  29. I think, (correct me if I'm wrong), dry lube works best when it's been left to dry for a few hours, as you're then left with a dry PTFE coating. So do it the night before. If you ride straight after applications it'll attract dirt just like wet lube. I always keep a cheeky bottle of wet lube with me in my toolkit just in case of a mid ride deluge. It's infuriating having that squeak start up once the clouds have cleared 🙂

  30. +GCN Tech ( really hope you see my post) love your videos! Wish I had a job with GCN! I might want to add that Seat Assembly Compound (SAC), is also ideal if your putting a steel seatpost in Aluminum bike frame or aluminum seatpost in a steel frame. Also If I install a seatpost that is the same metal as the frame e.g. aluminum seatpost on Aluminum frame I will still use SAC for two reasons:
    A.) For Better Grip.
    B.) Because I am trying to avoid binding.
    So I just want to point that out.

  31. My question is on prepping spokes for wheel building. There are specialty compounds lie spoke prep that can also be two colored to help keep drive side straight but at 20$ for each color and it's not much. Linseed oil has always been a go to since it dries for some grip and helps during building. I've also been told and used successfully and standard drive oil and a drop of Loctite medium blue some brands of bike DT Swiss Spoke Freeze locking compound. What's the recommendations on how and when to apply these options during a build.

  32. can i ask whats with movin the grease brush back and forth in the grease container shots???? its really kinda strange lookin after u notice it lol

  33. actually sealed bearings can be completely serviced, u have to b careful not to actually mess the seal up, iv done exactly way too many n cant remember ever damaging one yet so they are suprisingly robust, im also tend to be extremely ocd careful with things like that, personally i use a starrett scribe whiches perfect for puttin holes in the end of ur finger, but if u miss ur finger n get the point of the scribe right under the edge of the seal u can really easily work or pop the seal out, its pretty obvious

  34. the grease doesnt take up the space to stop the creak from happenin, the creak happens from the two surfaces catching and sliding, catching and sliding, over and over at a high frequency, the grease just makes it so it simply slides so that catching and releasing doesnt happen, its one fluid motion back n forth

  35. so what should i do if i have a carbon seatpost in a aluminium frame? What should be used? Any help is great 🙂

  36. so what should i do if i have a carbon seatpost in a aluminium frame? What should be used? Any help is great 🙂

  37. really useful and timely video. Which leads to a question I have: which grease (or other lube) should I be using on my through axles? I have to continually take the front wheel off when the bike goes in the car and the grease it came with is wearing thin. Thanks!

  38. Thread lock is generally a bad idea. Never use with plastic threads or titanium or aluminium screws. Titanium screw heads are SOFT!

  39. Finish Line 2 in 1. It cleans nice, and lubes. I use a paper sack cut open to shield the rear wheel/rim. Spray the lower chain while back pedaling. Wipe off excess. Shines.

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