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i used phil wood's grease when i repacked the bearings on my bike, as well as on the seat post. they make chain lube, for liek $8 a tube at your bike shop, which is really good (i run it on my mtb), or i think any wax-based lube will work (don't quote me on that though). triflow should work pretty darn well lubing up levers, shifters, brakes, and derailleurs though.
 

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So I went by the shop today to talk to them about lube for my chain, screws, seatpost, etc and the guy sold me some tri-flow superior lubricant and said to use it for everything (seems like a pretty light oil). I have been doing a lot of my tuning/assembly on bicycletutor.com and he recommends to use three separate types of lube; a light oil for screws, a heavier gel oil for the seat post and wheel threads, and a different type all together for the chain.

So my question is what does everyone here use for their bike on a regular basis? Should I have bought more than just this tiny bottle of tri-flow? Is it okay to use throughout the bike currently? I haven't lubed the bike since I got it, so I figured it's time for a clean and re-lube.

Any info would help. Thanks!
 

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A wheelist
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You need three lubes for bike maintenance - oil, grease and chain lube. I'll add two more to that but they aren't totally necessary; I just woudn't be without them - loc-tite and anti-sieze compound.

Lubes marketed for bikes tend to be in expensive small containers and as no bike bearings come close to the stresses and speeds of automotive bearing applications, I choose automotive lubes in bigger and cheaper containers. I can't think of any automotive bearings that have a tougher life than boat trailer wheelbearings so that's the grease I buy. For chain lube I choose to use Homebrew (yeah made at home; do a 'search' for it) but any talk of chain lubes on these sites sets off WWIII.
 

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-Tub of "Lubrimatic" white lithium grease from AutoZone for all threaded and slide-on connections,
- Can of WD-40 from Wal-Mart mainly for clean-up,
- Homebrew for the chain (3 parts mineral spirits, 1 part engine oil of any type or viscosity.)
- Rags, lots of rags.

That's it. Has worked and still works for me. Keep in mind that regular lubing is much more important than type, brand or cost of lube. Tiny bottles of bike shop lube are, well, tiny bottles of bike shop lube that sell for an amazing price.
 

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wim said:
-Tub of "Lubrimatic" white lithium grease from AutoZone for all threaded and slide-on connections,
- Can of WD-40 from Wal-Mart mainly for clean-up,
- Homebrew for the chain (3 parts mineral spirits, 1 part engine oil of any type or viscosity.)
- Rags, lots of rags.

That's it. Has worked and still works for me. Keep in mind that regular lubing is much more important than type, brand or cost of lube. Tiny bottles of bike shop lube are, well, tiny bottles of bike shop lube that sell for an amazing price.
Good additions Wim!!

Yes I forgot about the WD-40! I get it by the gallon (MUCH cheaper than silly rattle cans) and pour it into cheap spray bottles. I let some sit in an open container for many weeks so that all the propellant evaporates. Then you're left with a lovely thicker lube. Ordinary WD-40 is great for cleanup.

I have a rattle can of silicone spray lube too.

Then there's the bottle of Isopropyl Alcohol - for cleaning off disc brake rotors and other oily bits like new wheelbuilds.

Homebrew - let's start WWIII ! I use 1:1 ratio and have for about 15 years. It works great.
 

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Rock and Roll Lube

I use Rock n Roll chain lube. It cleans and lubes. My bike rides without noise and there is no dirt to wear out the parts. I also no black marks anywhere. It was also recommended in Bicycle magazine this month.
 

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Mike T. said:
Homebrew - let's start WWIII ! I use 1:1 ratio and have for about 15 years. It works great.
You'll get no argument from me on that ratio—I'm sure it works fine.

Your 'let's start a war' reminded me of a job I did many years ago translating a German paper into English. The subject of the paper was the psychology of bicycle riders, with one passage addressing the unusually deep and twisted love-hate relationship cyclist have with the chain. Nothing, the paper claimed, will stir controversy more than chain talk. The author looked for a reason and came up with the thought that the chain was the last, unchanged, out-in-the-open, dirty, filthy relic of the original invention. As such it incurs hatred—but also love in those who find profound satisfaction in cleaning and oiling THEIR CHAIN. :D
 

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Alright, so just so I have this down:

Grease for threaded items, seat post, screws, clamps, etc.

Light oil (the tri-flow I have should work) for bearings, levers, derailleurs.

Chain or "wet oil" for chain lube.

Some great advice; I didn't think to ask this until it was all sitting in front of me. It snowed here in the pacific NW last night so I'm stuck with maintenance all day.
 

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Kleh said:
So I went by the shop today to talk to them about lube for my chain, screws, seatpost, etc and the guy sold me some tri-flow superior lubricant and said to use it for everything (seems like a pretty light oil).
I'll reserve comment on Tri-flow per se, but no one lubricant is good for everything on a bicycle. Ball bearings need grease, pivots like those on the RD pantograph need a very light oil, chains need an appropriate lube (lots of opinions on this one, so I won't get into it, but I make a heavy oil based product), etc.

In short bikes comprise a variety of mechaincal systems, each with it's own specific lubrication requirement. If you use different care products on your hair & teeth than elsewhere on your body, you'll likewise want a variety of care products for your bike.

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Solving any problem requires understanding the underlying cause
 

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Mike T. said:
Light oil for bearings? No no no! Grease for bearings and other metal-to-metal fits. :eek:
Light oil for pivots. Grease for threads and insertions (seat posts etc) (or better still - anti-sieze for threads).
Hah, alright, I think I got it down now. You have to remember that I was told to use light oil for -everything-, so I'm slowly catching on :).
 

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Kleh said:
Alright, so just so I have this down:
Grease for threaded items, seat post, screws, clamps, etc.
Light oil (the tri-flow I have should work) for bearings, levers, derailleurs.
Chain or "wet oil" for chain lube.
Some great advice; I didn't think to ask this until it was all sitting in front of me. It snowed here in the pacific NW last night so I'm stuck with maintenance all day.
Light oil for bearings? No no no! Grease for bearings and other metal-to-metal fits. :eek:
Light oil for pivots. Grease for threads and insertions (seat posts etc) (or better still - anti-sieze for threads).
 

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My buddy the ex-Chevron chemist...

For what it's worth, I use ProLink on the chain and wherever else it seems appropriate, StaLube Marine Grease (boat trailer wheel bearing grease) where I need grease and whatever's handy when I don't have those. You can get a lifetime supply of StaLube at any car parts place for about five bucks. ProLink is expensive in those tiny bottles, but I don't use enough of it to make it worth the hassle of mixing and storing homebrew.
I used to ride with a guy who was a chemist for Chevron, a lube specialist, and he said the forces in bikes are so low compared to cars and trucks that you can use anything you have around. Only thing he warned against was using lubes too thick to flow into the spaces, like grease on a chain.
I also use beeswax on threaded fasteners, both as lubricant and a sort of low-tech Loctite, but that's mostly just because I have some and like messing with it.
 

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Mike T. said:
Light oil for bearings? No no no! Grease for bearings and other metal-to-metal fits. :eek:
Light oil for pivots. Grease for threads and insertions (seat posts etc) (or better still - anti-sieze for threads).
Absolutely correct, but let me add something I should have pointed out above: 'bearings' generally refers to ball bearings. Because many of these ball bearings on modern bicycles come in the form of a cartridge now, there's really no easy way to disassemble, clean and regrease them. It's entirely possible that the tub of grease you'll buy for your new bike (Motobecane?) will only be used for lubrication/corrosion protection of threads and sliding fits.
 

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wim said:
Absolutely correct, but let me add something I should have pointed out above: 'bearings' generally refers to ball bearings. Because many of these ball bearings on modern bicycles come in the form of a cartridge now, there's really no easy way to disassemble, clean and regrease them. It's entirely possible that the tub of grease you'll buy for your new bike (Motobecane?) will only be used for lubrication/corrosion protection of threads and sliding fits.
I partly agree Wim. My two newest sets of wheels, with Ultegra and DuraAce hubs, have loose ball bearings. I took the opportunity to lube them to my standards before use. With "sealed" cartridge bearings, while this is by no means easy, I tap the cartridges out, flip out their seals with a thin blade and flush and re-lube. I've found "sealed" bearings do a far better job of keeping water and dirt IN that stopping it from getting in. But this was mainly from my really dirty weather mountain biking days.

And yes, most of my current grease gets used for things other than ball bearings.
 

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Kleh said:
Hah, alright, I think I got it down now. You have to remember that I was told to use light oil for -everything-, so I'm slowly catching on :).
Kleh, you'll catch on just fine. Remember, the opinion you get from most bike shops is the opinion of one person and a shop apron and a fancy sign isn't a guarantee of that person being an expert. You're much better off to ask your questions here, gather as many opinions as possible and then decide what to do for yourself. I'm sure that's the way most of us lifers have done it. Mine's influenced by an auto mechanic's license too so that helps somewhat. Many others here are influenced by engineering degrees.
 

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Mike T. said:
I've found "sealed" bearings do a far better job of keeping water and dirt IN that stopping it from getting in..
Again, no argument from me on that. I started repacking bicycle ball bearings in 1957 on my first real racing bike (much too large Fréjus hand-me down from good old dad) and am convinced that cup-and-cone bearings will last almost forever if cared for properly. But when cartridge bearings came in, I just threw up my hands and gave up. So you're a better man than I am in that regard. :D
 

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wim said:
Again, no argument from me on that. I started repacking bicycle ball bearings in 1957 on my first real racing bike (much too large Fréjus hand-me down from good old dad) and am convinced that cup-and-cone bearings will last almost forever if cared for properly. But when cartridge bearings came in, I just threw up my hands and gave up. So you're a better man than I am in that regard. :D
You've got me beat by 5 years on my bearing-packing career Wim. I started out with Campagnolo hubs in '62.

I used to know an old fellow who was a lifetime cyclist. He'll have passed away now. He was a factory machinery engineer all his life. He let me spin a set of his Campagnolo hubs that he claimed were 30+ years old and had never been stripped down. Every year he injected one drop of oil into each bearing race, in his words, "just to keep the grease thin". Those things were as smooth as glass.

It's not that big of a deal to service (most) cartridge bearings. Lots of them are woefully low on lube IMO. I fill them about 3/4 full.
 

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wim said:
I started repacking bicycle ball bearings in 1957 on my first real racing bike and am convinced that cup-and-cone bearings will last almost forever if cared for properly. :D
Absolutely. I just sold (for five bucks, to a neighbor's kid; his dad wouldn't let me give it to him) my 1970 college Peugeot. I can't even guess how many miles it has on it, but I rode it almost daily for 12 years, then pretty regularly until the late '90s. I replaced the headset bearings once, but the hubs and BB were original, just repacked every year or so. They still run smooth.
 

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Any Tub Grease for Threads, Balls, Metal-to-Metal.
Home Brew 1:1 for Chain.
Lots of Rags.
 
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