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

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


– 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.