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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:41 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 1:50 pm
Posts: 39
Location: San Francisco or Surrey
before I go out and buy another tube a silly-priced, teflon-fortified bike super grease I'm curious if plain old lithium grease (Castrol and the like) will do the job just as well. That's the stuff we all used to use on bikes in my childhood before the fancy stuff was invented and I have about a gallon of it in the garage.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:24 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2008 2:52 pm
Posts: 347
I don't think it lasts long in bearings or headsets and the like, bit thin. I'm not sure its waterproof either? It is deffo not safe for some rubber types, it causes rot.

I've had a tube of the TF? Teflon red stuff for ages and its really good, safe n seems to last!


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:37 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 1:50 pm
Posts: 39
Location: San Francisco or Surrey
I did a bit of research and it seems grease is grease is grease, more or less. The only real difference AFAIK between normal lithium-based car grease and the bike stuff is that the bike stuff is a little more water resistant, and the car stuff is more heat resistant. In other words, one is formulated for cooler conditions and one for hotter conditions. Automotive grease like bike grease is perfectly safe on rubber AFAIK since cars contain plenty of rubber seals as well

Apparently, however, some bike mechs use plain old lithium marine grease, which is just as water resistant as the bike stuff and a lot less money. In fact I've read a couple of comments elsewhere that imply the the fancy Phil Wood bike grease actually is just the same as plain old marine grease!

So for now I'm gonna use my dad's castrol since I cannot bear to fork out for more pricey bike grease when I have so much at home in the US.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:06 am 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:38 am
Posts: 348
Location: Conwy
wordfool wrote:
I did a bit of research and it seems grease is grease is grease, more or less. .


A quick look on Wikepedia and here's a quick summary of why you're a bit off the mark-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NLGI_Grade

Add into the equation additives applied to different grades of grease, with differing properties and specialised applications in mind. I'd stay well clear of your 'castrol grease' on any bearing, pivot or load bearing surface- suppose it could be warmed up and applied to a rag and then dragged through your frame tubes as a cheap way of protecting them against rust (only worth it on a steel bike mind!)...


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:28 am 
Gold Trader / MacRetro rider
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Joined: Sun Apr 02, 2006 1:03 pm
Posts: 11796
Location: Returning
any grease is better than no grease

castrol LM is still one of the best greases you can get imo
its not as water resistant as some of the more specialist stuff but for wheel bearings headsets and old b/b's its fine , the only down side is
i gets displaced over a period of time ,probably more by pressure
washing than anything else ,but you shouldn't pressure wash bicycles anyway

like most things a wee inspection of the greased parts periodicaly wont go amiss


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:03 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 1:50 pm
Posts: 39
Location: San Francisco or Surrey
Pogo... I guess my statement was a bit broad, but from what I've read the basic automotive bearing grease sold at the likes of Halfords is pretty much the same as bike grease.

I know there are literally hundreds of types of grease, many with very specific properties for specific tasks (including the super-thick industrial stuff), but your basic run of the mill general car grease and general marine grease is apparently gonna do just as good a job as pricier bike grease. Moreover, bike grease AFAIK never comes with any sort of official rating like automotive and industrial greases, so who's to know what we're buying and what its properties actually are? But there is plenty of talk out there that some bike greases are basically re-packaged car or 'green' marine grease.

The Castrol lithium-based stuff I decided to use has exactly the same consistency as bike grease and is rated for car bearings so I have no worries that it'll be fine on bike bearings. Might not be quite as water resistant in the long term, but I rarely cycle in the rain and do not pressure wash my bike!


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 9:55 am 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:51 am
Posts: 1046
Location: W.yorkshire
i've used castrol lithium before and it was fine.


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