Appropriate grease for bike jockey wheel overhaul
April 10, 2010 9:29 AM   Subscribe

Bike maintenance and grease options: I'm going to be cleaning and lubing my drive train as throughly as possible this afternoon, but I'm not sure if the lubricants I have on hand are appropriate for things like greasing the jockey wheel, or if there's an appropriate automotive grease that can substitute.

I've already taken off the chain and am scrubbing it, but the whole drive train, especially the jockey wheels, is a mucky mess. If I overhaul the jockey wheel as described here, I'll need some waterproof grease.

I have some "Super Grease", a spray grease that's labelled as water repellant, but I don't know if I need something heavier than this for the job.

If the spray grease is too light, is there a specific type of grease (lithium, petroleum, whatever) that I can pick up from the Canadian Tire across the street? I can go downtown to my usual bike shop if really necessary, but I'd rather use my afternoon to work on the bike without going an hour out of my way.

And if I do end up going to a bike shop, is there any specific brand that you would recommend?
posted by maudlin to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Phil Wood grease for ball bearings and stuff, Triflow for chains. That's what we always used at the bike shops I worked at (albeit a long time ago).
posted by Big_B at 9:32 AM on April 10, 2010

Best answer: Here's a thread on bikeforums about grease options that might be helpful to you. Also, Sheldon Brown suggests that pretty much any grease will work.
posted by kataclysm at 9:39 AM on April 10, 2010

Cleaning your derailleur wheels is an easy job, you can redo it once you've got the proper grease. The worst that will happen is that the wheels might muck up faster; they won't dry out if you're keeping your chain properly lubricated.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:48 AM on April 10, 2010

Response by poster: Yay, quick and excellent advice!

From the links, marine grease looks like a popular, cheap and effective choice, although the brand I found at Canadian Tire is rated to a low temperature of -18C and it can get a little colder than that in Toronto. I guess that would mean that if I use marine grease now, I'd have to replace it with something rated for lower temperatures in December.

My Super Grease spray (a lithium grease like marine grease) is rated to -45C, but would any of you say that a spray grease, versus goop from a container, is just too light for the job?
posted by maudlin at 9:55 AM on April 10, 2010

Best answer: You could use a colder grease if you think it's gonna get cold, or you could just use oil/triflow at those times of the year. I do a drivetrain clean more than once a year, so depending on your intent you might just go with regular grease now while it's going to be warmer for awhile, then switch to your cold weather lubricants when winter starts rolling around.
posted by rhizome at 10:18 AM on April 10, 2010

Response by poster: So be it. I'll go across the street and get some marine grease (and a few other things I need to pick up anyway), and I'll look for something else winter-appropriate by December. My spray grease might be just right for winter, anyway.

posted by maudlin at 10:21 AM on April 10, 2010

I'd use lithium grease for jockey wheels and pretty much any other bearings.
Here's Jobst Brandt's opinion. He's on the side of automotive grease.
There's a decent bikeforums thread here.
And finally, Sheldon says pretty much any automotive grease will do, since bike bearings aren't under much load or at high temperatures, apart from coaster brakes.
For the chain I use White Lightning Epic.
posted by SyntacticSugar at 11:02 AM on April 10, 2010

When I worked as a courier, I would use Tri-Flo in the summers, and Phil Woods Tenacious Oil in the winter. You can get either at MEC for a few bucks.
posted by pcameron at 11:59 AM on April 10, 2010

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