How & Where To Use Grease, Lubricant & Threadlock On Your Mountain Bike – The Complete Guide

How & Where To Use Grease, Lubricant & Threadlock On Your Mountain Bike – The Complete Guide

– Keeping your bike clean
and well lubed is the key to making sure your
transmission works really well. And also for ensuring the
longevity of your bike. But it can be quite confusing cause there’s a lot of different greases and lubes available on the market. And more specifically it
can be quite confusing where, specifically, you
use them on the bike. So here’s our guide to different greases, thread lock compounds, and lubes out there and where you should be using them. So, obviously, there’s a lot
of stuff available to you out there, but this is
the bare minimum that you really should be having to
look after your bike at home. So you need some sort of water displacer. Now you’d use these
after cleaning your bike just to drive out the water
from your transmission to make sure it can’t rust. And also, if you’re just riding your bike in wet conditions, to
have the same effect. Then you’re gonna need
some sort of chain lube. There’s various different
ones on the market which we’re gonna explain to you later. You’re gonna need these to
lubricate your transmission to make sure all those rollers
on the chain work nicely. A generic sort of spray
lube, cause you can use these on various places on your bike that you can’t get to with a chain lube. And some sort of grease. So first off, you’re
gonna need a chain lube. Now, the main types of chain lube come in two options, wet and dry. So wet lube, as the name
suggests, is a wet lube and it’s quite thick viscosity and it sits on your chain keeping it wet and lubricated at all times. These are ideal for really
wet, foul conditions cause they stick to
your chain really well. But the problem with that is it can attract grit and other
nasty stuff that gunks up. So you do have to pay
attention to your drive train a little bit more if
you’re using this stuff. But the point is, if you’re
using it in wet conditions, this is what you need because
it’s also a rust inhibitor. Dry lube, a little bit different. So, dry lube, despite what the name is, is still a wet substance. So it’s basically a carrier
which is solvent-based and it holds the lubricating particles. So you apply this onto your chain and then the solvent itself dries up making sure those
particles have gotten into the rollers and pins of the chain. So this sort of stuff is not
too good in wet conditions cause it can be washed away, but due to the dry nature of it, once it’s sort of dried onto your chain, it doesn’t attract dirt and grime. So its ideal for dusty conditions. The down side with dry lube, other than it comes off in the wet,
is it doesn’t last as long so you’re gonna need to
apply it more frequently. So the main point with all lubricants, and in particular dry lube, is that they get into the
chain rollers themselves. So there are some
lubricants on the market, you have to read the
manual quite extensively and you have to wait up to four hours before you ride the bike. And I know for a fact that no
one is actually gonna do that. You just want to apply the
lube and get out riding. So make sure you get a decent lubricant. When you put it on, it soaks
into the chain properly and it gets all those rollers moist because that is the backbone of the chain. If they’re not lubricated,
you’re wearing your stuff out. So just invest in a good lubricant and it’s worth having a wet and dry so you can ride in different conditions. So next up is to have a
general purpose spray lube. Now these are quite convenient to use and you can use them, due
to the wet nature of them, as a chain lube, but
because they’re quite thin, it’s never gonna last as long. They’ll sit somewhere in the middle between a wet and a dry lube, but what it’s really useful for is things like brake lever pivots or even inside of your u-lock if you leave it outside, for example. They’re just a really
good, convenient lubricant to have in your selection and, of course, be used to flush out gear cables. So WD-40 does contain a lubricant, but it’s also a solvent. So that means it’s gonna
break down greases and stuff. So what you don’t really wanna do is have this stuff around
bearings and that for too long. However, it’s not actually gonna create that much damage in the long term as long as you look after your bike because it is still a lubricant. So you could use this on your chain although it’s never gonna be as good as using a dedicated chain lube. So we’d always recommend
using a specific chain lube. Just use this to make
sure stuff is driven out, wipe it off with a rag, and then lubricate your bike properly
with a proper chain lube before you go riding or
immediately afterwards. Another thing that WD-40 is brilliant for and a reason to have this in your tool kit is it’s really for
freeing seized components and locks and stuff. So in particular, I had one last winter, a frozen shifter. So my shifter just got
loads of water in it from just a winter of riding and gradually it just started getting really, really stiff with use. Flush it out with this, take it apart, clean it, works fantastically
and it’s also great for flushing out auto cables. Multiple use, sole product. And if you drive to your trails you might have had sticky car locks before or even any problems with
sort of electrical stuff, this is actually conductive
so it’s really good for using with any of that sort of stuff. Now finally, another reason to have this is it’s actually really good for getting grease out of carpet and out of clothing which a lot of people don’t realise. I made a really cool hacks video. You can demonstrate getting
some oil out of carpet with it. So great multiuse product
just to have in your tool kit. A lightweight spray grease
is also another thing really handy to have in your collection. But, don’t get me wrong,
it’s not a replacement for heavy duty workshop
grease to use on bearings and threads and things like that. It’s good for using on pedal threads. You can use it on the lightweight stuff on the inside of shifters. There’s gobbings that
would get bogged down with a thick grease and, well, an oil would just run out and won’t do anything. Also useful off the bike
for a few other things. So your bike rack on the car, for example, where the elbows come up
to sort of clamp you down, they creak quite a lot. This stuff is great
for that and it doesn’t get washed off by sort of
rain when you’re out driving. So just a good multiuse
product, comes in handy. Buy it once, it stays on the
shelf, gets used a few times. You’re gonna need a decent
grease for working on your bike. Now grease is obviously
used to reduce friction between surfaces, it
helps keep water at bay, and it’s used to generally
assemble parts of your bike. So you’re gonna be using
grease in areas like pedal threads, pump bracket threads, putting the headset cups into the frame. Be aware, though, that some
greases contain petroleum and other substances that
are damaging to carbon fibre. So, before you go smearing
some on any carbon parts, make sure it’s carbon safe. So first up is lithium grease which tends to be white by nature. Often sitting in big tubs in workshops and it comes good in spray cans
cause it’s quite thin stuff. Now whilst this is good for
assembling parts of your bike, it’s not the best stuff
for general lubrication because it does wash away eventually so you don’t see it used that much. However, like I said,
it’s great for nestling in cartridge bearings into the frame cause it’s still gonna provide a sort of waterproof barrier and it’s
not gonna get washed away in a location like that. So this is quite handy
to use on wheel axles and things like that just to
make them slide into place and not get corroded. A lot of other common greases you’ll see referred to as PTFE, or
teflon-based greases. Now these have teflon particles in them so they’re some really good slick grease and it can be used on many
places on the bike, but generally, teflon grease isn’t that good for using on carbon fibre. So just be cautious of
that if you do buy some. Now these two are quite
generic workshop greases here. They’re both safe to use on carbon fibre. They’re also ideal to use to
waterproof parts of your bike and use on any bearings. I tend to just use it just a standard tub of this stuff for pretty much everything. So you’re also gonna need some sort of assembly compound on your bike. So an assembly compound, often
referred to as anti-seize or sometimes a carbon
compound is essentially a form of grease that’s got
particles suspended in it. And that helps create
friction between surfaces. So this is ideal to use in places like your seat post junction
where you wanna make sure it doesn’t corrode into your
frame but also it doesn’t move. So the really unique thing
about assembly compounds is it can help reduce the
torque you have to put through an allen key
junction, for example, on a handlebar stem or a seat post to hold that component in place. This is particularly
important with carbon fibre cause you don’t want to over
tighten those components cause you can risk
damaging them and worse, you could actually crack them. So make sure you’ve got the
right sort of assembly compound that is compatible with the
sorts of things on your bikes. So there are specific carbon compounds. I mean, this particular one
is an all-around compound. It’s safe to use with
carbon but you can use it on aluminium, steel, any other materials. Now some people think you
should be using a grease something like the Hope
system which is narrower cup that preses into the frame. It’s actually got these sort of bars that hold the cups together. You can use a grease with
that cause it’s not gonna sort of walk around or move in there. Now if you’re using plastic cups, I recommend using a
specific retaining compound. So this is a form of glue
basically that holds it in place but it’s easy enough to
get it out afterwards. Just make sure you look
up what’s recommended for that specific component
when you’re installing it. Assuming you have some
sort of suspension fork or shock on your bike, you’re gonna want some kind of suspension-based grease. Now they’re quite specific
because they’re very thin and very slick and you use
these typically in areas like under the fork seal. So it helps create a barrier against the water getting in there and obviously keeps the fork running smoothly. Make sure you get a
decent one and make sure it’s compatible with your suspension fork. Okay, so, next up is thread lock. It’s not something you’ll
use that often on your bike but there are very particular
places you should be using it. So, for example, chain
link bolts are something subject to vibration and
rattle out on the trail. If they come loose when you’re out riding, it’s generally gonna ruin your ride so that is exactly where you’re
gonna want a thread lock. Other places worth
considering to use thread lock are the jockey wheel bolts that hold your rear mech cage together, your actual rear mech hanger bolt itself, and if your bike has removable drop outs, you’ll find it will have
some kind of retaining bolt to keep those on. Definitely want to keep those thread lock so they don’t rattle loose. And finally, something
that I often see loose on people’s bikes, the
brake lever pivot bolts. So you’d never really
think of checking those but if they rattle loose and
if your brake lever falls off, you’re gonna know about that. So this one’s a bit of an old one. This is brake grease. So it’s a grease, obviously, for assembling your brake
components or the callipers. And the only difference
really between this and a normal grease is it’s duct proof. So that refers to a style of
fluid used in a lot of brakes, and that’s duct and
it’s a corrosive liquid. If you use regular grease
in it it’s gonna break down. So this is specifically formulated
just to avoid doing that. You’ll barely ever need to use this stuff but if you are quite an
in depth home mechanic, it’s good to have in the
tool kit nonetheless. So next up are suspension
oils and lubricants. So firstly the oils,
you’re probably less likely to use these at home
cause they involve taking the oil out of the damping unit itself. And these come in different oil weights and that refers to the
viscosity of the actual oil. So in addition to the external adjustments you can make to those damping units, you can use different
weight oil to control the characteristics of your
suspension fork or shock. It’s quite a specialist
part and you will find with every fork and shock there’ll be a recommended weight oil to use. Of course, you can sort
of custom tune that by running different oils. Next up is suspension lubricant. Now this has no bearing on the damping of the fork or shock itself whatsoever. It’s purely used to lubricate. In this case this is
just a lower leg lube. So this would go in the
lower leg of the fork and its job is to make sure
it slides up and down nicely, to keep the seals nice and
moist, and also to make sure the bushings don’t wear too prematurely. And this stuff is Fox float fluid. It’s basically the same
equivalent for using on Fox products on, in
particular, Fox rear shocks. It’s not a damping oil, it’s just there to lubricate the seals. And finally, with suspension products, you can also use that lower
leg lube just to perform a quick, sort of, wipe of your upper legs. But you can also use this stuff. It’s a silicone spray
and it’s amazing stuff. It’s super, super, super thin so you can actually get this under
the wiper seals if you just roll up the garter
and you can just use this just to keep your forks running smooth on a day to day basis. So hopefully our breakdown
of lubricants, greases, and retaining compounds
has been helpful for you. If you want to find out
a few more cool videos on how to use these sort of
things, click down here for installing a press-fit bomb bracket where I demonstrate
some retaining compounds and stuff down there. And if you wanna find out
about a fork lower leg service using some of the products
here, click down here. As always, click on the globe
to subscribe in the middle. And, of course, if it’s
been a useful video, give us a thumbs up.

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. #askgmbntech,#askanyone, I'm having a hard time with my brakes one piston will always touch my rotor everytime I brake, what should I do

  2. #askgmbntech I have a bike with Avid XO Trail brakes and while they have great modulation and power they suffer from the dreaded turkey gobble on a regular basis. Not all the time, it seems to get worse after using them for a while. I've read so much mixed advice on how to fix them but this being the internet you have no idea whether the person giving the advice actually knows what they're talking about.

    Most people seem to agree it's down to the brakes not being bedded in properly and say the pads and rotors should be thoroughly cleaned and the bedding in be done by rolling down a long hill while dragging the brakes to evenly distribute brake material onto the rotors. I've also read a few times that Centerline rotors will cure it. I assume proper bedding in still has to be done though.

    My dear Doddy, I trust your advice, what would you recommend? I love the brakes but the noise is driving me a bit nuts.

  3. Very useful. I'll definitely be getting somebody else to grease and lube my bike. Way too confusing for an amateur.

  4. I have a very slight suspicion WD40 have sponsored this video very slightly!!! Come on guys, you KNOW there is better stuff than that rubbish!

  5. "if your brake lever falls off, you're going to know about that." 9:39 Man, there seems to be a story here…
    Oh, and don't get silicone spray anywhere near anything you ever hope to paint. It's a pain to get off and paint will not adhere to it.

  6. Can you do a video reviewing options that aren't petroleum based? WD 40 is pretty bad for the environment but there's not much info out there on alternatives. I use green oil but I'm sure there are other brands out there too.

  7. Why is Teflon grease not ok for carbon? I have used it thinking maybe I should remove it from my stem and seat post?🤔🤤 grate vid!👌👍

  8. i have a few questions:
    1: i also use WD40 silicone lube on mu stancions.. but wouldn't it wash away my grease and oil from my bushings and foam rings?
    2: would products used in cars be any good on the bike? i mean the greases for bearings and oils for my chain which perhaps are too heavy duty for the forces and loads used in bikes which need light and sensible products.
    3: standard wd40.. when you use it on the chain just for cleaning.. whipe it of and use proper chain lube.. the solvent will still be there and mess up the chain lube properties.. or?

  9. #askgmbntech Can I use a small amount of dry lube to apply on the suspension forks in order to cycle them a bit and get dirt from out of the seals? Do I risk ruining the seals knowing now thanks to Biem Leichel it´s a solvent based lube? Thanks

  10. One comment about lubing the chain, I was taught a long time ago that the best way to lube your chain, was to do it after you got done riding, lube the chain really well then leave it, and before you go riding next time just take a rag to it, to clean off the excess. The lube has plenty of time to work its way into the rollers that way.

  11. Hi Doddy, can you help me out (Btw: love your show). I am using Shimano anti-seize for my aluminium seat post in an alu frame, but now the seat post is sliding down. Is this the wrong product or do I something wrong?

  12. 😀 I had to wait 10years to see a very resumed video about bike lubes ,my favorite part is buying some lube I think its gonna help my bike and make my personal review thx gmbn

  13. Best spray lubricant is CRC silicone. 100% pure silicone lubricant no petroleum distillates. It's about five bucks and can works on every single pivot point and moving part on a bicycle. it also is incredibly useful for keeping rubber parts from drying out and can be a short-term water-resistant application on your clothing and shoes. 👍

  14. use gloves if you are going to use your fingers to apply, lubes and greases can be carcinogenic. sure you will be fine but it's not worth the risk!

  15. Thanks for the video! You mentioned using lithium grease on the wheel axles; a mechanic once used grease (the thicker stuff… not sure what he actually used) on my thru axles, and the back axle then kept coming loose during rides. I ride a full suspension fuel ex; could the grease be the cause of this when you consider all the moving parts in the rear?

  16. Another great spot to use thread lock is on the screws holding cleats into your shoes. This is of course assuming you've verified optimal cleat placement.

  17. I've been searching for a Marine Grease to use on my CF Santa Cruz lower link bearings via the Grease Nipple and Chris King BB. Lots of warnings around Lithium based greases which most seem to contain. So can you use PPL-2 for these applications or point me to a UK supplier of compatible Marine Grease without Li.

  18. You guys are making it way more confusing by going over way too many lubes and greases than the essentials. Where's the degreaser?

  19. Do not use WD on car locks especially electric ones. It's actually used to sabotage electrical devices, a ticking time bomb to destroy electrical and electronic circuits. Locking mechanisms alone, mechanical ones you could use it to clean them out but you need graphite, dry products to 'lube' them. CRC makes sprays specific for electrical and electronic devices. It will not leave behind the destructive residue.

  20. it would be great if you guys were allowed by your sponsors to provide in depth similar products guidance . bike tagged products are expensive, and most have similar. bike world didn't invented those suplies. it would be good to let people know float fluid is synthetic gear oil (much thicker than silicon btw), also make people aware that generic grease is calcium or lithium based NLG-2 grease and they have differences. there are premium grease that stays there for longer, are more stable under bearings load or better water resistant, but any calcium based nlg2 will be pretty water resistant. suspension grease is just NLG1 grease (thinner). this was a good what is what video but I'm pretty sure your audience deserves a second more in depth grease video. grease is a science by itself and nobody better than Doddy to make it.

  21. The blue tub, you said a standard grease, can I use this for my carbon, steel, and aluminium bike?

  22. i use 3 in 1 oil for chain lube cuz im cheap and its the only lube ive got. messy as hell and smells of lemon but it does the job

  23. Can I use some marine grease from an auto parts store it all I have for a grease and I don’t want to ruin any thing

  24. Hey, great video. I have a quick question, though. During those in-between times—when you know your axle bearings, cranks, or pedals don't need to be taken apart and re-greased for another six to nine months—would WD-40 WD-40 Specialist Spray and Stay Gel Lubricant be a okay to use? (not as a replacement for a proper servicing, but again, during those in-between times)

  25. why would u need a suspension grease, if you can also use a silicon spray or suspension lubericant to lube your upper legs and seals?

  26. Would you use grease on a carbon fork and also for the bearings ? Or it's better to use carbon paste for this parts? Or could you tell which type of grease it's safe for carbon fiber ?

  27. What type of lube or oil do I use after I wash my bike to lube up my forks coming in from the top using a zip tie to get the oil or lube in. Thanks

  28. The only time I would use wet lube is if I was riding my bike completely submerged under water otherwise the wet lube just attracts grit.

  29. This is great video, very informative. Thanks Doddy and GMBN crew.
    Don’t cut corners guys, keeping your bike lubed is very important.

  30. great video, seriously you guys are awesome. I've always been mechanically inclined (maintenance electrician by trade, car junkie since forever) but when i got back into mountain biking i needed a resource for bike specific maintenance. You and your team produce excellent videos and very informative, I find working on my bike super easy (which is part of why i love doing the maintenance myself) but i still need a resource to lean on for specific information and you guys are bar none the best on the internet!

  31. Before using dry lube for the first time, do we need to totally clean the chain, remove it and soak it in some mineral spirit or kerosene?

  32. Once I discovered White Lightning I never used anything else on my chain. The wax-based lube not only made the chain much more smooth and quiet but repelled grime and water, keeping it cleaner longer. Anything wet is a magnet for dirt.
    Anti-seize compound is essential for alloy and stainless parts, as well as any time you mix metals, but should never be used on bearings or high-speed components.

    WD-40 is not a lubricant. It's essentially aerosol mineral spirits and dissolves oily materials (and removes sticker gum). People mistake it for lube becasue moving parts will be smoother, initially, but that's due to the removal of contaminants, not from lubrication. After you use it to clean or unstick a part, clean it thoroughly and add a proper lubricant.

  33. What type of grease do I use? Just any grease? The only grease I have is brake caliper grease will that work just for any metal on metal like the handlebars and stem?

  34. I appreciate that the investment will save money and grief in the long run, but how much would all of these de-greasers, cleaners, thread lock and various grease compounds end up costing? Does anyone offer an inexpensive all round bicycle maintenance kit at budget price? Or best to just bite the built and buy all the items separately to keep us running smooth?

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