The lubricant for bicycle parts.

Lubricant is very important for the bike.

smeermiddelNo vehicle is as durable as a good bike – it can easily be 80 years or more to carry out its tasks.
But that can only happen if one replaces its wear parts in a timely manner and maintain bicycles with dedication.
You can use different lubricants.

Hundreds of individual components together make a complete bike.
In order to keep as low as possible, the mechanical friction and wear of the material,
different lubricants are used for the bicycle.
Common to all lubricants is that they also have to protect against rust
and have a dirt repellent effect.

Daily drivers typically use a Universal spray oil.
This used to be machine oil, but today there are universal lubricant such as “Step 1” Finish Line.
These products lubricate the parts, make rusted parts separately,
dissolve stubborn dirt and preserve the quality of the bike.
Although Universal lubricants do their name right, there are many lubrication points on modern bikes that need special care. For this, there are other oils, greases, pastes and waxes.
What they are, and what they do, we explain in detail.

Constant load: the Chain

Which part of the cycle people most often think of, when it comes to bicycle maintenance and lubrication?
That is clearly the chain.
In the chain, it often involves regular use and maintenance, even after a long drive in the rain, it is wise to oil after.
But actually when the chain is rusty or begins to beep you begin to notice that the chain needs maintenance.
And rust is the mortal enemy of the chain.
The chain alone is comprised of at least 450 individual parts.
So this gives friction in many places , totally it can mean a considerable effort of the cyclist.
Is there rust in this system, then the efficiency of the cycle decreases considerably.
A well oiled chain contributes about 98 percent of the power of the crank to the wheel.
The efficiency drops as a chain is poorly maintained, and there should be put much more force on the pedal.
New chains are therefore also provided with a so-called first lubrication and therefore also ensure a smooth cycling behavior.

Unfortunately, these tough lubricants have the disadvantage to attract dirt like a magnet.
This is especially bad for derailleurs, because the dirt is deposited on the gears, and degrades the switching function.
When using a new chain, it is often recommended to remove the first lubrication directly during assembly of the chain and then lubricate with a more suitable oil.
But the selection is indeed great: Besides the classical oils, there are the so-called dry lubricants such as ceramic wax lubricants.
In it are fixed, nano-fine particles, which promote lubrication.
A carrier liquid ensures a uniform distribution on the chain and evaporates shortly after application.
The advantage is that it creates a dry surface on which dirt can attach minimal.
However, should dry lubrications be used more often.

However, when use is made of a conventional oil, then you should ensure that you regularly lubricate, but do not use too much oil.
It is important that the lubricant is applied to the chain links and get some time to penetrate.
Less problematic than a derailleur chain, is the chain of a bicycle with hub gears.
Here, the chain does not have to be laterally flexible, allowing them to wear less.
A chains for a hub gear bicycles can be lubricated with stricter lubricants which strongly committed to the parts of the chain and protect longer.
Dirt hereby also has no influence on the shifting performance.
An alternative to the conventional chain is now the driving belt of carbon fibers, which is simpler in maintenance.
A little use of silicone spray is enough to keep it supple.

The high-speed spray, from a spray can.

smeermiddelPopular and widely used are the penetrating oil in the spray bottle.
They are quick to use, but are not suitable as a universal lubricant.
Because of the high fluidity, they can penetrate into cracks and crevices and infiltrate into water and dirt, which makes them ideal as protection against corrosion.
Rusted bolts or seat post can be persuaded to move quickly or damaged aluminum parts to shine again.
Caution is advised when you lubricate a point or plastic seal that should be treated by other means.
Here, penetrating oils even cause damage because they displace the original lubrication.
Also, they are not suitable as a permanent lubricant for moving parts such as the highly charged chain.

Always moving.

In addition to the chain, there are other moving parts on the bicycle that require lubrication.
The pivot points of the brake or joints (road bike caliper).
These bolts and the pivoting points are provided with grease from the factory.
You can do plenty with a few drops of Universal Lubricants.
Until long rides in the rain.
At higher maintenance you better can regrease everything, but make sure nothing comes on the brake lining.

Shifting and brake cables.

Although many bikes now brake hydraulic and the electrical shifting is on the rise, many bikes still use the classic brake and shift method.
The steel cable, which is carried out partially open and partially in a pressure-resistant and flexible sheath.
This cable usually works against the spring in the brake or derailleur.
In order to make the cable move lightly, the sheath is often coated on the inside.
However, this layer disappears with time, which is often the reason why a cable sheath must be replaced.
In order to protect a cable against contamination or even rust, sporadic care is enough.

A paste for each goal.

smeermiddelThe average cyclist has less to do with these lubricants, but professional and amateur mechanics more:
When assembling bicycle parts play an important pastas.
It is very important during the assembly, that there is no corrosion occurs between components.
When placing a seat post, for example, it is important that it can not rust.
This is what happens when combining two different metals – the classic case, the aluminum support in the steel frame.
People think, aluminum can not rust, thus placing no protective layer.

Often information on service give accurate instructions about which topics should be greased.
Example, there are metal assembly pastes.
This hard, adhesive mixtures are specially designed for screw thread, and other lubrication points where there is no mechanical movement.
They protect various metal surfaces against each other and against moisture and corrosion.
The assembly instructions give unanswered questions, please contact the manufacturer for more information.


smeermiddelA special case of mounting components are carbon composites and lightweight, thin-walled aluminum parts.
Handlebars, seatposts and forks of carbon can be damaged by excessive clamping forces.
Therefore, these parts should be firmly put with a torque wrench.
In view of the tightening torque to keep as low as possible, use a mounting paste for a carbon component.
An example is the product “Carbon Gripper” of Muc-Off.
Therein, small plastic particles are compressed between the components, thereby increasing the friction.
As always, applies here: Study the instructions for assembly!

The opposite of grease: Loctite

A special case is with thread, which are treated with screw glue (Loctite) so that loosening must be avoided.
This applies, for example, for threaded spokes that still like to be treated with boiled linseed oil, which only provides for easy installation and after resinification of the oil for a good grip.
Nowadays, there are also special resources, such as Loctite.
Another example are compounds such as brake disc screws and Allen screws on the V-Brake.

Tips for the home workshop.

With lubrication is the correct dosage important and cleanliness so that the lubricant is not dirty or.
A great solution is to fill grease in low-cost disposable syringes of the pharmacy, in place of a thick brush which collects the dirt.
By contrast, an old toothbrush is the ideal tool for cleaning chain and sprockets.
To rein the worst dirt, you have to actually work with oil-resistant gloves.
The workshop is the ideal cemetery for worn clothes, broken down into manageable pieces.
Cotton is the best, fabric made of water-repellent material is not suitable.

Along the way lubrication.

For longer trips, a small bottle of oil is useful, especially after a downpour.
For short cleanings an old piece of cloth could do the trick, but nowadays there are conveniently packaged wipes available, robust and durable, made of bamboo fiber.
It cleans the wheel, but also the hands after repairs down the road.
If you want to lubricate along the way, you prefer to use a biodegradable, environmentally agent .

Finally, the lubricant:

  • Oil : Lubricating oil with low viscosity, good flowability, for example, is applied in droplet form on chains, often contains additives .
  • Base oil: crude, obtained from carbon (fossil fuels: coal, oil, gas and renewable raw materials: soy, rapeseed or palm) .
  • Grease: lubricant with a high viscosity, often oil which is hardened with a thickener .
  • Penetrating Oil: very fluid and volatile lubricant, (so often good for cleaning) water infiltration and corrosion, as well as other lubricants (which sometimes counterproductive) .
  • Viscosity means sticky, gives information on the flow properties of the lubricant: the higher the value, the more viscous the oil, the less volatile oil .
  • Additions (additives). The added compounds in the base oil which identify specific characteristics of the product, such as flow properties (viscosity), adhesion / durability / protection against the weather, heat resistance.
  • Teflon: a fluorocarbon polymer used because of inertia, resistance and thus low friction coefficient as an additive in lubricating oils for chains .
  • Nanoparticles: Additives in the smallest possible form .
  • Dry lubrication: solid particles with a lubricating properties, are applied by rapidly evaporating carrier liquid. Advantage: does not get dirty .