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We've talked our buddy Chandler Snyder of Snyder Cycling Services into sharing some of his best-kept secrets. The first tip he shares is one that we should all know. This article isn't just about grease, it's about thinking outside of the box.
Without further ado...
Tonight I'm going to briefly chat about greases, and I'm going to talk about my favorite "go to/all round" grease...Mobil1 100% Synthetic Grease. Yep, the stuff you buy at your local Autozone, PepBoys or other automotive parts supplier.
I got turned on to this stuff years about in Colorado when working for an old salty S.O.B. for a brief period of time. I kinda looked at him funny the first time he told me about it and that its what we were going to use on most parts of all the builds. His reason for loving it so much, and it making complete sense for the intended purposes are pretty simple. Super high and very low temp ranges. Being 100% synthetic means no petrol base in it, so having it touch carbon parts won't effect the clear coat and cause trouble. Since it's made for car engines/parts, it's great on people's bikes who I call "sweaters". Not because of their wardrobe choices, but for their amazing ability to produce sweat thru their pores in freakish amounts, which then drips onto their favorite training/racing rigs and ruins bikes in months and, sometimes weeks, instead of years.
I use it on threads of bolts, to coat cartridge bearings whether for headsets or bottom brackets(especially BB30/PFBB30/BB86/90), Rear derailleur pulley wheels when used for training, or by sweaters. I also apply dabs to the junctions of ferrules and housing as well as to ferrules and housing stops on frames to aid in reducing oxidizing and noise.
I DON'T use it on bikes mainly used for racing, meaning if the part needing lubrication needs to have minimal friction, or I'm going to be seeing it daily/weekly for maintenance. These parts generally include hubs, some pulley wheels, and certain pedal systems. I also do not use it to lubricate cables and housing. Due to its extreme temp ranges it does a great job of staying about the same viscosity for the bike.
The photos attached are pretty self explanatory, however I do want to explain one. The photo of the Campagnolo Ultra Torque BB is special to me. This particular client is one of the heaviest "sweaters" Ive met. He's destroyed new bearings and Gore-Tex housing systems in record time...I'm talking a few weeks after being newly installed. This cyclocross season I was given "free reign" to do what I wanted. So his CX build was coated in my Mobil1. His headset and BB especially. I only saw the bike for maintenance at the race every weekend, where I'd clean it before his race, and if he manged to bring it to me post race, I'd do an on the spot tune/dial for him to take it home, ready for either racing next week or training on it during the coming week. This photo was taken after 13 Chicago Cyclocross Cup weeks of racing, in conditions from 80+ degree hot humid weather, to snow and slush in sub freezing temps. It had been power washed several times and literally hung up wet and ridden hard. The bike came in for a post season rebuild to get it ready for horrible spring road miles outside, as well as new cables and housing. When I opened up the BB, I was fully expecting pure chaos to ensue. It didn't. The crank came out like the day it went in. The bearings felt like they had just come out of the package, both in the headset and in the BB. His RD pulleys felt good, were a bit dirty, but just needed a flushing and an application of fresh grease. Other than that, he made it out of the stand without having to replace a single bearing/stem bolt/seatpost bolt...nothing. New cables and housing, and a fresh coat of wax later, he was ready to roll. It's a testament to my methods so far with this stuff and proof when asked to present it.
Sometimes bike mechanics pigeon hole themselves by staying strictly within the realm of bike products. I've found that just like my days as a bike messenger, when battling sub zero temps, I'd use non-bike related gear to stay warm, comfortable and safe. When it comes to the bikes in the stand and what they need, thinking outside of the box can produce better results than when staying "safe and comfortable" with products marketed only through the industry.
Play around with other products. Don't look at the need from a "bike only" perspective, but from the vantage point of what are the literal materials involved in the query as well as the base line physics needs that need to be met. You might find yourself walking into a craft store to find that one thing you needed for the job.
Chandler is the kind of mechanic always looking for new ideas. Have something to share? Jump on the Twittersphere and reach out to him.
photos by Chandler Snyder