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To grease...or not to grease :)

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To grease...or not to grease :)

Old 07-15-19, 10:38 AM
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To grease...or not to grease :)

Looking for some feedback about lubing brake and shift cables....

Early on I used a dry graphite lube (as in, went on dry), tho I wasn't very diligent about it.

At some point I decided to move to a dry lube (using one from Spin Doctor) that goes on wet and then dries leaving a teflon-like coating on the cable.

The other day I had a conversation with someone who was not an avid rider, but was consistently on his bike. He stated he uses grease (tho, I didn't ask him if it was a lighter grease like a Park Tools blue lube, or if it was some generic automotive grease).

I'd be interested to hear about what folks experiences have been, especially if you've used both grease and the go-on-wet-dry-with-teflon lube, and any recommendations, cautions or suggestions based on that experience.

Thx in advance.....
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Old 07-15-19, 10:52 AM
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I use either grease or a few drops of chain oil.

There are some cables and housings, however, that are not supposed to have lube added - I believe Teflon coated cables and the old Gore RideOn cable and housing sets are examples. Any plain cables can and probably should be lubricated.

Also, while Phil's claims their grease is specifically for bicycles, it is really just waterproof grease made by some other manufacturer and repackaged by/for Phil's... I buy 500ml tubs of 'waterproof trailer grease' at Canadian Tire and it looks and performs very much like Phil's, but at ~1/10th the cost.
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Old 07-15-19, 01:40 PM
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Some of the Shimano cable kits are pre-greased. Probably a good idea with galvanized cables.

On bikes with old crusty feeling cables, I'll dribble in some Boeshield T9 to smooth the cable runs until I have time to replace them. Works okay but doesn't last long. Same with Boeshield T9 on chains. It works but needs to be refreshed every week or every couple of rides, depending on conditions and mileage.

I usually smear a little Phil's grease on my fingers and thumb and drag a new cable through before installing.

It would probably take years in most climates to see any difference between greased, oiled, dry lubed and dry cables/housings. It might matter in coastal areas.
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Old 07-15-19, 02:14 PM
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I’ll use common-or-garden auto grease if I have the cables out, otherwise I invert the bike on the stand and drip oil into the housing, working the levers to draw it in
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Old 07-15-19, 07:43 PM
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On my older bikes I lube my cables with Finish Line Extreme Flouro Teflon grease. Yeah it's expensive but you only have to lube them once. The stuff lasts forever. When the DuPont Pure Teflon Bearing grease was still available I used that. The Finish Line product is basically the same thing. This grease makes for a very slippery cable! Better than regular grease in my opinion.

As was previously stated, some modern cables and housing are not meant to be lubed. I have two bikes with that type of cable and I don't lube them at all but do pull the cables out once a year and clean them.
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Old 07-15-19, 07:56 PM
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Bike Aid Dri-Slide. Will never gum up. One bottle will last a lifetime.
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Old 07-15-19, 08:26 PM
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I think grease is too sticky for cable use. ATF or other light oil is what I use.
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Old 07-15-19, 09:31 PM
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Maybe once in my life I put a light oil on a brake cable. My tour bike with a hard pulling Drum brake hasn't been touched in 12,000 miles/ 4.5 years/ 2 tours. My LBS guy did lube my DeR shifter stuff a few times.
I haven't had a peeling cable in 35 years. I only replace them because I won't reuse a squashed cable.
I have cut off a rear cable and used it shorter on the front.
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Old 07-15-19, 10:02 PM
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I am always worried how some lubes will affect the plastic housing and such. I use silicon oil, about as inert as you can get
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Old 07-16-19, 05:59 AM
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If I have to put grease in a cable, I just change it out for new. That puts me in the "no grease" camp. I do buy lined housing though.
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Old 07-16-19, 11:02 AM
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I like oil for my cables. Have used grease in the past, but switched years ago. I also use automotive waterproof grease for all my bearings. I have it here for my vehicles, so don't notice the cost.
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Old 07-16-19, 11:20 AM
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I live near the beach in Florida. I grease up everything on my bikes. Used to use Vaseline as assembly lube on my threads & cables. But, now I use green waterproof grease on everything. Back when I had a house directly on the beach, I used to spray a mist of WD-40 all over my entire bike. Then, wipe off the rims with alcohol. All metal parts corrode regardless if they're steel, aluminum or other alloys.
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Old 07-16-19, 04:52 PM
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Thx much for all the great responses and feedback!!!!

re: "greasers" the good news about greasing is that it will last quite a while. Bad news, for me, anyway, is the road (on and off) dirt it will attract and hold onto and how much of that will make its way into the housing and cause unnecessary wear and tear on the cable and housing. Even with the dry lube I see some accumulation on the ferules that I have to be mindful of.

Sounds like the dry lube is a good choice for me and my riding environment. What I am hearing is that I lube my shift cables every couple of weeks or so, and my brake cables every month or so and maybe I can do those specific maintenance activities a bit (maybe even less) often.

Again, appreciate all the input. Cheers...

Ride safe. Ride smart. Always have a plan b, c, d....for avoiding those idiots who are unavoidable.
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