[TR] a study in old grease, minimal LBC content

Jim Muller jimmuller at rcn.com
Sat Mar 13 20:24:14 MST 2010

Today it was raining cats and dogs so I decided to clean up an old 
bicycle, a Peugeot U08 I bought new in 1971.  Back in the old days it 
got ridden and cleaned up regularly.  Sometime in the late 70's I'd 
upgraded wheels, crank, derailleurs, but when I got a good deal on a 
much better Raleigh Gran Sport frame (only $10!) I parked the Peugeot 
and pulled off the upgraded wheels and crank.  So I had last worked 
on it at least 20 years ago, even though I always intended to do 
something with it eventually.

The bearings of the original rear wheel were tight and grinding.  I 
wouldn't have left it in that state unless I just threw it together 
to avoid losing parts, something I wouldn't normally do.  I pulled 
the bearings out and found that the old grease was nearly solid, a 
gummy mass like dried rubber cement.  Hmm, in contrast the dedicated 
Rampart (a Raleigh name) bicycle grease I had put on some parts was 
soft and very much more grease-like.  And of course the tub of said 
grease was like new despite its age.

Of course bicycle parts aren't subject to the loads or heat of car 
bearings or suspension parts.  Bicycle grease is therefore a 
different animal from automotive grease.  I can't say what I would 
have packed the bearings with way back then.  Most likely it was some 
automotive variety.  The thought that old grease like that might be 
doing duty in a trunion is not comforting.  Glad I've been lubing 
them regularly.

Jim Muller
jimmuller at rcn.com

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