How to lubricate the steering column of a bicycle

General Tips

Before starting work, you need to make sure that all parts are in good working order and are compatible with the frame and between themselves. If the part is new. check screw connections. If the part is second-hand, it must be cleaned of dust and dirt and pre-lubricated with grease or liquid (on site) grease the working units (for example, the spring and rollers of the rear derailleur, the axles of the rim brakes, etc.).

Installing the plug

As a rule, everything is fine with a new fork. When assembling, it is only necessary to assemble the steering column in the correct order and do not overtighten the bearings. Main problem. saw off the pipe evenly, and then chamfer on the inner surface to make it easier for the anchor to come in.

If the fork was purchased used, then it is necessary to carry out the fork maintenance. Here I can only give general considerations: if the oil in the plug is gray and darker, you need to sort out the cartridge, and the whole plug. If the oil is in a decent enough condition, then you can not bathe, if there are no defects in work, then everything is in order.

Threaded connections

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Threaded connections require special care. For all threaded assemblies, it must be borne in mind that the material of most threaded connections is MTB. aluminum-based alloys (duralumin), and the bolts in most cases are steel. Therefore, you need to twist without using excessive force, because the thread can be damaged very easily. If the bolt does not tighten on the first threads. do not immediately grab the larger key, it would be better to check whether the thread in the assembly is clean, not damaged, whether there are any shavings, whether the thread is generally suitable for this screw / bolt / nut in the place where you intended to screw it. If necessary, it is worth driving the thread with a tap. There are no uniform standards, and the thread pitch may vary.

Rear derailer

Key moment. set it up correctly.


Pay special attention to the smoothness of the routing of the shirts of the shifter cables. The dependence here is as follows: the smoother it is laid, the better the switching; the shorter the shirts, the easier the cable runs. A reasonable compromise must be found. When laying a full jacket, only the smoothness of its laying affects.

lubricate, steering, column, bicycle

When screwing the shifter handles onto the steering wheel, do not tighten them tightly. Tighten so that they rotate slightly under load, but do not rotate when the shifter / brake lever is depressed. This is in order not to break the handle / shifter from impact when falling. In this case, it will only turn slightly around the steering wheel.

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Brake and transmission cables and jackets

For mechanical brakes and transmissions, it is recommended to use shirts with a Teflon liner and Teflon (or simply polymer) coated cables. Do not lubricate coated cables with grease. this will contribute to faster wear. At the same time, it makes sense to lightly lubricate uncoated cables with silicone grease.

It is better to take caps for shirts with anthers, such as shimano sis-sp40. Jagwire and others disappointed me a lot precisely because of the caps. I think the best caps. XTR with external boot.

Ready-made kits such as Shimano M-system cables and derailleur shirts can be used, they are already lubricated inside and excellent protection against dirt.

It is also possible to fit shirts along the entire length of the cable, this provides almost perfect protection from dirt. But, if the dirt got there, the deterioration in work will be catastrophic.

For cutting shirts, it is recommended to use special scissors, you cannot cut off the shirt so carefully with side cutters and nippers.


If you have a regular Shimano rear derailer (not from the Shadow series), it makes sense to fit the RollaMajig eyeliner. It allows you to remove the idiotic buttonhole of the shirt, which always collects a lot of dirt in itself, despite any protection. SRAM and Shimano Shadow dealers do not suffer from this problem.

Front derailer

Key moment. screw it to the frame correctly.

Bicycle lubrication intervals

Probably everyone will agree that the most exploited part of the bike is the chain. Accordingly, it is she who requires lubrication in the first place.

People who can afford not to bother with lubrication as such, and chain lubrication in particular, simply give the great for prevention to professionals.

Those who maintain the bike on their own need to know that, according to experts, the chain must be lubricated every 100 km in dry and warm weather conditions. In winter and rainy weather. after each trip.

It will also be appropriate to note here that manufacturers divide lubricants into dry and wet (Wet), as well as liquid and viscous.

Wet is recommended to use in damp weather, and dry. respectively, in dry conditions. Liquid lubricants are usually used to lubricate the chain, and viscous lubricants are used to lubricate bearings and cables.

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As for the rest of the assemblies, mechanisms and rubbing parts of the bicycle, it will be enough to lubricate them only once a year.

Specificity of lubrication of individual units and mechanisms of a bicycle

Most of the bearings in modern bicycles are housed in cartridges. This type of design is designed to prevent dust, sand and dirt from entering the bearing.

Bearing cartridges are located in the bottom bracket, steering column, wheel hubs and pedals.

In order to lubricate all this (a viscous lubricant is used), it is necessary to provide access to the bearings. To do this, you need to remove the bearing from the cartridge. This is a rather complicated procedure, moreover, it requires a special tool.

Many cartridges are not intended for disassembly at all and serve until complete wear and tear, after which they simply need to be replaced.

Some cyclists simply pour in liquid lubricant through the slots, while rotating the mechanism for more intensive penetration of the lubricant into the bearing, but this is not entirely correct. Here, the best option would still be to give the bike to a bicycle workshop.

Bulk bearings are easier to maintain. They can be easily disassembled, remove dirt from the inside, and then apply fresh grease.

But experts strongly do not recommend disassembling a bicycle fork on your own. this device is too complicated. If there is such a need, then it is better to entrust it to professionals.

Bicycle lubrication

The market offers a wide range of lubricants from various global and domestic manufacturers, designed specifically for lubricating bicycles.

Many bike users prefer these particular lubricants, considering that it makes no sense to invent their own recipes, and why?

This position has a right to exist. There is only one weak link in it: specialized bicycle lubricants, as a rule, are an order of magnitude more expensive than their counterparts used in other lubricants.

Experience shows that grease intended for other equipment (automobile, motorcycle, etc.) is quite suitable for bicycles. It is enough just when buying to carefully study its chemical composition and compare with the composition of a bicycle.

Do I need to lubricate the transmission and brake cables?

Many cyclists, after a general preventive lubrication procedure at service centers, notice an improvement in the performance of brake cables and gear shift cables.

And some bike owners who carry out the lubrication on their own ignore the cables. This leads to the fact that the brake levers and gearshift switches one day begin to seize and return poorly to their original position.

To avoid these unpleasant moments, you should still remember to lubricate these parts. There are special lubricants for cables, but if they were not at hand, then graphite lubricant will give an equally good effect.

lubricate, steering, column, bicycle

In general, bicycle lubrication is a simple matter, the main thing here is accuracy and care. Remember that there are areas on the bike that you don’t want to get grease on. These include rims, tires, and brake pads and discs.

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Maintenance of the steering column (glass) of the bicycle

And so today we will carry out the TO of the head glass for a sunny orange. Roughly speaking, we will change the grease for the bearings at the top and bottom of the steering column, but before you can get to them, you will need to disconnect the steering wheel from the fork.

Unscrew the steering wheel from the bike

To unscrew the handlebar, you will need to unscrew the two mounting bolts on the stem and unscrew the anchor. this is the kind of thing that presses the handlebar with the stem to the fork axis and reliably connects the handlebar and the fork. The photo below shows how I unscrewed the anchor.

Once you loosen the two mounting bolts and unscrew the armature, the handlebar can be easily removed.

Upper steering column bearings

When you removed the steering wheel, there are simple rings next, I have 3 of them (they are used to lower the steering wheel lower). We remove them too, then we remove the anthers of the upper bearings and remove them, remember in what order everything was. And here they are our upper head tube bearings:

We take them out of the seat and lower them into the cover with wd-40.

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lubricate, steering, column, bicycle

Lower head tube bearings

It is quite easy to get to the lower bearings, you need to raise the frame and the bearings will remain on the fork axis:

We also throw these bearings into a container with a pedestal so that the dirt moves away from them:

I cleaned each ball with a dry and clean napkin and they began to shine again.

Removing dirt and lubricating the bearing seats in the steering column.

Now we need to remove the old grease and properly clean the bearing seats. In my case, there was practically no lubrication.

I remove the old grease with a regular rag and after that I fill in all the VD-40, wait a couple of minutes and already with a clean napkin I remove the remnants of dirt and vdeshki.

Now that the seats are clean, you can start lubricating them. I took for this. lithol, the one that I use for bushings.

Lubricate and assemble everything in the reverse order. Steering column maintenance finished.

Please note that when reassembling, you need to correctly set the angle of the steering wheel axis, if this is not done, then when the front brake is clamped, you can feel a backlash. To avoid backlash, you need to loosen the anchor, set the correct angle and twist the anchor.