This blog post was edited for accuracy and clarity on Feb. 8, 2021.
If you don’t want to read the full article below, we consider White Lightning Crystal Grease to be the best bike grease for bearings.
Although most cyclists don’t give much thought into what kind of bike bearing grease they need, putting the wrong grease in the wrong spot can reduce performances and even cause damage to the bike.
To help you avoid any mishaps, we went ahead and chose the five best bike bearing greases you can count on to keep your bike running smoothly for years to come.
We will be reviewing these top bicycle grease products:
- Finish Line Premium Grease
- Park Tool Polylube 1000 Grease
- White Lightning Crystal Grease
- Phil Wood Waterproof Grease
- Bel-Ray Waterproof Grease
Bike Grease vs. Lube
Before you even start, make sure you need a good bike grease and not chain lubricant or some kind of oil. Although bicycle grease is similar to a lubricant, they are designed to serve different purposes and will act differently from one another in different riding conditions and applications.
When to use bicycle grease:
- Bike wheel bearings
- Pedal threads
- Bottom bracket threads
- Headset cups
When to use a bike lubricant:
- Bike chains
- Brake level pivots
- Flushing out gear cables
- Dislodging stuck components
For a more in-depth guide of what kind of lubricant or grease you should use and where, the folks at GMBN Tech created this excellent video guide to walk you through it in more detail.
What to Look for in a Grease for Bike Bearings
Applying the wrong kind of grease to your bike could cause serious damage if you are not careful. Although this article only highlights the best grease for bike bearings, it’s important to know which kind of grease your bike needs as a whole.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Do I have ceramic bearings? – Bicycles that have ceramic bearings need ceramic grease or ceramic-safe grease to maximize performance as well as protect the bearings from unnecessary wear.
Do I need an assembly compound/anti-seize grease? – Greasing items to prevent corrosion as well as reduce the amount of torque needed to keep the item secure–like seat post junctions, for example–need an assembly compound rather than an all-purpose grease. This is particularly important with carbon fiber bikes.
Best Grease for Bike Bearings
Since we’re talking about the best grease for bicycle bearings, we went ahead and chose the top 5 most readily available bike greases you can use to safely grease wheel bearings and other appropriate bike parts.
Because it is Teflon-based, it contains polymer particles which help prevent the grease from washing away after extended use. This is helpful if you ride your bicycle in wet environments.
It also contains advanced rust inhibitors which help protect your bicycle parts from corrosion. Although we recommend washing and drying your bicycle regularly to avoid rust, it’s nice to know this lube provides an extra layer of protection to your bearings and other critical parts.
The grease has a thicker consistency than some greases. Applying it with precision will be a little more difficult, but that also means applying it thoroughly will be quick and simple.
One of the only downsides we noticed with the Finish Line grease is that it’s not suitable for carbon fiber bikes. If you have a carbon fiber bike, you’ll need to find something else that will be safe to use.
We also would like to see this bike grease come in a larger tub. A small container is convenient for occasional use or for travel; however, since bearings should be regreased regularly, a larger tub would end up saving you money in the long run.
- Very affordable
- High quality
- Highly rated bike grease
- Needs a bigger sized container
- Not for carbon fiber bikes
One reason why people are drawn to this grease is because of brand reputation. Park Tool consistently manufactures quality bike tools and products, and this grease is no different.
It is also a very versatile grease. It is carbon fiber safe, so even bike owners with high-end bikes can use it without hesitation.
We also like that the grease comes in a couple of different sizes. Although we usually purchase grease in a jar, having a smaller tube around can really come in handy when you’re on a bike trip away from home.
Even though this grease is called Polylube 1000, it is not a lubricant. We understand that some cyclists will not take any issue with that; however, it might be a little confusing or misleading to others.
Last, this grease can run slightly higher in price than other comparable greases. Prices can fluctuate across the internet, so we recommend shopping around to find the best price.
- Popular and trusted bicycle grease
- High quality
- Available in large or small containers
- Long-lasting application
- It is not a lubricant, so the ‘Polylube’ can be a little confusing
- May be pricier than comparable greases
Because it is biodegradable and non-toxic, this grease is a smart purchase for any environmentally-conscious cyclist (or cyclists with young children). On top of that, it is considered “odorless” so it won’t completely stink up a room you’re working in.
White Lightning claims that the Crystal Grease won’t stain, which we think is a huge plus. Bike greases tend to be on the messy side, so it’s nice to know it won’t stain clothes or carpets if you happen to drop some.
Since it’s a clear grease, cyclists and bike mechanics will be able to see what’s under the grease to ensure rusty or corroded parts do not continue to break down. On the flip side, a clear grease means it is a little harder to visually see what parts need more grease.
One of the only things we would like to see improved is the qualifications behind the biodegradable claims. Numerous sources have claimed the White Lightning Crystal Grease is, in fact, biodegradable–yet other sources dispute it. That kind of uncertainty makes us a little extra cautious about the claims the company is making.
- High quality
- Safe for carbon fiber bicycles
- May wash off quicker than other bike bearing greases
- We wish Crystal Grease would elaborate further on the biodegradable claim
Phil Wood Waterproof Grease is a high-quality bicycle bearing grease in a funny little green tube. It has a long-standing reputation as an ultra high-quality grease that lasts for years. The company has a very strong and loyal following, which makes the company and its grease easy to trust
One of the things we appreciate about this grease is its toned-down branding and packaging. Although bike greases aren’t known for flashy branding, the Phil Wood grease is so plain it could almost be mistaken for a tube of paint. It gives us a small business feel that we are happy to support. Pair that with a great product and you’ve got a winning combination.
Similar to the Finish Line Premium Grease, we wish the Phil Wood grease came in a bigger container. The smaller container is certainly great to keep in your bike bag, but putting this stuff in a bigger tub would be great.
Even though it’s not the cheapest grease on the market, the Phil Wood Waterproof Grease is one of the best bike bearing grease products we know of. We’re willing to make that compromise.
- High quality
- Very loyal following
- Safe for carbon fiber bikes
- Charming tube 🙂
- We would like to see a larger container
- A little pricier than comparable greases
Bel-Ray Waterproof Grease is a very affordable, high-quality grease that just plain works. Bel-Ray is also a company that only manufactures grease, so we think it’s safe to assume they have put a significant effort into perfecting their products.
The grease is specifically marketed for motorsports, but it will still work for your bike bearings. We understand some cyclists may not want to purchase a product that isn’t designed specifically for biking, so that is something to consider.
This is also one of the more affordable bike greases out there, so if you’re not looking to spend too much on a grease, Bel-Ray may be the way to go. Although it comes in a 1lb tub, it is still cheaper than other tubes of bike grease out there.
One of the only downsides of this grease is its packaging. Some users reported that the top came off during shipping, which caused the grease to leak out. While this has nothing to do with its performance on bike bearings, it’s still something to consider–especially if you have animals or children in the home.
- High quality
- Superior water resistance
- Won’t melt or run
- Very affordable
- Needs a screw top lid
- Not *technically* sold as a bike grease
Conclusion: Best Bike Grease for Wheel Bearings
Although we recommend ALL the bike greases on this list, we consider the White Lightning Crystal Grease as the best bike bearing grease on the market right now.
Because it’s biodegradable and non-staining, it just adds a couple of additional benefits that the other greases don’t. We like that it offers the quality performances you expect, yet won’t ruin your carpet!
You can check pricing and additional product details for the White Lightning Crystal Grease here.