Just about every Mountain Biker knows the importance of proper bike maintenance.
Whether you’re cleaning your bike after every ride or taking it in for a service every month, there is a lot of care that goes into keeping your bike in tip top shape.
And while this can seem daunting at first, most riders would agree that they enjoy taking care of their Mountain Bikes.
But it can be a challenge figuring out how to properly care for your Mountain Bike – specifically when it comes to all the moving parts on your bike.
With seemingly endless areas calling for a form of grease or thread locker, it can seem complicated doing even the bare minimum when it comes to maintenance.
A common area where this comes into play are your axles.
Since they are one of the most important moving parts on your bike, a lot of riders wonder if they are supposed to grease them.
Although it is not required, it is recommended that you apply a light amount of grease to your Mountain Bike axles. You can apply it to the threads, and also on the base of the axles themselves. This not only makes them easier to install and remove, it also helps prevent rust and corrosion.
But there are still a few more questions we should answer, along with some tips to help you properly maintain your MTB axles.
To better help you better decide for yourself, we will go over a few of the things you should keep in mind when greasing your MTB axles.
We also recommend a great multi-purpose grease for you to invest in.
Thru-Axle or Quick Release Skewer
One of the first things to note is that there are two types of Mountain Bike axles: A Thru-Axle and a Quick Release Skewer
A Quick Release (QR) axle is basically a thin skewer with a camming mechanism at the end.
A thru-axle is a hollow, yet stronger and thicker style axle that uses the same camming mechanism you would find on a QR.
Although a QR and a thru-axle are slightly different, you would grease them in the exact same way.
Where do I Grease my Bike Axles?
Now that you know you can safely grease your Mountain Bike axles, it’s time to see exactly where you should apply the grease.
As you can see from the video above, you want to apply grease to both the threads of the axles, along with the axle itself.
The Axle itself
Your Mountain Bike axles are one of the main parts on your bike that you interact with frequently.
Most riders find themselves removing their wheels more often than not.
Some riders even remove their Mountain Bike wheels every time they transport their bike.
Since this is such a frequent and high stress area, it can be subject to extra wear and corrosion.
By applying grease to the threads, you not only help avoid rust and corrosion, you will also make it a lot safer and easier to remove and install your wheels.
Applying grease to the actual axles itself is less important, as your wheels rotate on the bearings.
However, greasing the axles allows you to more easily slide the axles in and out of the Mountain Bike Frame.
How do I Grease my Bike Axles?
Applying grease to your Mountain Bike axles is really straight forward.
In fact, you can use a mutli-purpose grease for your axles, just like you would use for any other moving parts on your bike.
But there are still some guidelines you want to keep in mind before you go lathering it on there.
Just like any other area on your Mountain Bike, applying too much grease can result in the opposite effect than what you were aiming for.
While an appropriate amount of grease can provide lubrication and prevent corrosion, using too much grease can actually invite more dirt in grime into your bike, resulting in more corrosion and wear.
Using the video above, you can see that the rider only uses a small amount of grease.
Ideally, you want to use just enough grease, so that you can completely cover the axle after spreading with a finger.
If you put your axle on your Mountain Bike and see grease squeezing out when you tighten them down, you used too much grease.
What is the Best Grease for MTB Axles?
When it comes to adding any type of product to your Mountain Bike, it is very important that you are using the right compound.
In fact, using the wrong product can provide bad, even disastrous, results.
And this can be a confusing step, even for seasoned riders.
So I first want to point out the difference between two of the most commonly confused products we use on Mountain Bikes; Grease and Lube
Lube vs Grease
Both Grease and Lube are some of the most common products used on Mountain Bikes – especially for those who care for their bike.
And although they have a lot of similarities, they serve two completely different purposes.
On one hand, lube is often referring to an oil-based solvent that is meant to reduce friction and wear, improving the overall life and function of the moving parts on your bike.
This is why you apply lube to things like your bike chain.
On the other hand, grease is a thicker lubricant that helps reduce wear on high stress areas, but also helps seal out moisture and debris from the environment.
This is why you will grease on things like your Headset, Bottom Bracket and in this case, your Mountain Bike axles.
So when it comes to greasing your Mountain Bike axles, make sure you are actually using a Grease and not an oil-based lube.
And that leads to the next question – what is the best grease for your Mountain Bike axles?
The Best Grease for Mountain Bike Axles
In my opinion, and that of the rest of the industry, the best grease for your Mountain Bike axles is the Polylube 1000 Grease from Park Tool.
Not only do I use this grease on my own Mountain Bike, this is also the most popular and widely used multi-purpose grease on the market.
And unless you’ve been living under a rock with your Mountain Bike, there is a good chance you’ve already heard of Park Tool.
The great thing about this grease is that you can buy it in many different size containers.
It is also safe to use on any bike component, even carbon parts.
Tips for Greasing your MTB Axles
Although I did mention a few tips throughout the article, I wanted to make sure I pointed out a few things to keep in mind.
1. Apply a small amount and coat with finger
2. Avoid oil-based lubricants.
3. Make sure your grease is carbon friendly if you have a carbon Mountain Bike.
4. Clean any excess grease before you ride
In conclusion, it is perfectly safe and even recommended that you grease your Mountain Bike axles.
If you do decide to grease your axles, make sure you use a multi-purpose grease like the Polylube 1000 Grease from Park Tool and avoid any oil-based lubricants.
I hope you found this article helpful.
Good luck getting your Mountain Bike axles greased and safe riding!