Everyone needs a dab of grease from time to time. Wickens and Soderstrom describe their No.2 T.F. grease as their "standard-weight grease, designed for general usage", which it does seem to be, but it's comparatively expensive and comes in a pot, which makes it difficult to keep clean.
Grease isn't what it was in the old days. Then it had to contend with unsealed bottom brackets, headsets and wheel hubs. Touring cyclists would load these bearings with marine-grade grease to keep the elements at bay. If you were a racer you might even replace it with oil to keep the friction down. Now, nearly everything turns on cartridge bearings. If they fail, knock them out and bang some new ones in.
Still, there are places grease comes in useful. If you like to make your BB30 bearings last longer than six weeks you will, like me, pop the seals off every now and then and squeeze a bit of grease in. Nuts and bolts should be lubricated before fitting, though I tend to use anti-seize paste for that. A smear on cables helps keep the water out of the casings (though the trend towards full cable outer runs and internal routing makes that tricky). Seatposts require greasing to stop them sticking – but only if you aren't using carbon, when it has to be carbon paste, and so on.
That leaves Shimano wheel bearings as the last bastion of grease, the giant corporation standing steadfastly by its commitment to cup-and-cone bearings. Even so, the quality of its seals these days means little water seems to get in. Hence, bike greases have got rather less thick, and the Wickens and Soderstrom No. 2 T.F. is of that lighter consistency.
From the mechanic's point of view, the main reason for putting grease in the cups (aside from lubing them while you ride) is to hold the bearings in while you reassemble the hub. I'm pleased to report the No.2 grease did this admirably.
Unfortunately it comes in a glass pot, rather than a tube, which means it's difficult to direct into tight places (such as inside cartridge bearings); and it's never long before bits of workshop grot start landing in it. After that, I'm reluctant to let it near the more delicate areas of my bike. I fear, therefore, that this grease will be used mainly for stopping alloy seatposts from seizing up.
Perfectly good grease but more expensive than some and the pot means it gets dirty in the workshop
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Wickens and Soderstrom No 2 TF Grease
Size tested: 142g
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"Wickens and Soderstrom No. 2 TF is our high quality, standard weight grease, designed for general usage."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Keeps parts rust and corrosion free
Acts as a barrier to prevent water ingress
(An alternative is the No. 2 HL grease which claims to be:
- Keeps parts rust and corrosion free
Acts as a barrier to prevent water ingress
Hygroscopic, if the water finds its way in
Extremely high load grease)
This a medium thickness, soft grease which is fine for putting into headset or wheel bearings. The company makes certain claims about the environmentally-friendly and non-toxic nature of its products but since no ingredients are listed it is hard to verify these.
Quite a light grease, a little "wet" in texture, but good for holding ball bearings in headsets and bottom brackets.
Like all greases, the main job is to keep water at bay and this seems to do well so far, though W&S recommend their No.2 HL grease for heavy duty applications.
£14 for 142g compares to:
£5.99 for 125g Weldtite TF2
£9.99 for 100g Finish Line with Teflon
£5.99 for c100g Park Tools Polylube 1000
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It holds bearings in place, seems water resistant and of a good medium consistency. Fine for general workshop duties, in fact.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Seems reasonably water-resistant, holds ball bearings in headsets and wheel bearings, "interesting" smell.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It comes in a pot, so is difficult to prevent contamination.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your score
While the grease itself seems fine, in the end a tube is much cleaner and more convenient, as well as more economical and easier to apply.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale CAAD10 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,