So I just managed to remove the fork from the old frame I'm renovating. In the headset bearings, the grease looks odd!

odd grease in the headset

See these tiny metal balls? At least it looks like that... Is that on purpose, is that debris? The races do not seem to be damaged. If I reuse the same headset, should I try to find the same type of grease, or any waterproof grease would fit?

  • 1
    I have no idea what those are. but I would clean the frame and use philwood grease
    – azer89
    Commented Jun 13, 2015 at 20:37
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    Basically it's looks like a dirty grease. Can you show a picture of the bearings? They tend to deform a little and leave some metal garbage into the grease.
    – Alexander
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 21:04

2 Answers 2


That is old grease with debris in it, this will be shavings of the bearings and their channel.

Before re-greasing the headset you will need to degrease it to remove all of the old grease, otherwise the old grease will attack the new grease rendering it less effective. Then once degreased you will then need to clean out all of the degreaser (again so it doesnt attack the new grease) and dry it out. Then you can add the new grease, the thicker and gloopier the better


That's funny! I found the same little metal balls on a headset I overhauled not long ago. They were on the fork threads. I'm not sure what caused them.

As to the grease you need: as long as you clean the bearings completely, it doesn't matter. Use whatever grease you want, preferably on the thick side.

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