I'd like to regrease my roller brakes, because it started to squeak. There is dedicated Shimano Roller Brake grease available, but I'm curious what kind of grease it is really like, what it is made from and if there is any good equivalend, substitute or something with similar composition for general usage. I know that this grease is supposed to be high-temperature-resistant and that's the main requirement, but has it another characteristics, that has to be taken into account?

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    I wouldn't mess around with brakes - its the wrong place to be saving money. Just use the right stuff. – Criggie Nov 22 '16 at 10:03
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    @Criggie don't worry:) I will not use anything else without being convinced that equivalent will work at least as good as the original, and so I recommend to any question reader in the future. I asked partly to get to know what that grease really is, and if it is just plain ceramic grease. – krzyski Nov 22 '16 at 10:23
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    There's a question of warranty too - if you use anything else, any warranty may be voided. – Criggie Nov 22 '16 at 18:51
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    I'd start by looking at a MSDS sheet or something. As for an alternative, I doubt you go through enough of the stuff that it makes a real cost difference. – Batman Nov 22 '16 at 21:04
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    Interesting. Not even close to conclusive, but I would guess some flavour of moly/cv grease. Cheers, @krzyski. – alex Aug 28 '17 at 4:58

Just as a confirmation on the comments above, I found a post on a separate forum definitely recommending to use the specific manufacturer grease, with a couple of the following points (Cited here for possible link decay):

For the grease itself-

Since my original post I have found some good information about lubricating the Shimano roller brakes.

  1. Definitely use the roller brake grease available from Shimano (although it is fairly expensive), this is a demanding application due to the heat and forces generated within the brake and the lubricant is very high quality - it is a molybdenum disulphide based grease, and to me looked denser than what one usually finds say in automotive moly greases. Also it is lower viscosity so the brake will not drag and the grease can get into the braking surfaces more readily.

For application (And which indicates the poster spoke to someone at Shimano):

  1. Very important to follow the instructions that come with the grease - main point is to insert the grease tube nozzle at least 12mm into the hole otherwise the grease will not reach the actual braking surface. If you look carefully you can see the cooling disc move a little when the nozzle is in far enough as it will push against it; come back just slightly from this position so the grease flows easily.

  2. Shimano said you cannot really over do the grease as the excess will simply squeeze out and collect under the side cover. I was fortunate enough to be able to get an old brake and dismantle it - it looked to me like a rounded teaspoon or so of grease (say 10+mL) would be fine and my brake went well with this. Remember to rotate the wheel a bit while putting in the grease so it distributes evenly around inside the brake. Note that Shimano forbid dismantling of these brakes, and having done so with the old one I would say there is very little reason to anyway, and parts cannot be bought individually for repairs - still it was very interesting to see how it actually worked. The rollers (6) are not actually the brake, but push out three metal crescents that bind against the braking "drum" that is bonded to the centre of the cooling disc.

There are a couple of other points in the link, mostly just some tips about making application a bit easier. I could find absolutely nothing on a recommended substitute, which leads me to believe that the comments are correct, it's not worth it to try and find a substitute.

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    So your answer is: "There is no equivalent"? Still valuable information:) – krzyski Dec 15 '17 at 15:57
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    @krzyski - Yeah, I guess so. :) – JohnP Dec 15 '17 at 16:10

I have used Belray Assembly Lube on my BR-IM81-F roller brake. Seems to work ok so far (after about 5 miles). I only used it because of the time it would have taken for the Shimano grease to arrive. I plan to eventually replace it with the genuine grease.

  • Interesting - please do remember to come back and give us an update on this answer when you've got some more distance in it. – Criggie Apr 10 '19 at 6:30
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    I have now been riding with the graphite assembly lube in my front roller brake for a couple of months. I haven't observed any adverse side-effects so far. When spinning by hand, the front wheel seems to come to a stop much sooner compared to the rear wheel which has proper grease in the brake. – ilya Jun 3 '19 at 22:11

I have used MoS2 from automotive greases - FEBI BILSTEIN 02582 (that costs approx 1 eur at my country) - on my bicycle and everything works well. Noise disappeared and braking is good.

Silicone grease though does not work...

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    Hi, welcome to bicycles. How long have you used this? Can you confirm there is no problem with the grease overheating in the brake? – DavidW Oct 7 '20 at 14:12
  • I have used it for several months and when brakes heats up there are also no problem (as much as I could check by braking for few seconds continuously) Of course use this grease on Your own risk. – Henry Oct 12 '20 at 7:50

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