As with your toolkit, start with a stock of essential consumables and build up as you tackle specialist jobs.
- Disc brake fluid. Use only the fluid specified for your brake system. DOT fluid, an autoparts trade standard, deteriorates once the bottle has been opened so buy in small amounts and open as you need it.
- Suspension oil is formulated to have damping properties. Its ‘weight’ is critical and depends on the make and model of your fork or rear shock. Damping occurs by oil being forced through small holes. Lighter, thinner oil (e.g. 5wt) passes through more quickly. Heavier, thicker oil (e.g. 15wt) takes longer. Your fork or shock only works properly with the correct weight of oil: check the manual.
- Carbon Grease. Carbon components should never, ever see regular bicycle grease. As well as making them slipperier than they were to begin with, it can also damage the structure of the carbon, making the part fit only for the bin. Instead, arm yourself with a carbon ‘grease’ designed specifically for the purpose.
- Antiseize (also called Ti-prep or, if you buy from a hardware shop rather than a bike shop, Copperslip). This prevents reactive metals from sticking together and is especially important for titanium components, which react with and seize whatever they touch. This allows the use of lower torque, preventing parts seizing. Both Ritchey and First Line make great resins. Avoid skin contact with antiseize; this stuff is not good for you.
- Plastic components. These need their own lubricants. SRAM Twistshifter gear-changers and the Sachs equivalent, Twistgrips, have to be cleaned with a suitable degreaser (e.g. Finish Line Ecotech) or warm soapy water, and oiled with a special plastic lube (e.g. Jonnisnot).
- Loctite compound. The most common brand used is Loctite and it comes in a variety of strengths depending on what you’re planning on locking. It’s used to stop bolts rattling loose as well as inhibiting corrosion and the different colours indicate the different strengths. Loctite #222 is red and usually applicable up to M6 threads. Loctite #242 is blue and used for bolts with threads of M6 or above.