1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Shimano Mineral Oil alternatives?

    Hi all,

    I just came back from the LBS dissapointed because they do not have shimano Mineral Oil, since i need to bleed my hydrolic shimano deore lx brakes. The guy that i asked said i can use baby mineral oil from walgreens or CVS...

    does this really hold up to be true? I was alittle skeptical because I would think Bike mineral oil would have slightly different compounds to work with the gaskets, seals, and overall, be a much nicer fluid without air bubbles, compared to mineral oil, that is applied on a baby..

    Thanks
    -Matt

  2. #2
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    Not sure about that. I am a bit anal when it comes to that. I only used Shimano mineral. Learnt the hard way that the LBS does not always have it, so got them to order some for me to keep as spare at home. Solved the problem for the future.

  3. #3
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    Even ignoring differences in quality, I would not recommend it because that stuff is a much different viscosity and the brake will not perform properly.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mattlikestobike View Post
    I just came back from the LBS dissapointed because they do not have shimano Mineral Oil, since i need to bleed my hydrolic shimano deore lx brakes. The guy that i asked said i can use baby mineral oil from walgreens or CVS...
    Mineral oil is mineral oil but not everything you mentioned is pure mineral oil. Brake fluid has additives in it to protect the seals and do other things just as you mentioned and the Shimano blend is probably different than the Magura blend. Baby oil has a lower viscosity and has fragrances in it for obvious reasons. You can get just about 100% pure mineral oil at Walmart or probably any other pharmacy. It the viscosity is relatively high but it doesn't have anything else in it like Shimano or Magura would put in for seal longevity. It is used as a laxative. I have used it to lubricate sticky pistons. I agree with everyone else here: if you are going to bleed your brakes, your best bet is to stick with the stuff made for the particular application.
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  5. #5
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    Take or leave these comments as you will.
    You need to make your own descisions based on what you decide.

    However, based on advice I received years ago I have been running 2.5 wt mineral based fork oil in my Shimano brakes for years with no dramas what so ever.

    Reasoning being the fork oil, as opposed to std mineral engine oil, has additives designed for contact with seals etc and is not engineered to work at high temps.
    I do know of a couple of guys who run std sewing machine oil or 3 in 1 handy man oil.
    I make no comment on these options other than to say that if thats all I had lying around and it was race eve and I was stuck I would use it in a blink.

    Shimano charges around $15.00 for a 250ml bottle for their "Special" brake oil.
    Quality mineral engine oils can be had for $40.00 for 5 lts

    Shimano = $60.00 per liter
    Engine oil = $8.00 per liter

    Once again Shimano is laughing all the way to the bank at riders expense.
    There is no possible way they can justify that mark up.

  6. #6
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    Jeffgre, you make a very good point.. I just came back from another LBS, and just bought the shimano mineral oil.. dang. a 2oz bottle is like $24 in my area! i was stunned.. in shear embarrassment, i just paid for it.

    I think i will just pay up the price of shimano mineral oil. seems like it is the best method.. and having mineral oil fail while biking might cost more than just the shimano mineral oil replacement.

    Thanks guys!

  7. #7
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    You might want to buy your refills by the liter...http://www.amazon.com/Shimano-Brake-...ref=pd_sim_sg5

  8. #8
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    ^ +1

    I bought that same litre, and it will last you a lifetime.

  9. #9
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    Just to throw this out there, I believe you will void your warranty if you use anything other than Shimano Oil in Shimano Brakes.
    Something to keep in mind.
    BTW, I wouldn't put baby oil in my brakes.
    Look, whatever happens, don't fight the mountain.

  10. #10
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    Pentosin CHF 7.1 works for me. Using it in my 3 sets of brakes for years now.

  11. #11
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    Are you sure you need more oil?

    Mine got some air trapped in them and needed a bleed, but I'll I did was carefully pull the cap off, slowly work the lever and force the air out. Once you stop getting air bubbles, your good to go.
    13 Lenz Lunchbox punkass

  12. #12
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    Awesome, going to order that liter of mineral oil soon.. Does the fluid expire by a certain point?

    Yes, i am sure i need more oil.. Brake felt very spongy, and anyways, its been about 4-6months.

  13. #13
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    Shouldn't expire as far as I know.

    Make sure the calipers are 45 degree to 90 degree in position with the hose and nipple side up when you bleed to ensure proper bleeding. If it's near horizontal or - degrees in angle, you'll never get all the air out of the calipers.


  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mattlikestobike View Post
    Awesome, going to order that liter of mineral oil soon.. Does the fluid expire by a certain point?

    Yes, i am sure i need more oil.. Brake felt very spongy, and anyways, its been about 4-6months.
    On my last bike I had XTs on it and never changed the fluid in 6 years and they were fine.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    On my last bike I had XTs on it and never changed the fluid in 6 years and they were fine.
    wow! my LBS said to replace the oil every 4-6months. I did the bleed myself, because the LBS was charging $50 on 1 caliper/lever... $100 total before tax..

    i really dont understand why the LBS is charging that much, for such a simple job..

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by captainjoon View Post
    Shouldn't expire as far as I know.

    Make sure the calipers are 45 degree to 90 degree in position with the hose and nipple side up when you bleed to ensure proper bleeding. If it's near horizontal or - degrees in angle, you'll never get all the air out of the calipers.
    Sweet thanks!

    uh oh.... i didnt rebleed with the hose angled really.. id say i angled the cable about 30ish degrees

    what would happen if there really is air in the line? At the moment, the brake power is alot stronger than before, and feels a long more responsive. How can i telll there is air in the line? thanks

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mattlikestobike View Post
    what would happen if there really is air in the line? At the moment, the brake power is alot stronger than before, and feels a long more responsive. How can i telll there is air in the line?
    There are a lot of places for air to hide in the lines. Usually the best way to tell if there is air in the lines is if your brakes feel mushy or spongy. When you squeeze the lever the oil is displaced from the master cylinder and pushes the pistons in the caliper. Oil is for all intents and purposes incompressible which would give you a solid feel at the lever. Air contrarily is very compressible, therefore if you have air in your line your lever will feel mushy.
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  18. #18
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    Well... you can.... I guess

    Quote Originally Posted by Mattlikestobike View Post
    Hi all,

    I just came back from the LBS dissapointed because they do not have shimano Mineral Oil, since i need to bleed my hydrolic shimano deore lx brakes. The guy that i asked said i can use baby mineral oil from walgreens or CVS...

    does this really hold up to be true? I was alittle skeptical because I would think Bike mineral oil would have slightly different compounds to work with the gaskets, seals, and overall, be a much nicer fluid without air bubbles, compared to mineral oil, that is applied on a baby..

    Thanks
    -Matt
    I heard of folks doing it wtih okay results. I personally would not run it that way unless my brakes needed work the night before a race, all the shops were closed and I had no otehr choice. Shimano puts seal conditioners in their mineral oil, as well as specing their brakes for a specific viscosity.

    Shimano brakes are so common, I'm surprised your LBS doesn't stock the fluid. I say pick up the phone and call around. Some shop has to have it. Also, FInish Line sells brake mineral oil too.... probably comes out of the same 55 gallong drums.

    I say don't be cheap and hold out for the right stuff. If you start having sticky pistons or sluggish lever issues down the road, at least you can't blame the wrong fluid.
    Last edited by pimpbot; 09-27-2011 at 07:08 PM.

  19. #19
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    $24...

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffgre_6163 View Post
    Take or leave these comments as you will.
    You need to make your own descisions based on what you decide.

    However, based on advice I received years ago I have been running 2.5 wt mineral based fork oil in my Shimano brakes for years with no dramas what so ever.

    Reasoning being the fork oil, as opposed to std mineral engine oil, has additives designed for contact with seals etc and is not engineered to work at high temps.
    I do know of a couple of guys who run std sewing machine oil or 3 in 1 handy man oil.
    I make no comment on these options other than to say that if thats all I had lying around and it was race eve and I was stuck I would use it in a blink.

    Shimano charges around $15.00 for a 250ml bottle for their "Special" brake oil.
    Quality mineral engine oils can be had for $40.00 for 5 lts

    Shimano = $60.00 per liter
    Engine oil = $8.00 per liter

    Once again Shimano is laughing all the way to the bank at riders expense.
    There is no possible way they can justify that mark up.
    ... a liter here:

    Amazon.com: Shimano Brake Fluid 1-Liter: Sports & Outdoors



    *edit* Wups... $8 shipping. Still.....

    and a liter is a lifetime supply.

    I have two sets of shimano brakes, changed hoses a few times when I was having issues. had them apart for various reasons. I've been using basically 5 or 6 of those tiny bottles that came with my brake sets, and I have yet to need to restock.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mattlikestobike View Post
    wow! my LBS said to replace the oil every 4-6months. I did the bleed myself, because the LBS was charging $50 on 1 caliper/lever... $100 total before tax..

    i really dont understand why the LBS is charging that much, for such a simple job..
    No way I'd open up my brakes that often to flush it. Every time you open the system, you take a chance of introducing some contamination. If the lever feels good I leave it alone.

    It's mineral oil, not DOT brake fluid. My current bike is a 09, never flushed it either and it working fine.
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  21. #21
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    Um... shot in the dark here....

    Quote Originally Posted by Mattlikestobike View Post
    wow! my LBS said to replace the oil every 4-6months. I did the bleed myself, because the LBS was charging $50 on 1 caliper/lever... $100 total before tax..

    i really dont understand why the LBS is charging that much, for such a simple job..



  22. #22
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    Awesome, thanks guys.. I can't really tell the difference between spongy vs a good flush.. I might go to the LBS and see what the guy thinks, since i chat up with him commonly.

    As for the liter of shimano, ill be buying that soon.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    No way I'd open up my brakes that often to flush it. Every time you open the system, you take a chance of introducing some contamination. If the lever feels good I leave it alone.

    It's mineral oil, not DOT brake fluid. My current bike is a 09, never flushed it either and it working fine.
    Wow, really?

    I would think you want to replace the brake fluid often, as much as the guy at the LBS said "4-6 months", because riding in such dusty enviroments, in my mind, would reduce performance of the oil, and cause tears in gaskets/o-rings.... but this is coming from a 1/8 buggy rc racer, this makes the most sense to me.

  24. #24
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    I'm with the group that thinks 4-6 months is excessive.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mattlikestobike View Post
    Wow, really?

    I would think you want to replace the brake fluid often, as much as the guy at the LBS said "4-6 months", because riding in such dusty enviroments, in my mind, would reduce performance of the oil, and cause tears in gaskets/o-rings.... but this is coming from a 1/8 buggy rc racer, this makes the most sense to me.
    If you're getting dust into a sealed hydraulic brakes system, you've got other problems that a flush wont fix.

    Think about, even cars, which DOT fluid is hygroscopic only recommend flushes every 2 years. Nothing about a mountain bike hydraulic system with mineral oil says to me it ever needs to be flushed unless you have problems.
    13 Lenz Lunchbox punkass

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