To all my Sparks peeps: The best lube? Sorry for being technical yet a little vague. I have much experience in dealing with the technical end that I hate to give false or incorrect information without having all the information.
Seals are important as mentioned below. You need to know the composition of those seals to choose the right lubricant so it doesn't interact and break the seal down.
Tolerances are very important. Even with the best designed headsets and components can have issues. I won't mention the mfg but it happened on my newest Serotta, I got a bad headset. It was taken care of quickly and the MFG had to recall a lot due to improper assemble of the sealed bearing. You see all these little details make a huge difference. The hardness of the surfaces must be correct or you will have problems, alignment of assembly fixtures, cleanliness of assembly procedure, etc..
Assembly, how each component is assembled at the factory can be the difference if they last or fail. The machining of the components and other specs can lead to failure. Many of these operations are or should be done in a clean room environment.
Proper alignment of the frame, facing, etc.... I know some of you have used a Campy tool set to face frames, headsets, etc. New technology takes care of some of these issues but they still exist.
Lubricants and materials: Chemical compositions of the materials to be lubricated and the actual additives can cause issues too. Noted by one of the posters, galvanic reaction. Don't grease a Carbon Fiber seat post. These are accurate statements.
If you want to experiment, just pay attention.
I can't give technical data unless I have more info. I do know there are some incredible synthetic lubes on the market, there are super expensive but a small amount will go a very long way. Look for a composition and compatibility of the lubes. The mfg will usually have technical data available. Call or email some mfg's and give the application, they will make recommendations.
As for me, I have all kinds of lube around my shop. I have old Campy stuff and newer Dura-Ace. I don't need much lube and I keep things pretty clean. I don't mountain bike and that tougher when water and mud come into play.
I think everybody has a pretty good grasp on the subject.
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