Is Graphite or Silicon Spray Better for Throttle Tubes?

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A throttle assembly has many tubes. To be clear, we're not talking about a carburetor's venturi or slide, throttle cables or cable-housings. We're talking about the throttle itself, the part you put your hand on and turn to make the bike go faster. Most likely, your throttle has an outer "grip" made of rubber. Underneath the grip is a mechanical assembly known as a throttle tube. It's usually made of vinyl or aluminum. The end of the throttle assembly connects to the throttle cable. Twist the cable, and it actuates the carburetor (or fuel injection), accelerating or decelerating the bike. The part must move smoothly and be free of debris.

Throttle Tube Lubricants

  • Both graphite and silicone spray will work to lubricate the throttle tube. Just about any lubricant will work to lubricate the throttle tube. Choices range from assembly lube to lithium grease to light slovent/oil such as WD-40; graphite and silicone spray are among the best options. Application and personal preference may determine which is better for you. But this is not the only consideration on proper throttle assembly operation.

Cleaning

  • Just about everything works better when it's clean. Throttle tubes are no exception. It's more important that your throttle tube and the end of the handlebar as well as the assembly where the throttle tube attaches to the throttle cable all be clean and free of grit. This assembly is sealed from debris fairly well. But debris can work its way in, especially in a dirt bike or any bike that may find its handlebar in the mud. The top priority should be to clean the assembly and keep it clean.

What Kind of Riding Do You Do?

  • If you ride a street bike only on sunny days, your throttle assembly is probably in good shape. The question of silicone versus graphite is of less importance. If you're an adventure rider, riding in all kinds of foul weather and rough terrain, it may be of more importance. If you're a dirt bike rider, you've got the highest chance of inserting your handlebar into a mud puddle full of grit and gravel. And if you're a racer and your bike gets taken apart, cleaned and reassembled on a regular basis, it may not matter what kind of riding you do.

Pros and Cons of Silicone Spray and Graphite

  • So long as your throttle tube is clean, many people prefer the feel of a silicone-lubricated throttle tube. It glides more smoothly. It's also more likely to mix with fine grit and debris to impede function should dirt find its way into the throttle assembly. If you like the feel of silicone spray and you have easy access to disassembling and cleaning the throttle assembly, use it. If, however, you're going long distances in harsh riding condition, even if you prefer the feel of silicone, graphite will give you an advantage. Should grit work its way into the assembly during your ride, graphite will cope with it better.

Throttle Cable Lube

  • Once you've removed the throttle assembly, tend to the cable and cable connection. The assembly will not work well with a clean, well-lubricated throttle tube and dirty, gritty cable-rail and cable-end. Clean those, too. But use cable-lube and be tidy. Keep it in the assembly so it doesn't find its way between the throttle tube and the handlebar.

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