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Shimano brake fluid alternatives | Is using alternatives good Exaplained

hydraulic Bike disc brakes dont run on air or water they are designed to be used with some type of oil to make sure that they are as smooth as they can be and to avoid adverse effects of it on the brakes or the rotors as well as if there is no dedicated product available right now then we use other alternatives for it but some choices can be good while others can be bad.

This is quite a common problem and it has happened to me quite often as well so I did some research into it in this article, I will discuss everything

What’s the difference between Shimano’s mineral oil and alternatives

Shimano brake oil alternatives

What are the base criteria for something to be used as a Shimano oil alternative?

Is using an alternative for Shimano oil a good idea

For starters, I will start off with a straight answer on which the article is based “Shimano oil alternatives ” but I will encourage you to read the article thoroughly because there are alot of misconceptions around this topic and it would be good if everything is clarified beforehand.

What’s the difference between Shimano’s mineral oil and alternatives

It’s important to understand here that you understand what are the base differences between Shimano mineral oil and its alternatives and of course, if you can’t seem to find any Shimano mineral oil anywhere then you can’t just use brakes on the water then you can use whatever alternatives are available and make do with things for the time being

Properties and components of Shimano mineral oil for bike disc brakes :

Shimano mineral oil is not just mineral oil only there are other components in there as well and although the developers don’t really disclose the ingredients in it to the extent they do are these

  1. boiling/freezing agents to prevent freezing and evaporation
  2. compounds that keep the rubber seals of brakes fresh or at least dont harm them
  3. blend of different oils that give the right viscosity of the fluid that gives maximum performance

These are the 3 basic standards that are followed and for each of those the manufacturers give little insight from which we make assumptions

for boiling and freezing prevention they use propylene glycol that’s a good freezing agent similarly, they mix different other things to keep the fluid fresh and keep its viscosity consistent as well and other things to keep the rubber seals fresh as well, or at least that they prevent maximum damage to the rubber seals

Other than that there can be other things in it as well that we might not know and that’s why Shimano mineral oil is different from normal mineral oil in any form like baby oil or raw 100% mineral oil because they do not contain all those other ingredients in them to support the overall braking system

So these are the base differences between a dedicated product and other alternatives available in the market.

Shimano brake oil alternatives :

Here’s a list of different alternatives for Shimano oil but before you jump on the train to use them or buy them again please read the whole article before making your wild decisions

  1. Morgan Blue mineral oil
  2. Bike hut mineral oil
  3. Reverb fluid
  4. Juice Lubes
  5. Putoline HPX R 2.5w
  6. Silkolene RSF 2.5wt
  7. Magura Royal Blood Mineral Oil
  8. Juice Lubes mineral oil
  9. Epic Bleed Solutions mineral oil
  10. Citroen LHM

All of these mineral oils can be used as alternatives for Shimano mineral oil brake fluid, there are some that might be more viscous than others or harder to bleed so here are some examples.

Citron LMH is a popular alternative for Shimano brake fluid alternative but from time to time you can find complaints about it being too vicious at lower temperatures and too dense at higher temperatures.

If you have noticed or not almost all the alternatives that I have mentioned above are all fork oils the reason for that is that almost all the forks use mineral oils and are all very similar in ingredients to the Shimano brake fluid as I have mentioned above forks contain rubber seals and are under constant movement just like brake fluids as well so these can be the best alternatives for brake fluid.

Hopefully, to this point, everything is clear to you moving on

base criteria for something to be used as a Shimano oil alternative

Well, there can be 100 other alternatives that might be on your mind and you may very well want to try that so I thought it would be best if I add some insight into that as well.

If you have been reading I think by now you already know what the base criteria are for something to be considered as an alternative for Shimano mineral oil but just to clarify things

  1. The alternative should have the same viscosity as the manufacturers liquid (Shimano mineral oil) in cold and hot environments
  2. the alternative should not mess with the rubber seals of the brakes
  3. the alternative should have additives to sustain evaporation and freezing

these are the three main criteria and if you understand them then you will see that it automatically eliminates things like the use of DOT fluid in brakes made for mineral oil because DOT fluids are much more viscous than mineral oils and also things like baby oil which is less viscous than Shimano mineral oil and lacks the basic ingredients for freeze prevention and other things.

these are the basic standards that should eliminate or approve any alternative that you might be troubled with whether to use or not.

Is using an alternative for Shimano oil a good idea

Using alternatives for Shimano mineral oil is good as long as the given alternative fluid meets the criteria I have mentioned above course in a pinch you cannot run your brakes on the water so using something that should be at least as vicious as Shimano mineral oil would be okay as well.

But misusing them, of course, will cost you maintenance costs and your brakes may not work as well as they should so always make sure that if you have a choice then why put yourself at risk financially or physically?

Conclusion :

Before deciding on any alternative do quick research because what you think might work may not work this is the whole summary of this article the more the resemblance in ingredients is the better the alternative.