Bicycle Mechanics - When to replace cables & housings?
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01-11-06, 03:33 PM
I've put some serious miles on my road bike and do my own maintenance but have never replaced cables/housings. Below 40F the housings seem to stiffen and my shifting and breaking performance decreases dramatically. Sometimes the rear doesn't even shift as the cable isn't catching inside the STI shifter.
Do I need to replace all of it? Or just relube the cables with some low temp grease? thx
Odds are good that you will benefit from new cables and housings and also by flushing out the shifters with WD40.
01-11-06, 04:01 PM
Could be the inside of the housing has grease in it, that gets harder when the temp drops. Try the flush-them-out-with-WD40 suggestion. And run cables back and forth through for a bit after doing this, to push excess gunk out. I usually only do this for brake cables and housing though. But since I run down-tube shifters, I don't worry about cable housing for my shifting.
You can get new housing pretty cheaply, too - $15-20. If you've got indexed shifting, make sure you have cable housing designed for it. Brake cable housing can vary slightly in length as it bends, etc., which can throw off indexing.
01-11-06, 04:05 PM
If you want a quick fix, try lubing the housing and cables with a spray of a light oil. I like using silicon spray, as it is not messy.
Spray into where the cables come out. I'd replace the housings come spring or summer so your new housings don't get all gunked up quickly in winter.
Shimano cable housing come with grease in them to begin with.I use a product called thompson's bore butter. It's made for blackpowder firearms. I know it sounds odd,but it's the slickest lightweight grease I've found.So slick in fact that you will have to use solvent to clean the end of the cable or it won't hold. I actually had problems with my brake cables pulling thru on me.
01-11-06, 11:55 PM
You can get new housing pretty cheaply, too - $15-20.
And it installs easily too.
Here's my tip: Apply a drop of solder PRIOR to cutting the cable to length, then make the cut inside the soldered area. Do this and your cables will never unravel.
I silver solder mine. Silver's not really neccessary, regular solder works fine too, but I have the silver solder on hand.
01-12-06, 05:32 AM
I just dip the ends of my cables into melted candle wax after everything's installed on the bike, and it keeps the cables from unraveling. Not as well as the soldering, probably. But both wax and soldering look better than the aluminum cable tips, which also don't allow cable removall very easily.
01-12-06, 08:57 AM
IF you've put a bunch of miles on them, replace them when the weather's better. I replace mine once a year (about every 5k miles) and it makes a far bigger difference than simply lubing housing, etc.
IF you've put a bunch of miles on them, replace them when the weather's better. I replace mine once a year (about every 5k miles) and it makes a far bigger difference than simply lubing housing, etc. I do the same thing. I have learnt that replacing my cables once a year is the most important factor in my derailleurs shifting very smoothly.
Replacing the housings is at least as important as replacing the cables. And the most critical is the short housing at the rear derailleur.
01-13-06, 04:10 PM
Towards the end of the summer I replaced all the cables and housings on my 1981 Schwinn Super Sport. I tend to look after my gear, and the bike hadn't been ridden much in bad weather, but I was still amazed at the difference the new cables made.
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