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Old 10-20-09, 01:58 PM   #1
davida
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Replacing Shifter Cables

Hi

I have Ultegra Shifters and have never attempted to change the shifter cables. A few questions -

I have searched on the net, but I can't find any good pictures of how to install the cables at the shifter end. About the best was on the Shimano site, but even then, I don't find it very clear. Does anyone have any good sites that specifically have pictures of terminating the cables for road bike type shifters

Do I have to replace the cable housings when I replace the cables.

Even if I retain the same cable housings, do I need to retape the bars as part of this process

How do I know when I need to replace the cables

How do I know what type of cable / cable housings I need to get. I have 6700

What tools do I need

Thanks
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Old 10-20-09, 02:15 PM   #2
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Do I have to replace the cable housings when I replace the cables.-Not unless they are in bad shape

Even if I retain the same cable housings, do I need to retape the bars as part of this process- maybe, it depends on how well the old tape holds the housing in place when you take the old cables out. If you can thread the new cables through the housing without removing the tape then you will not need to replace the tape.

How do I know when I need to replace the cables- When they break or get rusty or start to stick on shifting. Usually cables stretch a bit over time, you don't need to replace them, just tighten the cable at the derailleur.

How do I know what type of cable / cable housings I need to get. I have 6700-All shift cable should work on any derailleur as they all use the same type of end at the shift lever. Some sstems need compressionless housing though.

What tools do I need- allen wrenches that fit the cable clamp on the derailleur, and if your shifter needs allens. You will also need wire cutters. It's all pretty easy

Here is how I would approach replacing the cables.

-Switch into your smallest front cog and your smallest rear cog to release all tension on the cables.
-Next undo the clamp at the derailleur end and snip off the cable at that end so that the bent cable from the clamp is off-it will scratch housing liner when you try to pull it through if you leave it on.
-Push the cable backwards through the housing and you will see where it comes out of the shift lever. Pay attention to the routing at you remove the old cable.
-Thread the new cable while matching the routing of the old cable. If you are lucky you can just run the new cable through the lever and it should hit the housing hole that the old cable just came out of. Just keep pushing the new cable through until it pops out the other side of the routing.
- make sure that you route the cable the same way the old one came out and then make sure the cable is snug, but not tight on the derailleur when you tighten the clamp. In the samllest cogs the derailleur should be in the relaxed position without the cable pulling the mechanism.
-Turn your bike upside down and turn the pedals while cycling through the gears to make sure it is hitting right. Adjust the cable tension until it operates smoothly.

Because you are not replacing the derailleurs you should not need to mess with the set screws at all. Only mes with the cable calmp screw on the derailleurs.
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Old 10-20-09, 02:21 PM   #3
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All good except the shift cables don't go under the bar tape, the brake cables do. That means bar tape is a non-issue for shifter cable replacement.
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Old 10-20-09, 02:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sooprvylyn View Post
-Push the cable backwards through the housing and you will see where it comes out of the shift lever.
Don't forget: you have to hold your brake lever all the way down to expose the area where the shifter cable end comes out (opposite side of where the housing enters).


Last edited by f4rrest; 10-20-09 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 10-20-09, 02:40 PM   #5
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It is possible to replace the cables without replacing the housings. But why bother? The housings trap dirt and water causing corrosion and excess friction that effects shifting performance. Replacing Shimano housings is an easy job. If the old housings are of the correct length simply cut the new ones the same length. If you buy the Shimano kit the short housing found at the rear derailleur is pre-cut to the correct length. This is the most critical housing for shifting performance because it is subject to more dirt and crud off of the road and because the curvature of the housing needs to be just right for best performance.
Replacing the housings is more important than the cables so far as shifting performance is concerned.

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Old 10-20-09, 03:19 PM   #6
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All good except the shift cables don't go under the bar tape, the brake cables do. That means bar tape is a non-issue for shifter cable replacement.
Wrong.

the 6700's have campy style shift cable/housing routing e.g under the bartape.
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Old 10-20-09, 03:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f4rrest View Post
Don't forget: you have to hold your brake lever all the way down to expose the area where the shifter cable end comes out (opposite side of where the housing enters).

That picture is outdated and incorrect for the shifters the OP has. The shift cable does NOT route in that fashion.
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Old 10-20-09, 03:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davida View Post
Hi

I have Ultegra Shifters and have never attempted to change the shifter cables. A few questions -
http://techdocs.shimano.com/media/te...9830671291.pdf

This document tells you everything you need to know. /threadover
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Old 10-20-09, 03:44 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by davida View Post
How do I know when I need to replace the cables
Unless you enjoy riding a long way home up hills on the 11/12 tooth small cog (BTDT ), you'll want to replace them on a somewhat regular basis, even if they look OK.

My 105 rear shifter cable broke at 3800 miles, and then again at 8200 miles. Two different LBS head mechanics and Shimano confirmed this was problem/feature of Shimano 10 speed STI shifters. They break inside the shifter where they are wrapped tightly around a small drum. Shimano said they need to be changed regularly but wouldn't commit to a mileage interval. Lucky me, I found that interval on my own...

Because they break inside the shifter near the cable head, and you may not have been in the small cog at the time, getting the head and little bit of cable left out of the shifter can either be hard or impossible. At my 3800 mile break (under warranty at 3.5 months), the LBS was able to fish the cable head out; took about 45 minutes. At the 8200 mile break (at 7 months, again under warranty), the LBS failed and called Shimano. They over-nighted a replacement for it.

Using those data points, I bought a dozen shifter cables and was resolved to change them (rear, at least) every 3000 miles. I did that a few weeks ago at 11,200 miles; when I pulled the cable out of the shifter you could see two wire strands were already broken!

Trust me, it's VERY easy to replace a cable before it's broken. After that...
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Old 10-20-09, 05:29 PM   #10
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Don't ya just love the new and improved stuff!
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Old 10-20-09, 06:46 PM   #11
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My old-tech downtube friction shifters on my previous bikes still had the original cables on them after 30 years.

New 10-speed chains, shifter cables, the STI shifters themselves ($$$ !), and possibly the cassette all wear out much faster than their older counterparts. I think it's worth the improvement, but for a high-mileage rider, it's certainly an added expense and added maintenance time.
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