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  1. #1
    Ubermensch blendingnoise's Avatar
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    Changing cables at LBS

    I picked up a manual and am learning some of the mechanical repairs myself but do not have the tools nor do I think I would be able to do a good job myself with changing the cables.
    I would need new cables (cheap stainless steel ones will do) and housing for my shifter cables (front and rear).
    How much would I expect a LBS to charge for installing it.
    On an other note how much for new brake cables and housing? Brakes are non-aero and sidepull calipers.

  2. #2
    Minneapolis colinm's Avatar
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    Brake cables (Schwinn universal, road/mtn) are $11 each at my LBS. Cable and sheath in a package, cut off the end you don't need. Use an ice pick to round out the hole after you cut the sheath with whatever you have. I happen to have a park tool cutter, but it always leaves a burr, and requires finish work anyway.

    The cables are "universal" in that one end has a molded stop for road levers, the other end has a molded stop for mountain. Hence cutting one end off.

    1. Snip off just the one unused end
    2. Pull the cable out of the sheath, and measure the sheath and cut to fit the bike. Measure 3 times, and err on the long side.
    3. Slip in the cable, run thru the brakes and cut off the excess, leaving plenty to fine tune. Cut to fit when done.

    15 minutes tops per caliper.

    Shifter is the same procedure. If I gave a bike to the shop, for a complete re-cable, I'd expect $40 in labor. More than that and it'd be worth it to learn.
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  3. #3
    Minneapolis colinm's Avatar
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    Note - I know enough to be dangerous with tools.
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    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    If you have friction shifters (not index) walmart will sell you a complete set of cables and housings for about $4.50. Good for two brakes, front, and rear derailler. What a deal.

  5. #5
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    We charge $2.95 per stainless cable, $1 foot for brake housing, $2 per foot shift housing(non index you can use brake houing) $10 per cable/housing to install
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  6. #6
    Ubermensch blendingnoise's Avatar
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    The brake cables from reading up on I think I will end up tackling on my own as it can be down with a pair of pliers and zipties(can't afford brake tool)

    The shifter cable is one that I am not sure of, as the front is a friction shifter (double) which I am comfortable trying myself but the rear is 6spd Indexed (SIS)
    What would I need by way of tools for the rear? Is it easy to change cables and adjust indexed systems? I don't have a stand or a lot of place in the city so take that into consideration.

    What is the difference between indexed shifter cables and friction cables?

    Last of all would I need a cable puller or any other specific tool for this?
    Last edited by blendingnoise; 09-07-04 at 09:52 PM.

  7. #7
    Ubermensch blendingnoise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev.Chuck
    We charge $2.95 per stainless cable, $1 foot for brake housing, $2 per foot shift housing(non index you can use brake houing) $10 per cable/housing to install
    Rev. So just to get an estimate on the labour costs (10$/cable or housing)
    If I needed a cable and housing install for just the front shifter for example. Would that be 20$ or 10$ plus parts?
    If it is 10$ for front shifter cable AND housing then would a complete install of 2 brake cables/housing and front and rear shifters be 40$ plus parts?

  8. #8
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    $10 per brake or shifter plus the parts. So a typical rear shifter(downtube style) would be $2.95 for the cable, $2 for the housing back at the der., and $10 labor. It might be more or less depending on where you live, there are even some shops near us that charge quite a bit more than we do for the same work. I give a break if I am doing all the cables and housings, I usually reccomend a tuneup if it needs all of that, then you get everything adjusted, wheels trued, frame cleaned, hubs adjusted, head set, BB, etc. and you get a $20 break on the price. Besides you often need to true the wheels and adjust the hubs before doing a brake adjust anyway(Got to have something consistent to adjust to )
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  9. #9
    Minneapolis colinm's Avatar
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    Exactly. Every bike I get I do that, myself, though. If I didn't have the tools or the space, I'd have no problem paying a shop for all that. Worth it big time.

    Of course, I'd bring home far fewer bikes...Half the fun is the tinkering.
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  10. #10
    Lepper Rocks ekoh's Avatar
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    The rear brake cable and cable housing of my road bike are internal, i.e. they run inside the length of the top tube. How do I change 1) the cable, 2) the housing, 3) both? My instinct tells me not to pull out the current cable and housing before knowing what to do! Any help much appreciated. Thanks!

  11. #11
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    Check if the housing runs fully through the frame. You can do it by just pulling the housing back and forth a little to see if the whole length of it slides in and out of the holes in the frame. If so you can feed your new housing onto the end of the old cable and push the assembly through. If it has stops in the frame and just a bare cable runs through the frame, you can try using a piece of teflon liner to butte the cables together and feed the new one in after the old one.
    Most of the nicer bikes have at least a little "guide" at the holes to help the housing into the right spot. If you have an old Kestrel I suggest prayer and the burning of an old innertube as an offering before trying to run the cables
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  12. #12
    Senior Member
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    The main tool needed is a bicycle cable cutter. If this is too espensive you can get by with a regular wire cutter, but this will require more work cleaning up the cut with a file or Dremel. When cutting the housing for index shifter cable, first bend the length to the finished curve, so all the little wires remain straight when you cut. Put a spare bit of cable through the housing where you cut it to reduce the crushing.

  13. #13
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    I would add that lube could be used. Even with teflon lining. We use to use Tri-flo directly on the cable.
    (won't hurt at any rate). Also do not forget to stretch or stress the cables as they will do so anyway as they break in and slightly un twist as well as stretch. This is done by attaching the anchor bolt and then squeezing the brake lever as far as you can and holding it in place. You can also try to slightly move the housing while holding the brake lever down. The idea is to get some of the initial stretch out of the cable so it will not come out of adjustment so badly during break-in.

    If the old cables are in tact and not rusty don't be in huge hurry to replace them. Sometimes you can release the anchor bolt and let some tri-flo seep into the housing. (if it ain't broke don't fix it) you can be the judge as to whether they need to be replaced or not.

    Yeah Baby!

  14. #14
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blendingnoise
    The brake cables from reading up on I think I will end up tackling on my own as it can be down with a pair of pliers and zipties(can't afford brake tool)

    The shifter cable is one that I am not sure of, as the front is a friction shifter (double) which I am comfortable trying myself but the rear is 6spd Indexed (SIS)
    What would I need by way of tools for the rear? Is it easy to change cables and adjust indexed systems? I don't have a stand or a lot of place in the city so take that into consideration.

    What is the difference between indexed shifter cables and friction cables?

    Last of all would I need a cable puller or any other specific tool for this?
    If you havent been to the repair section at www.parktool.com give it a try. A good maintenance book(zinn) is about $20 and worth having.You need to be aboe to cut the casing without crushing it. There are tools for that or you can use a dremel tool with a cutoff wheel. There is bo difference in index or non index cables.

  15. #15
    Ubermensch blendingnoise's Avatar
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    Man have I learned a lot in the past few months. I just put together another bike the other day for myself and here is a question I had about the cables while starting out.

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