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Old 09-07-10, 03:47 PM   #1
common man
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how tightly is brake cable bound to the barrel?

my brake cables are loose so i squeeze the levers extra hard for max stopping power. will this weaken the link between the cable and the barrel? i don't want any surprises when i'm out in traffic. i have tightened the cables now. thanks!

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Old 09-07-10, 03:53 PM   #2
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As long as the cables are not damaged or corroded, you won't be able to break the cable. Note however, that "loose" cables would normally mean that you have to pull the levers a long way before the brakes engage. But they won't make the brakes weaker once they do engage. If you're not getting enough stopping power, I'd check out your brake set up, get better pads, etc.
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Old 09-07-10, 04:04 PM   #3
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As long as the cables are not damaged or corroded, you won't be able to break the cable.
my fear is that the cable itself will be fine but may come out of the barrel (pictured above) after hard sqeezing. it's a new bike and the mechanic had made the brakes too loose. i don't know if cables are tightened to the barrel or bonded.
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Old 09-07-10, 04:59 PM   #4
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Those barrels are cast onto the cables, so wont pull out.
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Old 09-07-10, 05:02 PM   #5
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The barrel is melted onto the cable. It is 99.9% not likley to come off.Due to the ability of a manufacturer getting sued if they make a bad cable, consider yourself safe. If braking fails the following are more likely the result, in not particular order...

1)The cable is not tightened down at the brake and the cable slips through.
2)The break levers break off (I saw it, I laughed)
3)You will lock up your wheels and skid

Rest your fears and enjoy your new bike =)
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Old 09-07-10, 05:04 PM   #6
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I've seen it happen only once or twice, and I've wrenched on thousands of bikes over 35 years. Don't worry; be happy.
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Old 09-07-10, 05:16 PM   #7
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thanks guys, i appreciate it

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2)The break levers break off (I saw it, I laughed)
lol, how the heck did that happen?
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Old 09-07-10, 05:27 PM   #8
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lol, how the heck did that happen?
Guy I knew was moutian biking. He had super touchy mechanical disc brakes, BB7 I think, with some old 4 finger levers. Anyway he panics bad on a 5 ft jump and he and the bike go vertical. He lands straight up and down on his back wheel and that death grip of his on the ends of 4 finger levels plus some of his body wieght snapped the left on clean off, cracked the right one. Among other things he racked himself, bent his handle bars just a touch. and put a nice flat spot in his rear wheel. I was rolling on the ground LMAO just as long as he was on the ground clutching himself.
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Old 09-07-10, 07:24 PM   #9
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Um.... the only way that loose cables would prevent you from stopping with the same lever pressure would be if they are loose enough that your lever is bottoming onto the grips. At that point you can squeeze all you want but you won't get any more braking effort.

Also do you realize that adjusting the cables so the levers sit where you like is about a 4 second adjustment? Look for the knurled thimbles on the levers where the housing goes into the lever. Adjust outwards to make the engagement point of the lever occur earlier.

If the brakes still don't stop you well enough then it's time to look into better pads or to clean the oil or whatever off the rims and pads that you put onto the wheels to make them shiney.
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Old 09-07-10, 09:19 PM   #10
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You'll rip the cable out of the caliper's pinch bolt before you separate it from its barrel end.
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Old 09-07-10, 09:55 PM   #11
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Also do you realize that adjusting the cables so the levers sit where you like is about a 4 second adjustment?
yes i made the adjustment and the braking is very good now.

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Um.... the only way that loose cables would prevent you from stopping with the same lever pressure would be if they are loose enough that your lever is bottoming onto the grips. At that point you can squeeze all you want but you won't get any more braking effort.
i was under the impressions that if the cables are very loose and the levers are squeezed hard it can damage something in the lever system.

these are all photos of the front brake lever (left) before the adjustment.

lever system





loose levers












after the adjustment the brakes feel nice and responsive. i guess i was worried over nothing. i can't wait for my 60 mile ride on the schuykill river trail on sunday.
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Old 09-08-10, 02:21 AM   #12
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If your levers are not coming all the way back and hitting the bars the only thing that adjusting the cable to be loose or snug does is set where the lever sits when the pads touch the rims. There's no difference in leverage either way. If you seem to think you're pulling harder to stop when the cables are more slack then it may be the way your fingers are sitting on the levers in one position versus the way they sit on the levers when the cable has less slack and you're using the outer part of your fingers.

If you're looking to get the brakes to work with less finger effort you may want to try shifting the pods inwards on the bars a bit. That way your two fingers that you are using for stopping will be at the end of the lever more fully where they produce the best leverage. As a side bonus the levers are in further and run a slight less risk of damage in a fall. Give it a try and see if you like it. I know that on all my bikes the lever clamps are spaced in about 3/4 of an inch from the ends of the grips just to give my two braking fingers the best grab at the end of the lever.
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Old 09-08-10, 02:37 AM   #13
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Not entirely sure how much it matters, but I always run my barrels aligned with the insertion hole, 90 deg off from how yours are placed.
My impression is that they sit better that way.

Used to be a time when brake levers were sometimes made for motorcycle/scooter sized cables, which used a slightly larger barrel. You then got a crescent-shaped thingy to use as an adapter for bike-sized parts, and if you lost that, the new cable wouldn't sit well in the lever. But your levers should be bike standard through and through.
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Old 09-08-10, 11:07 AM   #14
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Not entirely sure how much it matters, but I always run my barrels aligned with the insertion hole, 90 deg off from how yours are placed.
My impression is that they sit better that way.

Used to be a time when brake levers were sometimes made for motorcycle/scooter sized cables, which used a slightly larger barrel. You then got a crescent-shaped thingy to use as an adapter for bike-sized parts, and if you lost that, the new cable wouldn't sit well in the lever. But your levers should be bike standard through and through.
Oh, so that's what that thing I saved when overhauling my old MTB levers is for.
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Old 09-08-10, 12:24 PM   #15
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Its Cast Zinc, can be filed to make outside smaller if needed..
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