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Old 10-03-10, 11:25 AM   #1
common man
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do these v brake cables need to be replaced?

the bike has been stored in my garage for several years. i'm going to clean and grease it. the brake feel & action is nice but i'm used to more perfect looking cables than these. i don't want brake cables to snap when i need them.

front brake cable (more important)





rear brake cable





thanks!
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Old 10-03-10, 11:27 AM   #2
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no. if they were covered in rust then i would say yes for fear of them snapping but those look fine.
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Old 10-03-10, 11:30 AM   #3
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Unless you see broken strands, fuggedaboutit.

(BTW Excellent macro-photography.)
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Old 10-03-10, 12:34 PM   #4
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Don't grease the cables and housings. If you use anything at all on them just use a light wipe of oil. Grease on the cables will make things really feel gummy. A light oil will maintain the snappiness of the lever action which you want. Most of us run them dry since even a light coat of oil will attract grit and make things gritty feeling in time.

The only exception to this no grease rule is the noodles found on V brakes. In that case the bend radius in the cable is tight enough that grease just in the noodle is needed to ease the friction. But if you were to fill the housings with grease the overall system feel would be like trying to paddle in a lake of peanut butter.

If your cables are dry but still feel "gritty" due to some light corrosion that can occur even on stainless cables then pull them out of the housings, pull then through a handful of steel wool or a Scotchbrite pad to polish them up and re-install. Doing this polish will likely restore the feel you want without the need for oil.

If the cables feel "grabby" in the housings and the levers are hesitant to snap back when releasing them this is a sign that the cables have worn a groove in the inner liner of the housings. This means that it's time for new housings. But oiling the cables will gain you a little time if you just want to get back to riding. Plan on new housings for sooner rather than later though.

Last edited by BCRider; 10-03-10 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 10-03-10, 12:58 PM   #5
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Those cables are fine. I wouldn't replace them until you see significant fraying or damage.
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Old 10-04-10, 11:06 AM   #6
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thanks guys for the suggestions. i'll keep the brake cables.
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Old 10-04-10, 03:07 PM   #7
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Outstanding pictures, I wish everyone would post that type of detail and that many pictures.

BCRider gave good information, I ditto his and others.

Don't replace the cables but if you feel a drag, then removing the cables, cleaning them up with steel wool, putting some lubricant on them may help but you may have a groove in the inside plastic/teflon coating of the housing that's causing a drag. Cables are cheap, maybe $3, housing $1/foot needed.
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Old 10-04-10, 03:16 PM   #8
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I use my home brewed lube for cables as it offers light lubrication and dispels moisture which is what kills cables... housings do wear and do need to be replaced periodically although that is a function of mileage and the conditions you ride in.

If a bike has been sitting for an extended period in dry storage there should not be any problems... it takes a very long time for the grease in hubs, bottom brackets, and headsets to degrade to the point where it is like having glue in those places.
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Old 10-04-10, 04:20 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
I use my home brewed lube for cables as it offers light lubrication and dispels moisture which is what kills cables....
Oh sure! Tease us along with a statement like that and then don't include the recipe?

I turn my back to you like the cat does when he's mad at me.....
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Old 10-04-10, 11:29 PM   #10
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Oh sure! Tease us along with a statement like that and then don't include the recipe?

I turn my back to you like the cat does when he's mad at me.....
Thought everyone knew how to brew the best multi purpose lube ever... most use it for chains but it also works wonderfully on small pivots, frees stuck fittings, and makes cables smooth as silk as the mineral spirits serve as a carrier and take the oil where it is needed.

Oh yeah...

1 part motor oil to three parts mineral spirits is the basic recipe.
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Old 10-05-10, 01:27 PM   #11
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OK, so it's not that new. I'm doing the same thing but I use the thick honey like chainsaw bar oil from Home Depot. It was around $8 for a gallon of it. I mix it about 1 part oil to 2 parts mineral spirits and use it the same as you suggest. But given how thick my base oil is I wouldn't use it for cables. I like your motor oil mix for stuff like cables if I were to oil them at all.
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