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  1. #1
    rawr Ithaka's Avatar
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    Brake cable end cap thingy...

    Is it necessary to have those little cap things on the end of your brake cables? When I was adjusting my cable a week ago, the cap fell off and I didn't bother to replace it. I don't know if this is related, but today, when I was cut off by an SUV and had to ream on the front brake, the brake cable somehow came loose and I lost maybe 85% braking pressure up front. Fortunately I wasn't doing 45 mph down a hill when it happened, but it scared me nonetheless. Perhaps the cap doesn't matter, and I just need to tighten the cable-holder with a lot more force next time?

    thanks...

  2. #2
    Senior Member Ira B's Avatar
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    Those are commonly called "crimps" but the proper name is a ferrule. They serve to keep the cable end from unlaying (fraying).
    While this is of no urgent concern it can make it difficult to remove slack from the cable in the future and the lose strands can give your skin a nasty poke.
    Just roll into your local bike shop and ask about it. If they don't just crimp one on for free, never go back there.
    Yep, THAT Ira

  3. #3
    AEO
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    the caps are designed to stop cable ends from fraying. They're not designed to keep the cable in place, and be usable, in case it comes lose while riding.


    the cable needs to be secured, snugly, but not so snug that you bite into the individual strands.

    A good rule of thumb when securing the cables:
    No cable deformation is okay.
    <between here is where you are aiming for>
    Some cable deformation is okay.
    Bite marks in cable is too much.

    Test by grabbing brakes real hard. If the cable slips, then go a little tighter until it stops slipping.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
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  4. #4
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    I have been using electronic "heat-shrink tubing" in place of the crimp ferrrules for my cables. They shrink down to hold securely and keep the wire stands from fraying (and keep them from jabbing skin), but can be removed without having to cut the wire shorter. I use clear but it is available in colors as well. You can also solder the ends of galvanized wires; I haven't had success soldering my preferred stainless ones, though.

  5. #5
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    The sole purpose of the end cap is so keep the cable from fraying beyond the pinch bolt. Functionally the fraying doesn't matter since it can only extend down to the pinch bolt. But not only is it unsightly, but it can make later replacement more difficult. Also most mechanics hate frayed cables because they cause painful and annoying punctures on the tips of their fingers when working on bikes (probably the number one soure of mechanic cuts).

    You can stop in any bike shop, and if you're a regular customer they'll give you new tips for free and you can crimp them on with long nose pliers, or a dull wire cutter. Or you can carefully wind a piece of adhesive tape around them, or otherwise protect the ends from fraying by any creative method.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ira B View Post
    Those are commonly called "crimps" but the proper name is a ferrule. ...
    While they are ferrules in the general sense, they're most precisely called aglets, though this is a rare and generally unknown name for them. I don't like them to be called ferrules because in bike lingo that refers to the slip-on or crimped-on pieces at the ends of the housing. If the OP walked into a bike shop asking for ferules odds are that he'll be asked all kinds of questions about the specific cables and fittings, since ferrules come in so many types and sizes.

    He's most likely to get exactly what he wants quickly by calling them cable tips, cable crimps, or little things that go on the end of the brake wire where it sticks out. One thing he can be sure of is that if he walks into a bike shop and asks for aglets, he'll get a blank stare 99.9% or the time.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
    I have been using electronic "heat-shrink tubing" in place of the crimp ferrrules for my cables. They shrink down to hold securely and keep the wire stands from fraying (and keep them from jabbing skin), but can be removed without having to cut the wire shorter. I use clear but it is available in colors as well. You can also solder the ends of galvanized wires; I haven't had success soldering my preferred stainless ones, though.
    This, or the other option I have been using lately:
    While wearing a disposable vinyl glove, smear super glue on the last couple inches of the cable and wipe off the excess.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shimagnolo View Post
    This, or the other option I have been using lately:
    While wearing a disposable vinyl glove, smear super glue on the last couple inches of the cable and wipe off the excess.
    I also use super glue with newly installed cables, but it rarely works with old cables because accumulated oil prevents bonding.
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    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

  9. #9
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Zn -galvanized cables solder well, with acid flux core (tin/lead) solder.
    replaced the brake levers, frayed original cable would not go in the housing again.

    soldering before cutting keeps the strands together to pull and re grease the cable occasionally.

    Stainless cables are more difficult to solder, low [400 degree]temperature silver-solder
    is more difficult to work with, .. superglue probably easier, then.

  10. #10
    Senior Member JonathanGennick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    One thing he can be sure of is that if he walks into a bike shop and asks for aglets, he'll get a blank stare 99.9% or the time.
    My son's friend who is sitting here in the living room w/us actually knew the word "aglet". I about fell off the couch in shock.

    I had not known the word, but now I do; just read the Wikipedia definition of it.

  11. #11
    Senior Member cradom's Avatar
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    I thought aglet only referred to shoelaces. Learn something new every day.

  12. #12
    Senior Member gyozadude's Avatar
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    I get 'em in the 500/bottle online and seem to go through a tonne of them. The cheapest I've found are the Avenir ones (1.2mm or less derailleur cable crimps aglets or choice of 1.8mm or less brake cable aglet versions) both $9.32 plus shipping on Amazon through BikeWorldUSA or some place like that. Anyone know of cheaper? I do seem to go through a lot of them.
    Yes, I can roll my own potsticker skins!

  13. #13
    Senior Member Ira B's Avatar
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    Aglet generally refers to something applied to a fiber line or rope and ferrule to a stranded wire cable (which a housing technically is) although the two terms are tossed around incorrectly enough to make both functionally correct.
    Yep, THAT Ira

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