Originally Posted by AdelaaR
I've read this warning before but have never had any trouble cutting them myself.
I use a professional very sharp and sturdy wire cutter, though.
Then I clean them of with a bit of sandpaper.
Maybe people are trying to cut them with typical multi-purpose plyers that have worn out or something, I dunno.
SIS gear cables have a very delicate "compressionless" housing and normal cutters, no matter how sharp, distort it, reducing shifting performance. What's saving you is the sandpaper - you're removing the damaged area.
The absolute best way to cut SIS cable - favoured by racers preparing their own bikes - is with a dremel and reinforced cutting discs, because these don't put any pressure on the housing. But this is a bit too much effort for most LBSes, so these use dedicated SIS cable cutters. The sandpaper method can work well but takes longer. If I don't have a dremel handy then I favour a diamond coated whetstone for sharpening knives - effectively a large file. They're sold for sharpening knives (I can't abide a dull cooking knife) and mine cost me about £7. So, yes, you can work on this cable without pro tools... but doing so isn't something I'd recommend to someone who needs to ask what work is required to switch his bars.
It's worth taking trouble with a dremel or file with brake cable too: damage to the housing can reduce braking power and responsiveness.