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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 02-14-12, 04:41 PM   #1
Tandem Tom
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Brake & Shifter Cable Question

My wife and I have a Co-Motion Speedster with the S&S Couplings. So the brake and shifter cables have the inline connectors. As we get ready for a trip I am putting together our travel repair kit I have a question.. I really don't want to carry cable cutters,plus I don't own them yet, but if I break a cable I would need to cut/trim the front cable to be able to attach it to the coupling. So I thought about full length cables for an energency repair. But when I saw them at a local shop you have to choose what end type you wanted and the cut off the unusable one. Thus I would need a cutter.
Are there cables ,full length for tandems that do not require that choice? Where are they available?
Thanks!
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Old 02-14-12, 06:59 PM   #2
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If you know which end you want and which end you don't want just cut off the unwanted end at home.
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Old 02-14-12, 07:39 PM   #3
Tandem Tom
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I thought about that but the cable will start to fray.
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Old 02-14-12, 08:34 PM   #4
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Tandem length cables are readily available: http://www.highmountainsports.com/br...mm/4,3241.html

When you cut a cable, just solder or put a dollop of super glue on the end to keep it from fraying.
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Old 02-15-12, 09:54 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
Tandem length cables are readily available: http://www.highmountainsports.com/br...mm/4,3241.html

When you cut a cable, just solder or put a dollop of super glue on the end to keep it from fraying.
Does solder adhere to stainless steel? I have tried using hot glue and it works but eventually falls off. Hate those metal crimp on ends.
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Old 02-15-12, 09:57 AM   #6
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+1, Cut and solder before you go (or get your LBS to do it for you).
Another plus for S&S couplers is that you may be able to use regular length replacement cables, which may be more available on tour.
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Old 02-15-12, 12:28 PM   #7
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Does solder adhere to stainless steel?
It takes an acid flux and the right kind of silver solder, which is why I throw in the easier solution: use a little SuperGlue. It helps to dip the cable end in alcohol and/or muratic acid, rinse, dry and then apply. Note, I DON'T go to the trouble to do this anymore, I just use crimp-on ends. But, if someone was determined to not carry a cable cutter and ends with their space derailleur cable...

Frankly, I change my derailleur cables about every other year now on the tandem that we ride all the time (used to be annually, but the cables have gotten better) so I don't have to worry about broken cables, noting they tend to break inside the shifter which ain't a good thing. Brake cables go when I just decide its time to replace the housings which varies.

The stainless steel and teflon coated cables simply don't become prone to failure that way the older steel cables did.

Again, if I was going on a trip with the travel tandem by air I "might" carry and extra pair of brake / derailleur cables, but they'd be single bike cables which is why the splitters that are used on travel tandems are equally nice to use on regular tandems: no need for special tandem length cables.
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Old 02-15-12, 09:12 PM   #8
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Actually a cable with the end cut off cleanly with good cable cutters won't fray in storage if you coil it up carefully and slip it into a stiff Ziploc plastic bag. Even if a few strands unravel a little, you can get them to lie back smoothly onto the cable if they haven't been allowed to kink. You shouldn't have any trouble threading the cable into the splitter housing.
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Old 02-16-12, 01:05 AM   #9
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+1 on the comment that the ends don't fray if good quality cutters are used.

In a pinch, while on tour I have used the cutters that are integrated into the pliers of a Leatherman multi-tool. It was not easy to cut the cable with them, and it made a bit of a mess, but I was still able to make it work. Don't do any cutting until you've threaded the cable thru all stops and housings, and you should then be able to make it work.
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Old 02-16-12, 05:56 AM   #10
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Are there cables ,full length for tandems that do not require that choice? Where are they available?
We use standard single bike length cables and quick disconnects for our S&S tandem. I bring pre-cut spare cables with the right ends. It would be very tricky to find tandem length cables while on tour.

Cutting the cable while on tour would require bringing the right cutter to get clean ends. That cutter is a special use tool as it is designed to cut cables and housing. Not a tool I want to bring while on tour.

When I had broken a cable before, I just coiled up the extra cable and waited until I got to a town with a bike shop who does have the right cutter.
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