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  1. #1
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    Brake/Der. cables/housings for touring

    Waiting on my LHT frame to arrive and started thinking about cables and housings for heavy duty touring. The regular bike shop housings and cables (the kind thats sold by the foot) have all started to corrode on my old tourer (giant OCR tour) even with 2x yearly clean\lube. Is there anything out there that will hold up any better? What do the tour bike builders use? Thanks for any advice anyone can give me!

  2. #2
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    On my just completed LHT build, I spent a little bit more money on brake and derailleur cables and got teflon coated cables. With these I at least get noticably smoother brake action. As far as longevity, I have no idea if these are any better than cheap generic cables & housings.
    .cinelli.olympic.surly.long.haul.trucker.kona.ku.surly.steamroller.
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  3. #3
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Ya, those teflon coated cables are the way to go...

    As for brakes themselves, I vote for V-Brakes with either diacomps or travelagents to take up the road-lever slack.

  4. #4
    Year-round cyclist
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    Tefflon-coated cables may be slightly more resistent to rust, but I doubt it. But it won't change a single thing for the worst offenders, cable housings. To avoid rust-related problems, do the following:

    1. Try to run your housings so that no entry point points to the sky. For the same reason, avoid sags, i.e. places that could contain water.

    2. Lightly grease the cable before you insert it in its housing. Don't leave any residue that could attract dirt, however. In my case, I put some grease on a paper tissue and wipe it on the cable.

    3. Put a drop of oil on the entry of the housing and insert the cable.

    With that technique, I have unrusted cables and housings that have been in service for 3 or 4 years and have survived through rain, snow and even the occasional sunshine.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Thanks for the responses--After looking at my cables, I discovered where the problem lies--the ferrules are not a snug or even tight fit around the end of the housings. I can only speculate that water stayed in the ferrules and hence the rust/corrosion. Im going to replace the cables (will try the teflon ones. Thanks Fixer and Bikepacker) and new housings. The corrosion was as you pointed out, Michel, at the cable entry point, which is pointed up, on my brake levers (Dia-compe 287-v). So water evidently made its way down the housing and stayed there, corroding the lining. Aside from greasing the entry point, does anyone have a suggestions for stopping this? I caught it this time only because when applying my brakes, they didnt release. The cable lining was a nice reddish brown rust for several inches. I thought I was routing the cables correctly and wiping them with a light oil with grease at the ends.

  6. #6
    Older I get, Better I was velonomad's Avatar
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    I ride during the winter here in NY and I have the best results using shimano's stainless steel cables. I typically go two seasons with them before changing.I always had problems with the generic cables that the LBS's get from QBP either rusting or hanging up in the cable housing.
    When putting ferrules on cable housings I use a dab of blue rtv silcone to hold the ferrule on and help seal out moisture.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    That sounds good, velonomad. Ill do that with the new LHT (cant wait!). I always miss the small obvious things. Thanks everybody, for the advice and tricks!

  8. #8
    Year-round cyclist
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    Quote Originally Posted by GiantDave
    (Dia-compe 287-v). ... I caught it this time only because when applying my brakes, they didnt release. ...

    That problem is not related to rust, but rather to misalignment of the brake housing and brake lever. The 287-V have a "feature" which I think more as a design flaw. The cable housing is simply abutted (sp.) to the lever; there is no "sleeve" to slide the housing into. Once the cable is installed, everything is fine IF there is no lateral pressure on the cable. Moving the brake levers a tiny bit is a good way to pinch the cable and prevent it from working.

    If you haven't unwrapped your handlebars, you may solve the problem by slacking a little bit the bolt that ties the lever to the handlebar. Then try to move the lever slightly until it works better. Tighten it in place.

    If your handlebars are unwrapped, the surest method is:

    – Place the levers where you want them. Bolt them tight.
    – Size the housing appropriately and cut it in place.
    – Run the cable and install the brake. Make it work.
    You will probably notice that it works very smoothly.
    – With electrical tape, tape the housing to the handlebar.
    Start near the brake lever. Do 2-3 turns to make sure the housing won't move.
    – Tape the rest if you want.
    – Install handlebar tape.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

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