Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Bicycle Mechanics
Reload this Page >

Replace rusted but working cables?

Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

Replace rusted but working cables?

Old 04-28-18, 02:22 PM
  #1  
El Gato27
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Texas
Posts: 210

Bikes: '88 Peugot 12 spd road bike, Nishiki hybrid, JC Penney 10 spd

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 42 Post(s)
Replace rusted but working cables?

Picked up an older Raleigh mountain bike. I prepped the wheels and took the bike out for a short ride and to my surprise it shifted and braked very well. Shifts were crisp on both derailleurs, brakes stopped quickly. I was planning to replace the cables because they are rusted but now I am wondering if I should. Older Altus 3x6 SIS thumb shifters.
I normally follow the "if it ain't broke don't mess with it" thought, but I'm on the fence about this one.
Has anyone actually broken a cable because of age?
El Gato27 is offline  
Old 04-28-18, 02:49 PM
  #2  
jj1091 
Mike J
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Jacksonville Florida
Posts: 1,611

Bikes: 1975 Peugeot PX-50L, 1971 Peugeot PX-10, 1974 Peugeot PX-8

Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 391 Post(s)
Never broke one, but I have had one where a couple strands broke inside the housing and made the shifting quite difficult. The reason to replace the rusted cables is so that you don't get stranded somewhere, unable to shift. $10 at Walmart will get you a whole set of cables. Me, I couldn't tolerate looking at rusted cables any more than I can tolerate looking at rusty spokes.
jj1091 is offline  
Old 04-28-18, 02:59 PM
  #3  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 40,219

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 176 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6336 Post(s)
Preventive maintenance forestalls failure and injury.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 04-28-18, 06:47 PM
  #4  
altenwrencher
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
Posts: 135
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
If they are not frayed they can last many years. I have sanded cables on some used bikes I've bought. That plus blowing through the housings and smearing a little grease on them makes them slide much more easily.
altenwrencher is offline  
Old 04-28-18, 07:16 PM
  #5  
Iride01
Senior Member
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 2,046

Bikes: '91 Schwinn Paramount '78 Raleigh Competition GS

Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 762 Post(s)
The cables on my Raleigh Competition had rust on cable where it went around the downtube friction shifter. One strand frayed a year later, another two years and it broke. When I was at the far end of the trail. Didn't enjoy the hills going back to the house. So when the front DR cable started fraying, I replaced it right away.

Still I think PM (preventative maintenance) can be expensive if you fix everything that shows any wear. So it helps to weigh what is and isn't really important to you, or a true safety issue.

If they function and are not frayed. It'd definitely be a toss up for me. Do I want to tinker today or ride longer today?
Iride01 is offline  
Old 04-28-18, 07:17 PM
  #6  
RobotGuy 
Semi-Pro Bowler
 
RobotGuy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: New Joisey
Posts: 202

Bikes: ‘02 LeMond Tete De Course Titanium (road), ‘98 Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo (mtb), ‘88 GT Mach One (BMX)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 100 Post(s)
Still have the original brake cable on my 88 GT Mach One. Installed by the 15 year old version of me. You’ll be fine.
RobotGuy is offline  
Old 04-28-18, 07:49 PM
  #7  
Aubergine 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Seattle and Reims
Posts: 2,767
Mentioned: 28 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 695 Post(s)
I will replace rusty cables as a matter of course on any bike I work on.
__________________
Keeping Seattle’s bike shops in business since 1978
Aubergine is offline  
Old 04-29-18, 12:01 AM
  #8  
tonyfourdogs
Senior Member
 
tonyfourdogs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Devon, UK
Posts: 229

Bikes: Marin Palisades Trail (1991)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 81 Post(s)
I broke a cable once, although in the cable's defence it didn't entirely snap all at once. A few of the cable strands went at first, and then the whole thing went a ride or two later.

Give the cables a good clean and if it's just surface rust, ride the bike. Might be a good idea to check them regularly to begin with, but I see no reason to replace working parts with plenty of life left in them.
tonyfourdogs is offline  
Old 04-29-18, 03:20 AM
  #9  
le mans
Steel is real
 
le mans's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 586

Bikes: Cannondale Saeco Machhine De Caffe. Custom - Record Vortex 8 spd Nexus & Mistral Le Mans 3 spd Shimano. Upgraded Wheeler Crossline

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 90 Post(s)
I'd just disconnect the cables, clean up the grit/rust... squirt WD-40 on steel wool rub the cables down and squirt WD-40 in the housings till you see it dribble on the other end, then fit it back

& ive done that on tight cables, amazing what a bit of service does, works like new again
le mans is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.