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What brake cable is this?? Never seen it before!

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What brake cable is this?? Never seen it before!

Old 05-06-19, 05:54 AM
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krecik
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What brake cable is this?? Never seen it before!

Hi all, I've got a '58 Raleigh Superbe and I need to replace the brake cables as they have snipped (they were rusty). But I've never seen brake cables like these so I don't know what I'm looking for, here are some pictures:


They have a pear shaped bob that pulls the brake just like the one I found at the other end of the cable in the brake lever:

I guess it looks something like this, it would have to come with the cable housing already on it since there's no way to thread it on:

Does anybody know what I'm looking for, I tried searching stuff like 'double butted brake cable' but I had no luck, if I can't find it I'll just replace the brakes for standard cable calipers but it would be a shame, I'd like to replace the cable if possible.

Any help would be appreciated.

Kret
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Old 05-06-19, 06:35 AM
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That style cable/housing has been out of production for many years. You either have to solder your own "blob" onto a cable or you can use a knarp on a regular cable, although it won't look as clean as the OEM cable.


https://www.amazon.com/ODYSSEY-Knarp.../dp/B0017GM1CG
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Old 05-06-19, 06:41 AM
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It's possible they are brakes from a mixte where the cable enters from below and the pinch bolt is on top and it has been modified.
Or a redundant design.
Is the front brake the same?
Normal cable and a pinch bolt under the lower stop would work but a bit of a bodge.
Search for the brake brand if they have any or the bike model to find a replacement.
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Old 05-06-19, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
That style cable/housing has been out of production for many years. You either have to solder your own "blob" onto a cable or you can use a knarp on a regular cable, although it won't look as clean as the OEM cable.
Shoot! Too bad, I was hoping to find some NOS online but I've had no luck, just seen your reply now. I'll probably try to weld a blob onto it then and then adjust the tension with the knurled screw.

Kret
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Old 05-06-19, 07:33 AM
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I wonder if the 'Universal Brake Cable' I have seen at big box stores, and has two heads, would work for that...

https://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/ODYSSEY...RD5FPX6O1E09J7

I have only ever seen them long enough for rear brakes, so using it as a front brake cable might be comically long.
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Old 05-06-19, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Wilfred Laurier View Post
I wonder if the 'Universal Brake Cable' I have seen at big box stores, and has two heads, would work for that...

https://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/ODYSSEY...RD5FPX6O1E09J7

I have only ever seen them long enough for rear brakes, so using it as a front brake cable might be comically long.

No, the commonly available "universal" cables have a) two ends of which only one is the correct shape and b) the amount of inner cable VS casing isn't dimensioned for the OP's brake system. Not mentioned is that these older double ended brake systems have a longer then usual adjusting barrel, as there's no other way (other then rim width or pad thickness) to vary the pad/rim clearance and thus the "brake adjustment". Andy
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Old 05-06-19, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Wilfred Laurier View Post
I wonder if the 'Universal Brake Cable' I have seen at big box stores, and has two heads, would work for that...

https://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/ODYSSEY...RD5FPX6O1E09J7

I have only ever seen them long enough for rear brakes, so using it as a front brake cable might be comically long.
Yh, I thought about doing that but like you said the front would look ridiculously long and so would the rear as the housing provided is always longer than necessary and intended for cutting. Above all else, it has a barrel shaped end which wouldn't bed into either the calliper or the lever.

Good suggestion tho.

Kret
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Old 05-06-19, 08:34 AM
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I expect in 1958 , the factory got the whole brake assembly as one piece and bolted it on, and saved time in doing so ..

I was 11 years old . and in California at the time, So, far away from the Nottingham factory site .


Want to replicate the original ? (full restoration) you need to create a way to cast a zinc end

over the carefully frayed cable end, so it resists your hand lever applied force ...







...

Last edited by fietsbob; 05-06-19 at 08:45 AM.
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Old 05-06-19, 08:34 AM
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That looks like the same style brake setup I saw on a 50's Rudge. I didn't buy them but I did find some NOS brake cables on Ebay for it.
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Old 05-06-19, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by krecik View Post
Shoot! Too bad, I was hoping to find some NOS online but I've had no luck, just seen your reply now. I'll probably try to weld a blob onto it then and then adjust the tension with the knurled screw.

Kret
Um, no offense, but your use of the word "weld" tells me that you may be in over your head technically (or in for some learning, which is fine).

"Weld" means that you join two pieces by melting (or, in the case of the old blacksmith hammer welding, very close to melting) and the two base metals join to become a solid piece of metal. You need both parts to be similar (around the same melting point) and of an alloy that is weldable. Some alloy compositions have components that migrate when you melt them, or grain structure that forms in the "Heat Affected Zone" so that welds are not practicle.

"Solder" and "Braze" means joining two pieces of metal with a third metal that has a lower melting point. Generally, soldering is lower temperature and brazing a higher (>450°C) one. In frame-building, "silver solder" is often used, which is a bit of misnomer as the melting point of silver solder is in the brazing range.

You have what is called a Bowden cable with cast-on stops at both ends. The stops at the end are an alloy of lead. I call it pot metal. These are cast on (see the second video, below). If you want an "original" job, you would figure out how to make a mold and melt some lead or solder or pot metal into the mold (the cable would probably need to be hot, and you'd want flux on it. Or, you could machine a little cylindrical end (in steel or brass, using a lathe) with a hole for the able in the center, and could braze that on. I would probably prefer the former, with a kink in the cable (like a little knot, see second video at 2:40 or so) that would be cast into the cable end to provide good support.

Given that this is a brake cable and significant skill would be required to do a reliable job, I wouldn't do this myself. I'd use an end that could be tightened with a set screw (see JohnDThompson pic above). Or, find someone that does this for a living and have them do it.

Some videos showing the general ideas that people have used to fix Bowden cables.


Last edited by WizardOfBoz; 05-06-19 at 08:44 AM.
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Old 05-06-19, 09:02 AM
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You can also get some steel or copper tubing of the proper outside diameter, cut to proper length as the old cable ends, insert cable and solder. Hobby/model airplane shops often have tubing this size.
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Old 05-06-19, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Want to replicate the original ? (full restoration) you need to create a way to cast a zinc end
over the carefully frayed cable end, so it resists your hand lever applied force ...
BITD, motorcycle shops used to have equipment for this type of work, to replace throttle cables and such.
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Old 05-06-19, 10:48 AM
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I have a suggestion. Travel bikes use screwed-together connectors for the cables so that you can take the bike apart for packing. Here is an example: Cable splitters for S&S Coupled travel bikes

With these, you can use two brake cables per brake, and connect the “pear” ends with the connectors. No brazing or soldering required.
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Old 05-06-19, 11:32 AM
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You might consider buying a new caliper + cable
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Old 05-06-19, 11:44 AM
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Drum brake hub wheels are another way to have excellent brakes on classic british bikes..
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Old 05-06-19, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by WizardOfBoz View Post
Um, no offense, but your use of the word "weld" tells me that you may be in over your head technically (or in for some learning, which is fine).
Out of the two, I'm probably in the later group, having said that, no offense buddy but that massive paragraph is just technobabble to me so your lecture has fallen on deaf ears I'm afraid. Like last time when I had that fork threaded, life's to short for all that... Most people just want to ride their bike...

Forgive my wilful ignorance.
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Old 05-06-19, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by krecik View Post
Hi all, I've got a '58 Raleigh Superbe and I need to replace the brake cables as they have snipped (they were rusty). But I've never seen brake cables like these so I don't know what I'm looking for, here are some pictures:


They have a pear shaped bob that pulls the brake just like the one I found at the other end of the cable in the brake lever:

I guess it looks something like this, it would have to come with the cable housing already on it since there's no way to thread it on:

Does anybody know what I'm looking for, I tried searching stuff like 'double butted brake cable' but I had no luck, if I can't find it I'll just replace the brakes for standard cable calipers but it would be a shame, I'd like to replace the cable if possible.

Any help would be appreciated.

Kret
Sheldon Brown had an article on these brake cables: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/english-3.html#brake
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Old 05-06-19, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by 88Tempo View Post
That looks like the same style brake setup I saw on a 50's Rudge. I didn't buy them but I did find some NOS brake cables on Ebay for it.
Yh, just did some better digging now and I found some but they're raaaaaaaaaaare af and quite pricey. Mostly for rear brake too, haven't found a single one for the front.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1-X-RALEI...UAAOSw1tRc0B9o

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/NOS-RARE-...YAAOSwhyZbpKh9

Kret
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Old 05-06-19, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by stephanlinn View Post
You might consider buying a new caliper + cable
This is probably what I'll end up doing but I want to give the soldering method a shot first, I want to keep the bike as close to original as possible if possible.

Kret
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Old 05-06-19, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Sheldon Brown had an article on these brake cables: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/english-3.html#brake
Very useful, thank you very much good sir!
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Old 05-06-19, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by krecik View Post
Out of the two, I'm probably in the later group, having said that, no offense buddy but that massive paragraph is just technobabble to me so your lecture has fallen on deaf ears I'm afraid. Like last time when I had that fork threaded, life's to short for all that... Most people just want to ride their bike...

Forgive my wilful ignorance.
Not at all. If everyone knew all the tech stuff, there'd be no need for us engineers. Plus, if you have no idea what I was talking about, a brake cable is probably not the place to start learning.

If you want to restore to nearly factory conditions, I'd see if there's some outfit that does this professionally. Else, buy a brake cable and a stop (like JohnDThompson shows) and have the LBS set your bike up. Enjoy the ride.

Enjoy your ride.
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Old 05-06-19, 02:25 PM
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I think this would be the best way to go about it.......

Originally Posted by Crankycrank View Post
You can also get some steel or copper tubing of the proper outside diameter, cut to proper length as the old cable ends, insert cable and solder. Hobby/model airplane shops often have tubing this size.
Silver solder like they sell for sweating copper water together might work and hold fast in the solder. But I'd probably find some silver solder with a higher silver content that will give a stronger braze. However the better silver solder alloys can require more heat to work with so that can be a negative to learn with first time on something like a cable.
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Old 05-06-19, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by WizardOfBoz View Post
Not at all. If everyone knew all the tech stuff, there'd be no need for us engineers. Plus, if you have no idea what I was talking about, a brake cable is probably not the place to start learning.

If you want to restore to nearly factory conditions, I'd see if there's some outfit that does this professionally. Else, buy a brake cable and a stop (like JohnDThompson shows) and have the LBS set your bike up. Enjoy the ride.

Enjoy your ride.
What I did with the front brake as a temporary fix is I got two of those flat metal thingies that squish the cable on a derailleur (I have no idea what they're called) and put them together with a screw and nut, the two metal thingies interlock, they have like a metal flap that folds on the side so they were able to clamp a brake cable.

Yh, so I crimped a regular cable into obedience like that on the front brake for now but it looks crap.

I'm not too bothered about making it super close to the original, if I can get the job done with a simple blob weld I'll give that a shot, I'll ask some boys at the plant where I work to see if they can do something. It doesen't have to look great, just better than the thingies I'm using right now. I just want it to be safe enough for riding, if it doesn't work, I'll just replace the brakes for calipers with a bolt.

I did thread that fork btw, Idk if you seen the pics I posted on the original thread but I'll be putting the bike together soon. I've been held up by some clear lacquers I'm waiting for to finish up the frame. If you want I can PM you to let you know how it fares agains the bumpy roads in the UK.

Kret
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Old 05-06-19, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by krecik View Post
if I can get the job done with a simple blob weld I'll give that a shot
Sounds like you've made good progress with good ideas to tide you over. Don't undo all that good work! Do NOT weld this cable. That was my point. I hope the boys at work will tell you that welding a cable that is both stranded, drawn (cold-worked) and possibly heat-treated is going to weaken the cable. Welding melts the metal in the cable. Even if you did get a good mechanical stop on the cable the heat from melting the cable metal could create a brittle region that will snap off. Not a good idea for a brake cable.

You can either 1) cast your own little piece of lead onto the cable (the lead melts, the cable doesn't), or 2) solder a little round stop (essentially a tube with a cable-size hole down the center) to the cable (the solder melts, not the cable), or 3) use a mechanical device, like you already have done with the derailleur stop.

If you want to do something that's serviceable and relatively nice looking perhaps the fellows at the plant can take a piece of 3/8" rod and turn one end down to mimic the shape of that little lead part that was on the cable end. Then drill a cable-size hole axially through the center for a new brake cable. then have them drill and tap a small hole radially and use this to install a set screw. It would look like the setups below if the black plastic shown on the cable ends were metal and part of the stop. For a brake cable I might install two setscrews.

This would give you a modern, adjustable setup using one-ended Bowden cables, which are readily available.

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Old 05-06-19, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by WizardOfBoz View Post
Do NOT weld this cable. That was my point. I hope the boys at work will tell you that welding a cable that is both stranded, drawn (cold-worked) and possibly heat-treated is going to weaken the cable. Welding melts the metal in the cable. Even if you did get a good mechanical stop on the cable the heat from melting the cable metal could create a brittle region that will snap off. Not a good idea for a brake cable.
Oooh, ok sorry, lol!
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