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DIY Cable/Housing replacement

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DIY Cable/Housing replacement

Old 10-16-20, 03:23 AM
  #1  
TheCharm 
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DIY Cable/Housing replacement

Good day all. I've posted here before and gotten some good help, so I hope to tap y'all's expertise here as well.

As I imagine many cyclists have realized from this pandemic is that we're going to have to learn to be better mechanics. I could competently learn to handle much more than I did, but I was in the "I'm glad to pay my LBS to do things if it helps ensure they stay in business" camp. I mean, I love working on my bike, but I like my LBS too so it's always been a challenge for me. I'm still acquiring a few tools I'll need.

With that said, I'm stepping things up and this winter one project of mine will be to replace all cable and housing on all three bikes. My question has to do with cable inventory. It's a basic every rider really should know and it's high time I tackled it.

Of my three bikes, two are almost identical. They are both Trek 7.3fx hybrid bikes, circa 2011 model years. One is mine, the other belongs to the missus. These are 3x8 drivetrains, both front and rear indexed shifting. Brakes are V-Brakes. The third bike is my Surly Disc Trucker, circa 2015. It's a 3x10 with the factory BB7 calipers.

I'm looking at Jagwire inventory now. I'd like to get a 10m roll each of a brake and shifter housing to handle all three bikes requirements. I believe most will suggest compressionless housing for my DT, at least that's what my LBS uses. What about my Treks - can I use same brake housing?

Also interested in same question for inner cables.

If anyone can help me sort this, I'd appreciate it. Obviously looking to reduce the SKUs in my very limited work and storage area. If you have any other questions to help you help me, just ask.

https://jagwire.com/products/housing
https://jagwire.com/products/inner-wire
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Old 10-16-20, 07:02 AM
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You need different housing for brake and derailleur housing, and yes - you should get rolls of each.

I have been happy with the 5mm Jagwire Pro brake housing. It is branded as compressionless, and although no housing is truly compressionless, it works very well.

Same for derailleur housing. Their 4mm sport housing works great for me, and is not terribly expensive. I have used the pro derailleur housing, but did not notice enough of a difference to spend nearly twice as much as the sport costs.

You will also want to make sure that you have ferrules and tips. The rolls of housing should have the ferrules - you will get stamped chrome ones for the brake housing and plastic for the derailleur housing. Shimano inner wires come with a tip, but most others do not. Try to get inner wires that are “one sided”, with the end that you already need and have the other end soldered or welded. Trying to feed cut inner wire can be frustrating, and more so if you don’t have good cable cutters.

Now is the time to invest in a goos set of cable cutters if you don’t have some already.

Last edited by aggiegrads; 10-16-20 at 07:07 AM.
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Old 10-16-20, 07:03 AM
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you can use the same housing on both bikes. 4mm shift housing for shifting and 5mm brake housing for brakes, of course. for some brakes, the compression felt in conventional brake housing makes brakes feel "spongy" and you don't want that. so "compressionless" housing is essential for disc brakes. (I'm putting some mini-V brakes on a road bike with drop bar levers, and those brakes are notoriously spongy, so I am using compressionless housing to help mitigate that. not sure it will work as planned.)

however, some feel that the compression felt on side-pull caliper brakes that comes from conventional housing is a good feeling, as if offers better modulation of the braking power. If I had to pick one over the other for all brakes, I'd just get the compressionless housing. don't forget to get a whole bunch of 5mm housing end ferrules for brakes and 4mm ferrules for shift cables, along with some cable ends to crimp on the ends of the wires.

Last edited by mack_turtle; 10-16-20 at 09:08 AM.
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Old 10-16-20, 07:23 AM
  #4  
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I wouldn't feel the need to stock rolls of housing. I use it so seldom and I have limited storage. I needed some this summer and my LBS was temporarily out of stock, so I bought some on line from Cambria Bikes. They sold it by the foot for a decent price and delivery cost. They sold ferrules and ends by the piece.

I certainly stock spare cables, even carry a spare shifter cable with me on tours. If your Trucker has road levers, it'll be a different cable end. Shifter cables are the same.
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Old 10-16-20, 08:15 AM
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My personal opinion is it is a good idea to have basic tools including cable cutting tools for things like brake fixes. I also think it is a good idea to keep a supply of bulk housings and cables and associated do-dads on hand. There are so many bike riders out there who have no desire to repair their bikes, enough to keep LBS in business. If you are a poster on BF then you probably ride a lot and having the ability to make repairs as simple as this will keep you riding instead of waiting for the LBS to fix things that the owner can handle easily. Around here, LBS hold free repair instructional classes. They wouldn't do this if they felt riders doing home repairs were a threat to their survival.

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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
I wouldn't feel the need to stock rolls of housing. I use it so seldom and I have limited storage. I needed some this summer and my LBS was temporarily out of stock, so I bought some on line from Cambria Bikes. They sold it by the foot for a decent price and delivery cost. They sold ferrules and ends by the piece.

I certainly stock spare cables, even carry a spare shifter cable with me on tours. If your Trucker has road levers, it'll be a different cable end. Shifter cables are the same.
To each his own but at a certain level I pity the individual that is so pressed for storage space they cannot accommodate a roll of bicycle cable housing.
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Old 10-16-20, 09:05 AM
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You need decent cable cutters, decent cables and housing (shifter and brake housing are different). Shimano cables and housing are quite good, and not outrageously expensive.
While Jagwire WST028 are my favourite housing cutters that work very well as cable cutters (especially for home use).

My 2c on cable and housing routing.
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Old 10-16-20, 11:13 AM
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For years I've used Jagwire's spiral wound brake housing and "compressionless" shift housing. I buy them in 25' or 30' rolls and they provide years worth of bike overhauls. The spiral wound brake housing has been more than satisfactory with caliper rim brakes and the shift housing allows very accurate shifting.

I recently built up a Surly Midnight special with TRP mechanical disc brakes and, at TRP's recommendation, I used Jagwire "compressionless" Pro brake housing. I don't know if it is essential but it does give a very solid and predictable brake feel.

As to inner wires, I use both Shimano and Jagwire with equally good results.
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Old 10-16-20, 04:01 PM
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I really like the Jagwire kits personally mostly use the Elite and the pro but will do sport if I need it for a color and everything else is out. Yeah sure buying bulk can make sense but I find the kits come with just about everything needed and I usually have some extra stuff at the end which allows me to use it for other bikes as needed.

If I am buying bulk I would do Pro housing and Elite cables. Never galvanized never.
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Old 10-17-20, 07:59 AM
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Yes, a good set of cable cutters is worth the money. Dressing the cut housing ends with a file or (better) a bench grinder helps. And get some end caps for the housing, particularly important for compressionless shift cable housing, the ends of which tend to splay and degrade shifting if not contained within an end cap.
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Old 10-17-20, 08:14 AM
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Cables and housing fortunately are standardized. so it is worthwhile to get bulk in 10m or even 25m if you have project bikes.
Remember to replace both housing and cable.

I use the Shimano SP41 housing. For cables you can get the shimano Optislick, or a cheap 10-pack off ebay depending ont he quality of bike you use it for.

Maybe i shouldn't give the bike industry ideas here, but it would surprise me if they came up with a system that requires different cable for 10 and 11 speed, or SRAM or Shimano. they kind of did with road vs. MTB cables, though.
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Old 10-17-20, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by aggiegrads View Post
. Try to get inner wires that are “one sided”, with the end that you already need and have the other end soldered or welded.
How do you solder SS wire? I have never had good luck with that.
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Old 10-17-20, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by IPassGas View Post
How do you solder SS wire? I have never had good luck with that.
sorry, what I meant to say was that the ends are welded/soldered out of the package. The only way I have welded stainless cables was with the lighter/drill method.

edit: added link -

Last edited by aggiegrads; 10-17-20 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 10-17-20, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by aggiegrads View Post
sorry, what I meant to say was that the ends are welded/soldered out of the package. The only way I have welded stainless cables was with the lighter/drill method.
Thanks, I must try/practice the torch/drill method. It is possible to solder SS with acid flux, but the acid ruins solder tips.
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Old 10-17-20, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by aggiegrads View Post
sorry, what I meant to say was that the ends are welded/soldered out of the package. The only way I have welded stainless cables was with the lighter/drill method.
+1. I gave up on the silver solder-acid flux method for stainless cables as I just could not get it to work. Drill & Torch method works great. A little too anal for some but I'm anal.
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Old 10-17-20, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by IPassGas View Post
Thanks, I must try/practice the torch/drill method. It is possible to solder SS with acid flux, but the acid ruins solder tips.
You can do a lot of practice with whatever cable you cut off. Practice before you do it on the bike. I use a Soto Outdoors brand butane torch that is less than 25 bucks, uses cheap lighters as a fuel source, and is highly useful for many other things around the house and camp.
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