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Questions about cable housing from a rookie

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Questions about cable housing from a rookie

Old 03-15-22, 06:47 PM
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jkbcontest
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Questions about cable housing from a rookie

Hello again and thank you so much for the assistance. I have had a 93 Trex 8700 for a number of years and it has just sat there as I've always been more of a hiker. This year, I am getting into riding and am in the process of replacing the old Shimano shifters/brakes with new units, replacing the cabling and housing at the same time. This bike will see hybrid use with about 50% on asphalt, 50% on mild off-road trails. No heavy or extreme use.

Question 1: I was told (by my local bike shop [who does a TON of work locally]) that the new cables/housing should not be greased because that can result in dirt getting caught up. But the "Dealer's Manual" from Shimano states that I should "grease with SIS SP41 grease the inner cable and the sliding portions of the outer casing..." So which should I do?

Question 2: Looking down at the top, horizontal tube, cable housing enters a 'bracket' which I guess is called an 'outer casing holder.' After the cable exits, it enters a very lightweight and hollow, plasticky housing which I was told was primarily there to preserve the paint job on the bike from the cable slapping up against it. Secondarily, it would provide a little bit of protection from dirt/water. Does this sound correct? And if so, what is this type of house called so that I might order some new lengths? I was considering replacing this length with the regular housing used in other sections, but it doesn't look like there is room for two end caps in the holder (one going in and one coming out) because the one entering takes up about 2/3rds of the length.

I'm about 1/3 of the way through the project and I've already learned so much!

Thanks again,
John
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Old 03-15-22, 07:03 PM
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1. Follow the advice of the LBS: i.e., no need to grease new cables inside new housing.
2. It's called, "liner," but it's not really necessary in this application. Look at the 1993 Trek catalog or online images of your bike. I doubt they came with any liner in that location.
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Old 03-15-22, 07:42 PM
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No need for grease and no need for liner. Cables and housing are consumables...if you ride a bunch replace them once a year, at least the derailleur stuff.
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Old 03-15-22, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by jkbcontest View Post
Questions about cable housing from a rookie
Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
1. Follow the advice of the LBS
Agreed.

The first line of defense for a "rookie" is to "Follow the advice of the LBS" before whatever is found on the internets.

I've worked in a Local Bike Shop. My friends owns their Local Bike Shops. I support all Local Bike Shops.
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Old 03-15-22, 08:48 PM
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Modern good quality (Shimano, Jagwire) cable housings all have a low friction liner. If used with quality die drawn stainless steel inner wires, no lube is needed and, for trail use, is not desirable as it is a dirt catcher.

The thin plastic shield over the exposed cable on the top tube is useful to protect the paint and avoid rattling. It's not essential but worth having.
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Old 03-15-22, 08:59 PM
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First question why are you replacing shifters and brakes (beyond pads) on a bike with seemingly low hours on it?

in lieu of the liner between cable stops you can also use frame protector donuts.
https://cambriabike.com/products/cbo...SABEgKlhvD_BwE
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Old 03-16-22, 08:18 AM
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I believe the correct answer is to not lube. I adhered to this mantra for decades.

However, the last few years I have been wiping new cables with tri-flow prior to inserting them into the housings.

I don’t have a good explanation other than using tri-flow on all my component’s pivot points for many years without a perceived buildup and decided to try it one day.

There is also probably no perceived benefit by using it.

John
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Old 03-16-22, 09:43 AM
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Most modern cable housing is lined and needs no lube. Before this was the norm is was common advice to lubricant the cable or housing.
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Old 03-16-22, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
I believe the correct answer is to not lube. However, the last few years, I have been wiping new cables with tri-flow prior to inserting.
From his small shop, famed frame builder Ryffranck does the same in this quaint video at 5:03.


Last edited by SurferRosa; 03-16-22 at 10:25 AM.
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Old 03-16-22, 10:40 AM
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I use those cable liners whenever possible. They work better than the rubber donuts to protect the paint. 30 meters of the stuff is only $12.
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Old 03-16-22, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
1. Follow the advice of the LBS: i.e., no need to grease new cables inside new housing.
2. It's called, "liner," but it's not really necessary in this application. Look at the 1993 Trek catalog or online images of your bike. I doubt they came with any liner in that location.
Thank you for the feedback. Kind of tough to know from the catalogs, but other online images of the bike actually do show the same housing and so I'll just leave it in place.
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Old 03-16-22, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
Modern good quality (Shimano, Jagwire) cable housings all have a low friction liner. If used with quality die drawn stainless steel inner wires, no lube is needed and, for trail use, is not desirable as it is a dirt catcher.

The thin plastic shield over the exposed cable on the top tube is useful to protect the paint and avoid rattling. It's not essential but worth having.
Thank you. I considered the paint job, but not the rattling. Makes sense.
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Old 03-16-22, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
First question why are you replacing shifters and brakes (beyond pads) on a bike with seemingly low hours on it?

in lieu of the liner between cable stops you can also use frame protector donuts.
Thanks for the information about the donuts. I'll keep those in mind. Regarding my changing out the shifters and brakes: I personally don't have a lot of hours on them, but I did buy the bike used from a guy who used it for off-road racing. So it's not like they haven't had a decent amount of use before I took ownership. Also, they are 25 years old. They don't 'feel' like they are performing well (not simply out of adjustment, but just mechanically tired). And replacing them is both inexpensive and an educational experience.
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Old 03-21-22, 07:11 PM
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I have always greased the cables which helps them slide in the housing. With the tip on the end of the housing it is unlikely that much is any dirt is going to get inside. I have never seen dirt on the wires when replacing cables over the years.
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Old 03-22-22, 10:07 AM
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alcjphil
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Originally Posted by soyabean View Post
Agreed.

The first line of defense for a "rookie" is to "Follow the advice of the LBS" before whatever is found on the internets.

I've worked in a Local Bike Shop. My friends owns their Local Bike Shops. I support all Local Bike Shops.
OP stated: "I was told (by my local bike shop [who does a TON of work locally]) that the new cables/housing should not be greased because that can result in dirt getting caught up. But the "Dealer's Manual" from Shimano states that I should "grease with SIS SP41 grease the inner cable and the sliding portions of the outer casing.."

I would take the advice of a Shimano service document
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Old 03-22-22, 11:31 PM
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Grease helps the cable move with less friction, but it does attract dirt. It's just a trade-off so pick your poison. I do it sometimes but not all the time, just whatever I feel like at the time (eg, is the grease/oil already within arm's reach, or do I have to dig around for it inside a bin?).
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