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How Often to replace Cables

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How Often to replace Cables

Old 06-18-07, 11:03 AM
  #1  
gholt
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How Often to replace Cables

Just curious on the thoughts. I ride about 3,500 - 5,000 a year for commuting and wondering how often the cables need to be changed. I haven't noticed any significant change in the derailurer, I just have to make adjustments every now and then as I take the wheels off for travel and truing etc.
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Old 06-18-07, 11:40 AM
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If it were me, I would change every two years as a preventative measure and sooner if I detect excessive wear. I prefer to decide when the bike goes under the wrench. When I leave things go, the bike decides and it does not allow for my convenience or schedule.
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Old 06-18-07, 11:47 AM
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Cables last a very long time. I generally don't change them much unless I happen to damage the inner cable (the pinch bolt on the derailer will cut them if you make and break the connection too much) or the housing is cracked due to weather checking.

I'd estimate that my cables and cable housing last 3 to 5+ years.
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Old 06-18-07, 12:06 PM
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Be sure to replace the cable housings when replacing the cables. The housings are at least as important as the cables. With STI shifters, shifting performance can sometimes improve dramatically after new cables and housings.
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Old 06-18-07, 12:07 PM
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As long as they were thoroughly greased when set up, cables and housing last for a very long time as long as the bike lives indoors. I've never had a set wear out, bind or any other problem, and I put more than average miles on the bike. Only replaced them every five years or so when doing a complete set up after painting.
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Old 06-18-07, 12:11 PM
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Campangnolo recommends every 20000 km (12500 miles) on their cables for the kind of use you describe.

Zinn the author of "Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenence" recommends recableing every year as a prevention for problems. That seems excessive to me, but there you have it.

Bottom line: keep an eye on your cables, don't ignore things like increased resistance, bb routing, a drop of oil on the brake cable/ housing interfaces, look for fraying, oxidation and so on..
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Old 06-18-07, 12:47 PM
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Thanks for all your help. I will probably wait another year. as the cable are about 1 1/2 years old.
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Old 06-18-07, 12:51 PM
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depending on the cables, there not exspensive and can be changed for a couple of bucks. i personnaly change my shift cables whenever i get a new derailluer. the brake cables are about 26 bucks for each brake to change so i wait for that, but i have recently found the same 26 dollar cables for six bucks.
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Old 06-18-07, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by mtnbk3000
the brake cables are about 26 bucks for each brake to change so i wait for that, but i have recently found the same 26 dollar cables for six bucks.
What are those? Gold plated cables? Our shop does housing for $1 a foot and $2.50 for the cable.
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Old 06-18-07, 07:36 PM
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they are jagwire compressionless cable, they are about as nice as they get. there is a rediculous amount of braking improvement once i added them
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Old 06-18-07, 08:13 PM
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I hope so!
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Old 06-18-07, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by mtnbk3000
they are jagwire compressionless cable, they are about as nice as they get. there is a rediculous amount of braking improvement once i added them
Where did you find them for $6? Online or a LBS deal?
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Old 06-18-07, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by blamp28
If it were me, I would change every two years as a preventative measure and sooner if I detect excessive wear. I prefer to decide when the bike goes under the wrench. When I leave things go, the bike decides and it does not allow for my convenience or schedule.
Ditto...one of the truest comments one can make. I ride about the same milage and every second winter is when I make the change out during a major maintenance. If the cables are in great shape I will transfer them to my beater bike.
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Old 06-18-07, 08:20 PM
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Stainless brake cables have an essentially indefinite life. The housings are
more likely to be a problem. Annual exams of the full length of the cable
for frayings, broken strands etc should be done. Non stainless brake cables
are more subject to aging problems: rust, breaking strands etc.
Der cables have a high stress area in the shifter where they wrap around
a small diameter, high tension drum that rotates when you shift so fraying
is especially likely within the shifter. This area should be inspected at least
annually or every few thousand miles for high mileage folks. Housings should
be changed as internal rusting can occur even with fully lined housings after
prolonged exposure, every other cable change is reasonable unless you are
a winter rider in northern climes or wet areas like Seattle.
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Old 06-19-07, 02:14 AM
  #15  
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I normally replace mine every two years, cables and housings both. This year I waited three years though, as I had converted to the rather expensive XTR cables. So last Friday I had to bike home from work in low gear, as the FD cable snapped. Lesson learned.

On a related note - I have sometimes wondered if I should replace the brake cables when replacing brake pads (V-brakes), as this means having to expose cable previously clamped by the pinch bolt. Comments?
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Old 06-19-07, 03:10 AM
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Sometimes cables kink. That's when it's time to get new cables... or when they fray or rust. Shifter cables normally go first, brake cables last quite a long time.

If you notice your bike's performance dropping, try changing the housing/cables. You might be surprised. It's kind of a bike makeover.
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