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Old 02-19-08, 12:28 PM   #1
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brake housing for shifter cables

anyone use brake cable housing for shifter cables? will this work ok? what problems would you run into using brake housing for shifters?
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Old 02-19-08, 12:32 PM   #2
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Many inexpensive bikes use brake housing for shift duties....and shift poorly because of it.

Brake housing is designed to compress slightly to handle the amount of pressure a brake lever can put on it. Shifters exert far less pressure and become inaccurate when the housing is spongy, causing indexing to be out of whack. Shift housing is designed to be compressionless.
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Old 02-19-08, 12:39 PM   #3
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Back in the old days, before indexed shifting, there was only style of cable housing and it was used for both brakes and shifters. One of the things that has made indexed shifting possible is "compressionless" housing. As rear cogs have grown closer together, shifting has become progressively more and more sensitive to any amount of housing compression. For no more than shift housing costs, I'd get the right stuff.

A couple of other thoughts:

1. You can't tell by eyeballing the housing diameter if it's compressionless shifter housing or not. Compressionless shifter housing comes in both 4mm and 5mm diameters.

2. You have to be careful about not using shifter housing for brakes. Brakes use much greater cable tension and will "break out" of shift cable's parallel reinforceing wires.

3. Cable operated disc brakes have brought us a new innovation: Compressionless brake housing. It makes a world of difference if you have cable disc brakes with longish cable housings. I haven't tried it with shifters but my bet is it would work.
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