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Changing Cables

Old 05-16-10, 12:33 PM
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Commodus
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Changing Cables

Hi guys, I need to change out my brake and shifter cables. What all do I need? Cables and housing of course, but ferrules? Stops, ends? Housing cover? What sort of tool is recommended for cutting the cables and housings? I've seen everything from special cable-cutting tools, to side cutters, to dremels recommended.

I'll be installing the cables on a drop-bar equipped road bike with BB7s and barcons.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 05-16-10, 12:43 PM
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Unless you own many bikes where you'll be doing lots of cable replacements, you're best off buying one of the kits, which include 2 inner wires, enough housing for both brakes or derailleurs, and ferrules and crimps. You'll need 2 kits, one for brakes and one for derailleurs. There are a number of kits of decent and better quality offered by Jagwire and others. At the very least look for die-drawn stainless steel inner wires with lined housing. The stainless option is less important for brake cables where quality die-drawn galvanized wires cost less and work fine.

You should also by a cable cutter which can cut the inner wires and housings without crushing and fraying them. That, an emory board, file or grinder and a bit of thin oil, along with a bit of hand skill is all you'll need.

If you're considering buying bulk to save, note that brake and derailleur housing is different and neither is usable for both, plus ferrules and crimps come in large bottles so it'll be a long while before bulk saves you anything unless you have a number of bikes to work on.
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Old 05-16-10, 12:47 PM
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Cable cutters are good to have. Some people use the cutting tool on a dremel. A file or bench grinder for smoothing out the ends of the housing. An awl or something else pointy that can pull out any burrs after you cut the housing. Ordinary diagonal cutters can work on housing (bend the housing) but won't work so well on the cable itself. You should use some housing end tips. After you put them on the housing, crimp them a bit so the housing doesn't slip out of it. No need to replace the ferrules if the ones you have still work (keep the threading clean and greased on any adjusting stops). End tips for the cables, also; or something else that will keep them from fraying--some people use heat shrink tubing from Radio Shack; some people solder. I find end tips quick and easy. Check out Sheldon Brown's description of brake cabling to get it right. Being assiduous about it will make your brakes work very well. Cutting corners can lead to tiny issues that make the braking much crappier.
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Old 05-16-10, 12:51 PM
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Wow!

Super information. Thanks so much guys.
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