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Recomendations on brake/shift cables?

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Recomendations on brake/shift cables?

Old 06-28-11, 12:05 AM
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Teon
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Recomendations on brake/shift cables?

Sorry I ask so many questions....

Am wanting to replace all the cables/housings on my 87 Schwinn road bike. I know I probably need some sort of good park tool for cutting cables and such.

Any suggestions for some decent cables/covers/and/or kits?
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Old 06-28-11, 01:01 AM
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Apart from housings being lined or not, I don't seem to note much difference from one set to another. Those that are ridiculously inexpensive usually aren't lined, so I try to stay away from those. Apart from that I'll use anything that comes my way.
Jagwire is OK, Shimano bundles are also OK. Nothing wrong with BBB generic parts either.
Some use stainless, which is both nice and a pain.
It's a pain because sealing the cut end well is difficult, which can come back and bite you if you ever need to reinstall the cable.
It's nice, because a SS wire will remain shinier, and will "never" seize in its housing the way a regular steel cable can.

Brake housing can very well be cut with regular pliers, if you take the time to trim the end, if needed. Compressionless / shifter housing tends to get more mashed up. Cables tend to fray if cut with a regular plier.
Both housing and cables can be cut very nicely with a Dremel, but it takes a bit longer.
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Old 06-28-11, 05:22 AM
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The Park tool cable cutter is nothing special. Either save some $$ and get a Spin Doctor/Nashbar/whatever cutter, or get the pricey Shimano cutter. I got lucky and picked up a used set of Shimano cutters on ebay.
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Old 06-28-11, 07:40 AM
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Dremel tool with cutoff wheel works great and speed is not typically an issue unless you are rebuilding several bikes a day. Park cutters work fine too, just use a thin awl to straighten out the end of the housing when you are done cutting.
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Old 06-28-11, 09:39 AM
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Even a set of big ****s cutters followed by dressing the end square and clean with a file works OK. If you do it by hand like this hold the end up against a bench or lightly pinch it in a vise so the end is just barely over the edge. Dress it with 8 or 10 strokes of the file to remove the crush distortion caused by the jaws.

Bikes shops typically carry decent basic lined housing and cables in bulk. So you don't need a kit but could just ask for x feet of housing and two each of shifter and brake cables. It shouldn't run you more than $12 to $15 to get them this way. Compare that to whatever kits they have.

If you measure all your bits and buy the housing in bulk be sure to get at least a few inches extra to allow for dressing off the ends.

Also since this is very likely a friction shifting 10 or 12 speed you can use the slightly cheaper brake housing. If it's been upgraded to indexed shifting you'll need to stick with the "compresionless" shifter housing. Be sure not to get the two mixed up when installing them.

Kits at bike shops tend to be the more deluxe stuff. And kits at the local Wally World or similar tend to be the bottom of the barrel stuff. It's worth it to pay in the middle and get a basic kit or buy the bike shops bulk items.

And don't forget the end ferrules and cable caps while you're at it.

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Old 06-28-11, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by dabac View Post
Cables tend to fray if cut with a regular plier.
Both housing and cables can be cut very nicely with a Dremel, but it takes a bit longer.
Dremel is the way to go.
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Old 06-28-11, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by estabro View Post
Dremel is the way to go.
Have to disagree. If a Dremel was the `way to go` then every bike shop would be using them. They`re not. Instead they use cable cutters specifically made to cut stranded stainless steel cable and housing. Tools by Park Tool, Pedros, Shimano, EVO, SuperB etc. The most expensive is only about $30. Last time I priced a Dremel kit it was about $100.
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Old 06-28-11, 06:27 PM
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When cutting a cable with regular side cutters (sometimes called ****s) or the cutting jaws on Linesman's pliers all you need to do is pinch the good side close to the jaws. When the cable snaps through at most a strand or two will have jumped slightly out of the lay. Drawing and twisting your fingers down over the cable will easily put the displaced strands back into place. It's a simple trick that is easy to do. In fact the good cable cutters can still cause a strand to jump out of place now and then so you end up doing this anyhow.

If one has a Dremel or the special cable and housing cutters then fine. But it's hardly a case where you can't do the work if you only have basic tools. It just takes a bit longer to make the ends presentable.
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Old 06-30-11, 11:25 AM
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Thanks, all, for the suggestions/tips!
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Old 06-30-11, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Burton View Post
Have to disagree. If a Dremel was the `way to go` then every bike shop would be using them. They`re not. Instead they use cable cutters specifically made to cut stranded stainless steel cable and housing. Tools by Park Tool, Pedros, Shimano, EVO, SuperB etc. The most expensive is only about $30. Last time I priced a Dremel kit it was about $100.
You can get the 7.5V kits for $40-50 around here. Dremel will do a much better job on housing. I still get by with Shimano blue/grey cable cutters myself. I either put some scrap cable in the housing when I cut to help keep the housing from deforming much or use a pointy item to open up the end.
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Old 06-30-11, 12:29 PM
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I use the Dremel on housings all the time, but not so much on cables anymore. I think the really skinny but breakable cutoff wheels handle cable better than the thicker, reinforced ones. Nasty tendency to shatter, however....
I have a pair of the Shimano cutters and they work very well indeed..... The department bought 'em for me though.

I've used everything from really cheap (read, Walmart) cables and housings to Shimano Dura-ace sets. The Dura-ace are very nice as you get everything; the cables, housings, all the little cable-end bits and even the cable end-caps.
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